Driving near commercial trucks like 18-wheelers is always daunting. In an accident, a big rig can crush a smaller vehicle. One type of common crash is when a truck collides with a car while making a wide turn. Because of their size and the length of their wheel-base, trucks making turns often encroach upon neighboring lanes, affecting vehicles in those lanes. We represent accident victims from the Bronx and Brooklyn as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one near Queens because a trucker made an improperly wide turn, you can contact our attorneys at 718-441-5050.
Because of its width and long wheel-base, a big rig making a 90-degree turn needs a full turning radius of at least 27 feet. But not all surface street intersections provide this amount of room without forcing the truck to encroach on nearby lanes.
The more serious problem arises in right-hand turns from near-lane to near-lane. To clear the curb, truckers often must swing to the left before beginning the turn. When a trucker swings left, he can swing out into oncoming traffic and cause a collision, or sideswipe a vehicle on his left that is traveling in the same direction. Another scenario is when a vehicle on the right side of the truck gets “squeezed.” The right side of the truck is in the trucker’s blind spot, and the trailer portion of the truck may “cut” the corner on the turn, quickly sandwiching the vehicle. Other wide-turn accidents occur when the back end of the truck swings into an adjoining lane, colliding with other vehicles.
Driving 18-wheelers is a difficult job, and many truckers are trained in handling their rigs in a variety of traffic situations. However, many accidents are caused by other drivers who do not use sufficient caution when operating their big rigs. If a trucker is at all negligent, he can be held liable for any injuries caused. In some cases, his employer also may be held liable if the trucker was acting within the scope and course of his job duties at the time of the crash.
Negligence is a specific legal principle that holds people and entities accountable for failing to use the appropriate level of care and causing harm to others as a result. While the standard of care varies according to the situation, drivers are generally expected to meet a standard of reasonable care that requires them to act as carefully as an ordinary person would act in a similar situation to avoid foreseeable risks of harm. A negligence claim based on a truck accident starts by showing this duty of care. The next step is to identify a breach by the defendant trucker, such as an improper wide turn. Some possible explanations for this behavior include that the driver may not have properly checked mirrors, failed to promptly use turning signals, driven while distracted or exhausted, or driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alternately, the trucker may have lacked proper knowledge of how to execute a wide turn, in which case his employer might be held directly liable for negligent training and supervision.
To assert the right to compensation, an accident victim must proceed beyond the elements of duty and breach to show causation and damages. Causation means that the crash would not have occurred without the breach and that it was a reasonably foreseeable result of the wide turn. Damages can span a wide range of economic and non-economic costs and losses arising from the accident, but victims often seek compensation for medical expenses, the costs of future treatment, lost income and earning capacity, and pain and suffering. There is a limited time period in which to file a claim after an accident in New York, defined by a rule known as the statute of limitations. You must take legal action within that time, or your right to seek compensation usually will be barred.
People who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision caused at least in part by someone else have options that they can consider. After a car accident or truck crash in Queens or the surrounding area, an experienced attorney can help victims and their families explore their next steps.
Contact The Cassisi Law Firm for a free consultation by calling 718-441-5050 or use our online form. We can assess whether you may have a claim, what parties may be responsible for your accident, and how to pursue them for the compensation that you deserve.