Semi-trucks are a common sight on roads and highways, transporting goods and supplies across the county. However, their size and weight can pose challenges, particularly when making turns. One such challenge is the “wide right turn,” where a semi-truck takes up more than one lane while making a turn. Truck drivers who carelessly make wide turns put motorists at risk. When someone is injured because of a truck driver’s carelessness, they may be entitled to compensation.
Types of Right-Turn Truck Accidents
Wide right turns are difficult for truck drivers to perform because a semi-truck trailer can extend well beyond the truck’s cab. Road design and obstacles, such as streetlights or curbs, can also make these turns more difficult to perform. When you add in the potential for human error, you have a real recipe for disaster.
A relatively common type of right-turn truck accident happens when a truck veers into the lane of oncoming traffic. When truck drivers attempt to make a right turn, they may misjudge the width of their vehicle and the space available, causing them to swing too wide and collide with other vehicles or objects.
Another common scenario involves drivers trying to squeeze into the lane next to a truck that is preparing to complete a wide right turn. Collisions happen when the truck driver is unaware of the car next to them or if the driver does not anticipate the truck’s right turn.
Rollovers could also happen when a truck makes a right turn. Because of their higher center of gravity, a truck could tip over if the driver is going too fast or turning at too acute an angle. If the cargo is not properly secured or balanced, the shifting weight forces the truck to tip over or make a wider turn than expected.
Why Do Right-Turn Truck Accidents Happen?
One of the main reasons right-turn truck accidents happen is driver error. Drivers could misjudge the width of the truck and the space available, misuse the turn signals, or fail to check blind spots.
Driver errors might also include:
- Backing up to complete a turn,
- Entering a turning lane too quickly,
- Failing to use windows and mirrors to make sure the way is clear, and
- Attempting a right turn with the end of the vehicle too far from the curb.
Distracted driving, inexperience, and fatigue also contribute to unnecessary accidents.
Who Is At Fault for Truck Accidents Caused By Right Turns?
After a wide-right-turn accident, you might believe the truck driver is to blame. However, your ability to recover compensation depends on whether they acted negligently and whether their negligent actions caused the accident.
Negligence is a legal term with particular requirements. To prove negligence, you must show the following four elements:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care—all drivers owe one another a duty to drive safely;
- The other driver breached their duty of care by acting in a negligent, careless, or malicious manner;
- The other driver’s breach of duty led to the accident; and
- The accident caused you to suffer losses you can be compensated for.
Fault for the accident may also lie with someone other than the driver. There may be situations in which the trucking company can be held responsible for a wide-right-turn accident. For example, suppose the truck was not properly maintained, and consequently, its turn signal failed, leaving other motorists unaware of the truck driver’s intent. In that case, the trucking company could be responsible for a subsequent accident. Further, suppose the truck driver did not have proper or sufficient training, and their inexperience contributed to the accident. In that case, the trucking company could be held responsible for hiring an unfit driver.
In addition to proving negligence, when determining who is at fault for truck accidents caused by right turns, insurance adjusters and attorneys will consider how each involved party’s actions contributed to the collision. Then, they assign a percentage of fault to each party based on their findings. In some situations, there might be only one at-fault party, but in other situations, there might be several at-fault parties. This process of assigning fault is required because Oregon follows the legal doctrine of comparative negligence.
Under Oregon’s comparative negligence law, an individual can recover compensation for their losses, even if they are partially at fault for the accident. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if an individual is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, their compensation will be reduced by 20%.
Understanding liability in a truck accident is no simple matter. Consulting with an experienced attorney is key to ensuring your claim is filed against the appropriate party or parties.
Right-Turn Accident Injuries
Wide right turns by semi trucks can have serious consequences, leading to accidents that can cause significant damage and injury. Occupants of smaller vehicles in a truck crash are at a high risk of injuries and fatalities because of the incredible forces involved in these wrecks. In most cases, the truck driver walks away unscathed while those in other vehicles suffer life-threatening or deadly injuries.
Common injuries caused by wide right turns are:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Fractures and broken bones,
- Cuts and lacerations, and
- Internal injuries.
Once you have evidence that you were hurt and there is a clear case of negligence, you can pursue compensation for your injuries through a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. You can request compensation for:
- Medical expenses;
- Wage loss;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress and mental anguish;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Loss of society and companionship; and
- Property damage, when applicable.
The financial burden of your injuries can be significant, with medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages adding up quickly. It is important to hold the responsible parties accountable and seek compensation to cover your losses.
D’Amore Law Group Can Help You
The attorneys at D’Amore Law Group know that when you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury or death, you need the very best legal representation. Tom D’Amore has dedicated his practice to helping accident victims for more than 30 years and was recognized in the 2023 edition of the “Best Lawyers in America.” Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.