In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a causation study in which the organization reported that insufficient observations contributed to 15 percent of large wrecks caused by truck drivers. Of the total accidents that took place in the United States, approximately 20,000 happened because of blind spots or a truck driver failing to properly survey his or her surroundings.
When truckers fail to sufficiently check their vicinity, the consequences can be devastating. Due to the sheer weight, size, and force of a big rig, a car can essentially disappear in its blind spot.
There are four main areas that a truck driver should be aware of. First, he or she should be vigilant of cars travelling next to the vehicle on the driver’s side. Second, he or she should be aware of cars in “no see zones” on the passenger’s side. This particular blind spot can be as long as the truck itself. Third, the back of a big rig is a dangerous spot because it does not necessarily have the benefit of a rear-view mirror, as a car does. Finally, a trucker has to be particularly attentive to what is in front of the vehicle because sometimes the seat of the driver is so high that he or she is unable to easily see the brake lights of the vehicle ahead of it.Hold Tractor-Trailer Drivers and Companies Accountable for Negligence
A commercial driver has an obligation to exercise reasonable care when operating the vehicle. This includes being attentive to cars and people in the surrounding areas. An individual who is hurt as a result of a driver failing to check a blind spot can take legal action by filing a negligence claim against the trucker and sometimes his or her employer. To succeed in this type of case, the victim must establish four elements:
- The defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving;
- The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to check a blind spot or engaging in some other careless conduct;
- The defendant’s negligence caused an accident and the victim’s injuries; and
- Actual damages resulted that can be compensated.
In addition to the commercial driver, it may be possible to hold the trucking company at fault for a wreck. Sometimes, the entity may have been careless on its own account by failing to properly train or supervise a driver. It also may have continued to employ an individual despite a record of unsafe driving, or it may have ignored such a record when hiring the person. These types of behavior could give rise to the direct liability of the trucking company. However, even if it did nothing wrong itself, a victim still may be able to hold it liable if he or she can show that the careless driver was an employee of the entity. To use this theory of vicarious liability, it also would be necessary to prove that the trucker was acting in the course and scope of employment, rather than on a private errand, at the time of the crash.
Someone who succeeds in proving a negligence claim may be able to seek compensation from any defendants held liable. Types of damages that typically are sought include past and present hospital bills, future medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost income and wages, and property damage. To assert your right to compensation, however, you must file within the time window provided by the state of Georgia for personal injury claims. If you are bringing a wrongful death claim based on the tragic loss of a loved one, a statute of limitations also will apply.Contact a Marietta Lawyer After a Big Rig Wreck
If you have been hurt in a big rig wreck, you may find it helpful to discuss your situation with a Marietta attorney who frequently handles personal injury claims and is willing to file a lawsuit if necessary. We understand the severe strain an accident can have on you and your entire family. Our firm will work diligently to resolve your legal issues in a timely manner. We proudly represent clients in Roswell, Smyrna, and throughout Georgia. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at 770-284-3727 or contact us online for a free consultation today.