Maneuvering a large commercial or industrial truck in a densely populated area is difficult because of its immense size. Turns on neighborhood streets or downtown areas can be especially tricky. Wide turns require a truck to occupy an additional traffic lane in order to make its turn. When a driver can't turn safely, the truck can tip over, swing into oncoming traffic, or crush another vehicle.
To make certain right-hand turns, for example, a large truck must swing the front of the vehicle left before turning right in order to avoid obstacles. Unfortunately, when making a wide right-hand turn, the truck may impinge on the rights of oncoming drivers or sandwich a passenger car or motorcyclist between the truck and the curb, ultimately crushing the smaller vehicle. The effects can be catastrophic due to the truck's weight.
Truck drivers receive significant training and must take continued education in order to stay current with their licenses. Among the issues addressed in their training is how to make a safe wide or swinging turn. To make a safe turn, truck drivers must be on the lookout for passenger vehicles in their blind spots, use their signals, and wait for a clear opportunity to make a turn. However, even when they check their blind spots, truck drivers may not catch sight of a vehicle or pedestrian.
Recovering for Injuries in a Wide Turn Accident
Some of the serious injuries that arise for people in a passenger car, motorcyclists, or pedestrians in a truck's wide turn accident include broken bones, brain trauma, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries and paralysis, severe lacerations, and amputation of limbs. In spite of the severity of these accidents, truck drivers and trucking companies will look for ways in which the injured person was partially responsible for the accident.
A plaintiff suing a truck driver for causing a wide turn accident will likely argue the truck driver was negligent. Negligence is the failure to use the due care that a reasonable individual would use under similar circumstances. A driver's failure to check blind spots, failure to take rest breaks, or decision to overload a truck may be considered negligence.
Trucking companies can be held directly or indirectly liable for a truck driver's failure to properly execute a wide turn. Theories of indirect liability such as respondeat superior or vicarious liability would be appropriate when the truck driver was executing the turn in the course and scope of employment, while furthering the employer's business. These theories do not require an accident victim to show that a trucking company committed any negligent act that led to the harm.
All truck drivers must have sufficient training to handle wide turns. When a trucking company fails to make sure the truck driver has proper training to execute wide or swinging turns before sending the driver onto the road in a company truck, it may be held directly liable for any resulting accidents. Direct liability theories include negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent supervision.