No-zones are areas around a truck that a truck driver cannot see through their mirrors. Other drivers should try to avoid these areas as much as possible. The main no-zones are located:
In front of the truck (20 feet)
Behind the truck (30 feet)
One lane on the driver’s side, from the mirror to the middle of the trailer
Two lanes on the passenger’s side; drivers should avoid being even with the front of the cab in the first lane to the right and should avoid being next to any part of the truck in the second lane to the right
However, a driver cannot always avoid entering a no-zone, even when they are driving safely. Their options may be restricted by traffic or weather conditions, or they may need to make a certain maneuver. Truck drivers have a responsibility to check blind spots around their vehicles. They cannot rely simply on checking their mirrors. Instead, they must move their bodies to see whether another vehicle is in a no-zone. Failing to check a blind spot can expose a truck driver and a trucking company to liability for any accidents that result.
If you cannot see the face of a truck driver in their side mirror, they cannot see you.
Comparative Negligence and No-Zone Truck Accidents
Sometimes an insurer defending a truck accident case involving a collision in a no-zone will argue that the driver of the car was at fault because they stayed for too long in the no-zone. Perhaps a driver was tailgating a truck, or perhaps they moved into a no-zone while a truck was changing lanes or backing up, which may be considered unsafe behavior. This does not excuse a truck driver for failing to check a blind spot, though. A jury or judge may distribute fault between the truck driver and the driver of the car.
In most states, this will not prevent a victim from recovering compensation. Instead, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. If the victim sustained $500,000 in damages, for example, but they were 40 percent at fault, they could recover up to $300,000. However, many states prevent a victim from recovering any compensation if they were 50 or 51 percent at fault (or more), and a few states prevent a victim from recovering any compensation if they were at fault to any degree.
Suing a Trucking Company After a No-Zone Truck Accident
A truck driver may be individually responsible for causing a no-zone crash, but a trucking company also may be held liable in many cases. This can make a huge difference because trucking companies have a much greater ability to pay compensation to a victim. Sometimes a trucking company may be directly liable for an accident if it failed to ensure that a driver was properly qualified to operate a truck. Liability also may arise if a company failed to arrange for regular maintenance on its vehicles.
Even if a trucking company did nothing wrong, though, a truck accident lawyer may be able to help a victim hold the company indirectly liable for an error by the driver. They would need to prove that the driver was employed by the trucking company and performing their job duties when the accident happened.
Trucking companies and their insurers usually retain sophisticated defense attorneys to represent them against personal injury lawsuits. This makes it critical for an accident victim to retain an attorney of their own. Most truck accident lawyers do not require their clients to pay fees for their services upfront. Instead, they will arrange to be paid a percentage of the compensation that they obtain for the client. This is often about 30 to 40 percent, although the amount may depend on the stage that the case reaches and the work that the attorney performs on the case.