Large trucks have a wide turning radius, which means that they cannot execute a right turn as cleanly as an ordinary car. To turn right, a truck driver may need to first swing the truck to the left before turning it back to the right. A driver in a car may assume that the truck driver is turning left when they begin this maneuver, especially if the driver has not signaled that they are turning right. As a result, they may try to pass the truck in the right lane. When the truck driver turns the truck back to the right, the car may be trapped between the truck and the curb in what is known as a “squeeze play.” Sometimes this forces the car under the truck.
Ways to Avoid Squeeze Plays
Try to refrain from passing a truck on the right
Give a truck plenty of room to maneuver when it is making a turn in any direction
Stay out of the blind spots around a truck, which are larger than those around a car
In other cases, a truck driver will swing the truck too far to the left when making a right turn. They may strike a vehicle to the left, especially if they fail to check the blind spots around the truck. This happens most often in urban areas with a high traffic volume.
Holding Truck Drivers and Companies Accountable for Wide Turn Accidents
Fortunately, squeeze play accidents tend to occur at low speeds. The size and weight of a truck still may cause serious injuries, though, for which a victim can seek compensation. The concept of comparative negligence often arises when a truck collided with a car to its right while making a right turn. Comparative negligence reduces the compensation awarded to a victim according to their degree of fault. For example, if a truck driver failed to signal a right turn, but the driver of a car was speeding past them on the right, both drivers may have been at fault. If a jury finds that the driver of the car was 30 percent at fault, they could receive 70 percent of their damages. Many states use a modified version of comparative negligence, which prevents a victim from recovering damages if they were at least 50 or 51 percent at fault.
A few jurisdictions continue to apply a contributory negligence rule, which prevents a victim from recovering compensation if they were at fault for an accident to any degree.
Safely executing a wide turn requires certain skills. A trucking company may be liable to a victim if it hired an unqualified driver, or if it looked the other way as a driver compiled a record of major safety violations. Even if a trucking company bore no direct fault for an accident, though, a victim still may be able to hold the company liable for driver errors under a theory of vicarious liability. This means that the driver was employed by the company and caused the accident in the course and scope of the employment relationship. Bringing a trucking company into the litigation may increase the compensation available to the victim, since these companies typically carry much more insurance than individual drivers.
A victim of a truck accident can obtain both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate a victim for relatively objective forms of harm, such as their medical treatment and income loss. Non-economic damages account for more subjective forms of harm, such as the physical pain and suffering and the emotional distress that a victim endured. Since it can be hard to quantify these damages, a truck accident lawyer may present diverse forms of evidence that illuminate the impact of the accident on the daily life of the victim. These may include photos or videos, testimony from friends, coworkers, and family members, and medical testimony on permanent disabilities.