Over the last two decades, the number of truck accidents in the United States has increased by 20 percent. Over 130,000 people are injured each year in accidents involving semi trucks.
The increased size and weight of semi trucks makes these commercial vehicles substantially more difficult to operate than a passenger car. When semi drivers fail to complete a turn properly, they can be held legally liable for the resulting accident.
About Swinging Turn Accidents
Because of their size, semi trucks are often required to move into another lane of traffic when they are turning. For example, the driver may need to swing left to make a right turn. If he isn't paying attention, it's possible to collide with a car to the right and squeeze the car's occupant between the truck and the sidewalk.
Swinging turn accidents can have many causes. For example:
- Inexperienced drivers without the correct training to safely operate a commercial vehicle
- Fatigued drivers who've worked too many hours without the rest they need
- Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Distracted drivers
- Drivers with unsecured cargo or overloaded vehicles
- Drivers steering on a steep incline
- Speeding drivers
- Drivers who fail to check blind spots
To reduce the risk of swinging turn accidents, it’s recommended that semi drivers move to the right lane as they approach the intersection where they need to turn. This discourages other vehicles from trying to pass on the right. Taking a little extra time to allow other vehicles near the truck to clear the intersection before turning is another often-recommended safety precaution.
In most cases, personal injury claims are pursued directly against the negligent driver. However, if you're hit by someone driving a commercial vehicle, you may have other options for receiving compensation. You could sue the driver's employer or the owner of the truck if you believe they were negligent in hiring a poorly trained or unqualified driver or if there is evidence the vehicle was not maintained properly. Commercial vehicle owners and operators are required to follow the safety rules and regulations outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), so any violations in these rules indicates liability for the resulting accident.
If you were speeding, were tailgating, ran a red light, or simply were distracted, you might be found partially at fault for the accident. Fortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t collect compensation for your injuries. Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. You can collect damages unless you’re found to be 50 percent or more at fault for the accident.
Determining who is liable for the accident will require a review of accident reports, witness testimony, driving records, and vehicle maintenance records. You’ll also need to uncover whether the driver of the semi was considered an independent contractor.
Swinging turn accidents can result in whiplash, broken bones, ligament damage, internal bleeding, and other serious injuries. Victims could be left permanently disabled, creating an immense financial strain for them and their loved ones.
If you’ve been injured in a swinging turn accident, you can seek compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If you've lost a loved one in a swinging turn accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Depending upon who is the closest living relative, spouses, adult children, or parents can file this type of personal injury suit. The claim can include compensation for:
- Medical costs before death
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship
The laws dealing with semi truck accidents can be quite complex and insurance companies are often in no hurry to settle a claim. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to ensure your case proceeds in a timely fashion.
Rechtman & Spevak is committed to helping Georgia residents who’ve been injured in swinging turn accidents receiving the highest possible compensation. Please call us or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.