One of the most popular ways to ship large amounts of cargo across the continental US is by truck (or tractor trailer). It is no shock to go onto any freeway, especially here in Arizona, and see at least a couple of the moving behemoths sharing the roads with you. With these large vehicles, however, comes large risk; there are a multitude of ways for collisions to take a deadly turn. Trucks are bigger, heavier, and bulkier, and the chances are good that a collision will leave you with critical injuries.
One of the most dangerous – and most common – accidents involving trucks are those caused by a failure to yield, either due to negligence or reckless driving. But what exactly does “failure to yield” mean? Why is it so dangerous? And, perhaps most importantly, what can you do if you or a loved one become a victim of it?
What does “failure to yield” mean?
When drivers do not obey the right of way, whether by merging, taking turns at a stop-sign, or following an actual yield sign, it can cause other drivers to crash into them. This means that the person who did not obey right of way is at fault, even if they got hit first, because the other party was not reasonably expected to stop.
Why is “failure to yield” so common for truck drivers?
However, when it comes to truck driving, it gets a bit more complicated. When a truck driver fails to yield, this means they may not even see cars besides them thanks to a significant number of very large blind spots. This can then lead to the truck drivers maintaining their speed or even increasing it – right into an unsuspecting vehicle.
Along with blind spots, other common reasons a truck may fail to yield can include:
- Low visibility. Poor weather, lack of street lights (or sunlight), and overhanging brush can all decrease visibility. So, too, can other cars; if it is dark out and a driver does not turn his or her headlights on, a truck driver may not notice that vehicle.
- Improper signage. Missing or damaged signs can lead a truck driver to think he or she has the right of way, when in fact another driver does. Think about the way vehicle merge onto highways; if there is no yield sign, the multi-ton truck may simply drive right onto the highway, thinking it is safe to do so.
- Driver negligence. A truck driver who is distracted, fatigued, or impaired is more likely to cause a crash than one who is not. (The same, of course, is true for drivers of passenger vehicles.)
- Parts failure. Tire blowouts, steering failure or brake failure can all cause a truck driver to lose control of his or her rig. If that happens, the trucker may be unable to stop or serve to avoid a collision. If the parts failure was the result of poor maintenance, the truck driver or the company could be liable. If it was the result of a defective part, however, the manufacturer could be liable.
As previously mentioned, truck accidents — especially when caused by the truck’s failure to yield — can have tragic results. The size and sheer mass of the vehicles make it all too easy to take the lives of anyone they crash into, especially when speed comes into play. As much training as truck drivers have, there is no accounting for the laws of physics, and the high center of balance on trucks means tipping over and swerving can happen to anyone. It also means they need a certain amount of space and time to be able to stop, so they are unable to make the same kind of split-second saves that passenger vehicles can. It is a horrific scene that is all too common on the roads today.
What should you do after a truck accident?
After any collision with a commercial truck, the very first thing to do is call 9-1-1. It is incredibly likely that someone will need immediate medical assistance. Calling 9-1-1 will also summon the police, who should be on scene to make a detailed report of what happened.
Regardless of the cause of a truck accident, there are ways to hold the responsible parties accountable. The best thing to do is to find representation sooner rather than later. Our Phoenix truck accident attorneys can determine who is liable for the crash: the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer, or another third-party. Once we determine liability, we can begin to build your case for compensation.
Understand that this case may take awhile. Because truck accident injuries are often so severe, the full extent of your injuries may not be known at first. This will NOT stop the insurance company from trying to settle your case as quickly as possible. While you may wish to settle, do not accept an offer without speaking to us first. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot collect any more damages. If your injuries turn out to require a lifetime of care, you will be responsible for paying those medical bills on your own.
The quicker an experienced attorney gets started on your case, the quicker we can push for the justice you deserve. Whether the fault is on the truck driver for negligence, or the company that employs them for lack of training, the Phoenix truck accident attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C know what to do. We understand you need to focus on you and your family’s recovery, and we want to help it run as smoothly as possible. No family should be punished by the reckless driving of someone else. To learn more about how we will work for you, call us today at 602-266-2002 or contact us for a free consultation. We have an additional office in Tempe for your convenience.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
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