It is difficult to say what percentage of all backing up accidents involve large trucks. However, according to Policy Advice, a company that tracks accident and insurance trends, from half to 70% of backing up accidents involve trucks or other similarly sized vehicles.
Large commercial vehicles, such as garbage trucks, tractor-trailers, and other transport vehicles, have larger blind spots than standard cars, smaller trucks, or SUVs. Additionally, these massive machines are more challenging to maneuver while being both more powerful and destructive.
While you might proceed with caution and assume that a truck driver is unable to see your car, accidents still occur. Large commercial trucks present a danger everywhere, from parking lots to the open highway. When a driver’s negligence results in a backing up accident, you should contact our experienced Fayetteville truck accident lawyers. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
Why Backing Up Accidents Happen
A backing up accident usually occurs when a truck driver is careless or rushing to get moving. When a truck driver fails to properly look behind them, other vehicles or pedestrians could be hit. Because of the design and size of many large commercial trucks, it is impossible for the driver to see directly behind their vehicle. For example, a garbage truck driver cannot see if someone is crossing immediately behind their truck.
Backing up might seem like a rather easy maneuver. Put your car in reverse and slowly back up. However, commercial trucks present their drivers with many additional challenges.
The Vehicle’s Height
Large commercial trucks ride high off the ground. Even smaller trucks, such as pickups or SUVs, are taller than ordinary cars. This additional height makes it more difficult to see smaller objects that are behind the truck, such as motorcycles or pedestrians.
Every vehicle on the road has blind sports. These are areas that the driver cannot see because of the design or size of the vehicle. Trucks have larger and more blind spots than an average car. For example, most truck drivers are unable to see 20 feet behind them. This is a problem when attempting to reverse. While having properly positioned rear-view or side mirrors could reduce the blind area, a truck driver must still proceed with extreme caution when attempting to back up.
Rear-View and Side Mirrors
As stated above, a truck driver will often rely on several well-positioned mirrors to see around their vehicle. Some mirrors will distort the distance between the truck and other objects. If the driver fails to consider this shift in the distance, it could result in an accident. Sometimes the driver’s size impacts the effectiveness of the mirrors. For instance, if a shorter driver fails to adjust the truck’s mirrors, their vision could be unreasonably restricted.
In some cases, the weather will adversely impact a driver’s visibility. A severe thunderstorm or foggy morning will reduce the distance a truck driver could clearly see. These conditions often lead to unfortunate accidents.
While many accidents will have contributing factors, driver error usually plays a significant role. If a driver simply neglects to look back or fails to take precautions when performing a reverse maneuver, they are likely to cause an avoidable accident. This could occur because of reckless, distracted, or aggressive driving. Nonetheless, when a driver is negligent, they could be held liable for any damage or injuries they cause.
Liability in a Backing Up Accident
In many cases, determining liability in a backing up accident is relatively straightforward. Nonetheless, many nuances should be considered. For example, if a truck driver strikes your vehicle while backing out of a parking space without looking, it might not be difficult to hold them responsible. However, if you were distracted and failed to notice the truck’s reverse warning sounds, you could also share a significant portion of the blame.
Typically, if a truck backing onto a highway collides with another vehicle traveling in the slow lane, it is the truck driver’s fault. Still, if the driver in the slow lane had an opportunity to slow down or change lanes to avoid an accident, it could be argued that the driver failed to avoid the accident.
When looking at the facts and circumstances of a backing up accident, a jury will be asked to determine a percentage of fault for all parties involved. This is important in Arkansas because, under state law, a personal injury lawsuit must follow a modified comparative negligence system
Modified Comparative Negligence and Backing Up Accidents Involving Trucks
In any type of accident, especially a backing up accident, a jury will be tasked with determining damages. In addition to the damages award, the jury will have to assign a percentage of blame to each party involved. If you were struck by a backing up truck but were texting at the time, you will most likely share a portion of the fault. Under the modified comparative negligence doctrine, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages and the jury decided that your texting contributed 40% to the crash, you would only receive $60,000. Because Arkansas follows a modified version of comparative negligence, if the texting were found to have contributed 50% or more to the accident, you would be prohibited from any recovery.
Call Our Arkansas Truck Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
Because of the design and size of large commercial trucks, they are involved in a significant percentage of all backing up accidents. While a truck driver who hits your car while reversing might be at fault, you still need an experienced Fort Smith truck accident lawyer on your side. Truck accident claims are far from open and shut cases. Your conduct could be questioned, even though it might appear that the truck driver was to blame. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 to start building your case.