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Blind Spot Truck Crash — Who’s At Fault?

Every vehicle has blind spots, which are areas that drivers cannot see when using their mirrors. However, large tractor-trailers have very large blind spots, and these heavy vehicles can cause serious damage when they collide with smaller passenger sedans.

At Naqvi Injury Law, we represent those injured in truck accidents. Fault is always an issue in accident cases, and our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers are skilled at collecting evidence to support our clients. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Tractor-Trailer Blind Spots: Location & Size

This handy infographic shows where the blind spots are on a tractor-trailer. They are:

  • Directly in front of the truck’s cab, which extends for roughly 20 feet in front of the vehicle.
  • Below and behind the driver’s window.
  • On the right-hand side of the cab, extending across several lanes.
  • Directly behind the trailer and extended for around 30 feet.

Commercial trucks have these blind spots due to their physical dimensions. For example, the blind spot directly in front of the vehicle stems from the fact that the cab sits so high up off the ground. The blind spots to the sides, and the one in the back, stem from the sheer length of the trailer. Extended mirrors can help shrink the blind spot somewhat—but only if the truck has them installed.

When motorists are in these spots, they are invisible to the truck driver, which is why we call them “blind spots.” Truck drivers do their best to avoid collisions when driving, changing lanes, or backing up. But when someone is in the blind spot, even the most careful trucker can get into a devastating wreck.

Why Fault Matters

Another term for fault is “liability.” Put simply, a driver is liable for an accident when their lack of care causes a wreck. Fault matters in a Nevada motor vehicle accident because our state continues to follow the “tort” theory of liability. Under this standard, the motorist who is at fault for an accident must pay compensation to victims to cover their losses. A negligent driver, for example, should pay compensation to cover reasonable medical care, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Although some states have moved to a “no fault” model, Nevada has not.

In truck accidents, considerable sums of money could be at play because motorists can suffer devastating injuries. Many of our clients have fractured their spine, suffered traumatic brain injuries, or are paralyzed. Even relatively minor wrecks can leave motorists with multiple fractures, burns, and nerve damage. Insurers want to reduce the amount that they pay or avoid making any payment altogether, so they might aggressively fight the idea that their insured was at fault.

Causes of Blind Spot Accidents

Many of these accidents stem from the driver’s inability to see a motor vehicle in the blind spot. The trucker then changes lanes or makes a turn and collides with a pedestrian or motorist.

Some of the more common reasons for these accidents include:

  • Motorists “hanging out” in a large truck’s blind spots by passing too slowly or following the truck too closely.
  • A motorist’s lack of knowledge about the presence of blind spots.
  • The truck driver tailgating another vehicle.
  • The truck driver’s failure to check their mirrors before changing lanes.
  • The truck driver driving aggressively, such as cutting off another driver.

In some accidents, the smaller vehicle is not really in a blind spot. The truck driver simply was not paying attention, often because of illegal cell phone use or impairment by drugs or alcohol. When drivers are distracted or impaired, they can seriously injure other motorists.

Comparative Negligence

Truck accidents are rarely cut-and-dried. In some accidents, both the truck driver and the driver of a passenger sedan could have been negligent, in which case they might both be at fault. Nevada law recognizes this possibility.

Once upon a time, any fault on behalf of our clients prevented them from seeking compensation. Fortunately, the law has changed. Now, clients can receive compensation under Nevada Revised Statutes 41.141 so long as they were not more at fault than other parties. In practice, this means our clients can be 50% to blame—but not a hair over.

Moreover, any financial recovery gets reduced by our client’s proportion of fault. If our client is 30% to blame and has $250,000 in losses, then the most he or she can receive is $175,000 (or 70% of their full losses).

Because of the comparative fault law, insurance companies are constantly looking for information to use against our clients. For example, they hope to get motorists to admit that they were not looking where they were going or that they were following a large truck too closely. They then use this information to argue our clients are partly to blame and deserve less compensation–or no compensation at all.

Defense Strategies for Avoiding Liability

Insurance companies have many standard arguments they use to avoid liability for a wreck. For example, they might argue:

  • The driver of a passenger car did not pay attention to where he or she was going.
  • The driver of the passenger sedan was distracted by cell phone use or something else, so they hung out in the blind spot for too long.
  • The injured driver failed to avoid a blind spot or to quickly get out of one.

With these strategies, insurers argue our client bears the majority of responsibility for the accident. Consequently, they could get out of paying compensation.

Another strategy insurers use is to reduce their liability by minimizing our client’s injuries. It is not unusual for insurers to claim our clients are exaggerating their physical pain and emotional distress. They might also argue that not all medical care was necessary after the accident. Careful documentation is necessary to prove a person’s losses.

Proving Fault for a Blind Spot Accident

At Naqvi, our attorneys are skilled at compiling the evidence necessary to show that the truck driver shares the majority of the blame for the accident. We can rely on different pieces of evidence to show that the driver made some error that caused the wreck or failed to do something he should have. For example, we can pull together the following:

  • Witness statements about how the accident unfolded. You are a witness, but other witnesses include the passengers in your vehicle and other motorists on the road. They could have seen the driver make a sudden movement or fail to check their mirrors before getting into a crash. Remember to get the names of witnesses who saw the accident.
  • Physical evidence, such as damage to your vehicle. This evidence provides some proof as to where you were hit.
  • Photographs of the scene. Ideally, you will get at least one picture of where your car ended up immediately following the collision. The debris field can also provide clues about how the accident happened.
  • Driver statements. The truck driver might say something, even admit liability for the wreck. We can use these statements.
  • Proof of impairment. The driver’s speech might have sounded slurred to you, or you can find beer bottles in the cab. If the police administered a roadside test, we could use the results.
  • “Black box” information. Modern big rigs are outfitted with these devices that constantly record information about the truck. The black box might show that the driver was speeding in the moments leading up to the crash.

Every case is different, and the evidence that is useful will depend on the case. The sooner an attorney can begin investigating, the stronger your case will be. Contact Naqvi Injury Law as soon as possible to discuss.

Speak with an Experienced Las Vegas Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a truck accident, our attorneys can help. We have successfully sued many large trucking companies, and we are not intimidated by insurance adjuster tactics. Let us represent you. Contact Naqvi today to schedule a confidential consultation.