Truck backup collisions are fairly common, but they can also cause severe damage and serious injuries. These accidents are typically at low speed because the truck is operating in reverse, however because of their size, they have the capacity to cause catastrophic injuries and property damage.
These injury-inducing wrecks have a few common causes, such as:
- The inability to fully see behind oversized vehicles due to their size obstructing the driver’s view from certain angles. Cameras and mirrors are helpful but are not 100% fool-proof accident prevention, particularly after the sun goes down when visibility is more difficult.
- The truck itself or safety equipment could malfunction causing unintended consequences. Missing mirrors and defective cameras require drivers to operate blind to a large extent.
- The driver may be distracted by something going on within his or her line of sight or earshot. Backing up into a space, into a loading dock, or just to reposition to maneuver forward requires focus.
What procedures are truck drivers supposed to follow to be safe while in reverse?
Truck drivers are responsible for implementing certain safeguards to prevent backup accidents from occurring. When one of these incidents happens, you need to know the right questions to ask, and your lawyer needs to know what to look for in log reports, maintenance records, and crash investigator reports to determine whether these procedures were followed.
Check to see:
- If the driver completed a walk around of his or her truck prior to the back-up to ensure there was safe clearance.
- What blind spots exist for the truck, what equipment the truck possesses for eliminating them, if that equipment was in proper working order, and whether the driver failed to utilize any of those safety features.
- If the driver delayed moving his or her semi-truck after completing a walk around. Failure to immediately move the vehicle can result in the presence of an unknown hazard developing.
- Whether the driver backed up too quickly depriving any unexpected pedestrians or other vehicles the opportunity to safely move out of the way.
- If the driver stopped to look and listen throughout backing up to determine whether the truck needed to be immediately stopped due to a person or object being in danger.
- If the driver used a spotter to assist him or her in backing up and to help keep people and objects clear of blind spots.
Failing to take any of these actions can result in negligence on the part of the truck driver.
What should I do immediately following a backup accident?
In the moments immediately following a truck crash, things can get a little hectic. If you and/or your passengers are injured, the most important thing to do is seek medical assistance. If you and/or your passengers are not injured, then your next steps are to:
- Call 911 to report the crash. Even if the truck driver has indicated that he or she has made the call, if you are able, make the call yourself just to be certain the accident has been reported. In some instances it’s possible that because of the size of a big rig, the driver may not even realize anything has occurred and may unknowingly leave the scene of an accident.
- Avoid admitting fault. Don’t apologize or admit fault to the trucker, the police, or anyone else. The words “I’m sorry” – even if they’re simply a reflex for you – can lead to larger issues with your case.
- Take note of the road, weather, and lighting conditions. These may play a part in contributing to the truck driver’s visibility in causing the accident, particularly when dusk has settled in.
- Note witnesses. Take down information about other vehicles such as make, model, and license/VIN numbers as they may have valuable information to bolster your case.
- Take pictures and/or videos. Include mid-range and close-up shots from all angles of vehicles before they are moved, the approach and surroundings, any signals and signage, skid marks and debris.
These are all steps the truck driver will take, so if you are able to obtain the same information that may provide a different, more complete view of things, it can help you with your case.
Backup collisions can lead to unimaginable harm to pedestrians, vehicle passengers, and property. The truck accident attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have the knowhow to seek the right evidence that will strengthen your case that will result in the best settlement award possible to compensate you for the hardship you’ve experienced. If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless truck driver, schedule your free case evaluation today by calling our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, or by reaching out to us through our contact page.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.