New York experienced over 16,000 big rig accidents in 2021. Accidents are inevitable, with thousands of large trucks transporting goods through the state every day.
While true, there are steps that truck drivers and other drivers can take to help prevent these serious and often deadly accidents. One of the best things other drivers can do is to learn about big rig blindspots and avoid them at all costs.
If you are involved in an accident with a large truck or if a family member dies in this type of accident, we can help. Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III, can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation. You should also learn how to avoid blindspot truck accidents. Learn more about this type of accident here.
Understanding Big Rigs and Their Blind Spots
A big rig, often called an 18-wheeler or semi-truck, is a large commercial vehicle that transports goods over long distances. Its immense size and considerable weight make it a formidable presence on the roads, especially in areas like Long Island.
Blind Spots on Big Rigs: Where Are They?
Unlike regular cars, big rigs have more extensive and potentially dangerous blind spots. These are areas around the truck where other vehicles may be hidden from the truck driver’s view. The primary blind spots are:
- Side mirrors: Directly beside and slightly behind the driver.
- Rear zone: Right behind the truck’s trailer.
- Front zone: Directly in front of the truck, especially concerning smaller vehicles.
How Size and Height Play a Role
The sheer size and elevated height of a big rig are primarily why these vehicles have such expansive blind spots. When you consider the length of the trailer coupled with the truck’s cabin height, it’s evident that other road users, especially smaller vehicles, can easily disappear from the truck driver’s line of sight. This design necessitates extreme caution for big rig drivers and others sharing the road.
Factors Contributing to Blindspot Accidents
Blind spot accidents are often deadly. However, some factors contribute to the prevalence of these accidents, including:
Driver Fatigue or Distraction
One of the leading causes of truck accidents in Long Island is driver fatigue. Long hours on the road can lead to diminished alertness and slower reaction times. Additionally, distractions, such as phone usage or adjusting in-cabin controls, can cause a driver to miss vital visual cues, amplifying the risks associated with blind spots.
Poorly maintained big rigs, especially those with dirty or damaged mirrors, hinder the driver’s ability to see surrounding vehicles. Regular inspections and maintenance ensure all mirrors provide the clearest possible view.
Inadequate Training or Experience
Driving a big rig requires specialized training. Novice drivers or those who haven’t been adequately trained might not be fully aware of their truck’s blind spots, increasing the chance of a big rig accident.
Weather and Visibility
Fog, rain, snow, and other adverse weather conditions can reduce visibility on the road. For big rigs, their already significant blind spots can become even more dangerous, making it vital for all drivers to exercise extra caution.
The Devastating Outcome of Big Rig Accidents
As mentioned, big rig accidents can lead to devastating outcomes. These include:
The sheer size and weight of big rigs mean that the consequences are often severe when they’re involved in accidents. Victims often suffer from broken bones, internal injuries, or life-threatening conditions.
Besides the immediate medical costs, victims of big rig accidents might face prolonged rehabilitation, lost wages, and property damage. This can put a substantial financial strain on individuals and families.
Emotional and Psychological Aftermath
The trauma of being involved in a big rig accident doesn’t end with physical injuries. Many victims experience post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, requiring long-term counseling and support.
Preventative Measures and Safety Tips
Preventing big rig accidents is something everyone has to work to do. Some tips that will help achieve this include:
Awareness of Truck Blind Spots
For drivers sharing the road with big rigs, it’s crucial to be conscious of their blind spots. Avoid lingering beside a truck and ensure you can always see the truck’s mirrors, which typically means the truck driver can see you.
Recommendations for Big Rig Drivers
Properly adjusting mirrors is essential. New technologies, like blind spot detection systems, can act as a second set of eyes. Embracing these advancements can make a significant difference in road safety.
New York Safety Initiatives
Several safety campaigns and initiatives in New York aim to raise awareness about the dangers of big rig blind spots. Both drivers and truckers can benefit from these educational efforts, promoting safer roads for everyone.
Legal Recourse for Victims
After a big rig accident, seeking legal advice is paramount. Your rights in this situation include:
New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law
In New York, no-fault insurance ensures that victims of motor vehicle accidents, including big rig incidents, receive compensation for their basic economic losses, regardless of who was at fault. This can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other necessary costs. However, filing a claim promptly is essential, usually within 30 days of the accident.
The Serious Injury Threshold
While no-fault insurance provides for basic economic losses, victims may sue for pain and suffering only if they meet the “serious injury” threshold defined by the state. This can include significant disfigurement, broken bones, and permanent body organ or function limitation, among other criteria.
Right to Litigation
If a victim’s damages exceed the benefits offered under No-Fault or meet the serious injury threshold, they have the right to sue the negligent party. In cases involving big rigs, this could be the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the manufacturer of a faulty vehicle component.
Seeking Legal Counsel
Given the complexities of New York’s motor vehicle laws and the intricacies of big rig accidents, victims should consider consulting with a legal expert. Firms like The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III are adept at navigating these waters, ensuring victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve.
Understanding Your Rights After a Big Rig Accident
Big rig blind spot accidents have devastating consequences, impacting lives physically and emotionally. As road users, awareness and precaution can reduce these tragic events. And for those affected, remember: you’re not alone.
Legal experts stand ready to help, championing your rights and ensuring justice. Always prioritize safety on the road; if the unthinkable happens, don’t hesitate to seek professional legal counsel.
At The Law Offices of Joseph J. Perrini, III, our Long Island personal injury attorneys are ready to help you with your case. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.