Commercial truckers are responsible for driving safely and attentively whenever they are on the road. Semi-trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, or more than 40 times the weight of an average passenger car. Even a minor truck accident can be devastating for the other motorists involved. When a truck driver does not notice another vehicle’s presence or cannot see the vehicle in blind-spot or no-zone areas, the other motorist may be at risk of a severe accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a semi-trailer or other commercial truck, contact the Oklahoma City no-zone truck accident attorneys of the Abel Law Firm today at (405) 239-7046 for a free initial consultation.
What is a No-Zone?
Like a passenger vehicle’s blind spots, no-zones are the areas around a commercial truck that are not visible to the truck driver. Unfortunately, with 18-wheeler trucks and larger, these no-zones are much larger than those of the average passenger vehicle, sometimes spanning dozens of feet. While a passenger vehicle driver can turn their head to check a blind spot, a truck driver can’t view these no-zones from any angle while driving.
If a vehicle is driving in a truck’s no-zone, the driver may be unaware of the other vehicle. It is important to understand where no-zone areas are located on trucks. Long semi-trailer trucks have very large no-zones that motorists should avoid. Driving in these areas can cause damaging accidents to passenger vehicles. The three types of no-zones include:
- Front no-zone: Because truck cabs are elevated off the ground, truck drivers have trouble seeing objects directly in front of them. Drivers should leave at least a few car lengths between themselves and the front of a large truck.
- Rear no-zone: A large blind spot exists behind the trailers of large trucks because truck drivers cannot use a rear-view mirror to see what is immediately behind them. Motorists should keep several car lengths between themselves and the semi-trailer in front of them. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you.
- Side no-zones: These are located on both the left and right of a truck and extend roughly from the driver’s seat to the end of the trailer. If you cannot see the driver’s face in the truck’s side mirrors, he or she cannot see you. Only drive along the side of a truck if you intend to pass and clear the no-zone.
No-Zone Accident Liability
Because semi-trailer trucks have such large no-zones, truck drivers must exercise caution whenever they switch lanes or change their speed or direction. They must remain vigilant and look or listen for other vehicles nearby. If you are hurt in a no-zone truck accident, the truck driver may be liable for the collision, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Our Oklahoma no-zone truck accident attorneys are prepared to fight to recover the accident payment you deserve. Truck drivers are trained to monitor these three areas as best they can, and some trucks have rear decals meant to educate other drivers about no-zone areas before they attempt to pass.
If you are hurt in a no-zone truck accident, the truck driver may be liable for the collision, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Our OKC no-zone truck accident attorneys are prepared to fight to recover the accident payment you deserve.
Who is at fault for a no-zone accident?
Like all drivers, truck drivers are required to check areas with low visibility. Though they may not be able to see in no-zones, truck drivers must ensure before turning, changing lanes, braking, or accelerating that no vehicle, bike, or pedestrian will be or come within a no-zone area. A truck driver may be held negligently liable for causing serious injury or death by not monitoring a no-zone during a turn, lane-change, or change in speed.
Multiple parties may be liable
Several other parties may also be held liable other than the victim of the accident, including truck companies, shipping agencies, or cargo-loading companies. Each of these entities has a distinct responsibility in relation to truck operation. Truck companies must equip the truck with essential reflectors, special mirrors, and lighting systems to ensure that collisions due to no-zones will not occur as long as the truck driver is aware of no-zone areas.
Shipping agencies and cargo-loading companies are responsible for making sure trucks are loaded safely. This requires that the trailer is not overloaded and the cargo is not improperly stored, which heightens the risk of rollover and lengthens the distance it takes for a truck to stop. Improper or overloaded trailers are often the trucking company’s fault and can be the shared fault of the driver, who must confirm that the trailer is loaded correctly.
What if you are partially at fault?
These instances raise the risk of accidents due to no-zone areas, as passenger vehicle drivers and truck drivers may not be able to see each other, or truck drivers may not know how to handle their vehicles despite adequate training safely. In some cases, a passenger vehicle driver is at or partially at fault for an accident in a no-zone area. Passenger vehicle drivers should be aware of the dangers of no-zones, avoid them, and remain visible to truck drivers. If you must pass a no-zone area, make sure that you can pass quickly and fully. Even if you were partially at fault for an accident in a no-zone, you can and should seek compensation. Unfortunately, because of the size and weight of commercial trucks, passenger vehicles partly responsible for no-zone accidents almost always incur the most personal injury and property damage, making these collisions always terrifying and sometimes fatal.
Oklahoma adheres to the doctrine of comparative negligence, which states that victims may be granted compensation even if they were partially responsible for an accident. Defendants are assigned a percentage portion of the blame from their compensation. You will be granted compensation if that portion is 50 percent or less. For example, if a passenger vehicle driver is found to be 20 percent at fault for a no-zone accident and is seeking $100,000 in damages, they will be given $80,000 in compensation.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Truck accident liability is complicated even in the most seemingly clear-cut cases. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may have to stand up against a truck driver, insurance and truck companies, shipping and cargo-loading agencies, and other drivers or pedestrians also involved in the accident.
No-zone accidents are particularly difficult to litigate because of the difficulty in determining who is responsible. Even if you believe you could be responsible for your accident, a lawyer can help ensure you get compensation for your injuries by maintaining that you were less than 50 percent at fault. Sometimes drivers assume they were at fault, but investigative work on behalf of an attorney can uncover that the truck driver was taking unsafe risks or acting negligently.
Why choose us?
At Abel Law Firm, we have six experienced attorneys with more than 130 years of shared experience in dealing with complicated, difficult truck accident cases. Our firm has represented clients with serious injuries and losses for over 40 years. When you’re dealing with a truck company that has experience in shifting the blame to victims of harrowing accidents, you need an attorney just as skilled to fight for your rights. Our attorneys are those people, and we’re ready to make your case our top priority.
We want to make this process as simple and painless as possible. We are driven by the recovery of valued members of our community who have been left without wages and with unmanageable medical bills in the wake of terrifying truck accidents. Each case gets our investigative expertise, legal ingenuity, and personal attention.
Call Abel Law Firm today at (405) 239-7046 to talk to us about your accident and injuries so we can discuss what your claim might be worth.
To learn more about your legal rights and options in a truck accident case, contact the Oklahoma City no-zone truck accident lawyers of the Abel Law Firm by calling (405) 239-7046. Schedule a consultation with us today so we can work towards your goals and obtain the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.