There is a reason why people in parking lots are advised not to move around vehicles that are in the process of backing out of parking spaces. Even though drivers are supposed to constantly check their mirrors and blind spots before reversing, accidents happen, and drivers are not as aware of their surroundings as many people would assume.
The same precautions definitely apply for truck drivers who are transporting and delivering cargo. While many people think of truck accidents as ones that only occur on roadways, a collision can happen at any time and any place. One common type of truck accident is the backup collision, where a trucker going in reverse hits an object (or a person). If you have sustained an injury in a backup truck accident in Chattanooga, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim.
What are the causes of truck back up accidents?
The National Safety Council asserts that one out of four vehicle accidents is blamed on poor reversal techniques. Backing up accidents are responsible for 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries a year. Because of the size and weight of the trailer attached to the truck, as well as the fact that trucks contain larger blind spots than the regular motor vehicle, being able to safely reverse a truck becomes much more difficult. Drivers must practice extra precaution when operating in reverse.
The negligent actions of truck drivers may also increase the likelihood of a backup accident. Some of the actions that contribute to backing accidents caused by truck drivers include failing to actively inspect the surrounding area before starting to back up, reversing the truck too quickly, and backing up without checking the blind spots first.
Because of the advances in technology where a truck driver can be alerted of any passengers or objects in the surrounding areas while backing up, keeping people safe while the rig is in reverse should be easier for truckers. Unfortunately, it does not always work out this way. For example, because many trucks are equipped with a backing alarm that informs people that the truck is backing up, truck drivers may assume that everyone is aware of the vehicle’s presence, and are distancing themselves from the truck. This is not always the case.
Furthermore, environmental factors – like the time of day and poor weather – can also contribute to a truck backup accident. It is difficult for truck drivers to see during the night, as well as in certain weather conditions like snow and heavy rain. Dropping off a delivery while the sun goes down on a rainy day may be one of the more dangerous jobs a trucker has.
What are some of the injuries caused by truck backup accidents?
Some of the injuries caused by a truck backup accident include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, amputations, crushed body parts, and instant death. Backing accidents can even cause a worker to suffer from internal bleeding and damage to other internal organs that are not as instantly noticeable. Many of these injuries are permanent, and will require a lifetime of care.
How can we keep Chattanooga workers safe from truck reversal accidents?
Workers can be catastrophically injured due to truck back up accidents. Due to the size and weight of a commercial truck, a worker who is struck by a truck can easily be killed, lose a limb, or be paralyzed. To avoid this outcome, truckers can follow the G.O.A.L. strategy – Get Out And Look. Per Verst Logisitics, a trucker should G.O.A.L.:
- Whenever he or she backs up
- Whenever he or she is unsure of the truck’s “proper clearance on all six sides: up, down, left, right, front, and rear”
- When he or she is unsure if there is enough space
- Even when there are people “flagging” the truck backwards
To this, we would add that a trucker should get out and look any time he or she is dropping off a load at a delivery bay or dock, and in any area where there may be pedestrians, cyclists, or children.
Workers injured by truck backup accidents are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to assist with paying for their medical expenses and lost wages. This is a no-fault system, so liability is not an issue. Workers in the warehouse and shipping industries are definitely at risk of falling victim to a truck backing accident.
Who can be held liable for truck backup accidents?
If the truck accident victim was not an employee who was injured on the job, then he or she will need to file a personal injury lawsuit. One of the most critical parts of injury lawsuits is determining liability.
There are several parties that can be held liable for a truck backup accident. The main party that can be held liable is the truck driver, regardless of whether the victim was in the truck’s blind spot or not. If the truck driver is employed by a trucking company, the company can also be held liable for the. The company bears responsibility not only for the actions of the truck driver, but ensuring the safety of the trucks that are supplied by the company.
Depending on other factors of the collision, other parties such as the truck’s manufacturing company (if a defect part caused the accident) and the owner of the cargo being transported by the truck driver (if the trucker was pushed beyond legal bounds to deliver) may be liable in the event of a crash.
Truck accidents can be particularly devastating. Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law in Chattanooga helps injured victims and their families obtain legal justice inside and outside of the courtroom. To learn how our hard-hitting personal injury attorneys can give you high-quality legal representation, contact us today at 423-756-7923, or by completing a contact form to schedule a free consultation. We help clients in Cleveland, Chattanooga, and North Georgia.