Truck Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes in Maryland

Although commercial truck drivers are generally safe, they can still cause accidents for various reasons. Unfortunately, these crashes are often catastrophic, as getting out of a truck’     s way may be impossible when it careens out of control. A tractor-trailer collision could leave you incapacitated for months and have long-lasting effects on your life.

Truckers who cause accidents may do so by ignoring traffic laws, driving while distracted or impaired, or neglecting safety protocols due to exhaustion. However, another factor that could contribute to an 18-wheeler wreck is the design of the truck itself, making it imperative that truckers remain vigilant. Truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes in Maryland are often associated with the blind spot areas of the truck.

Lane Change Crashes

A federal safety administration attributes about 10 percent of lane change crashes nationwide to commercial trucks attempting to move into another lane while a smaller vehicle continues to go straight. Usually, the truck driver is the negligent party that causes an accident through unsafe actions that include:

  • Failing to signal before changing lanes
  • Changing lanes within an intersection
  • Failing to take weather conditions into account when changing lanes
  • Ignoring a blind spot and merging into another lane without reducing speed

Failing to consider a blind spot, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) refers to as a no-zone, coupled with other unsafe actions—such as speeding or failing to signal—can be the foundation of a negligence lawsuit if a motorist is injured by the merging truck. Contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer to discuss a truck crash caused by an unsafe lane change in Maryland.

The Science of No-Zones

No-zones are areas a truck driver cannot see while operating a big rig. No-zones are responsible for one-third of all truck collisions, including lane changes, according to the FMCSA.

Because truck cabs sit high off the ground, truckers often fail to see smaller vehicles in front or beside them. Truck cabs with a trailer can be up to 80 feet long and 100 feet long with more than one trailer. The driver’s no-zone is the trailer’s length, which means several small vehicles can be out of view simultaneously. While commercial trucks are equipped with side mirrors, they are not equipped with rear-view mirrors; thus, truckers do not crane their necks to clear blind spots like motorists driving passenger cars would. Because Maryland truck drivers are trained to drive safely despite blind spots, truck accidents caused by unsafe lane changes related to no-zones can amount to negligence.

Recoverable Damages After a Truck Crash

A truck driver who makes unsafe lane changes has violated the first element of the four that plaintiffs must prove to find truckers liable for negligence. The duty to drive safely has been breached, and any motorist injured because of the truck driver’s actions may be entitled to compensation.

A damages award compensates the injured motorist for economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic losses are also compensated. These may include:

  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

Maryland law does not cap economic losses, but it does limit non-economic losses motorists suffer in truck accidents. This cap is adjusted for inflation each October 1.

Punitive Damages

Although an injured motorist may be eligible for punitive damages, which punish truckers for their egregious behavior instead of compensating an injured party, these damages are rare. An experienced lawyer must show the truck driver acted with malice or willful intent to injure the motorist.

Our Lawyers Handle Claims Involving Truck Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes in Maryland

Healing after a crash with a commercial truck is a long and expensive process. If you acted reasonably and were hurt, the trucker who made an unsafe lane change and caused the collision or the trucker’s employer should pay for your recovery.

Our diligent attorneys focus on negotiating adequate insurance settlements and litigating civil actions for negligence to get you the money you need to move forward. Call our Maryland office today and tell us about your truck accident caused by an unsafe lane change.