Trucks regularly need to back in and out of loading docks, parking lots, and other locations. The longer the truck, the more dangerous a reverse maneuver can be. Backing-up accidents are especially dangerous for trucks, often because of operational errors, blind spots, or due to the instability of the cargo in the truck. Tractor-trailers are especially difficult to maneuver, because the trailer doesn’t always move in unison with the tractor.
There are common industry steps that drivers and truck owners can take in order to ensure that extra caution is used. When truck owners, truck drivers, and others involved in the process fail to follow these well-known steps, the responsible truck companies and drivers can be held accountable for the catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths that result.
What are the industry safety standards for truck reversal?
The companies that own trucks or truck fleets need to ensure that their drivers understand the dangers of truck reversals, and the proper safety protocols that should be used when they back up into traffic.
Some of these truck safety standards include:
- Examining the area behind the truck before reversing the truck, so that the driver understands what path to take and where the obstacles are. Drivers who back up into traffic should be cognizant of how many lanes of traffic are, the speed limit for the traffic lanes, where the traffic lights are, and other logistical factors.
- Ensuring that the vehicle mirrors are appropriately positioned, that the back-out cameras are functioning, and that the horns and alarms are working properly.
- Reviewing any overhead, landscaping, and cable or wiring issues.
- Using a spotter, such as a coworker, who is positioned in a safe position outside of the truck and can guide the driver’s reversal maneuvers.
- Making sure there are no other distractions such as a CD player, radio, an e-cigarette, or any other distraction that might occupy the driver’s attention.
- Understanding what visual aids might help with the truck reversal.
- Stopping traffic and alerting pedestrians to the back-up maneuvers.
- Going slowly so that the truck can stop immediately if necessary.
Truck drivers should be ready to start over instead of trying to forge ahead when it’s clear the driver has taken the wrong path. Where possible, drivers should avoid the back-up reversal altogether by moving forward, turning around, and then proceeding with the driver’s vision in front instead of to the rear. Part of the planning for truck reversals is to try to position the truck correctly before any loading or unloading takes place.
Who is responsible for a truck reversal accident in Los Angeles?
At McNicholas & McNicholas, our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers file personal injury and wrongful death claims against every responsible party. The responsible defendants may include:
- The truck drivers who act negligently. Truck drivers may be liable for failing to use many of the safety protocols discussed above, such as failing to check their blind spots as they back up, backing up too quickly, or not warning nearby cars and pedestrians.
- The truck owner, who is generally liable for the negligence of the driver of their truck. Truck owners may also be liable for failing to train their drivers about truck-reversal safety procedures. Truck owners may also be liable if their trucks lack the proper mirrors, cameras, video, and other technology to assist with back-up accidents in Los Angeles.
- The company that requested the shipment, if the accident occurred while the driver was loading the cargo.
- The company that is receiving the shipment, if the accident occurred while the driver was loading the cargo. A trucking broker may be liable for contracting for the wrong type of truck for a particular type of delivery.
- In some cases, a manufacturer of a defective truck part, such as a defective camera may also be liable.
What types of injuries do truck back-up accidents cause?
Tractor-trailers, big box trucks, rigs, and most other commercial trucks are simply bigger, heavier, wider, and longer than most cars. When any of these trucks collide with a car, the occupants of the car are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. In tragic cases, a truck reversal accident may cause the occupants of another vehicle to die. When a truck strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian often requires surgery. In other cases, the accident may result in fatal injuries.
Our Los Angeles truck accident lawyers represent truck-reversal victims who suffer:
- Traumatic brain injuries and head trauma
- Spinal cord damage, including paralysis
- Fractures including multiple, complex, and compound fractures
- Third-degree burn injuries
- Traumatic amputations/limb loss
- Other catastrophic or permanent injuries
Victims of truck-reversal accidents have the right to demand compensation for all their damages. These include all the medical expenses (current and future), lost income, (including permanent disability income) pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, vehicle damage, and other damages. In the event that a truck accident causes a death, the family of the victim may also claim pain and suffering damages on behalf of the deceased.
The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have been strong advocates for personal injury victims for more than 30 years. We have obtained numerous settlements and verdicts worth hundreds of thousands, millions, and tens of millions for our clients. To schedule a consultation with a respected Los Angeles truck accident lawyer, call our offices or fill out our contact form today. We handle truck accident claims on a contingency fee basis.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
With more than 25 years’ experience as a trial lawyer, Partner Patrick McNicholas exclusively represents victims in personal injury, product liability, sexual assault and other consumer-oriented matters, such as civil rights, aviation disasters and class actions. Learn more about his professional background here.