Archives for March 2011

Blind Spots and Truck Accidents

Truck Accidents and Blind Spots — Bay Area Personal Injury Attorneys

There are four major blind spots on trucks and 18-wheelers that are commonly involved in truck accidents:

  • The rear of a truck, outside the purview of the truck’s side mirrors
  • Near the front of the truck’s left side, just behind the cabin
  • Near the front of the truck’s right side, outside the purview of the truck’s right-side mirror
  • The very front end of a truck and just off to the right

When car drivers are hit by trucks changing lanes it’s not uncommon for insurance companies and their lawyers to argue that the car driver bears some of the fault for driving in a truck’s blind spot. In rear-end collisions, similar arguments are made, including the claim that if a car driver hadn’t been following too closely in the first place, the accident would not have likely happened.

Insurance Claims, Truck Accidents and Blind Spots

California follows the principle of pure comparative negligence in car accident cases. This means that a car driver can recover damages even if he or she is 99 percent at fault in an accident. However, under the principle of pure comparative negligence, recovery of losses is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to a driver. For example, if you suffer $100,000 in damages in a truck accident but are found to be 70 percent at fault, you’d be eligible to recover only $30,000.

Now you can see why the issue of whether or not you were driving in a truck’s blind spot might be important for an insurance agent to determine. In fact, it’s not uncommon for insurers to call you shortly after a car or truck accident and ask you questions about what you remember. Here, while the insurance agent may pretend to be concerned about how you’re doing, the real purpose of the call is to gather any information to shift more blame onto you and reduce the amount the insurance company has to pay you in an injury claim.

Driving in a Truck’s Blind Spot Does Not Automatically Make You at Fault

Just because you were hit or sideswiped while driving in a truck’s blind spot does not necessarily make you at fault in an accident with a truck. Truck drivers have a responsibility to change lanes safely, to drive the speed limit and to take precautions in case someone is driving in a blind spot. In cases involving rear-end collisions, trucks can’t make sudden stops or swerve in front of a driver to slow down or merge into traffic. Trucks should also have a “Mansfield Bar” installed on the back of their vehicle to prevent under-riding in rear-end collisions.

Investigate the Cause of a Truck Accident — Contact Weber & Nierenberg

At the San Francisco personal injury law office of Weber & Nierenberg, our car accident attorneys understand how to investigate and reconstruct car accidents with trucks. Working with experienced accident investigators and eyewitness testimony, we can often determine how a truck accident happened and expose negligence on the part of a truck driver.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your case, contact San Francisco truck accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today.

Respect for Bicyclists on the Road

Understanding Your Rights as a Bicyclist — Bay Area Bicycle Injury Attorney

On the Fourth of July in 2008, in what has become know as the “bicycle road rage heard around the world,” Christopher Thompson was driving his car along a steep road in Los Angeles’ Mandeville Canyon. Eventually he came upon two cyclists, Christian Stoehr and Ron Peterson, riding side by side along the road. Angered that Stoehr and Peterson were taking up more than what he thought was their fair share of the road, Thompson rolled down his window and words were exchanged.

Thompson then accelerated around the cyclists, pulled in front of them and slammed on his breaks. Stoehr and Peterson were unable to stop and crashed into Thompson’s car, resulting in serious injury to both Stoehr and Peterson. Thompson was found guilty of six different felonies and sent to prison for five years.

Bicyclists and Their Right to the Road

While bicyclists are required to adhere to the same rules of the road as motorists, car drivers don’t always appreciate the presence of cyclists along the road. In fact, motorists are required by law to afford a safe distance between themselves and bicyclists when passing them. Cyclists can also enter into traffic to make a left-hand turn so long as they do so in a manner that is safe and consistent with existing traffic laws. All too often, however, car drivers grow impatient with cyclists and may try to intimidate them by passing too close or speeding around them.

Bicycle Accidents and Liability

When bicycle accidents happen, a key factor in determining fault will be the bicyclist’s actions. While a car driver may share the majority of fault, if a cyclist entered into traffic without signaling, ran through an intersection, was carrying items that prevented him or her from keeping both hands on the handlebars, failed to wear proper reflective clothing or violated other requirements, the cyclist may share a large portion of the fault as well.

Injured in a Bike Accident? Contact Bay Area Bike Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to the unsafe or aggressive actions of a car driver, it’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to investigate bike accidents and hold negligent motorists liable. To discuss your case and learn how we can help you, contact San Francisco bicycle accident lawyers at Weber & Nierenberg today.

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1 Sansome Street, Suite 3500 San Francisco, CA 94104
P. 415-788-3900

1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800 Oakland, CA 94612
P. 510-663-6000