Wide-Turn Truck Accident Lawyers in Tampa - Paul Knopf Bigger

You may have seen a large truck, tractor-trailer, or 18-wheeler make a wide turn rather than follow the standard turning radius for passenger vehicles. Due to their length and configuration, commercial trucks must turn wide to avoid clipping a median or curb. Truckers must follow specific practices to ensure they make wide turns safely. Negligence by a truck driver can easily lead to a wide turn truck accident that causes catastrophic injuries for an accident victim.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a wide turn truck accident due to a driver’s negligence, contact Paul Knopf Bigger. Our legal team is committed to pursuing justice and compensation for injury victims throughout Tampa. We provide personalized service and attention to every client to achieve a track record of successful results.

Reach out to us today for a free case review with a Tampa, Florida, wide turn truck accident lawyer.

What Is a Wide Turn Truck Accident?

A wide turn truck accident occurs when a commercial truck, such as a combination vehicle or 18-wheeler, collides with another vehicle, a cyclist, or a pedestrian when making a “wide turn.”

Truck drivers can make wide turns in two ways. First, a truck driver may veer in the opposite direction of their turn, crossing into an adjacent or opposing lane, before turning the steering wheel around to complete the turn. Alternatively, a truck driver may turn wide by turning into a left or opposing lane before completing the turn by straightening the truck in the rightmost lane.

Wide turn truck accidents often occur when a truck driver doesn’t check to see if they have a clear path to make the turn or because other road users don’t expect a truck to make a wide turn.

Why Do Trucks Need to Make Wide Turns?

Trucks need to make wide turns to accommodate the length of the vehicle or trailer. Many single-vehicle trucks, like box trucks, are so long that they can only turn on narrower urban streets if they make a wide turn or run over the curb on the sidewalk or shoulder.

For articulated trucks like a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler, the trailer does not follow the path of the truck cab while making a wide turn. Instead, it follows the most direct route behind the cab, potentially running over a curb or median during a turn.

What Are the CDL Turning Rules?

Truck drivers must take specialized driver’s education courses designed to teach them how to operate large trucks or tractor-trailers, including how to turn these large vehicles safely. Some of the critical guidelines and rules that drivers should follow when turning a large truck include:

  • Truck drivers should make turns while traveling in a lower gear. Traveling at a slower speed means the truck will turn more sharply, a driver has more time to observe the trailer’s path through the turn, and a driver can stop their vehicle quicker if they approach or have a collision.
  • Drivers who need multiple lanes to make their turn or to enter opposing lanes of traffic should check for other vehicles or road users in those lanes. Drivers should stop and wait until traffic clears before starting their turn.
  • When turning left onto a multi-lane road, drivers should turn into the rightmost driving lane.
  • Drivers should proceed straight into the intersection and turn the truck cab at the last possible moment to compensate for the shorter path that the trailer takes.
  • When turning right, drivers should turn wide into the left or opposing lanes of traffic (depending on the width of the road) rather than swinging the truck cab left first before turning right.
  • When an intersection has multiple left-turn lanes, drivers must use the rightmost lane because they may need to swing right to make the turn and can see vehicles on the left more easily.
  • Drivers should turn right only from the rightmost lane. Otherwise, they might cut off a vehicle in the right-hand driving lane by turning from one of the left lanes.

Common Causes of Wide Turn Accidents

Accidents involving wide turns usually occur because of a truck driver’s negligence. They might not follow the rules and guidelines for turning or commits a careless error. Some of the most common causes of a wide turn truck accident in Tampa include:

  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Not checking mirrors and blind spots for oncoming vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Failing to check traffic in lanes needed to complete the turn
  • Swinging the trailer wide before turning instead of turning wide and then straightening out
  • Improper truck driver training or driver inexperience
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Not using the rightmost left-turn lane 

Injuries Caused by Wide Turn Truck Accidents

Truck drivers sometimes collide with vehicles in other lanes or the opposing direction of traffic when attempting wide turns. Truckers may also “trap” vehicles or cyclists when swinging wide before turning. A collision with a wide turning truck can cause devastating injuries for an accident victim. Examples of injuries that wide turn truck accidents can cause include:

  • Severe lacerations, abrasions, or degloving injuries
  • Dislocated joints
  • Broken bones
  • Ligament sprains and tears
  • Muscle and tendon strains and tears
  • Crush injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Nerve damage
  • Neck and back injuries, such as spinal disc herniation
  • Internal injuries and bleeding
  • Perforation injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Facial injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation, dismemberment, or limb loss

Who Is Liable for a Wide Turn Accident?

In most cases, a truck driver will bear liability for a wide turn accident caused by careless or reckless driving. For example, a truck driver may be responsible for a wide turn accident if they fail to signal, check mirrors, or look for traffic in additional lanes before completing the turn. However, the trucking company may also be liable for a wide turn accident under certain circumstances, including if the company:

  • Employs the at-fault driver rather than hiring the driver as an independent contractor
  • Negligently hired or retained the driver, including hiring the driver when the company knows or should have known that the driver poses a significant risk of causing an accident due to a history of driving violations or accidents
  • Failed to provide adequate training to ensure the driver knew how to turn safely
  • Failed to supervise the driver, impose discipline, or require additional training upon learning that the driver committed driving infractions or safety violations

What Are Recoverable Damages or Compensation in a Wide Turn Truck Accident in Florida?

If a truck driver hits you while trying to make a wide turn, you may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Financial relief in a wide turn truck accident claim can provide you with money to compensate you for the following:

  • Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation for your injuries, including hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, mobility equipment, medications, and physical or occupational therapy
  • Long-term care expenses, including home health services, housekeeping assistance, or installations of disability accommodations
  • Lost wages or income from missed work or reduced earning capacity in a part-time or light-duty role while recovering from injuries
  • Lost future earnings and employment benefits if your injuries result in permanent impairments that prevent you from returning to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and trauma
  • Lost enjoyment and quality of life due to disabilities or permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Costs to repair your vehicle or bicycle if damaged in the accident, or reimbursement for the value of your totaled vehicle

What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Wide Right Turn Truck Accident?

After getting hurt in a wide right-turn truck accident, you may need to act quickly to protect your legal rights to pursue compensation. You should take the following steps after a wide right-turn truck crash:

  • Report the accident to law enforcement and obtain a copy of the police accident report after the crash.
  • Seek immediate medical attention to get checked for injuries you suffered in the accident.
  • Get the truck driver’s information, including insurance and employer contact information.
  • Report the accident to your car insurance provider and file a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for medical bills and lost wages.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations and recovery instructions. Do not put off any procedures or rehabilitation for your injuries.
  • Request copies of your medical records from your treatment.
  • Keep all bills, invoices, or receipts of expenses from the accident, including vehicle repairs, medical care, or alternative transportation.

Finally, contact a Tampa wide right-turn truck accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for recovering compensation for your injuries and other crash-related losses.

Contact a Tampa and Florida Wide Turn Truck Accident Attorney

If you’ve been involved in a wide turn truck accident in Tampa, you deserve to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At Paul Knopf Bigger, we have a proven track record of obtaining outstanding results for injury victims throughout Tampa and Florida. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a truck accident attorney in Tampa.