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Who is at Fault When a Big Rig Accident is Caused by a Lane Change?

Posted on in Truck Accidents

Lane change big rig accidents are not all that uncommon. Because of their immense trailer loads, big rigs have larger blind spots than most vehicles, so even if a driver takes extra precautions before changing lanes, he or she may accidentally sideswipe a vehicle when moving from one lane to the next. For that reason, most trailers come equipped with signs that read, 'If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you.' This known fact also makes it difficult for accident victims to recover compensation in a lane change big rig accident. However, that does not mean that recovering compensation is impossible.

If you were involved in an accident that was caused by a big rig changing lanes and if you hope to obtain compensation for your injuries, you must be able to prove that the big rig driver was at fault and liable for your injuries and damages. Because Texas relies on the theory of proportionate responsibility, you do not have to show that the semi-driver was 100% liable; you must only prove that they share a majority of the responsibility-meaning at least 51% of it.

At Clark Law Group, our Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorneys are dedicated to helping accident victims obtain compensation for their damages and losses. If we believe that you have a case, we will conduct a thorough investigation and gather all the necessary evidence to make sure that you walk away with the compensation you deserve.

When a Big Rig Operator May be at Fault

Though lane change big rig accidents are not always the fault of the semi operator, there are some instances in which they most likely are. Those instances include:

  • When a semi trucker fails to use his or her turn signal;
  • When a commercial truck operator is speeding;
  • When a truck driver changes lanes sporadically;
  • When a truck driver makes a lane change in an intersection; and
  • When a semi truck driver weaves in an out of lanes.

Usually, these instances are the result of driver fatigue, distracted driving, or intoxicated driving, each of which is illegal and that can be prove via driving longs, phone records, cab cams, and a BAC test.

When You May be at Fault

You may be at fault for a big rig lane change accident when:

  • You were following too closely despite warnings informing you that your proximity to the trailer may result in the driver's inability to see you;
  • You were distracted at the time of the lane change and failed to notice the big rig operator's signal;
  • You sped up to try and pass the semi-truck knowing full well that they were attempting to change lanes;
  • You were weaving in and out of traffic; or
  • You attempted to change lanes in an intersection.

You and the truck operator may share responsibility in any of the above instances, as well. For instance, the trucker may have failed to signal before changing lanes and you may have been following too closely and not paying attention, or both you and the truck driver were weaving in and out of traffic at unsafe speeds.

Proving Fault in a Dallas Trucking Accident is Key

Proving fault in a big rig accident involves four primary elements:

  • Duty of care;
  • Breach of duty
  • Proof of damages; and
  • Proof that damages were a direct result of the breach of duty.

Elements one and three may not be so difficult to prove, as all truck drivers-or all drivers, for that matter-have a duty to operate a vehicle in a reasonably safe manner, and damages are evident in injuries, property damage, medical bills, and the like. However, in order to prove element two (breach of duty), you need evidence, which could come in the form of eyewitness testimonies, photographs, driver's logs, etc. If the second element can be proved, and if the other two check out, it follows that element four must be true.

Of course, the law is rarely ever so clear, and as mentioned above, you may be partially at fault for the accident, in which case, it is not so much a matter of proving the primary four elements to be true as it does a matter of proving why one driver's breach of duty was more detrimental than the other's breach. That is where a skilled personal injury lawyer comes in handy.

Our Dallas truck accident lawyers at Clark Law Group are prepared to perform all of the necessary inquiries and investigations to put together a sound case on your behalf. If you were involved in a truck accident with a big rig, reach out to our legal team today.

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