Q: I was injured in a collision and the truck driver claims he never saw me. Does that mean he was negligent?
Truck drivers can be negligent in a number of ways—one of which is failing to keep a proper lookout for other motorists. All drivers have a responsibility to keep their eyes on the road, but truckers have a higher duty of care due to the extreme size and weight of commercial vehicles.
Proper Lookout Standard
Failure to take adequate precautions to avoid an accident may qualify as operator negligence under Texas law. This failure may be caused by:
- Inadequate surveillance. A truck driver who doesn’t properly check the roadway, and therefore fails to identify vehicles or pedestrians before attempting a maneuver, is guilty of inadequate surveillance. Trucks can have large blind spots, creating considerable risks when drivers aren’t sufficiently alert. Inadequate surveillance is particularly problematic during lane changes or while turning.
- Inadequate evasion. Inadequate evasion occurs when a truck driver fails to maneuver his vehicle quickly enough to avoid a collision. Truckers should always drive defensively, maintaining a constant lookout for likely hazards. If a trucker’s attention is diverted, his reaction time is slowed. An operator who fails to slow down when traffic is at a standstill, or who's unable to steer around an obstruction, is guilty of inadequate evasion.
Establishing Truck Driver Negligence
Establishing proof of truck driver negligence is simple when he's honest enough to admit that he wasn’t paying attention to the road. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. If the driver claims he kept a proper lookout, witness statements can prove otherwise. Tire or gouge marks in the road can also show that the driver made no effort to stop or otherwise avoid the collision, indicating that he wasn’t paying attention.
If you’ve been injured due to a truck driver’s failure to keep a proper lookout, you need representation by an experienced truck accident attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.