Steve Roberts, LLC
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A semi-truck accident can leave you devastated physically, financially, and emotionally. When disaster strikes, you’ll need a truck accident lawyer on your side to help with your Denver claim.
Denver is a major hub for interstate travel, and semi-trucks are everywhere, transporting goods and moving the things we need every day. You might have driven beside an 18-wheeler on I-25, or you may have seen one or several while driving down Alameda Avenue. Unfortunately, you may have also encountered one because of a severe crash.
Unfortunately, despite all the advancements in safety regulations, there are still truck accidents that occur every day throughout the country. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries, had a passenger pass away as a result of the accident, or have lost wages due to a lengthy recovery, you may be entitled to compensation. Often, these large commercial trucking companies have legal teams of their own, ready to defend the company against injury or wrongful death claims. This is why you need a legal team on your side that understands not only the commercial trucking industry but also how to get you the maximum compensation possible for your unique situation. Call a Denver truck accident lawyer for the help you need when you’re severely injured.
Truck accidents account for almost 500,000 auto collisions that occur every year. Of those collisions, approximately 1% resulted in the death of the driver or their passengers.
In Colorado specifically, due to its vast mountains range and unpredictable weather patterns that cause sporadic patches of black ice, the state has been listed as one of the most dangerous regions to travel for a truck driver, accounting for 3.5% of all traffic fatalities. However, the weather is not allows to blame; many scenarios can lead up to a tragic accident, but listed below are the five most common.
It’s no mystery that a large number of commercial truck drivers push themselves to exhaustion in an effort to stay on a tight schedule and earn more overtime or bonus pay. This unhealthy pattern continues to be a trend in the commercial trucking industry. It leads to drivers losing coordination, having a lack of concentration, or in the worst cases falling asleep at the wheel.
Substances can include everything from alcohol to drugs, and even prescriptions that inhibit a truck driver’s ability to think clearly and focus on the road. Most cases where substance abuse is involved begin at a truck stop or a roadside bar where the driver overindulges and jumps behind the wheel of their rig while they are still impaired. More extreme cases involve drivers having drugs to keep themselves awake or alcohol with them in the cab.
Speeding or Aggressive Driving
Because of the tight deadlines bearing down on most commercial truck drivers, we see many accident cases that were directly caused by reckless speeding or aggressive driving behavior that results in an accident. As you can imagine, the more speed a large commercial truck picks up makes them that much more dangerous because of their mass and momentum. When a driver of a surrounding car or the truck driver themselves realizes there is a problem, it’s often too late to avoid a collision.
Truck drivers are required by law to have specialized training, drive a certain number of hours behind the wheel of a large vehicle, and perform regular inspections on their equipment. Unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to the federal guidelines, and not all trucking companies perform routine maintenance on their vehicles. Complacency on the part of the truck driver, combined with the negligence of the trucking company, can create a dangerous combination in which the likelihood of an accident happening becomes much higher.
Because commercial drivers spend such long hours on the same, often mundane roadways, they can become distracted or lose focus on the road. Just like the drivers of regular vehicles, truck drivers can have the same bad habits, such as talking on the phone, replying to text messages, or just leaning over to change the radio station. Every one of those situations can create a hazardous environment because the driver is no longer focusing on the road and the other drivers around them.
If you were involved in a truck-related accident that resulted in wrongful death, injuries, or mental health issues, then you may be able to receive significant compensation. As far as what you can get compensated for, let’s go over some of the most common areas below
Medical bills cover both the immediate emergency care that occurred after the accident, as well as future medical expenses such as additional surgeries, physical therapy, or prescription medications.
Property loss usually refers to your vehicle, but it can also cover other property that was damaged as a result of the accident.
If you are unable to work after the accident or the injuries you sustained make it impossible for you to return to work, then you are entitled to have those lost wages covered by the responsible party. Future wages that you would have earned are also brought into consideration.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering can cover a wide range of situations that have left your life changed following an accident. Which could be mental health issues, chronic pain due to injuries, or loss of enjoyment in your day to day life.
According to numerous federal regulations, trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are safe for highway travel and in proper working order. Drivers must inspect their vehicles every day, as well as inspect their load before transit. The main areas that should be checked are the airlines, brakes, fuel system, lights, steering system, wheels, emergency equipment along with a long list of other potential problem areas.
When a driver is diligent in their daily inspection, and trucking companies take an active role in making sure the inspections are happening as well as staying on top of maintenance than the conditions on the road become much safer. If anyone of those sophisticated pieces of equipment on board were to malfunction, it could cause severe damage as well as injury to other drivers.
While any automotive accident can have devastating results, large commercial trucking accidents are one of the most catastrophic and deadly collisions. Their size and weight already make them appear intimidating on the roadway, add in their relatively slow reaction time, this creates an environment in which a situation can turn into a nightmare fairly quickly.
Size and Weight
Commercial truck weight varies greatly and is typically defined as a vehicle that weighs between 10,000 and 80,000 lbs. Trucks can also range from small box trucks to huge cross-country rigs that can be upwards of 50’ long.
Steering and Maneuverability
Drivers operating a large truck undergo serious training to gain those qualifications, but even so, they can’t avoid obstacles as quickly as those in passenger vehicles. If a truck were to turn too quickly or swerve suddenly, it could cause the vehicle to flip or for the trailer to swing out and harm other drivers.
In a passenger vehicle, it’s always good to tap your brakes and give yourself plenty of time to stop, and if you need to stop suddenly you can slam on your brakes, and the car will come to a sudden and grinding halt. Truck drivers don’t have the luxury of slamming on the brakes when they need too because of their massive size and mass. A truck under normal circumstances takes on average 525′ to come to a complete stop.
The regulations that govern truck drivers are periodically updated to remain current, but the main guidelines remain constant, and all drivers who go through their CDL training will go over these safety guidelines in detail.
All drivers must commit to regular physical exams to prove that they are healthy and able to operate a commercial vehicle safely. If a driver has a health condition that could affect the safe operation of their vehicle, they will be asked not to drive.
Hours of Service
Even those who have never worked in long-haul trucking have probably heard the extreme number of hours drivers work in order to meet tight deadlines. For this reason, all drivers are required to keep a log of their drive time, breaks, and rest time for the week. Failure to keep accurate records or falsifying the log entries could result in the driver losing their CDL.
The information required to be displayed on either the truck cab door or other visible area includes the truck owner, business address, and the gross vehicle weight. To make sure all of this information is readable, it’s required that the decals used are at least 3” high.
A special endorsement is required for any drivers hauling hazardous material like fuel or chemicals. The truck must also be labeled to clearly show other drivers as well as law enforcement what material is being transported.
Height and Weight
The cap for the weight of any commercial truck is 80,000 lbs. The dimensions of the truck outlined by federal regulations are 14.6′ high by 8.5′ wide. The reason that these standard sizes have been outlined is to ensure that vehicles can fit under overpasses and through tunnels without putting other drivers or themselves at risk.
Drugs and Alcohol
There can be absolutely no illicit substance used by a driver while they are on shift. Additionally, if they are drinking before a shift and then attempt to operate their vehicle, their blood alcohol content can’t exceed .04. If a driver is discovered to be under the influence of any substance while operating their vehicle, they will likely have their CDL revoked.
Truck accidents can occur on any roadway and at any time of day, but statistically, there are certain areas and certain times of day you should be more cautious in, or avoid altogether. While you may be thinking that most accidents happen in cities and densely populated towns, this actually isn’t the case. When truck drivers are put into a situation where there are slower speeds and numerous other drivers, they actually drive much more safely.
If you have ever taken a road trip, you are sure to have encountered parts of the country where it seems as if nothing is around for miles. On these roads, drivers are especially susceptible to getting distracted, falling asleep, or simply not paying attention to their blind spots.
Country Roads or Rural Areas
Most country roads are not made for commercial trucks, because they are narrow and possibly in disrepair. The reason why you may see a large truck or trailer in a rural area is that farm equipment and other supplies can only be delivered by a vehicle that can handle the payload. Because a truck driver is in an area where their visibility is lowered and they are trying to stay on the road, they may not be paying close attention to other drivers.
Between 12:00pm and 3:00pm
This may seem like an odd window of time for truck accidents to occur, but during this midday lull, a shocking number of accidents happen. Approximately, 50% of accidents occur between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Out of those accidents, the highest percentage occurs in this 3-hour window.
When you’re hurt in a vehicle accident, understanding who should pay for your injuries is one of your first steps. Even if you know how much you lost in a truck accident, you’ll need to find the person responsible for paying it.
That’s not always easy, however. For example, you might think that the responsible party is the one who caused the truck wreck. However, a truck driver is usually also an employee on the job. Because of that, they may not be the responsible party. Instead, you may need to file your claim against the employer. They’re responsible for the actions of their employees, which can make your claim more confusing.
However, keep in mind that the accident may not even be the truck driver’s fault. You may have been injured because they crashed, but other factors may have caused the wreck. For example, they may have suddenly lost control of the vehicle.
In some cases, outside factors may have caused the accident. For example, something might have gone wrong with the truck. Their brakes may have failed, an axle gave, or the power steering went out. These parts failures can turn dangerous, and the driver might not be at fault. Instead, the manufacturer who made the faulty part may be responsible.
Your injuries might also be because of a road defect. Denver’s department of transportation is responsible for maintaining traffic safety. Because of this, if they left a deep pothole unfilled or another road hazard unrepaired, they may be held responsible for your injuries.
Sadly, some truck drivers weren’t just acting carelessly. These drivers may have been driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. That could lead to severe injuries and a more complicated claim.
When a drunk driver injures you, there may also be a criminal case. The driver could be charged with a misdemeanor, and the trial for their actions must come first. However, a delay doesn’t mean you won’t receive compensation for your truck accident. Instead, you’ll simply need to wait for the criminal trial to be completed. From there, you’ll be able to file a lawsuit. You may even use the evidence presented during the trial for your claim. Even if they were found innocent, you’ll have a chance to sue for the suffering you’ve experienced.
When you’re involved in a semi-truck crash, take special attention to your injuries. These crashes can be especially severe, so you’ll need to be sure you get the full compensation you deserve for those injuries.
Semi-trucks are several times the size of a regular car, which means severe injuries are more common. You may not even realize you’ve suffered a significant injury right away. Some injuries may not hurt until later. If you don’t seek medical care now, though, those injuries can leave permanent damage or even result in death, so it’s best to contact a doctor as soon as possible.
When you’re hurt in a truck accident, make sure you get compensation for any injuries you’ve suffered. That includes the following:
After a doctor has determined the injuries you have suffered for the purposes of your accident claim, you’ll then need to know what your claim is worth. The responsible party likely won’t want to pay for your injuries, so knowing your claim’s worth can be vital.
To do so, you might first focus on your financial losses. These include any damages or losses, you’ve suffered in terms of expenses. For example, your hospital bill is classified as economic damage. These losses can simply be added up for your claim.
Non-economic damages won’t be so easy. Instead, you’ll need to find the costs of your emotional and mental pain. That can be tough to calculate without the right tools. These damages are determined based on the impact they had on your life, which can be nearly impossible to calculate on your own. Fortunately, Roberts Accident Law can help you find your claim’s worth.
Even when you know what your claim should be worth, it’s tough to get the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will be the key to protecting your claim from the other party, which will likely try to reduce or dismiss your claim entirely.
For example, the truck driver’s attorneys may claim that you were also driving recklessly. While it doesn’t remove the blame from them, they may say you were 20 percent at fault for the accident. That means you’ll only get 80 percent of the compensation you should have received. That makes it even tougher to recover. You’re not getting the full funds you need to bounce back, and worse, you could lose your claim completely; if you’re found more than half at fault for the accident, your accident claim may be dismissed. In these cases, you’ll need guidance to protect your compensation.
When you’re injured in a collision with a big rig, you’ll need to make sure you’re taking all the right steps to file your claim correctly and get the compensation you need. Unfortunately, it’s tough to get started alone. You might not even be sure where to go to file your claim in Denver.
That’s where a truck accident lawyer can step in. You’ll need guidance on finding the responsible party, as well as making sure you’re going to the right places. For example, your injury attorney can help you file your lawsuit in the Denver small claims court. We’ll make sure you’re in the right place and that you have all the information you need to file.
Some accidents are unavoidable, but there are a few things you should remember next time you are sharing the road with a truck.
Avoid Blind Spots
A good rule of thumb to remember while sharing the road with a truck is that if you are unable to see their mirrors, they likely can’t see you either.
Use Clear Signals
Don’t use erratic movements while driving next to a truck and make sure to use your blinker a few seconds before you usually would. This gives the driver plenty of time to move or adjust their driving.
In dense traffic or a city, getting close to a truck may be unavoidable, but when you are on an open roadway and traveling at high speeds, be sure to give the truck plenty of space. Not only does it allow you to stay out of their blind spots, but it also protects you from something unexpected like a tire blowout or a loss of control on the part of the truck driver.
When you are driving, it’s essential to stay focused, and when you are sharing the road with large trucks it becomes even more so. Avoid using your phone, turning to talk to passengers, or eating while you’re driving. Even a split second of distraction could have disastrous consequences for both you and the truck driver.
When you’re hurt in a major accident, it’s tough to recover. You’re looking at overwhelming injuries that could affect you for the rest of your life. Fortunately, you don’t have to seek your compensation without help. Instead, contact the attorneys at Roberts Accident Law for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options for recovering before you sign anything. We want you to know that we’re on your side before you file your claim.
Ready to get started? Your Denver truck accident lawyer is ready to focus on your lawsuit. To begin, give us a call at 720-515-7058 or fill out the online form below.
NO PRESSURE. SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. NO HIDDEN FEES.
NO PRESSURE. SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY. NO HIDDEN FEES.