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Tractor-trailer accidents, also known as as 18-wheeler or semi-truck accidents, are more serious than many other types of accidents due to the sheer size of these trucks. Although many of the causes of 18-wheeler accidents are the same as ordinary automobile accidents, some arise more frequently in 18-wheeler accidents. The following is an overview of the primary causes of 18-wheeler truck accidents in Denver:
Although alcohol is involved in many traffic accidents, it is a relatively uncommon cause of 18-wheeler accidents. This is because truckers can have their commercial driver’s license revoked if they are caught with a blood alcohol level even half as high as the legal limit for a driver of a car or light truck. Since the revocation of a commercial driver’s license might cost a driver his livelihood, most drivers are very careful to avoid drinking and driving. Nevertheless, some tractor-trailer accidents involve an intoxicated truck driver. However, far more common is distracted driving, which may involve the use of a cell phone while driving, typically texting while driving, as well as changing the radio station, checking the GPS, or doing anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road.
Driver fatigue is a particularly acute problem in the truck driving industry, although now regulations exist to prevent truck drivers from logging so many hours that their driving ability is adversely affected. Fatigue can impair a driver’s judgment and can cause a number of extremely dangerous situations, such as failing to turn headlights on at night, running stop lights, making improper lane changes, speeding, failing to check blind spots, and even falling asleep at the wheel.
When vehicle malfunction causes the accident, the truck driver may or may not be partially at fault. For example, failure to promptly pull out of a skid caused by a tire blowout could result in shared liability if the driver was intoxicated, fatigued, or simply did not respond in a reasonable manner. In addition to the driver, there could be a trucking company and/or mechanic as additional defendants. While shared liability can give you multiple defendants to sue instead of one, it also can greatly complicate the resolution of an 18-wheeler truck accident case. In addition, to the extent that vehicle malfunction was a cause of the accident, it may be possible pursue liability against either a manufacturer or a seller of the product that malfunctioned (the tire manufacturer, for example, or even the truck dealer). Although the “deep pockets” of product manufacturers and sellers often ensure that they will be able to pay a judgment against them, the existence of a corporate legal department can make negotiation or litigation against them imprudent without the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
Bad weather is a common cause of 18-wheeler truck accidents. The identification of bad weather as a cause of the accident can be bad news for the plaintiff because this can make it difficult to prove that any party was actually at fault, rendering a damages recovery very difficult. Nevertheless, it is possible to establish liability if bad weather only contributed to the accident or if the driver did not respond appropriately to the changing weather conditions. If the driver was speeding or following too closely, for example, and heavy rain increased the driver’s stopping distance, the driver will not necessarily be relieved of liability because he is expected to compensate for these factors with extra caution while he is on the road.
Contact Zinda Law Group Now to Learn More
If you were injured in a collision with a semi-truck that you believe was the truck driver’s fault, you need to retain a seasoned personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Indeed, this might end up being the most important decision you make in your case. Zinda Law Group is a personal injury law firm that has focused on the needs of its clients and getting the compensation that they need to pay bills and compensate for pain and suffering. We understand what you may be going through in the aftermath of a trucking accident and our attorneys stand ready to fight for your rights at the negotiating table and in court, if necessary. Call us today at 303-800-1501 for a free consultation.