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Being involved in a truck accident can be terrifying for many reasons, not least of which because they can cause serious injuries. Truck accidents can happen quickly and without warning, leaving you at a loss for what to do next. Commercial truck driving accidents also tend to be complex and involve several parties.
Accidents with trucks are usually more dangerous because of the larger size and heavier weight of trucks. If you were involved in a truck accident in Centennial, contacting a truck accident attorney in Colorado should be your first step after dealing with the accident.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, call our truck accident lawyers in Colorado at Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation and to find an injury attorney near you.
how are truck accidents more dangerous than car accidents?
Truck accidents involving semi-trucks, trailer trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers, or any large cargo truck can cause more damage and be more deadly than car accidents. Because trucks are larger and heavier than cars, accidents with trucks tend to be more destructive. Truck drivers cannot maneuver their trucks on the road as easily as drivers of cars can; unlike cars, trucks take longer to stop, slow down, and turn.
Trucks are usually carrying cargo, which makes them even heaver, and can cause more damage in a collision, especially if that cargo becomes loose. This could lead to an accident involving more than one vehicle if the cargo hits another car, or if the truck, due to its length and size, hits other cars surrounding it. Multi-vehicle collisions are complex because they involve multiple parties and can involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in injuries and property damage.
Being involved in a truck accident is serious, and if you are injured through no fault of your own, you should contact our Centennial personal injury attorneys right away to begin assessing your damages.
truck driving laws
Trucking companies and their employees are regulated by federal law; however, states may impose stricter regulations. This can make a lawsuit with a trucking company more difficult to navigate without an experienced truck accident lawyer. While trucking companies usually carry their own insurance policies, the individual driving the truck may also have insurance coverage; knowing which party is liable or which insurance should pay for your damages is something that a truck accident lawyer can assist with.
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which enforces regulations for commercial trucks and their drivers, including regulations for the following:
- transportation of hazardous materials
- cargo securement requirements
- retention of records regarding maintenance
- insurance requirements
- licensing and training requirements
- hours-of-service on the road
Trucking companies usually have strict driving compliance requirements for drivers to adhere to in order to reduce accidents. Each truck driver is expected to know these regulations, but they may not always follow them.
The Colorado State Patrol Motor Carrier Safety Section is charged with ensuring the safe operation of all commercial vehicles, such as trucks, within the state. Colorado has some state-specific laws for trucks that drive through its state to help prevent accidents and harm to other drivers on the road; one of these laws is Colorado’s Chain Law, which requires all commercial vehicles to have chains on their tires for nine months out of the year when traveling on I-70. Failure to abide by these laws, either on the state or federal level, could mean that the driver might be liable for your injuries if they were responsible for the collision.
common causes of truck accidents
The same driving mistakes that cause car accidents can cause truck accidents as well; however, trucks are less likely to be able to stop in time to avoid a collision or maneuver out of the way of other cars or obstacles. Other drivers on the road should be aware of their surroundings and should avoid situations that may make it harder for a truck driver to avoid a collision. The FMCSA provides a safety section with resources on how truck drivers can be safe on the road.
Truck Accidents Caused by Another Passenger Vehicle
Even if you are a careful driver and practice responsible and defensive driving, you cannot control the actions of others on the road. If you were injured due to the negligence of another driver who caused a truck accident, that driver may be liable to you for your injuries. Examples of common unsafe driving actions that can lead to a truck accident include:
- Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck or cutting them off
- Driving between large trucks
- Driving in the areas behind or next to a truck where the truck cannot see the vehicle
- Driving on the right side of the truck while the truck is making a wide, right turn
- Failure to adjust speed to accommodate a truck that is attempting to change lanes or merge
- Making a left turn in front of a truck at an intersection and miscalculating the truck’s speed
- Merging improperly in front of a truck
- Passing a truck and experiencing turbulence or crosswind
- Tailgating behind a truck or “drafting” by following closely in an attempt to save gas
Truck Accidents Caused by the Truck Driver
While truck drivers are under strict regulation to ensure their safety on the road and the safety of others, truck drivers can sometimes make mistakes that cause injury to others; human error is one of the biggest factors in truck crashes. According to the FMCSA, 87 percent of truck related crashes are due to the error of the driver, with only ten percent of accidents being due to the vehicle, and three percent of accidents due to the environment. Driver error can include speeding, failing to check blind spots, distracted driving, or driving under the influence.
Truck drivers may feel pressure by their employers to reach certain destinations within a time frame that may not be possible due to weather or traffic. To make up for time, drivers may choose to speed or drive while tired. These mistakes can cost the lives of others if the truck causes an accident.
Failing to secure loads or driving with loads that are either too heavy or too low, such as when transporting liquids that can splash or sway, could contribute to the truck driver’s loss of control. It is crucial that loads are properly packed so that weight is distributed evenly. Loads could shift or fall while the truck is turning or stopping, or product could fly off an open trailer if it is not properly covered.
Lack of training or lack of maintenance on the truck could also lead to accidents that injure others. Brakes and tires must be regularly inspected and maintained, especially because the truck spends so much time on the road and these parts will wear faster.
If the truck driver involved in your accident was being negligent by conducting any of the activity described above, you may have a claim for damages if you were injured.
who is liable for my damages?
After a truck accident, there may be some confusion as to who is responsible and who will pay you for your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer has access to experts and investigators who can help discover any relevant evidence to support your case. Generally, if you were injured by someone else in a truck accident, the following parties are potentially liable:
- Parts manufacturer
- The trucking company
- The truck driver
- The truck driver’s employer
- The truck manufacturer
- The truck repair or maintenance shop
is it worth hiring a truck accident lawyer?
Truck accidents are rarely minor, but even minor accidents can benefit from having an experienced truck accident lawyer assist with your case. Truck accidents tend to be very complicated due to the potential parties that could be involved, such as the truck driver and his or her employer.
A truck accident lawyer will be able to negotiate with insurance agencies on your behalf; you should not have to worry about speaking to insurance claims adjusters who may pressure or coerce you to settle or have your car repairs done at a specific shop. The truck’s insurance agency has only their best interests in mind; their goal is to pay you as little as possible. A truck accident attorney will advocate for a fair settlement amount so that you can recover the maximum possible.
Get Help from centennial truck accident attorneys
At Zinda Law Group, we can help you find the best personal injury lawyer near you as we are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims of truck accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our Centennial personal injury lawyers in Colorado. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.