Highlands Ranch Truck Accident Lawyers
Call (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with an experienced Highlands Ranch truck accident lawyer
Our economy depends on the trucking industry to deliver the essential goods and commodities we consume day to day, but large trucks also create significant driving risks for everyday passenger vehicles. Trucking accidents can be particularly devastating simply because commercial trucks are much larger than the average vehicle.
Because truck accident cases are typically much more complicated than those involving only standard vehicles, it is especially important to consult with an experienced attorney. At Zinda Law Group, we believe that no victim of a truck accident should confront their case alone.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a truck accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with an Highlands personal injury lawyer near you. Our clients pay nothing unless we win their case.
Truck Accident Statistics
Truck accidents are increasingly common. According to the National Safety Council, 118,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in an injury in 2019. The number of injuries totaled 160,000; the number of deaths totaled 5,005. Approximately 70% of the injuries and fatalities occurred not to truck drivers but to occupants of other vehicles.
Read More: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics – Crashes
Truck accidents are not Car accidents
When confronted with a truck accident case, you should first recognize that accidents involving large trucks are not the same as those involving only standard vehicles.
Heavier Vehicle, Greater Damage
The first key difference is the obvious disparity in size of the vehicles involved. Where an average passenger vehicle may weigh between 4,000–6,000 pounds, an 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This enormous disparity in weight creates the potential for truly catastrophic accidents.
Similarly, the disparity in dimension and shape between standard vehicles and large trucks also adds to the potential for catastrophic injuries and damages. For example, because an everyday passenger vehicle typically sits much lower than an 18-wheeler, there is an increased risk that in an accident the smaller vehicle will slide under the truck and become caught. The large size of 18-wheelers also creates wider “blind spots” for their drivers; therefore, both the truck driver and anyone driving nearby should take added precaution when navigating the road.
Liability Starts Long Before the Wreck Itself
Liability in truck accident cases often begins much earlier than in more commonplace accident types, much earlier than the date of the accident itself; this is because liability in these cases can come from many sources other than the driver. For example, the driver and the owner of the truck or trailer are not always the same person. Liability may also flow from the cargo loader, the truck manufacturer or a parts manufacturer, or a local government or contractor responsible for designing or maintaining the highway.
Further, because of the high risk they create on the road, trucks are subject to more stringent regulation. In addition to local and state regulations, truck drivers must also comply with regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). For example, drivers must comply with federal hours-of-service regulations, which limit the number of hours a driver may operate their truck in a 24-hour period in order to reduce the risk of driver fatigue; violating these regulations is another source of liability.
More Complicated Litigation
The added potential parties make truck accident litigation much more complicated than the average car accident case. The added parties means that there are more sources of potential compensation, particularly in the event the truck driver’s insurance does not cover full compensation.
But proving liability of these parties creates added difficulties. For example, these cases typically require more experts to prove key facts, which creates a significant increase in litigation expense. Further, because of the higher stakes, these cases tend to be litigated more intensely.
Tips for Passenger Vehicle Drivers
The FMCSA has the following advice for passenger vehicle drivers when it comes to driving near large commercial trucks.
Stay Out of Blind Spots
The blind spots on a large truck are much larger than on the average vehicle. Try to stay visible by avoiding blind spots and not driving too closely to the truck.
Pass Safely and Don’t Tailgate
Again, trucks have large blind spots. When passing a truck, make sure you can see the truck driver in your mirrors, signal clearly, and don’t linger in blind spots. One blind spot for a truck is that area immediately behind it—avoid this area.
Consider Stopping Distances
Because large trucks are heavier than the average car, they take much more time to stop. The FMSCA explains that a “fully loaded truck traveling in good road conditions at highway speeds needs a distance of nearly two football fields to stop.”
Don’t Cut Close
In general, cutting too closely in front of other vehicles is dangerous. However, because the high vantage of the truck driver creates a blind spot immediately in front of the truck and because of their long stopping distances, it is especially dangerous to cut in front of an 18-wheeler. Even if they can see you, trucks may not be able to slow down in time to avoid hitting your car.
Watch Out for Wide Turns
Large trucks take much more space to turn. As they “swing wide” to make their turn, give them space.
Steps to take if you have Been Involved in a truck accident
Zinda Law understands that in the immediate aftermath of an accident or crash involving a truck, confusion and pain may have kept you from doing everything you should. Taking the following steps as soon as you are able to will ensure that your case is back on track and as strong as it can be.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Your wellbeing is the top priority; after suffering an accident, you should immediately identify your injuries and seek medical treatment, for even mild injuries need evaluation by a medical professional. Furthermore, you will need evidence to make your case. This step is significant because it allows your injuries to be thoroughly documented by a medical professional; this documentation will become an important source of evidence in your case.
Some of common injuries that may occur after a truck accident include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and scrapes
- Internal injuries
- Emotional trauma
2. Report the Accident
Law enforcement should be called to the scene as soon as possible after the accident so an official report can be filed; this is the first official record documenting the accident and will serve as another source of evidence for your case. Accidents often happen quickly and can be disorienting to those involved. Getting the report filed as soon as possible after the accident can help ensure that key details are not overlooked.
3. Document the Accident
Roads and highways are generally not conducive to preserving evidence. Therefore, in addition to the police report, you should do everything you can to document the scene of the accident. Photographs, video recordings, and audio recordings can be extremely valuable sources of evidence.
Among the most important things to document are road and weather conditions. For example, wet roads, high winds, or low visibility due to fog could each help show that the truck driver should have been driving more carefully.
The condition of the drivers involved should also be taken into consideration. For example, evidence that the driver violated their hours-in-service restrictions can help make your case. Similarly, signs that a driver was intoxicated (for example, demeanor or open containers in the vehicle) or otherwise incapacitated can be another significant source of evidence.
4. Contact An Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Victims of trucking accidents deserve an experienced attorney at their side. Auto accidents involving large trucks are more complicated and intensely contested than accidents involving only standard vehicles. Therefore, it is important that victims of these accidents secure an experienced attorney capable of investigating and handling trucking accident cases.
In particular, consider speaking to an attorney before speaking to an insurance company. Victims of auto accidents often turn to insurance companies before speaking with an attorney, but this can be risky. Insurance companies—even your own—are not neutral third parties, and their settlement offers are not always calculated based on the actuality of the accident but instead on what the companies believe might result from trial.
Having one of our Colorado truck accident lawyers evaluate your case first can ensure that you know your full rights and are being treated fairly. Remember, anything you say to an insurance company can be used against you in litigation. Therefore, never sign forms or waivers provided by an insurance company and never admit fault before consulting with an attorney.
Get Help from Our Highland Truck Accident Attorneys.
At Zinda Law Group, our Highlands personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in handling truck accident cases. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and any other ways your injury has cost you.
We believe victims of trucking accidents should never have to worry about their ability to afford excellent legal representation. At Zinda Law Group, our Colorado truck accident attorneys pride themselves in providing that representation. So, if you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.
You pay nothing unless we win your case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.