TRUCK ACCIDENTS ATTORNEY IN DENVER, COLORADO
Nearly 5,000 people died in 2020 from large truck crashes according to data put out by the National Highway Safety Administration. Being involved in a trucking accident with an 18-wheeler is a truly traumatic experience, and many victims suffer serious injuries or even death. Because the consequences can be so dire, it’s essential that those who drive these commercial trucks practice exemplary safety measures to minimize incidents—but this is not enough to prevent all crashes.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a semi-truck accident and you’d like more information about how to file a wrongful death or personal injury claim, contact us and set up a consultation with Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law. From our office in Denver, Colorado, we can help clients in Aurora, Commerce City, Englewood, Arvada, Lakewood, Centennial, Wheatridge, and Thornton.
Laws Affecting Truck Accidents
There are a few state and federal laws that regulate large trucks on the road, and it’s important to understand how these laws could affect your personal injury case. First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations specifically targeted to reduce death and injury caused by an 18-wheeler accident. For example, they set limits on how many hours a driver may work within a set period of time. For trucks carrying goods, drivers can only drive 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off and must take a 30-minute break after having driven 8 hours. Drivers who are carrying passengers can only drive 10 hours after having 8 consecutive hours off. Ensuring that drivers are well rested and not working long hours reduces accidents on the road and the chance a driver may fall asleep at the wheel.
Additionally, there are Colorado regulations in place for other safety measures such as mandating vehicles operate with chains on their tires during winter weather, as well as make use of mud flaps (splash guards) behind their tires to reduce the spray on other vehicles.
Hurt in a Truck Wreck?
Assessing Liability: Who Can Be Liable?
The most important job is figuring out who is at fault in a truck accident. This can often be more difficult than compared to a normal passenger vehicle crash. It’s possible the truck driver themselves will be liable if you can prove it was through their own negligence or recklessness that the accident happened. For example, if they had intentionally driven beyond the regulated hours or if they were found with drugs or alcohol in their system. Fault may also lie with the trucking company if it was their management that caused the crash. This could happen if they knowingly sent a driver out who was underqualified or undertrained, or if they pressured their drivers to meet unreasonable deadlines.
In other cases, the liability could be the truck manufacturer’s if a certain part or engine component failed and this was the cause of the accident. Fault can also be assigned to the person who loaded the cargo in the container if it was done improperly. For instance, if the truck was carrying a heavy load that wasn’t secured in the back or was off-balance, when the driver has to round a corner or make a sudden stop, the cargo can cause the entire truck to tilt and either flip over or send the truck of course. Lastly, it’s possible for certain maintenance personnel to be blamed for the accident if they inspected the truck prior to it being driven, and ignored or failed to fix a defective part.
Factors in Determining Liability
Although each crash is unique and will be handled independently by your truck accident attorney, there are some common factors that will be considered when determining liability. People will first often look to the driver themselves to see if they were overly fatigued and could have fallen asleep at the wheel, were distracted, or didn’t have adequate training. Next, we will look at the vehicle driver to see if it was their negligence that led to the crash. If the driver was inattentive of where the semi-truck was in relation to their car and they tried to turn or change lanes without signaling or being given enough space, liability could be assigned to them. Finally, there are instances where it’s neither the truck driver nor the vehicle driver’s fault and was instead due to circumstances beyond their control. This would happen in cases of severe weather or poor road conditions.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
It’s highly recommended you work with a personal injury attorney when filing a lawsuit to ensure you have sufficient evidence to back up your claim. If you’re the victim, you have three years after the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If you’re representing a loved one who was incapacitated or lost their life in the accident, you have two years to file a claim on their behalf. For either suit, you’ll need several pieces of evidence that could include police reports, medical bills, witness testimony, photographs and video, funeral and burial expenses, or documentation of property damage.
Truck Accidents Attorney in Denver, Colorado
If you’re in Denver, Colorado, and have recently been in an accident involving a semi-truck or you’re representing a loved one who lost their life this way, reach out to our team at Mark A. Simon, Attorney at Law. We’re here to help.