Mark A. Simon
What to Know if You’re Involved in a Commercial Truck Accident in Denver
According to statistics on TruckAccidents.org, about 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck collisions. Here in Colorado, with commercial truckers using main thoroughfares like I-25 and I-70 for interstate and cross-country transportation, the likelihood of an auto accident in Denver involving a truck is high. The trucking industry is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with state transportation agencies. As a result, commercial truckers must adhere to several laws. If you’re ever involved in an accident with a commercial truck, here’s what you’ll need to know that could impact your case:
- Did the driver have a commercial license? Without a commercial license, the driver can be held liable for the accident and so can the driver’s employer. Any driver of a commercial vehicle, including an 18-wheeler, must have the proper license to be out on the road.
- Was the driver transporting hazardous materials? Safety regulations for transporting hazardous materials must be followed carefully, and any breach by the driver could result in a claim against not only the driver, but the employer and the company shipping the material, as well.
- Was there a defect in the truck? If the accident was a result of a defect in the truck’s brake system or any other component, then there may have been a failure in quality assurance and could result in product liability. In other words, you could be able to make a claim against the truck’s manufacturer or supplier, or the entity in charge of repairing the truck.
- Was the driver overly tired? “Hours of service” are highly regulated in the trucking industry, and a driver who does not follow the regulations for rest breaks can be held at fault. In fact, driver fatigue accounts for around 30 percent of all commercial truck accidents.
- Was the truck overloaded? Weight limits for trucks are based on the size of the truck, and an overloaded truck can be a danger on the road. So being able to determine what was in the truck at the time of the accident and when it was last weighed could impact the investigation.
- Was the driver negligent? If the driver was drinking and driving, broke a law while driving, or otherwise behaved in a negligent manner while driving—in other words, acted carelessly which resulted in an injury to another person—they can be held liable.
- Was the company negligent in hiring a bad driver? Employers or companies can be held negligent, as well. If an employer failed to conduct a thorough background check on a driver or to uncover prior convictions for drunk driving and hired that driver anyway, the employer can be held liable and charged as negligent.
In the event you’re ever involved in a Denver truck accident and need legal advice, contact Denver auto accident attorney Mark A. Simon, who specializes in vehicular accidents and wrongful death. Call 303-321-HURT to learn more about your options.