What Should I Do If I’ve Been In A Truck Accident In Denver, Colorado?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes regulations and requirements on truck drivers and trucking companies in order to keep everyone safe while we share our roads with these necessary but very large vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that accidents don’t happen. And when these crashes happen, it is very important to know what to do next and who should help you do it.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been In A Truck Accident In Denver, Colorado?
If you are injured in a truck accident, it is crucial that you take certain steps in order to protect yourself and your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries. Being in a commercial truck accident is a traumatic event resulting in physical, emotional, and financial damages for the accident victim and his or her family.
Often the victims of truck accidents are severely injured; therefore, they may be unable to take the necessary steps to protect themselves as they attempt to cope with life-altering medical conditions that are often permanent. If you have been injured and you are unable to take the following steps following a truck accident, ask a family member or friend to contact an experienced Denver truck accident attorney immediately to act on your behalf. Otherwise, following a truck accident you should:
- Seek medical attention – Your first priority is to receive the medical attention you need If possible, note the name and address of the medical facility where you are treated as well as the name of all medical professionals providing care.
- Report the accident immediately- In most cases, law enforcement officers and emergency personnel will already be dispatched because Denver truck accidents are rarely “fender benders” where all parties are able to leave the scene of the accident without medical attention.
- Avoid speaking with the truck driver or other drivers – You can provide your contact information; however, do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone at the scene of the accident other than a law enforcement officer.
- Request witness contact information – If people who witnessed the accident have stopped to assist, try to get as much contact information (i.e. name, address, telephone number, email address, etc.) from each witness as possible.
- Photograph the accident scene – If you are unable to move, ask someone to use your cell phone or camera to walk around and photograph the entire accident scene including the vehicles, road, roadside obstacles, and any other relevant objects from several different angles.
- Contact an Experienced Denver Truck Accident Attorney – Call the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC for a free consultation. You should always consult an attorney before providing written or recorded statements or signing any release or other documents in a Denver truck accident case. This information could be used to lower the value of your claim or dispute liability in your case. You need an attorney to protect your best interests as soon as possible following a Denver truck accident.
- Report the accident to your insurance company –Contact your insurance company to report the accident and provide the basic details regarding the accident. It is best to consult with an attorney prior to discussing the accident with any insurance company, even your own insurance company.
What If I Am Partially At Fault For The Accident?
Colorado has adopted a modified version of comparative negligence regarding vehicle accidents. In order to receive compensation for your injuries in a Denver truck accident, you must prove that the truck driver and/or trucking company was negligent or “at fault” in causing the accident. This establishes the truck company’s liability to compensate you for your damages. If you were not at fault for the accident, you are entitled to claim 100% of your damages; however, if you were partially at fault, your claim will be reduced by comparative negligence law.
Under Colorado comparative negligence law, you cannot be more than 50 percent at fault in order to collect compensation for your injuries. If you are 51 percent at fault for the truck accident, you will not be able to recover any of your damages from the truck driver or the trucking company. However, if you are 49 percent at fault for the accident, you compensation will be reduced by the amount of your fault (i.e. 49 percent).
Because trucking companies and their insurance carries often like to allege comparative fault as a means of lowering the value of a trucking accident claim, you need an experienced Denver truck accident attorney to represent you. An experienced attorney knows how to refute these allegations using evidence from the accident scene, witness statements, evidence obtained from the trucking company, and expert testimony.
How Can I Defensively Drive To Avoid Getting In A Truck Crash?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 95,000 people were injured in truck crashes during 2013 and 3,964 were killed during the same year. Each day, large trucks carry goods from one corner of the country to the other; therefore, we must share the road with these extremely large and heavy vehicles. Due to the number of commercial trucks that now travel our roads and highways, truck accidents are a common occurrence in Colorado, including in the Denver area.
Accidents involving commercial trucks are usually devastating for the occupants of a passenger car due to the difference in size of the vehicles involved. Injuries can be substantial, permanent, and life-changing. However, there are steps you can take to avoid getting into a truck crash.
- Never assume that the truck driver sees you or is paying attention to the road. Many truck accidents are caused through driver error (i.e. districted driving, reckless driving, driving while fatigued, etc.).
- Allow an ample amount of space between your car, the truck, and other vehicles.
- Always maintain a safe speed.
- Never text while driving and minimize other distractions such as changing the radio channels, talking on the phone, adjusting vehicle controls, etc.
- Remain cautious and alert at all times, especially when approaching or passing large trucks.
- Watch for trucks making turns, entering the highway, or making lane changes.
- Give trucks extra space when driving through narrow lanes, obstructed roads, and construction zones.
- During inclement weather, leave even more distance between you and large trucks.
- When passing a truck, leave several car lengths between you and the truck before re-entering the truck’s lane.
Are Trucks Allowed To Drive On All Highways In And Around Denver?
No, trucks have restricted routes in and around Denver and throughout Colorado. Article XI of the Denver Municipal Code contains the laws that restrict truck routes in and around Denver. Drivers can also find information on restricted truck routes on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website.
Contact an Experienced Denver Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a family member has been injured in a Denver truck accident, contact the Law Office of Dianne Sawaya, LLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal rights to receive compensation for your injuries.