Semi Truck Accident Lawyer in Denver
Experienced 18-Wheeler & Semi-Truck Crash Lawyer
If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, a large truck or a dump truck, the results can be devastating. A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds as opposed to a passenger vehicle which weighs closer to 4,000 pounds. This means the accident can cause fatalities or extremely serious injuries which can require months, years, or even a lifetime of medical care. A truck accident lawyer Denver from the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya can help you through this difficult time.
We will begin the investigation process immediately, collecting the black box from the truck to get valuable data regarding the accident and putting the truck company on notices that no evidence can be destroyed. We will ensure photos of the accident scene are taken, will interview witnesses and will obtain the driver’s log to show the number of hours the driver was on the road the day of the accident. Our attorneys will help you get medical attention for the serious truck accident injuries you’ve sustained—we have a network of nationally recognized physicians from various specialties and dedicated medical treatment providers who will ensure you get the medical attention you need.
Facts About Commercial Truck Accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017, with only seventeen percent of those deaths being occupants of a large commercial truck. Unfortunately, the number of those who died in semi-truck accidents was a staggering 30 percent higher in 2017 than it was in 2009. Truck braking can be a factor in large truck accidents, since a loaded semi-truck can take up to 40 percent farther than a passenger vehicle to stop. This stopping distance increases significantly on a wet or slippery roadway, or when the truck brakes are poorly maintained. Truck driver fatigue and distracted driving accidents on the part of truck drivers have both increased significantly over the past few years; many truck drivers routinely violate federal hours-of-service regulations which allows them to drive up to eleven hours at a stretch.
Truck Accidents in Denver
According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments there were about 2,600 truck collisions in the Denver region in 2013, resulting in 12 fatalities and 51 serious injuries. Between 2012 and 2014, there were 162 fatalities from truck crashes in the state of Colorado—about 70 percent of these involved a semi-truck and trailer, while the remainder were large trucks like dump trucks. The truck collisions in the state of Colorado were just about equally divided between freeways, local roads and arterials, and about half of all these truck collisions occurred at non-intersections (intersection truck accidents accounted for about 38 percent of the total number of truck accidents). In the majority of these Colorado truck accidents, the truck was going straight; right and left turns were next in line for frequency, followed by changing lanes, backing, slowing and parked.
How a Commercial Truck Accident or Dump Truck Accident is Different
Aside from the sheer size of a large commercial truck, a truck accident is different largely because there can be a number of potential defendants in the case. Of course, the more defendants your attorney identifies, the better the likely outcome for your semi-truck accident claim. The driver of the truck could be at fault, whether due to reckless driving behaviors, fatigued driving, impaired driving, distracted driving, or simply because he or she is inexperienced. The trucking company could be at fault if they knowingly placed an inexperienced truck driver on the roadways, or if they failed to do a comprehensive background check on the driver. The maintenance company could be found liable if the accident was due to poor maintenance, or the loading company could be liable if the load was not properly secured.
The truck manufacturer or the manufacturer of specific truck parts could be held responsible if those parts were defective and caused or contributed to the accident. If a truck driver is an independent contractor, it can be more difficult to establish third-party company liability, as the level of supervision over the driver by the trucking company must be shown. Each one of these entities carry their own separate insurance policy. Since a truck accident is often catastrophic, requiring years—or a lifetime—of medical treatments, it is essential that all liable parties be properly identified.
What Are the Types of Large Truck Accidents?
There are many different types of commercial trucks on our United States roadways, with each one specially designed to perform a task. There are garbage, trash and other type of dump trucks which are often in residential areas, carrying large loads of dirt, gravel sand, demolition debris, trash, dry materials or other construction materials. Dump truck loads are often top-heavy, making them particularly dangerous in an accident. Semi-trucks, also known as “big rigs,” or “18-wheelers.” These large trucks have several blind spots and a high center of gravity, making them prone to rollovers. Because these large semi-trucks often make extremely long runs, their drivers are likely to be in a constant state of fatigue.
Tanker trucks haul liquids or gases, many of which are classified as hazardous. Like semi-trucks, tanker trucks are prone to rollovers. When a tanker truck is involved in an accident, toxic substances can be released. Flatbed trucks have a long open trailer which accommodates loading and unloading cargo. If that cargo is improperly secured, it can become dislodged, hitting nearby vehicles and causing serious accidents. Tow trucks are usually operated by private contractors. Often, due to less stringent requirements, the drivers of tow trucks are not properly trained, which can lead to serious accidents.
There are just as many types of truck accidents as types of trucks. The most common type of truck accidents include the following:
- A jackknife accident occurs when a truck driver brakes fast and hard, causing the trailer to skid outward, creating a 90-degree angle to the front part of the cab of the truck.
- A rollover occurs when the driver loses control of the truck, causing it to slide and rollover onto its side. A rollover accident can potentially slide into a number of innocent motorists.
- A tire blowout can cause a truck accident, and because trucking companies typically used “recapped” tires, blowouts are much more likely to happen on a large truck.
- Sometimes known as a “swinging turn,” large trucks make wide turns, swinging to the left to make a right-hand turn. The truck may then crash into the cars on the right, squeezing them between the truck and whatever is on the car’s right side, such as a sidewalk.
- A truck has multiple blind spots; when the truck driver cannot see other vehicles when it changes lanes adjacent vehicles and their passengers can be placed in significant danger of a collision.
- Rear-end trucking accidents can cause significant levels of injury and property damage due to the sheer weight of trucks.
- Under-ride accidents can occur when a truck stops suddenly, and a smaller vehicle, approaching from behind becomes lodged under the trailer of the truck. Under-ride accidents are some of the deadliest truck accidents.
- When cargo is improperly loaded, it can fall off, causing extreme danger to surrounding motorists.
- When a head-on collision occurs between a truck and another vehicle, there are likely to be fatalities or victims with long-term disabilities.
What Are the Causes of Large Truck Accidents?
There are many different factors involved in truck accidents. A truck accident could be caused by severe weather, poor road conditions, road construction, overloaded or improperly loaded cargo, mechanical malfunction, poor truck maintenance or blind spots. Truck accidents can also be caused by any of the following as they relate to the truck driver:
- Inadequate training to drive a large truck;
- Truck driver inexperience;
- Unsafe or careless driving;
- Exceeding the speed limit;
- Driver distraction due to using a GPS, eating, texting or talking on a cell phone;
- Driver fatigue;
- Aggressive driving;
- Road rage;
- Failure to check blind spots prior to changing lanes or turning;
- Failing to obey the rules of the road, or
- Unsafe passing.
Reconstructing a Truck Accident
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, there are many different issues you may have to deal with which are unique to trucking accidents. In order to be able to prove negligence or fault and force the negligent party to pay for your expenses and damages, it may be necessary to reconstruct the accident. Reconstructing a commercial truck accident can be much more complex than doing so in an accident involving only passenger vehicles.
The analysis of the truck accident will include such factors as mechanical failure, braking factors, factors pertaining to the driver, or even weather and road condition factors: however, the reconstruction is only one aspect of this analysis. The investigation will begin when a professional inspects the site of the accident, taking measurements of the evidence left during the vehicle collision. This evidence could include point of impact, any skid marks, as well as the final resting position of both vehicles. Normally, highly sophisticated equipment which is typically used in surveying is used to take these measurements, allowing a computer-generated diagram to scale to be produced.
There are many aspects to a truck accident reconstruction, and your Colorado accident attorney will be able to more fully explain each step. A truck accident reconstruction can be extremely important in the fight to get you the compensation you both need and deserve. You likely have significant amounts of medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and a level of pain and suffering rarely seen in “normal” auto accidents. Your attorney from the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya will fight aggressively for your rights, using the accident reconstruction as a tool to obtain the settlement which is owed to you.
Getting the Help You Need from a Truck Accident Lawyer Denver
If you have been injured in a truck accident you could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, pain and suffering, other out-of-pocket expenses and possibly punitive damages if the actions of the truck driver were particularly egregious. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya work with a select network of physicians, treatment providers and medical specialists who can quickly get you on the road to recovery. Our truck accident attorneys will stay in close contact with you from start to finish, acting as a trusted advisor as we work together for your future. Contact Dianne Sawaya today to determine your legal options; we will help you decide your course of action for the right outcome for you.