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Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident in Colorado?

04/10/2021

Trucks are the most frequently used means of transportation to move goods on land. In the US, there are around 15 million registered trucks in operation. This means that, unfortunately, truck accidents are a common occurrence. When such a crash occurs on the road, it results in severe injuries, even death. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,119 people died in trucking crashes in 2019 across the US - most of them (67%) were passengers in motor vehicles. If you or a loved one was a truck accident victim, you need to get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney at Firouzbakht Law Firm to conduct settlement negotiations on your behalf and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.

A large truck his a VW Beatle in Colorado

It is worth noting that traffic accidents involving large commercial vehicles are more complex than other kinds of car accidents, because there are more parties responsible for the crash: the trucking company, the distributor whose merchandise is in the trailer, or the company that provides maintenance services for the truck. Most of them are large international companies with big legal departments. Thus, you need an experienced truck accident attorney in Colorado to face these skilled lawyers whose job is to make sure that you get paid as little compensation as possible..

What Are the Main Causes of a Truck Crash?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck crashes have three main causes:

  • the driver
  • the vehicle
  • the environment.

Each of these factors is further detailed, because a truck collision has complex legal implications, and its precise cause must be identified.

Truck Vehicles Caused by the Driver

The truck driver may be responsible for the accident in one of the following ways:

  • Distracted driving - texting and driving, unfamiliarity with roadway
  • fatigued, drowsy driving - this means that the driver violated federal trucking regulations concerning rest, usually at the employer's instructions
  • non-performance: if the driver was incapacitated, suffered a stroke or a heart attack and could not control the vehicle
  • reckless driving: the trucker was speeding, misjudged the distance between the truck and  passenger vehicles on the road, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Crashes Caused by the Truck

In some instances, even a driver with an impeccable driving record cannot prevent a crash because of:

  • Poor maintenance of the truck
  • defective brakes
  • overloaded truck or unevenly balanced load.

Cargo Trucks Crashes Caused by the Environment

In this case, the main cause of a commercial truck accident is a poorly maintained road - which accounts for 3% of all crashes..

Who Exactly Is Liable for a Trucking Accident in Colorado?

We took the time to explain the main causes of truck collisions because they affect the liability and involve one or several parties. For the injured party, it is very difficult to identify the correct liable party, especially if they are in pain lying on a hospital bed. This is why it is so important to retain a skilled trucking accident attorney to negotiate the financial compensation you are entitled to receive.

large truck hits small car

Here is a general breakdown of liability, and the factors that influence it:

Truck Drivers

If the accident was caused by the truck driver's negligent actions (driving under influence of alcohol, illegal or even over the counter drugs, speeding, etc.) the trucker is the responsible party for the accident. In this case your rights to compensation will be covered by the trucking insurance companies that provide liability insurance for commercial drivers.

Commercial Trucking Companies

If a driver was fatigued when he caused the crash, the liability for truck accidents usually lies with their employers who give them unreasonable deadlines to deliver the load. Federal regulations state that truck drivers must:

  • take 10 hours off duty after 11 hours of driving
  • take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving
  • extend the off duty period by 2 hours in case of dangerous weather conditions,

An experienced attorney will find out easily if the driver spent more hours on duty than they should have. Since 2017, all truck drivers have electronic logging devices which record hours of service and which are very difficult to tamper with.

Truck Manufacturer

If the cause of a motor vehicle accident was a defective truck, then its manufacturer is liable to pay victims monetary compensation for medical care and other economic and non-economic damages. In this case, you must file a product liability claim, where you are not under obligation to prove breach of duty of care (as you must do in a personal injury lawsuit), only that:

  • the vehicle was defective
  • the defect caused your injuries.

The Maintenance Provider

Looking over the maintenance records for the truck, trucking accident lawyers can quickly identify poor workmanship, failure to identify and fix braking problems or the use of substandard parts.. In this case the company that provides maintenance for the truck is the party responsible for the accident.

The Distributor

In some cases, the entity that hired the trucking company to transport its goods may be liable for the accident. If the load is not properly balanced, the trailer may tip over in a curve. Or, if the driver hits the brake pedal, the truck cabin stops, but the trailer keeps moving forward, crushing a passenger vehicle in between. The distributor is also liable if they were shipping dangerous goods, such as inflammable materials, without taking proper safety precautions.

What You Need to Do after a Truck Collision

Your first concern after any kind of motor vehicle crashes must be your safety. You need to call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention and call a law enforcement team to the crash scene to investigate. While you wait for the police and the ambulance, you should document the crash scene in as much detail as possible, including:

  • taking photos of the position of the vehicles
  • taking photos of your injuries and the damages to your car
  • taking photos of the skid marks left by the truck (if any).

The reason to hurry up is that many modern trucks have an automated system for reporting a crash. This means that the trucking company will quickly send a cleanup team, which will obliterate valuable evidence. At the same time, they will  send an insurance adjuster, who will try to get a statement from you concerning the crash. Do not say a word. Anything you say will be used to hurt your case at a later date.

Instead, you should retain legal representation as quickly as possible and let an experienced trucking accident attorney file your injury claim and negotiate the fair compensation you deserve..

Hire a Trucking Accident Law Firm that Puts You First!

At Firouzbakht Law Firm every client is treated with the same attention and care. We don't settle for anything but a fair compensation amount for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. We know how to negotiate with big trucking insurance companies and with top lawyers and do not fall for their tactics.

Delivery truck hit white car

Our experienced trucking accident lawyers will keep you informed at every step of the way and attempt to make the entire process as stress-free for you as possible while you recover from your injuries.. Also, you do not have to worry about our advance fees, because we work on a contingency basis. This means that we get paid after we win your compensation.

We are here to get justice served for all truck accident victims, so call us for a free case evaluation: 303-529-1722!

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