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What to Do After a Truck Accident in Colorado?

06/05/2021

Truck accidents may not be frequent, but they are deadly when they occur. Find out what to do after a truck accident in Colorado, causes, and prevention tips.

Truck accidents, like other motor vehicle accidents, are among the leading causes of road accident death in Colorado. Those who survive suffer from minor injuries to catastrophic injuries. This makes it imperative to know what to do after a truck accident in Colorado. 

Having this knowledge will help you prepare well for a personal injury claim if you decide to take legal action against the fault party. Our attorneys at Firouzbakht Law Firm have the expertise and experience needed to help you understand the steps you should take after a truck traffic accident. 

How Often Do Truck Accidents Happen in Colorado? 

Two large trucks travel through Colorado to get to their destination

Truck collisions involve light trucks and large trucks. Truck statistics from the United States Department of Transportation showed that in 2018, fatal truck accidents in Colorado involved 405 light trucks and 89 large trucks. There were 87 fatal semi-trailer accidents. 

By comparison, fatal crashes involving passenger cars were 327, with 108 motorcycles. These numbers show that accidents involving semi-trucks happen more often than is prudent. The fact that trucks spend a long time on the road, moving from state to state, increases the chances of them getting into a crash.

Common causes of commercial truck crashes include: 

  • Poor road maintenance or slippery roads
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (this includes prescription drugs)
  • Speeding
  • Fatigue 
  • Distracted driving

Even if a driver has decades of experience driving a truck, they can still get into a catastrophic truck accident for any of the above reasons. Following an accident, the trucker or any other motor vehicle driver might either have bodily injuries or fatal injuries. These wounds could range from minor to severe, depending on the crash impact and other factors. 

Common injuries sustained in a trucking accident include:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal injuries or internal organ injury or internal bleeding
  • Chest injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Whiplash
  • Head injury

A victim who survives these wounds may not return to the quality of life they had before the accident. An example is someone who gets an amputated limb. This is why it is crucial to know what to do after a truck accident and at what point you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer. 

What To Do After a Truck Accident in Colorado? 

As mentioned already, the types of injuries sustained after a trucking accident differs. While some people escape with their lives and suffer only minor injuries, others aren’t so fortunate. Those who survive and the relatives of those who die are entitled to compensation.

While the law guarantees payment of damages for crash victims, compensation claims face problems all the time. This happens when insurance companies prove difficult or when the plaintiff fails to have enough evidence to prove the fault driver's negligence. For this reason, truck accident victims must know what to do after a collision.

Below are steps to take after a truck accident in Colorado:

Gather Information About the Truck

While truckers are not always responsible for a commercial truck accident, the fault lies with them more often than not. Also, factors like overloaded cargo, inadequate maintenance, manufacturer's defect may cause a commercial truck crash. In either of these cases, it is vital to know who to bring the truck accident claim against. 

Most commercial truck drivers are not independent contractors. It means that they work for a trucking or freight company. These intricacies mean that several people might be liable in a personal injury lawsuit resulting from a truck accident. Thus, get the vehicle's license plate number, the tag number, company name, if any, and any other visible information. 

Get Information on Damages to Other Vehicles

If it is a multiple vehicle accident, then you need to get information on the other cars. While taking photos of the scene, capture the damages to your vehicle and others. The photo should cover different angles or debris before removing the cars from the road. Note that aside from the work of accident reconstruction experts, photographic evidence is another way to determine how the crash happened. 

Note Road, Traffic, and Weather Conditions

Most people don't realize this, but the state of the road, traffic situation, and weather play a key role in determining negligence. Pay attention to whether the road was wet and slippery and traffic congestion or flowing traffic. Also, note whether the weather was clear or foggy and if the truck driver drove considering all these factors. 

Exchange Insurance Information

Our experience as truck accident attorneys has shown us that parties to an accident shift the financial burden to their insurance carrier. The only time parties responsible for a collision handle claims for compensation themselves is when they are uninsured. Thus, it is ideal to exchange insurance information after a truck collision. 

When you do this, you'll know immediately if the negligent party has insurance coverage. If they don't, you'll have to get their personal information like driver's license, home, and office address, etc. 

Collect Witness Statements and Information

Whether you choose to file a truck accident lawsuit or accept financial compensation out of court, you need witness statements. Surviving an 18-wheeler accident, for instance, would leave you in a dazed state. You might also fail to gather as much information as you can. 

A Colorado truck drives to it's destination to deliver shipment

This is where witnesses come in. Collect their statement and contact information. You would need the latter if you chose to call them to testify about what they witnessed when the crash happened. Ensure you do this politely. 

Get Police Report and Medical Records

You need these two to establish your injury claim against the liable party. A police report is an official document stating how the collision occurred. A medical report contains the nature and severity of the injuries, treatment plan, and the number of medical bills. It would also state if you've attained Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) or would need future treatments. 

Keep an Accident Journal

In the journal, keep a record of your journey to recovery and what you lost in the process. It should contain information on hospital visits, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. It would help you in your financial recovery journey to get the maximum compensation. 

How Can Truck Accidents Be Avoided? 

There is no accident that is not preventable; driver's negligence is the bedrock of most collisions. To avoid trucking accidents in Colorado, follow the following recommendations: 

  • Move slowly, and avoid driving over the legal or posted speed limit
  • Thoroughly check your blind spots, and carry out a pre-trip inspection
  • Plan your trip, and if you're traveling on unfamiliar roads, use a GPS for navigation
  • Place adequate space between vehicles, and avoid tailgating
  • Watch out for turns, and if there's information on adverse weather, wait until it passes

Who Pays for Damages in a Truck Accident?

Victims of a commercial trucking accident are entitled to three types of compensation. They are economic damages for financial losses, non-economic damages for intangible losses, and punitive damages. The latter is only awarded in trucking accident lawsuits as deterrence against gross negligence. 

Economic and non-economic damages cover: 

  • Medical bills and cost of future treatment
  • Loss of income and loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Funeral and burial expenses where the victim dies

These categories of compensation are paid for by:

  • The fault driver
  • Trucking company
  • Cargo loader
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Truck mechanic

The injured victim can claim against one or more of the above depending on who liability falls on. They would pay for the losses through their insurance provider. Remember that an insurance adjuster would access the merit of your compensation claim before settling. 

If they find the claim for compensation to be without merit, they will not settle. However, a claim can have value, and the insurance carrier might still refuse to pay the settlement sum. When this happens, get an accident attorney involved. Our trucking accident lawyers at Firouzbakht Law Firm are experts in Colorado's truck accident law.

Does the Comparative Negligence Rule Affect Compensation in Trucking Accidents?  

Colorado practices a system of modified comparative negligence rules. It means that liability in an accident does not need to be 100%. There can be a proportion of the blame the parties share, referred to as comparative. 

It means that a victim would have their degree of liability deducted from their settlement sum. For instance, a car traveling at average speed fails to take a turn properly. While making the turn, a speeding semi-truck crashes into the smaller vehicle and totals it. 

A truck is driving on a COlorado road at sunset

The law will assess the degree of liability of both parties. If the passenger car driver has 25% of the blame and gets $100 000 awarded as damages, their take-home would be $75,000. In that scenario, the court minus 25% from the judgment sum. 

Conversely, if the defendant's liability is not up to 51% or more, they will owe the injured victim nothing. Similarly, if the truck driver and the motor vehicle driver both have equal faults, say 50% each, they will not owe each other. Consult a Firouzbakht car accident attorney for a more detailed explanation. 

A Colorado Expert Truck Accident Attorney Is Who You Need!

At Firouzbakht Law Firm, we have an expert team of personal injury lawyers with years of experience helping our clients get justice. We understand the financial stakes and emotional traumas of a truck accident and are available to help you. Our job is to get you a fair settlement, and we take it seriously. We work on a contingency basis and will charge no upfront fee. Contact us today for a free case review.

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