Denver Trucking Accident Lawyers
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Every year, semi-truck accidents leave thousands of people seriously injured across America. 18-wheeler accidents can be particularly devastating due to their substantial size compared to a standard car. Unfortunately, in the event of a wreck, the passenger vehicle and its occupants often pay the price for the truck driver’s negligence. Injuries can range from whiplash, serious brain and spinal cord injuries, to even fatalities.
Obtaining a fair amount of compensation in these types of cases can be quite a complex matter. If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, it is critical to seek help from an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. A truck injury attorney can help you establish who was at fault, collect evidence, negotiate with the insurance companies, and work to ensure you get a fair settlement.
Call Zinda Law Group today at 800-863-5312 to receive your FREEonsultation with a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer. Our trucking accident lawyers can help determine if you have a case and the best plan of action moving forward. As one of our clients, you will pay nothing unless we can win your semi-truck accident case.
YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
What to do After an 18-Wheeler or Truck Accident:
1. Seek Medical Attention
Trucking accidents often lead to serious injuries. Examples include broken bones, concussions, permanent or temporary paralysis, and even death. Even if you believe that you have not been seriously injured, the number one priority following a trucking accident should be to seek medical attention.
Calling for paramedics or an EMS team can help expedite your recovery process. Seeking medical attention may also reveal a latent injury. For instance, many victims of trucking accidents refuse or neglect to seek medical attention because they are not currently in any pain. However, the injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident may take hours or days to manifest. Seeking prompt and proper medical attention can thus help increase your chances of recovering as quickly as possible.
2. Report the Accident
After receiving medical attention, your next step should be to report the accident to the authorities. Filing a police report of the accident will create an official record and can be used advantageously to strengthen your case against the at-fault party.
When filling out the report, be sure to include as many details as you can remember, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, how the collision occurred, the injuries and vehicular damage sustained as a result of the crash, and whether there were any witnesses to the accident. Refrain from admitting any guilt or accepting any blame for the accident as such statements may be used against you to diminish or eliminate the value of your claim.
3. Document the Accident
A critical step in the post-accident process is to create a thorough and organized file of any document relating to the accident.
- Make sure you get the name of the individual who is driving the truck, the company that owns the truck, as well as any witnesses. Don’t depend on the police report!
- You also want to make sure, if you’re able, to take pictures because you may not be able to take them later
This file may be very helpful in establishing the value of your claim, thereby increasing your chances at receiving fair and just compensation for your injuries and damages.
4. Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Finally, you should contact a truck accident attorney. An attorney will diligently review the facts of your case and begin working on a legal strategy to secure just compensation. Part of this process includes conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and speaking with witnesses. An attorney will also fight against insurance companies on your behalf to prevent the companies from paying less than what your claim is actually worth.
Call one of our experienced truck accident attorneys. Don’t depend on the trucking company’s insurance provider to tell you what your rights are. Their main interest is to save money. An attorney can inform you of what compensation you may be entitled to deserve.
Filing a Trucking Accident Claim in Denver
1. Call a Truck Accident Lawyer
If you wish to file a lawsuit against a truck driver, trucking company, or insurance carrier, you first need to contact a truck accident lawyer. Because trucking accidents often involve complex legal issues such as negligence, contributory negligence, and vicarious liability, it is often a wise choice to consult with an experienced lawyer before making any big decisions. An attorney will meet with you to gather the facts and circumstances of your case. The lawyer will then initiate the formal process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
2. Gathering Evidence
In many cases, evidence collection is the most time-consuming and difficult part of a Denver 18-wheeler case. Fortunately, many semi-trucks are equipped with “black box” recorders that collect data that might be useful as evidence. You may also need the assistance of an accident reconstruction specialist, police officers, and witnesses. To prove your damages, you might also need the opinion of doctors, vocational rehabilitation experts, and other parties. A Denver truck accident attorney at Zinda Law Group will know what evidence you need to gather and to help seek the best outcome for your case.
In order to build the strength of your case, your attorney will need time to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. This investigatory process may require interrogating the at-fault parties, speaking with witnesses to the accident, reviewing many documents, and formulating the best legal strategy for your case. This process also involves accounting for each of your damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
4. Case Settlement
After the investigation phase, it is possible that the at-fault party’s insurance company will attempt to settle your claim. This settlement process involves back-and-forth negotiations between you, your attorney, and the insurance company. During this process, your attorney will advocate on your behalf to get the insurance company to pay the full value of your claim. If the insurance company refuses to pay an amount that is fair or satisfactory, it may be necessary to litigate your claim in court.
Under Colorado law, your degree of fault in the accident must be less than 50 percent for you to recover damages. A driver can be at fault through either accident or omission, and through either intentional or negligent behavior. Common examples of truck driver negligence are driving under the influence, not following regulations, improper truck loading or maintenance, and distracted driving.
Although truck drivers are often blamed for causing a trucking accident, these drivers may not be only at-fault party.
Parties may be held legally liable for a victim’s injuries and damages have been:
Truck drivers could be liable for an accident if they acted negligently or intentionally caused an accident. Examples of negligent behavior may include speeding, falling asleep at the wheel, or distracted driving.
Trucking companies may also be held liable for trucking accidents. Common scenarios involve a company failing to properly hire or train a driver, overworking a driver, or neglecting to repair a worn-down vehicle.
A company that manufactured the vehicle or a component of the vehicle may also be held liable under proper circumstances. For instance, if the manufacturer supplied the trucking company with a defective piece of trucking equipment, and the accident was due to the malfunction of that piece of equipment, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident.
Proving Truck Driver Negligence
In order to succeed on a lawsuit asserting a claim of negligence, a plaintiff typically must establish four essential elements:
- the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff;
- the defendant breached the duty;
- the plaintiff sustained damages; and
- the plaintiff’s damages were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
In trucking accident cases, the duty element is typically established by asserting that the driver or trucking company owed a duty to adhere to the safety standards of professional truck drivers by safely operating and maintaining the vehicles. Various regulations and legislation will establish that the driver and trucking company owed this duty.
The damages element is also fairly easy to establish. Photographs of damaged vehicles and medical bills are often good evidence that a plaintiff has suffered damages.
Proving negligence or breach of duty may be trickier. In the simplest cases, negligence may be established by showing that the driver was intoxicated or that the driver ran a red light. However, such clear-cut evidence is not always available.
In these cases, thorough investigations into the accident may need to be conducted. For instance, it may be necessary to issue subpoenas for the trucking company’s drivers’ logs or safety regulations. Acquiring this evidence can help build a case that the driver or company made a negligent act or omission that ultimately led to the accident.
Similarly, witness statements may need to be taken. A witness to the accident may be able to testify that the driver made an errant maneuver which led to the collision.
Compensation for a serious semi-truck accident might amount to a six-figure sum. A large recovery is often appropriate, because an accident may cost you a lot in damages. ‘Damages’ is the term used to describe the different losses you have incured after an accident. The damages that may be awarded to a victim of a trucking accident are separated into two general categories: Economic damages and Non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be quantified or calculated. The main components of economic damages related to trucking accidents include:
- medical bills
- lost income (present and future)
- property damage
Medical bills include costs paid by the victim for services such as hospital stays, doctors’ appointments, medications, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
The lost income component includes the time the victim missed from work due to the injury. If the injury prevents or impairs the victim’s ability to work beyond the date of the accident, lost income may also include the victim’s loss in earning capacity.
Property damage refers to damage inflicted to the victim’s vehicle and personal belongings.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses, which are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. You need to account for all of your present and future damages when you file your trucking injury lawsuit because you will not be able to come back for more later on. Intangible damages are normally capped at $250,000.
Although this class of damages is often harder to quantify than economic damages, non-economic damages are often more valuable than economic damages. Types of non-economic damages may include:
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- loss of consortium.
Punitive damages are a separate component of damages that may be awarded not to compensate the victim, but to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages are rare but may be awarded in cases where the at-fault party’s conduct was found to be especially reckless, wanton, egregious, or intentional. Punitive damages may also be awarded if the accident resulted in wrongful death. In such cases, punitive damages may be awarded to the victim’s surviving spouse or family members if the at-fault party’s conduct was found to be reckless, egregious, or intentional.
Statute of Limitations in Colorado
A “statute of limitations” is a legal time-limit on which a person must file a lawsuit. If a party fails to bring a claim within the applicable statute of limitations, that party is effectively barred from litigating the claim in court. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state.
In Colorado, there is a three-year statute of limitations for motor vehicle accident claims. This means that if you were hit by a truck, you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party no later than three years from the date of the collision.
If the accident resulted in the death of an individual, the surviving family members of the decedent may pursue a wrongful death claim. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the person’s death.
In cases of trucking accidents involving injury to a child, the statute of limitations is “tolled,” or extended, until the child reaches the age of eighteen. The child then has three years from that date to file a lawsuit.
It is recommended you seek help from a trucking accident attorney early on to ensure evidence is not lost and there are no common mistakes that could damage your case.
Types of Truck Accident Claims
Trucking accidents are not limited to rear-end collisions or sideswipes. Rather, trucking accidents, and the claims that follow come in many forms. Listed below are just some of the more common types of truck accident claims.
Truck drivers must deal with very large blind spots. Sometimes, the drivers fail to see a passing vehicle driving in the blind spot. This failure to notice a passing vehicle may lead to a collision between the two automobiles, or even to a multi-car accident.
Jackknifing occurs when a truck driver brakes hard and suddenly. When this happens, the great momentum of the vehicle causes the trailer portion to slide or skid outward to either direction, creating a 90-degree angle to the truck’s cab. The flailing trailer may collide with another vehicle or vehicles, causing substantial damage.
If a truck driver somehow loses control of the vehicle, perhaps because of a sudden stop or swerve, the truck may roll over onto its side and slide into nearby traffic. This can lead to significant damage to nearby motorists.
A truck driver may also rear-end another vehicle. This may happen due to the enormous weight of large trucks. Unlike fender-benders between two non-commercial vehicles, a rear-end trucking accident may lead to a totaled vehicle.
Wide turn accidents most frequently occur when a truck driver is attempting to make a right-hand turn. In order to make the turn, the driver will often swing the truck to the left to create a better turning angle. However, this maneuver may result in the truck colliding with an unsuspecting vehicle on its left-hand side.
Lost Load Accidents
Lost load accidents occur when the freight on a truck is improperly loaded or secured. Negligent acts such as these may lead to objects flying off the truck’s cargo bed, putting nearby motorists at great risk.
Head-On Collisions/T-Bone Collisions
Head on collisions and T-Bone collisions between a truck and a regular car are not uncommon and can lead to severe and possibly fatal consequences.
Trucking accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, any of which may give rise to liability on the truck driver or the trucking company. Listed below are descriptions of several common causes of trucking accidents within the Denver area.
Fatigue or drowsiness is perhaps the most common cause of trucking accidents not only in Colorado but across the country. Given that truck drivers work long shifts, many of which can exceed well over twelve hours, it makes sense that some of these individuals often feel tired while on the roadways. The pressure to meet deadlines adds stress, which compounds the issue. These factors may combine to lead to loss of concentration or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Just like regular motorists, truck drivers are susceptible to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Given the changing legal landscape of marijuana use in Colorado, it may be the case that more truck drivers are driving while under the influence of the drug. Whatever the case may be, alcohol and drug use can impair a driver’s focus and coordination, which may lead to a serious accident.
Lack of Training or Maintenance
Many times, the trucking company itself may be found to be the cause of an accident. Improper training of employees or failure to properly maintain a truck are two primary causes of trucking accidents. In these cases, the trucking company may be found to be negligent by not acting reasonably in providing proper training or keeping the vehicle in safe conditions.
Unsafe Driving/Road Rage
Although we would always like truck drivers to practice perfect driving, this is simply not the case. Truck drivers may speed, fail to use a turn signal, run a stop sign, or otherwise exhibit hazardous driving practices. Such practices may lead to an accident. Truck drivers are also on the road for many hours. Dealing with stop-and-go traffic or other unsafe motorists may lead to frustration in the form of road rage. This rage may boil over and lead a truck driver to negligently, or intentionally, cause an accident.
Get Help From a Denver Truck Injury Attorney Today
The trucking accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group are here to help you get justice and seek maximum compensation for your injuries. A semi-truck accident can be very serious and result in expensive hospital bills, loss of wages, suffering, and more. Our Denver truck lawyers will help protect your rights and get the justice you deserve.
Our attorneys are on standby and ready to help with your semi-truck injury case so you can focus on what is most important: your recovery. Call 800-863-5312 today for a free consultation with one of our experienced 18-wheeler injury lawyers.
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