Truck Accident Injuries
Because commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than your average passenger vehicle, Colorado Springs truck accidents are often devastating. Occupants of smaller vehicles in a truck crash are at a high risk of injuries and fatalities because of the incredible forces involved in these wrecks. In most cases, the truck driver walks away unscathed while those in other vehicles suffer serious, life-threatening injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives.
If you suffered injuries in an accident with a large commercial truck, you need help from a Colorado Springs truck accident attorney. At Sears & Associates, P.C., we can help you understand your legal options for compensation after a truck crash, and represent your best interests throughout the claims process. Call us today at 719-471-1984 to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment with a knowledgeable truck crash lawyer.
What are some of the most common ways truckers cause accidents?
Driving While Fatigued
While drivers can only drive a certain number of hours, there are many incentives for them to work around these rules when possible. Most truckers earn their money by the mile, meaning the longer and faster they can drive, the more money they can make.
Even though truck drivers must keep logs to show they take the required rest breaks and sleep for the required number of hours, some drivers disregard rest rules and drive too many hours without rest or sleep. This reduces their reaction time and cognitive skills, and may even cause them to fall asleep while driving.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Underride accidents occur when a car travels underneath a truck. These accidents often occur because truckers fail to properly check blind spots before moving into another lane. While there are industry regulations requiring underride guards on the back of the trailer, there are no laws or regulations calling for these life-saving guards on the side of a trailer.
This means when a truck moves into a lane where a smaller car is already driving, the car can actually go underneath the trailer. This often shaves the top off the car and causes catastrophic injuries to anyone inside.
Are there different laws for truck drivers?
Yes. Because driving a truck is much more difficult and dangerous than driving a passenger car, truck drivers must follow several federal regulations that differ from typical traffic laws.
Passenger car drivers can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 or more. The BAC limit for truck drivers is .04.
Per 49 CFR Part 382, if a truck driver is involved in an accident that leads to an injury or serious property damage, his employer must perform a drug and alcohol test to determine whether he was intoxicated at the time of collision.
Hours of Service
Truck drivers can only stay behind the wheel for so many hours without taking a break. If a driver stays behind longer than allowed or does not take a long enough break, he can cause a deadly collision.
The Federal Carrier Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers and owners to perform regular maintenance on their fleets. 49 CFR Part 396 does not specify an interval, as maintenance needs are fleet-specific. If FMCSA determines that the carrier failed to perform necessary maintenance, it could fine the company for a regulation violation and allow victims to hold the company liable for any accidents that resulted.
Cell Phone Ban
While the legality of cell phone use for drivers differs by state, the FMCSA bans truck drivers across the nation from using a cell phone, unless they are using it hands-free or only need to press one button to make a call.
Even though FMCSA regulations prohibit cell phone use, that does not stop many drivers from talking on the phone, texting, and even watching videos while they drive.
There are several other regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow. If we suspect the driver or company violated a FMCSA regulation, we can obtain evidence to prove the violation and hold the company accountable.
Who is liable for my injuries from a Colorado Springs truck accident?
In most car accident cases, the at-fault driver is liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Liability in a Colorado Springs truck accident case usually works differently, however. Most truck drivers are employees of a trucking company or other corporation. Because they were performing work for these companies when they caused a crash, their employers are vicariously liable for their negligent driving.
Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine stating the employer is responsible for the behavior of an employee who is on-the-clock. This concept applies in almost every truck crash caused by a negligent commercial driver. This means you can collect compensation from a large corporate insurance policy, which usually has higher limits than an individual driver could afford to carry.
How can I collect the compensation I need after a Colorado Springs truck crash?
You need to act quickly after a Colorado Springs truck accident to ensure you reserve the right to file a lawsuit in your case. You have three years from the date of the crash to sue. This might seem like all the time in the world, but it can often take over a year to simply receive a prognosis for your injuries. It can take months to put together a solid case and months to negotiate a fair settlement. If you do not get started right away, you risk losing everything.
Acting quickly after an accident is also important because we are more likely to be able to collect all the evidence pertaining to your case. Since the trucking company holds much of the evidence in a truck crash, we send a spoliation letter as soon as possible after an accident. This letter lays out our intent to file a claim, and requests the trucking company preserve any possible evidence in the case, including trucking logs, digital data from the truck, and other documents.
Sears & Associates, P.C.: Your Colorado Springs Truck Accident Team
After a truck accident, you do not want to take on a trucking company on your own. We stand by our clients, fighting to secure the compensation they need and to protect their rights throughout the process. We work toward the best possible outcome for each case, doing a thorough investigation and analyzing all possible evidence.
Call us today at 719-471-1984 to schedule a time to discuss your claim with us.