A serious truck accident can forever change the lives of victims and their families. Trucks’ immense size, heavy cargo, limited visibility, and the speeds they travel make them a severe hazard to those who are forced to share the road with them. Crash victims can be left with skyrocketing medical expenses, an inability to work, and immense pain.
Colorado truck accident attorney Sean Olson has years of experience helping crash victims and their families demand full and fair compensation from powerful trucking insurance companies. He knows how complex truck accident claims can be, and his team has the skills and resources to thoroughly investigate and handle these tough cases.
If you have been seriously hurt or lost a family member in a truck accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, the Olson Law Firm is here to help. Our Colorado personal injury law firm provides an unwavering client experience and has built a track record of outstanding results for truck accident victims. Sean will meet with you personally to talk about your case and answer any questions you have. Please call (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Why Colorado Truck Accident Claims Are More Complicated
You would think that filing a personal injury claim for compensation after a truck accident would be the same as after a car accident or motorcycle accident. That is far from the truth. Pursuing payment for your truck accident injuries can be a frustrating and stressful process, with the trucking and insurance companies fighting you every step of the way.
Some of the factors that make these types of claims more difficult (and call for the help of a skilled attorney) include:
Complexity of securing evidence. Truck accidents require an in-depth examination of evidence critical to the case, such as driver logbooks, driver record, and maintenance records on the truck. Trucking companies must keep detailed records for specific periods of time, but they are then free to destroy the records after the set time has passed. Individual logbook entries or other records could also be falsified, and the wrecked truck may be quickly disposed of.
Layers of insurance with high policy limits. Another notable difference with a commercial truck accident is that the trucking company is required by law to maintain insurance that has far higher policy limits than the standard passenger vehicle. The result of these higher limits is that people may be able to obtain much larger awards for catastrophic injuries than they would receive in a traditional car crash claim where policy limits cap their actual recovery amount. Some cases can involve multiple insurance policies, and these can become complicated very quickly when a person is dealing with claims adjusters in various states.
A web of federal regulations. Commercial trucks also need to comply with strict federal regulations, so you are going to want to know if your accident involved some violation of federal law. Truck drivers have mandatory limits on the number of hours they are allowed to drive in a day and week. Also, the trucks themselves must be regularly maintained according to federal regulations, and failure to comply with any of these rules could be considered negligent.
At the Olson Law Firm, our knowledgeable Colorado truck accident lawyer has successfully handled complex truck accident cases throughout Colorado. Sean knows what it takes to go head to head with large trucking companies, and he is prepared to go to battle for you.
Who Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident in Colorado?
A commercial truck wreck is different from the average car accident because they often result in catastrophic injuries and extensive property damage. In addition, unlike your usual fender bender where one driver or the other is the only liable party, it is possible for several different parties to be responsible for a truck accident. Some of the various parties that could share liability include:
- Truck Driver
- Truck Owner
- Trucking Company
- Defective Truck Part Manufacturer
- Maintenance Company
- Cargo Loading Company
- Shipping Agency
- Governmental Entity
- Another Driver
Multiple liable parties are relatively common in truck accidents because many drivers are independent contractors who don’t own the vehicle they are driving. Additionally, one company may own the tractor while another owns the trailer or the cargo inside.
Our experienced truck accident lawyer in Colorado will thoroughly investigate your accident to identify all potentially liable parties and sources of compensation for you.
How Our Colorado Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Attorney Scott Olson aggressively represents clients who have been hurt in truck accidents in Colorado. You can trust the Olson Law Firm to manage all the details of your case and take that burden off you, so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
- Sean and his team will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash and gather all the evidence needed to prove negligence.
- He will work hard to identify any party that might share liability for the crash and hold them fully accountable for the harm they’ve caused you.
- Sean’s caring team will also be able to assist you in making sure that you are receiving all of the medical care that you need.
- Sean will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and work toward a just truck accident settlement that covers every single expense you are facing or will be facing down the line related to your injury.
- If an insurer does not present a settlement offer that takes into account your current and future financial needs, Sean will file a truck accident lawsuit and show a jury why you deserve maximum compensation.
Evidence We May Use in a Colorado Truck Accident Claim
Always make sure you contact law enforcement to have a police report completed for your crash. A police report will become an essential piece of evidence, especially if the truck driver was issued a citation for a traffic violation that caused the crash.
Some of the other kinds of evidence in a truck accident case will be the result of an investigation, possibly including:
- Driver logbooks
- Driving records
- Driver medical history
- Truck maintenance records
- Vehicle inspection reports
- Data from electronic onboard recording devices (EOBRs)
- Statements from witnesses
You should know that one of the most vital pieces of evidence is something you can collect yourself at the scene of your crash. Use your smartphone (if you have one) to take as many pictures as possible of everything involved in the crash.
Pictures can be invaluable to a personal injury attorney, especially when you have a variety of pictures from different angles and distances. Photos can capture many elements of an accident before they are cleaned up and the evidence disappears.
You can also do yourself a favor by keeping a journal that chronicles your life after your accident. By writing all of this information down with dates, you will be able to easily recall certain facets of your experience that may become more difficult to remember over time.
Damages in a Colorado Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents can often leave victims in a very precarious financial position. Serious injuries can require weeks, months, or even years of follow-up medical care, and some people are unable to return to work because of the nature of their injuries.
Settlements are typically supposed to provide for all of the damages a victim has incurred or will incur. When a truck accident case goes to trial, the plaintiff could be awarded compensatory damages, which are a combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include actual, calculable financial losses like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduction in future income
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle or damaged personal property
- Travel expenses for treatment
- Modifications to your home for the accommodation of disabilities
Noneconomic damages are not quantifiable, usually including awards such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
An extremely limited number of cases could also result in punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages or vindictive damages) being awarded. These are intended to punish the at-fault party.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Colorado
Although truck drivers are commonly at fault for semi-truck accidents, there may be other factors that lead to a crash. Some drivers are unable to control their trucks because of mechanical issues or improperly loaded cargo, for example.
Some of the common causes of 18-wheeler accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Overloaded trailers
- Unsecured loads
- Inclement weather
- Mechanical defects
- Inadequate training of drivers
- Failure to maintain the vehicle
- Brake failure
- Trucking companies promoting or requiring unrealistic schedules
To avoid liability (and therefore, having to pay for an injury claim), trucking companies or their insurance representatives may try to place the blame on the victim for the accident. They will look to deny or diminish your claim to save themselves money. This is why it is crucial to hire a truck accident attorney in Colorado who has dealt with these companies before and who knows how to fight back against their tactics.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents in Colorado
Very few people walk away from truck accidents unharmed. In most cases, victims suffer injuries that involve a very long recovery. In severe cases, the individual may never fully recover or the injuries may result in death.
Some injuries restrict not only a person’s ability to work, but also their basic ability to care for themselves. Such victims may need 24-hour full-time assistance with all of their daily functions.
Some of the injuries our clients struggle with after a truck accident include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Traumatic amputation
Families who have lost a loved one to catastrophic truck accident injuries may still be able to demand justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Sean Olson today to learn about all your legal options for financial recovery after a crash.
What Do I Do After a Truck Accident?
Commercial trucking companies have a duty to operate their fleet in a safe manner. Trucking companies must properly train drivers. They must inspect their trucks and trailers and safely load trailers. Drivers must have reasonable delivery schedules. Companies must ensure that their drivers comply with highway safety regulations as well.
Unfortunately, despite the many state and federal safety rules that govern the trucking industry, serious commercial truck accidents remain far too common. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nearly 4,000 Americans die in large truck wrecks each year.
Following a commercial truck crash, accident victims need to know how to protect their health, safety, and legal rights. Here, experienced truck accident attorney Sean Olson explains the first four steps injured victims should take after a major truck accident:
Four Steps to Take After a Commercial Truck Accident
Call the Police
The first thing that you should do following a commercial truck crash is contact state or local law enforcement officers. Under Colorado law, you must report any motor vehicle accident that results in an injury or substantial property damage to the police.
It is critically important that the police come to the scene of your commercial truck accident. This will ensure that there is an investigation into exactly what happened that caused the accident and that there is an official accident report filed.
Get Medical Attention
Any person who injured in a commercial truck accident needs professional medical attention. Certainly, if there is a medical emergency, that is the most important issue. an ambulance should transport the victim to the nearest medical center.
In addition, those who have sustained mild or moderate injuries still need quick medical attention. Even if you do not know how extensive your injuries are, it is still imperative that you consult with a doctor and get a comprehensive medical evaluation. Beyond protecting your safety, you will not be able to bring a truck accident injury claim unless you have supporting medical documentation.
Document the Crash
To the best of your ability, it is also recommended that you try to secure evidence and document the truck accident. The more evidence that you have in your possession, the better off you will be when it comes time to make a truck accident injury claim.
In addition to the police report, some of the other common forms of truck accident evidence include photographs of the crash scene, photographs of the vehicle damage, witness statements, and medical documents and records.
Contact a Denver Truck Accident Attorney
Finally, you should always work with an experienced Colorado truck accident lawyer. You do not want to go up against the big trucking company and its insurers by yourself. Truck accident injury claims are notoriously complex. Specialized rules and regulations govern these types of accidents.
At The Olson Law Firm, our legal team has extensive experience handling complex truck accident injury claims. We fight aggressively to make sure that our clients can maximize their financial recovery. If you’re facing injuries from a large truck crash in Denver, please do not hesitate to contact our law office today for a free, no-obligation initial legal consultation.
Do I need a lawyer to help after a truck accident?
A lawyer isn’t required to file an insurance claim or lawsuit after a truck accident, but choosing to work with one is a smart idea. Your attorney can gather evidence to support your claim, document your injuries, negotiate with the liable parties for a full and fair settlement, and take your case to trial if a deal can’t be reached.
Why are truck accidents usually worse than car accidents?
Trucks are much bigger and heavier than standard cars, which means they strike with more force. This often leads to greater injuries in the event of a collision. According to the IIHS fatality facts report, trucks are 30 times heavier than cars and that is why vehicle drivers are more vulnerable to accidents.
What is the average semi-truck accident settlement amount?
The amount you can receive in a truck accident settlement depends on the circumstances of your crash and injuries. You could receive compensation for:
- Lost wages and your reduced ability to work because of your injuries
- Medical bills and the cost of injury-related future care
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Damaged personal property
How much does a truck accident lawyer cost?
Most truck accident lawyers, including Sean Olson at the Olson Law Firm, work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney covers upfront costs and receives only a portion of the compensation they help you get. That means you don’t need to be rich to afford quality truck accident legal representation.
How is fault determined in a truck accident?
Your attorney might use police accident reports, accounts from the drivers involved in the crash, eyewitness statements, testimony from expert witnesses, medical records, and photos from the crash scene to establish legal responsibility or fault for the crash.
Who is liable in a truck accident — the driver or the trucking company?
Either or both, depending on what the evidence shows. Truck drivers can be held liable if they acted negligently by, for example, driving while distracted. On the other hand, trucking companies must ensure their employees are adequately trained and drive safely, so the company can be held liable for an accident if they failed in these duties. Also, companies are typically held vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence. This means the trucking company would be responsible even if it didn’t do anything wrong.
How long does a truck accident lawsuit take?
Truck accident lawsuits are marathons, not sprints. Most truck accident cases take at least months to resolve. It takes time to gather evidence and medical records to build a strong case for compensation. If settlement negotiations drag on or the liable parties vehemently deny the claim, the case will take longer. Most cases are resolved in negotiation rather than through a trial. A lawsuit generally takes a year or longer.
Sean Olson wrote Results Matter, a book outlining the many stages of a lawsuit so that everyone can understand what goes into a truck accident case. Download your own free copy here.
What type of insurance coverage could be available for a truck crash?
If the truck driver is found to be at fault for the crash, you could recover compensation from the liability insurance on the truck. Additional commercial liability insurance held by the trucking company could also come into play. Commercial trucks must carry insurance with policy limits much higher than what most private drivers have on their cars. Your own insurance may also be available to you if the trucking company’s insurance is not enough to cover all your damages and losses.
Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney in Colorado Today
Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a commercial motor vehicle accident in Colorado? Turn to a lawyer who is passionate about his clients and who has the skill to take on deep-pocketed trucking companies.
Attorney Sean Olson was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, and 2016 before being named a Super Lawyer in 2017. He has successfully negotiated impressive trucking accident settlements on behalf of his deserving clients, and he is not afraid to take any case to court to see to it that justice is served.