What do I do after a truck accident?
Drivers in Colorado share the road with everyone else, including semi-trucks. Truck drivers might be driving on busy roads like Interstate 25, switching lanes without seeing the vehicle next to them. Suddenly, there is a serious accident.
Commercial trucking companies are expected to operate their fleet safely, but accidents still happen. When there is an accident between a semi-truck and a much smaller car, the results can be catastrophic — even deadly.
Being in an accident that involves a truck can be devastating to all drivers involved. If you find yourself involved in an accident of this nature, you have legal rights. At the Olson Law Firm, our Denver truck accident lawyers have decades of combined experience fighting and finding justice to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at (303) 586-7297 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation over the phone or in-person at our local Denver office.
Truck Accidents Are Common in Denver and Throughout the U.S.
It is unfortunate that serious commercial truck accidents remain far too common, despite the many state and federal safety rules governing the trucking industry. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 4,000 Americans die in truck-related accidents each year.
Semi-trucks weigh easily up to 18 tons, while the average sedan weighs about a ton and a half. So it is easy to understand that such a vast size difference can generate huge impact forces against a smaller passenger car. Serious injuries, property damage, and other losses are likely to happen.
Trucking companies are responsible for adequately training their truck drivers, training them to perform proper inspections, and safely load and unload their trailers. And, by federal law, truck drivers must maintain reasonable delivery schedules. Truck drivers cannot surpass 60 hours of driving within a 7-consecutive day period (or 70 hours if driving 8 consecutive days). Companies must ensure that their drivers comply with highway safety regulations as well.
Following a commercial truck crash, accident victims need to know how to protect themselves and understand that they have rights moving forward and deserve compensation.
Accountability in Semi-Truck Accident
When evaluating accidents involving semi-trucks quite often the truck driver is to blame. They may be speeding, distracted, under the influence, or (in too many cases) drowsy. However, despite the risk they pose to the general public, truck drivers may ignore regulations to get paid more by meeting tight deadlines.
Additionally, there may be cases where another party may be responsible for your injuries. For example, sometimes a catastrophic accident is caused by negligent routine maintenance of the truck itself. One of the most common causes of truck-related accidents due to lack of maintenance is faulty brakes. Truck drivers sometimes drive trucks that are owned or leased by a large company. Under this arrangement, the driver leaves for their delivery expecting the vehicle to which they’re assigned to be regularly maintained. However, if it is determined that the accident was caused by a lack of maintenance by the company that owns the truck, the company may be held accountable.
Companies are also held accountable for inexperienced drivers who are not adequately trained or who fail to meet the qualifications needed to complete the job yet are hired anyway.
Your Denver truck accident lawyer will consider all available options to hold all at-fault parties accountable and increase your chances of getting the full compensation you deserve.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
A collision can happen when someone least expects it. Some common causes of truck accidents are driver errors or negligent acts, like the following:
- Drowsy driving after an extensive amount of driving hours.
- Speeding or driving aggressively.
- Tailgating other trucks or smaller cars.
- Intoxicated/drunk driving, including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, can hinder the operation of large machinery.
- Distracted driving, including phone use and texting while driving.
- Illegal driving maneuvers compromise the truck’s balance or endanger those around it.
- Unbalanced or improper loading in the truck bed.
- Being unfamiliar with the truck or kind of load, especially if a new driver.
- Reckless or negligent drivers make careless mistakes.
Accidents happen, but when there is a negligent party — and that party happens to be operating a semi-truck — the results can be life-altering or even deadly.
Steps to Take After a Commercial Truck Accident
Being involved in a truck accident can be frightening and leave your mind racing about what you need to do next. Here at the Olson Law Firm, we recommend that you start with the following:
1. Call 911, and ask for police and medical services
The first thing that you should do following a commercial truck crash is to call 911 and report the incident. During that call, you want state or local law enforcement officers to respond to the scene to create a report of the incident. Request medical services if you are injured or suspect that any other party suffered any injuries. It is advisable to check on other parties involved to see if they are injured before concluding the call.
Most importantly, know that under Colorado law, any motor vehicle accident that results in an injury or substantial property damage must be reported to the police (§ 42-4-1606). Whether an officer is dispatched to the scene is at the discretion of the available personnel. If no officer is dispatched, a Colorado crash report can be filed online.
If an officer responds, a ticket may be assigned to a party for contributing to the accident, at the discretion of the officer on duty. Additionally, the police may conduct their own investigation and prepare a findings report in order to draw conclusions as to the cause of the accident and its outcome.
2. Seek medical attention
After calling 911 and requesting medical services, an EMT team will arrive and evaluate all of those involved in the accident. Professional medical attention is often needed even if you don’t feel hurt at the time, especially in cases of a commercial truck collision. If EMTs determine that there is a medical emergency at the scene, an ambulance will transport the victim(s) to the nearest medical center to receive the care they need.
It is important to note that not all injuries will be visible or even present at the site of the accident. Those who have sustained mild or moderate injuries still need quick medical attention. One of the most common delayed injuries reported after accidents is whiplash.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries after a car accident. What makes it worse is that it is usually not present at the time of the incident but appears days and possibly weeks later. Whiplash can cause limited mobility, stiffness, and loss of neck flexibility, making everyday living life painful.
Another and even more serious injury that appears weeks — and even months — after a car accident is a chest injury. Chest injuries can be anything from bruising, broken ribs, or damage to internal organs. This kind of injury is dangerous because it can trigger a heart attack after the accident happens. Consequently, car accident victims should seek immediate medical attention if they feel chest pain, even if it appears weeks or months after a car accident.
Even if you do not know how extensive your injuries are, it is still imperative that you consult with a doctor. You need a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident. Beyond protecting your safety, you will not be able to bring a truck accident injury claim unless you have supporting medical documentation of your injuries, including their severity, prognosis, and documented cause.
If you are feeling additional pain that was delayed after the accident, you must seek medical care to treat and document your worsening symptoms. Consult with your legal counsel handling the case to learn about how to receive compensation for any late-diagnosed injuries and conditions.
3. 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 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 other common forms of truck accident evidence include photographs of the crash scene and the vehicle damage. Try to take these photos and gather witness statements from others at the scene while you wait for police respondents to arrive. You should also save all medical documents, receipts for care, and other expenses related to the accident.
Understanding Technical Terms Related to Truck Accidents
Different terms may be used to describe different types of trucks and trailers. Additionally, there may be times you find more than one word to describe the same kind of truck. Some of the more common terms that describe a truck are listed below:
- Big Rig
- Cargo Truck
- Fuel Truck
- Tanker Truck
- Tractor Truck
- Cattle Hauler or Cattle Truck
- Chicken Hauler
- Car Hauler
- Lumber Truck
- Reefer Truck
Types of Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks
Many types of accidents can occur when it involves a semi-truck. They carry heavy weight, so it changes how fast they can stop, accelerate, or turn. The types of accidents that happen with semi-trucks are the following:
- Intersection accident
- Hit-and-run accident
- Read-end collision
- T-bone accident
- Collision with a jack-knifed trailer
- Undercarriage accident
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Call a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer from the Olson Law Firm
Truck accidents are terrifying, hard to navigate, and possibly deadly if prompt treatment is not sought. However, as the victim of a truck-related accident, you can seek the compensation you need to receive treatment and recover from your losses. A potential settlement can include damages for past medical expenses, future medical costs, lost wages, damaged property, and your personal pain and suffering.
When you work with the attorneys at Olson Law Firm, our skilled legal team is experts in handling complex trucky accident claims. We know how to investigate accidents, review evidence, and build strong legal cases. As a result, we have helped many injured victims get full financial compensation for their losses.
Are you ready to set up your free and no-obligation consultation? Call (303) 586-7297 or contact us online today if you experience a car accident involving a semi-truck in Denver. We would be happy to take some time to review your claim and explain your legal options to you at our local Denver office.