Although any collision involving a large commercial vehicle can potentially result in severe or fatal injuries, logging truck accidents can be particularly catastrophic.
Like most commercial truck crashes, logging truck accidents typically occur due to negligence or human error. The truck driver could be at fault, but sometimes responsibility for the crash doesn’t end there. Many factors and many possible liable parties are often involved in a logging truck accident, making them incredibly complex to investigate.
If you suffered injuries in a collision with a logging truck in the Denver area, you might be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Trying to handle a truck accident case on your own, especially if you are recovering from injuries, is a burden you should not have to bear on your own.
At Olson Law Firm LLC, our attorneys can take some of that burden off your shoulders by investigating the accident on your behalf, gathering evidence to support your claim, and aggressively pursuing the compensation you need from every available source.
Reach out to our dedicated Denver truck accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
What Are the Dangers of Logging Truck Accidents?
Accidents involving any type of large truck can be devastating, but logging truck wrecks are particularly hazardous. This is because, unlike cargo transported inside a fully enclosed trailer, the large, heavy logs transported by these vehicles are fully exposed and can fall off during a crash, leaving every driver around that logging truck vulnerable to harm.
If the cargo load has not been balanced, a rollover accident can occur. Suppose the cargo has not been secured properly or the truck’s securing features fail. In that case, logs can fall from the trailer and strike passenger vehicles and motorcyclists moving at high speeds, which can cause significant vehicle damage and catastrophic injuries.
In addition to the unique hazards of a logging truck, they also pose all of the same risks as other tractor-trailers.
Causes of Logging Truck Accidents in Denver, CO
While every trucking accident is unique, many causes of logging truck accidents are similar to those of other commercial truck accidents. Some of the most common causes include:
- Unqualified drivers
- Speeding and other forms of driver negligence
- Reckless driving behaviors like sudden lane changes or tailgating
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Improper loading or securing of loads
- Brake problems
- Improper maintenance
- Defective parts or equipment failure
Requirements for Transport on a Logging Truck
Logging truck drivers and companies must follow federal law and specific regulations to ensure that their cargo is secure and they arrive at their destination safely. Each log that is transported by truck must meet specific length, weight, and size requirements.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has instituted regulations that dictate what types of trucks may transport logs and how logs must be secured, such as:
- Trucks that transport logs must be explicitly designed for that purpose.
- Logging trucks must have bolsters, stakes, bunks, or standards to prevent logs from rolling around in transport.
- Logging truck carriers must use tie-downs to secure the load in addition to the bolsters, stakes, bunks, or standards that are part of the truck’s design.
- Logs must be solidly packed together during loading.
- For more information on logging truck requirements, see the FMCSA’s Driver’s Handbook.
Who Could Be Liable for Logging Truck Accidents?
One reason logging truck accidents can be so complicated is that determining liability is not always straightforward. In a typical collision between two passenger vehicles, liability is usually relatively easy to determine based on which driver caused the accident. In accidents with large trucks, liability is less straightforward. While truck drivers are often liable for accidents, there may be many other liable parties as well, not to mention numerous insurance companies.
When logging truck accidents occur, the potentially liable parties can include:
- Truck Driver – Commercial truck drivers usually bear at least some responsibility for most logging truck accidents. Truck drivers typically cause accidents due to negligence, which can come in the form of:
- Distracted driving
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Aggressive driving
- Trucking Company – In some cases, the company the truck driver works for can also be held liable. For instance, if the trucking company pressured the driver to drive more hours than legally permitted to make more deliveries, and then the driver became drowsy and caused an accident, the trucking company can be held liable. If the truck accident occurred because the trucking company failed to inspect or maintain the truck properly, then the trucking company could be held liable for that, too. Trucking companies are generally liable for accidents their employee’s cause. A trucker may be an employee for legal purposes, even if the company labels the driver an “independent contractor.”
- Truck Owner – In some cases, trucking companies and drivers don’t own their vehicles, choosing instead to lease them from someone else. If the truck owner leased a truck with defective parts or maintenance issues that caused the accident, then the truck’s owner could be held liable.
- Logging Company – If the truck accident occurs because the logging company failed to secure the load properly, and then the load became loose and fell into the road, the logging company could be held liable. If the logging company transported logs whose size or length exceeded federal regulations, leading to an unstable load that resulted in an accident, the logging company can be responsible for compensating you.
- Maintenance Company – Sometimes, trucking companies outsource inspection and maintenance duties to other entities. If the maintenance company hired by the trucking company failed to inspect and maintain the truck properly, and an accident occurred, the maintenance company can be held responsible.
Types of Compensation Available After a Logging Truck Accident
If you have been in a Denver truck accident involving a logging truck, you could be entitled to recover full and fair compensation for financial and non-financial losses related to the accident. Compensation is designed to cover costs such as:
- Present and future medical expenses resulting from injuries caused by the accident, including hospital bills, physical therapy, surgeries, treatments, procedures, tests, scans, medications, and more.
- Lost wages if your injury prevents you from returning to work and earning an income.
- Pain and suffering, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional and mental trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the accident.
- Property damage caused by the accident, such as damage to your vehicle.
- Punitive damages, if appropriate. In exceptional cases where the at-fault party behaved in a particularly reckless or grossly negligent manner, a judge or jury may see fit to award punitive damages as a way to punish reckless behavior.
Contact Our Experienced Denver Logging Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you are a victim of a logging truck accident in the Denver area, reach out to our attorneys at Olson Law Firm LLC today. Truck accident injury claims can be incredibly complex, but our Denver truck accident lawyers have the knowledge, skills, and resources to make a difference for you.
Contact us today for a free case review.