Collisions involving large commercial trucks often result in serious, life-altering injuries, and navigating the complex legal landscape can be challenging. Our team of skilled trucking accident lawyers understands the gravity of your situation and is dedicated to guiding you through the legal process, advocating for your rights, and working tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. Whether your case involves driver negligence, equipment failure, or regulatory violations, our expertise in handling trucking accident cases can make a critical difference in the outcome of your claim. Our Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C., are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured Coloradans. Call for a free consultation today.
What are Colorado Springs Truck Accidents?
Colorado Springs Truck Accidents refer to collisions involving commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, and other large freight carriers. These accidents are particularly significant due to the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, which often result in devastating injuries and property damage when a collision occurs.
Because of the complexities associated with trucking—such as the operation of large vehicles, adherence to specific trucking regulations, and potential mechanical issues—accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Causes may include driver error (due to fatigue, distraction, or impairment), improper loading, mechanical failure, or failure to adhere to traffic laws or trucking regulations.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019 alone there were over 46,000 trucking accidents throughout the United States. These accidents resulted in severe and catastrophic injuries to over 104,000 people. And sadly, over 3,900 of those accidents resulted in fatalities—an 18% increase since 2008.
The reason for these fatalities has to do with distinct differences between large commercial trucks and other motor vehicles on the road. A fully loaded big rig may weigh 25 times that of a passenger car. This enormous weight disparity results in catastrophic accidents with serious and even fatal, injuries.
Common Causes of Colorado Springs Truck Accidents
Here are some of the most prevalent causes:
- Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and cover extensive distances, leading to fatigue. Despite regulations on driving hours, some drivers may push beyond the limits, leading to exhaustion and, consequently, accidents.
- Distracted Driving: Similar to other motorists, truck drivers can also be distracted by their phones, eating, or using a GPS, all of which can lead to accidents.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: Due to tight delivery deadlines, truck drivers may resort to speeding or other reckless behaviors such as tailgating and unsafe lane changes, all of which increase the risk of accidents.
- Impaired Driving: The use of drugs or alcohol can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate the truck safely.
- Poor Maintenance: Trucks require regular inspections and maintenance. Faulty brakes, worn tires, or malfunctioning lights can all contribute to accidents if not properly maintained.
- Improper Loading: Overloaded or improperly secured cargo can cause a truck to tip over or shed its load while in transit.
- Adverse Weather Conditions: Trucks are more susceptible to weather conditions such as rain, snow, or high winds due to their size and weight. These can affect the truck’s stability and braking distance.
- Inadequate Training: Truck driving requires specialized skills and knowledge. Inadequate training can result in drivers who are ill-prepared to handle the unique challenges of operating large commercial vehicles.
- Failure to Observe Blind Spots: Large trucks have bigger blind spots or “no-zones”. Failure to adequately observe these areas when changing lanes or turning can lead to collisions.
Types of Colorado Springs Truck Accidents
Truck accidents in Colorado Springs can take many forms, with each having unique causes and consequences. The following are some common types of truck accidents:
- Jackknife Accidents: This occurs when the trailer of a truck folds towards the cab, similar to a folding pocket knife. It’s often caused by sudden braking or sharp turns.
- Rollovers: These can occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle due to factors such as high speed, sudden turns, or unstable loads, causing the truck to roll over onto its side or roof.
- Rear-End Collisions: Given their considerable size and weight, trucks require a longer stopping distance. If a truck driver cannot stop in time, a rear-end collision with a car in front may occur.
- Underride Accidents: These accidents happen when a smaller vehicle slides underneath the trailer of a truck, often due to the truck stopping abruptly. This can lead to severe damage and injuries.
- Blind Spot Accidents: Also known as ‘no-zone’ accidents, they occur when a truck driver fails to see a vehicle in their blind spots and makes a maneuver like changing lanes.
- Lost Load Accidents: These occur when cargo is improperly secured and falls off the truck, causing accidents.
- Wide Turn Accidents: Also known as ‘swinging turn’ accidents, these happen when a truck driver swings left to make a right turn, colliding with other vehicles in the process.
Colorado Springs Commercial Truck Accident Defendants
In a commercial trucking accident, there are usually multiple parties who could be responsible – not just the truck driver. A commercial trucking business employs a variety of individuals and subcontractors to run their business. As a result, anyone involved in the commercial trucking business can be to blame for the accident, including the driver, the company that employs the driver, the company responsible for loading the goods, and the owner of the truck.
In the past, trucking companies argued that the liability for accidents stopped with the truck driver, especially if they owned their own trucks as independent owner-operators. The federal government, however, disagreed and banned this type of defense. Now, trucking companies are responsible for all aspects of their trucking operation, even if their drivers are independent.
Federal and state laws require that a certified truck inspector examine all commercial trucks involved in an accident before they are removed from the accident scene. Many commercial trucks are outfitted with dashboard computers that can record important information such as vehicle speed, rest stops taken by the driver, and the number of times the driver hit the brakes. This information is vital to your case and should be obtained as soon as possible to avoid tampering or loss of evidence.
Trucking companies and their attorneys look for every way possible to reduce their liability—especially after serious trucking accidents. They may accidentally lose valuable black box data or even alter maintenance records and driving logs. An experienced trucking accident lawyer can help you obtain the money you need by aggressively building your case as quickly as possible.
NEVER accept a settlement with a trucking company without first speaking to an experienced lawyer. These settlements are usually only a fraction of what you are entitled to and may not be enough to pay for all of your medical care or lost wages.
If you have been involved in a serious trucking accident, we can help. With the right legal representation from the start, you can protect your rights and obtain the maximum compensation. Call the Colorado Springs truck accident attorneys of the Green Law Firm, P.C. today for a free review of your case.
Proving Your Colorado Springs Truck Accident Case
As with most any personal injury case, negligence must be shown to substantiate liability. Therefore, a successful case must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid injury, and failed to perform that duty. Furthermore, it must be shown that this breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. An experienced Colorado Springs commercial truck accident lawyer will know how to pursue an investigation and furnish a compelling case for the defendant.
Other important factors to know in proving your Colorado Springs truck accident claim include:
- Gathering Evidence: This includes photos from the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, and any available surveillance footage. Any physical evidence from the scene, such as skid marks or debris, should also be documented.
- Medical Documentation: Any medical treatment received following the accident should be thoroughly documented. This includes doctor’s reports, medical bills, and records of ongoing treatment or therapy. This documentation is crucial in proving the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.
- Driver’s Log and Truck Maintenance Records: In some cases, evidence can be obtained from the truck driver’s logbook or the truck’s maintenance records. These can reveal violations such as exceeding allowed driving hours or neglecting necessary vehicle maintenance, which could be critical in establishing negligence.
- Expert Testimony: In some cases, it might be beneficial to enlist the help of accident reconstruction experts or medical professionals. They can provide valuable insights into how the accident occurred or the severity of your injuries.
Legally Proving Your Colorado Springs Truck Accident Case
To successfully claim damages in a Colorado Springs truck accident case under a theory of negligence, the following four elements must be provided:
- Duty of Care: The first element of negligence involves proving that the defendant (the truck driver, trucking company, or another related party) had a duty of care towards you. In the context of trucking accidents, this duty generally means the responsibility to operate a vehicle safely and follow all relevant traffic and commercial transport laws.
- Breach of Duty: After establishing the existence of a duty, you must prove that the defendant breached this duty. This can include acts like speeding, driving while fatigued, ignoring traffic signs, poor vehicle maintenance, and other forms of reckless or negligent behavior.
- Causation: The third element, causation, links the breach of duty to the accident itself. You must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligent actions directly resulted in the accident and the ensuing injuries. Sometimes, this is straightforward – for instance, a truck driver running a red light and causing an accident. However, in cases where multiple factors are involved, proving causation may require expert testimonies.
- Damages: The final element is to show that you suffered damages – physical, emotional, or financial – because of the accident caused by the defendant’s breach. These damages can include medical expenses, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and property damage.
Colorado Springs Truck Accident Laws
Colorado’s trucking laws are designed to promote safe driving practices and protect both truck drivers and other road users. They align with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and address key areas such as driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securement.
- Driver Qualifications: Truck drivers in Colorado must possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and meet the physical and mental health requirements set by federal laws.
- Hours of Service: Colorado follows the federal Hours of Service regulations that limit how long truck drivers can operate without taking rest breaks. These rules aim to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Trucking companies are required to regularly maintain their vehicles and keep detailed maintenance records. Failure to do so can lead to unsafe conditions and may be considered negligence in the event of an accident.
- Cargo Securement: Regulations also exist around how cargo is loaded and secured in a truck. Improperly loaded or secured cargo can cause trucks to become unbalanced or cargo to spill, leading to accidents.
- Insurance Requirements: Trucking companies are required to carry higher levels of liability insurance due to the potential for severe damage and injuries in truck accidents.
- Alcohol and Drug Testing: Trucking companies must implement random alcohol and drug testing for their drivers to ensure they are not operating under the influence.
Statute of Limitations for Colorado Springs Truck Accidents
In Colorado, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including truck accidents, is generally two (2) years. This means you have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. If your claim involves a government entity, the timeline can be significantly shorter – typically 180 days to file a notice of claim.
However, it’s crucial to note that every case is unique, and certain circumstances might extend or shorten this period. For example, if a truck accident results in a wrongful death, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is two (2) years from the date of death, which might be different from the date of the accident.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Trucking Accident Attorneys Today
When you or a loved one are involved in a truck accident, the journey to recovery can be long and overwhelming. At Green Law Firm P.C., we’re here to shoulder the legal burden and fight for the compensation you deserve, allowing you to focus on healing. Our experienced Colorado Springs truck accident attorneys understand the complexity of these cases and are prepared to go the extra mile for you. Don’t let the aftermath of a truck accident control your life. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and start taking back control. Your path to justice starts here. If you have been injured in a car accident in Colorado Springs, contact our experienced Colorado Springs lawyers today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and discuss your case. Call us today at 719-694-8515.