Denver Truck Crash Attorneys
Big rigs are dangerous. From their longer braking time and stopping distance to their 80,000-pound frames, if you get into an "accident" with one of these vehicles, you might not be able to walk away.
Getting fair compensation after a truck wreck is nothing like getting compensation after a car collision. Trucking companies are often large corporations with big insurance policies to compensate you. In many newer trucks, there is an automatic alert that goes out to the truck’s insurer in the event of a collision. Immediately, that insurer sends a cleanup crew to ensure that victims don’t stand a chance of proving their case. They also send representatives to "negotiate" with victims right away and force them to accept minute settlements - even in the hospital. We have seen cases where the insurance reps arrive before the first responders.
This practice is especially vile because these victims tend to be catastrophically injured, or worse.
The terrible consequences of a truck collision tend to be felt for years to come. If you or a loved one has been hit by a truck, you are not alone - and you do not have to suffer in silence. Call Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. at (877) 433-3906 to speak to an experienced Denver car crash attorney and find out how we may help you receive justice.
Semi-truck, big rig, tractor-trailer, 18-wheeler - these names all describe the large commercial trucks that transverse American roadways every day of every week. These massive vehicles travel hundreds of miles in a single day, keeping drivers on the road for hours at a time. With so much time traveling, these drivers cause collisions often, and the collisions are almost always devastating.
- General Collisions: Trucks can be involved in the same crashes any other vehicle can be involved in: rear-end, head-on, T-bone, and sideswipe collisions.
- Jackknifes: When the cab of a truck stops or slows, but its trailer continues to move forward, cars can be crushed in between. The truck tends to "bend" as the trailer swings out to a 90-degree angle from the cab, folding in like a jackknife.
- Rollovers: The size and weight of trucks, not to mention their higher center of gravity, can make them more vulnerable to rollovers. When a truck rolls, many cars can be trapped underneath.
- Wide Turns: Trucks require more room to turn than smaller vehicles. When truck drivers are not aware of their surroundings, they can collide with another vehicle or object during a turn.
- Underrides: Since the bottom of a truck’s trailer is raised higher than other vehicles, it is possible for cars to collide and go under the trailer, shearing off the top of the passenger compartment. If the trucker applies his brakes suddenly and forces a "simple" rear-end collision, people in the following car are likely to be killed. Though underride guards are mandatory on trucks in the U.S., they are only placed to the rear of the trailer, and have been found to fail at speeds around 30 mph.
Semis, when fully loaded, can weigh 80,000 pounds. Overloaded trucks, which can be legal with the proper permits, weigh up to 110,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle, by contrast, weighs 4,000 pounds. That means a fully loaded truck is a staggering 20 times as heavy as a car. An overloaded truck is nearly 28 times as heavy. That extreme weight difference, coupled with the size difference, make trucks a major threat to cars.
This disparity between the size and weight of the commercial truck and the passenger vehicle means that in a collision, the occupants of the passenger vehicle didn’t stand a chance. Trucks can drive directly over any car in their way, crushing the vehicle under the trailer’s enormous wheels. The car driver and any passengers often suffer several or all of the following injuries:
- Lacerations or avulsions
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Organ or tissue damage
- Traumatic amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Emergency medical treatment is often required after a trucking collision, so victims are rarely able to exchange information and take pictures of the scene as they would after a car-car collision. Trucking insurance companies use this to their advantage, and "doctor" the scene if they can.
You may automatically assume that the driver is the one at fault for your collision. Yes; while the driver will likely hold a large percentage of the responsibility, there may be other liable parties that you can file suit against. Frequent defendants in truck crash cases include:
- The Truck Driver: The driver involved in the collision may certainly be at fault. In fact, one study found that truckers tended to be at fault for truck crashes more than 60% of the time. It is important to look at how the driver behaved before and during the crash, because there may be evidence of intoxication or - much more likely - chronic sleep deprivation.
- The Trucking Company: The company that hired or allowed the driver to operate its vehicle may be liable for a collision. If the company encouraged reckless behavior like speeding up shipments, did not enforce safety standards, or skipped necessary maintenance on the truck, it may be just as guilty in the eyes of the law.
- The Truck’s Manufacturer: If a faulty part caused the crash, the manufacturer of that part can sometimes be held liable. This can be very difficult to prove, which is why you always need an experienced truck collision attorney to represent you and fight on your behalf.
Knowing who the liable parties are is incredibly important when putting together your claim. If the trucking company and manufacturer are responsible alongside the driver, that means you have three parties to recover compensation from, not just one. That can lead to a higher settlement. However, going up against a trucking company is no easy task.
Trucking companies exist to make a profit. The more supplies they deliver, the more money they make. This means they often push their drivers to extremes. Drivers are instructed to skip rest periods, go over the speed limit, overload their trucks, and make other reckless decisions in the interest of getting more goods to the destination faster. This means that in a lot of truck collision cases, the company is also liable for the damages done, due to their pressure on the driver.
However, trucking companies will do everything they can to avoid liability. Settlements with truck collision victims dig into the company’s pockets, and there is nothing more important to a trucking company than its bottom line. Management often puts profits over their duty to keep people safe. There are many tricks that they will use to keep from having to take responsibility, including:
- Shredding documentation
- Fixing the truck involved in the collision and sending it back on the road before proper inspections can be made
- Allowing the black box data to be wiped
- Cleaning up the scene of the collision immediately after the crash
- Blaming the truck driver
- Blaming the victims
- Hiring a team of lawyers
Going up against a trucking company isn’t easy. Many victims elect not to, as getting a fair settlement can be incredibly difficult and taxing. However, with the right attorney by your side, you can demand compensation from the trucking company responsible for your injuries. Of course, your ability to recover compensation relies entirely on who you choose as your attorney.
Our experienced truck wreck attorneys at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. have dealt with "big" nationwide trucking companies and their insurers many times before, all across the United States. We are not intimidated or discouraged by their tactics, and have successfully won significant compensation for our clients after a truck accident, allowing them to rebuild and move forward in their lives.
For a no-cost consultation with our team, please call (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906 today to discuss what happened and see what we can do for your situation.
- Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts - FMCSA
- Large Trucks - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
- U.S. Department of Transportation