Hit by a Swerving Big-Rig? Call Our Firm Today!
We have all clenched up while passing a large semi-truck, especially when we are caught between it and a guard rail. Many drivers are well-aware of the large blind spots that trucks have and how a quick turn of the wheel can cause a serious accident. However, not all truck drivers are fully aware of the powerful vehicles they are driving and how they can easily cause a sideswipe accident.
Truck drivers should always put the safety of other drivers and pedestrians around them first, but many neglect this duty and cause serious sideswipe accidents. These accidents are rarely ever minor, often leading to traumatic injuries and a mountain of medical debt. If you or someone you love has been injured by a negligent truck driver, then you need the expertise, skill, and knowledge of the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. Our Boulder sideswipe truck accident attorney can provide sound legal guidance and advocate for full compensation from the truck driver’s insurance provider. To learn how, contact our office at (303) 665-2929 and schedule a free consultation.
The Dangers of a Large Tractor-Trailer
The size, weight, and power of a semi-truck or tractor-trailer cannot be matched by most modern vehicles on Colorado roadways. Their engines are designed to pull massive trailers that are often packed with thousands of pounds of cargo. Keeping these vehicles under control and in their lane takes a great deal of concentration, training, and experience. However, if a truck driver becomes distracted, abuses alcohol or drugs, or becomes fatigued, they can easily swerve into other lanes of traffic.
But swerving may only account for minor damage, such as a broken headlight or bent front-bumper, if the driver corrects their vehicle. The more serious situation is when the driver does not stop and swings wide into another vehicle. This can happen if a truck driver fails to check their blind spots and does not realize there is another car beside them. While other drivers should pay attention to when they are in a truck’s blind spot and either speed up or slow down to allow them to safely change lanes, it is the truck driver’s responsibility to not hit you. You should not take the blame when a truck driver sideswipes, especially if you suffer severe injuries because of their actions.
In a sideswipe accident between a fully loaded semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle always loses. A truck’s trailer can easily crush a smaller car against the guard rail, causing traumatic injuries for the occupants, or drive the car off the road. In some cases, if the truck is raised up high enough, an underride accident could occur. An underride means that a smaller vehicle has been pulled under the truck’s trailer, often cause fatal injuries. At high speeds, a trailer can fully crush the top of a passenger vehicle or pull the car under the truck’s heavy tires. Both situations are often deadly.
Who Is Most at Risk?
As mentioned earlier, passenger vehicles rarely ever escape a sideswipe accident with a truck without some form of damage, and the same can be said about their occupants. But even larger vehicles like SUVs, pickup trucks, and jeeps are not immune to the dangers of a big-rig. Most drivers of these types of vehicles are well-protected in collisions, but passenger safety ratings are often lower in rugged vehicles. Even the most robust SUV can be crushed by a truck in a sideswipe.
But the one group that is most at risk are motorcyclists. Because their vehicles are smaller and quieter than most vehicles, truck drivers can easily miss them when changing lanes. Unlike other people on the road, motorcycles can not only be crushed against guard rails or ran off the road, but they can also be knocked from their vehicles. This can cause severe injuries as they collide with the pavement, even if the truck hits them at a low speed.
Behaviors That Contribute to an Accident
Given how large and powerful tractor-trailers are, these vehicles, their drivers, and their owners must abide by strict federal trucking regulations when compared to other vehicles on the road. Failure to obey these rules can not only lead to heavy fines, but also traumatic accidents. Sadly, this is often the norm on major Colorado roadways, including those around Boulder, as there are various actions and behaviors trucks can exhibit that lead to a sideswipe accident.
The types of negligence that contribute to sideswipe truck accidents include:
- Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes
- Becoming distracted by a smartphone, GPS, or radio
- Overloading a truck and making it hard to control or steer
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
- Breaking the hours of service and becoming fatigued
- Changing lanes too quickly or at high speeds
- Failing to schedule maintenance
Any of these accidents can make a truck driver liable for your injuries in a sideswipe accident, but that does not mean their insurance company will automatically provide you compensation. Insurance companies, especially ones that insure large trucks, are very resistant to covering accidents. They may try to dismiss your injuries or claim that you were at fault for the accident. But there are ways to fight back against the arguments and get you the compensation you need to recover comfortably.
How to Prove Liability in a Sideswipe Accident
Sideswipes are almost always the fault of the truck driver. At the end of the day, they are one that hit you and should be held responsible in an auto accident claim. However, insurance companies rarely see it that way. A common argument they use against accident victims after a sideswipe is that they should not have been in the truck’s blind spot. Most drivers are aware of the dangers posed by big trucks and their blind spots, and insurance companies like to use this common knowledge against victims.
This is a major issue in Colorado because our state operates under the concept of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence means that each person involved in an accident can share a portion of the blame. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident, then you cannot pursue compensation. However, so long as you are found less than 50% at fault, you can receive some compensation. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 by a jury, but were found to be at least 10% at fault for being in a truck’s blind spot, you would only receive $90,000.
But comparative negligence only tends to apply in jury trials. If your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement offer, comparative negligence would not matter. However, even if your claim does go to trial, a skilled attorney can develop a clear narrative to the jury that convinces them to award you proper compensation. Your attorney can utilize a variety of evidence, from cell phone records to accident reports to drug tests, to demonstrate that the truck driver acted negligently and is responsible for your injuries, whether or not you were in their blind spot.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Going up against a truck company and their insurance providers is no easy task. It takes a great deal of dedication and commitment to collect every trace of evidence after a sideswipe accident, and even more in perseverance to skillfully negotiate with an insurance company. All of this added on top of your injuries can seem truly overwhelming.
But if you choose to work with the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, then you can trust that our Boulder truck accident attorney will fight tooth and nail to get you the compensation you need. When we take on a case, we do not leave a single cent out of our client’s case and will staunchly defend your best interest in a settlement negotiation or jury trial. If a negligent truck driver injured you or someone you love in a sideswipe accident, then you should immediately pick up the phone and contact our office at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a free consultation.