Legal Representation After a Tragic Crash
The devastating effects of an accident are amplified when a large truck (or “big rig”) is involved due to the sheer size and weight of these large commercial vehicles. Collisions with trucks are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death than collisions with other passenger vehicles. If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a negligent trucker, contact the truck accident attorneys at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins to schedule a consultation. The Tenge Law Firm, LLC also serves Loveland and all of Colorado.
What Are Some Causes of Truck Accidents?
Despite existing federal trucking regulations, truck accidents may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Drivers who are exhausted, poorly trained, or negligent
- Aggressive driving
- Mechanical failure (e.g., faulty brakes or tires)
- Substance abuse
- Driver delivery pressures
- Driver exceeding maximum consecutive hours on the road
What Are Different Types of Truck Accidents?
Collisions involving tractor trailers can occur in a number of ways. Types of deadly truck accidents include:
- Jackknife accidents: A jackknife occurs when a big rig folds in on itself, forming a 90-degree angle between the cab and the trailer. Jackknifing is usually caused by the driver braking too hard or too quickly, causing the trailer’s weight to bring it forward against the traction of the cab.
- Truck underride accidents: The raised design of a big rig’s trailer allows just enough room for a passenger vehicle to slide underneath, usually shearing off the roof of the vehicle. The passenger vehicle and its occupants get crushed under the rear or side of the trailer. Underride accidents are rarely survivable.
- Rear-end collisions: Because of their size and weight, large commercial trucks require more time and distance to stop than smaller passenger vehicles. When truck brakes fail, or when drivers are following too closely or traveling too fast for conditions, deadly rear-end collisions can occur.
- Rollovers: When a truck driver loses control of a big rig, it can roll over on its side, taking other vehicles with it. A rollover occurs when the wheels of the truck lose traction with the road. Trucks are prone to this type of crash because of their high centers of gravity and top-heavy loads.
- Lane changing accidents: Large trucks have significant blind spots, commonly known as “No Man’s Land.” Truck drivers who change lanes when vehicles are in their blind spots can crush other motorists or force them off the road.
- Load spilling accidents: Under federal regulations, tractor trailers must be properly loaded without exceeding maximum weight limits and their loads must be properly secured. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in cargo spilling on the road and accidents for other motorists.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents?
Determining the cause of a truck accident is necessary to know which party or parties may be held liable for your accident-related losses. While many people focus on the conduct of the truck driver that may have caused a crash, other parties may also hold legal responsibility.
Trucking companies may be liable for truck accidents for two reasons. First, trucking companies are typically strictly liable for the negligent actions of employees and any harm they cause while on the job. This means that even if the accident was the fault of the driver, you can seek compensation for your losses from the trucking company. This is important as trucking companies often have large commercial insurance policies, which are more likely to cover losses from devastating injuries than regular auto insurance. However, companies and their insurers also have more resources to investigate accidents and defend against liability, so it is important that you have a highly experienced lawyer on your side if you are going to take on a trucking company and its insurer.
Truck companies may also be liable for their own acts of negligence. Such acts may include:
- Negligent hiring – Trucking companies should always thoroughly vet applicants before hiring drivers. This includes ensuring drivers are properly licensed and trained, as well as checking driving records for a history of drunk driving or other dangerous behaviors. If a company hires an unqualified or possibly dangerous driver, it can be held liable for negligent hiring if the driver causes a serious crash.
- Negligent supervision or retention – Companies should have clear policies and systems in place to supervise drivers and take disciplinary action – including termination – if a driver is unsafe. Companies are also required to perform random drug and alcohol tests and take necessary action if a driver is driving under the influence. When companies do not perform these tests or take action and an impaired driver causes an accident, the company can be found negligent, as well.
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance – Trucking companies often have many vehicles in their fleets and regular inspection and maintenance can be a significant expense. However, companies should never try to cut corners by skimping on necessary inspections, maintenance, and repairs. When trucking companies fail to perform these tasks, vehicles can malfunction while on the road and cause drivers to lose control and cause accidents.
- Pressuring drivers to violate regulations – Some companies are out to increase profits as much as possible – even to the detriment of drivers and other motorists. Some companies have been known to pressure drivers into exceeding hours of service limitations or violate traffic laws in order to meet deadlines and make more deliveries. Some companies place unrealistic quotas on drivers, which can pressure drivers to violate regulations and drive dangerously in an effort to keep their jobs.
In addition to trucking companies, other businesses may be responsible for truck accidents – specifically, truck manufacturers. All manufacturers have the legal obligation to ensure their products are safe. However, products can be defectively designed, assembled, or otherwise have risky defects that could cause a malfunction. When a critical part of a large, 80,000-pound truck malfunctions, it is common for a driver to crash. Holding truck manufacturers liable is no easy task, however, and you need a law firm with the resources and skill to take on large corporations.
Identifying the cause of an accident and all possible liable parties is the first step in any truck accident case. Our legal team can evaluate what happened and use necessary resources to determine whether you have the right to bring a truck accident claim. The sooner you call, the sooner our investigation can begin. Evidence can disappear over time and your chances of proving negligence decrease as more time passes. Call our Denver vehicle accident attorney to begin your free case evaluation.
I had a VERY difficult auto accident case where I was rear ended by a truck while I was waiting at a red light…I highly recommend Todd…a wonderful attorney with high principles, integrity, and amazing work ethic.
– Ray R.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Victims of truck accidents can sustain injuries ranging from minor bruises and scratches to traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and paralysis, burn injuries, and even fatalities.
In an accident involving a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, the odds are always stacked against the little guy. Such accidents can cause incredible pain and suffering for victims, but an experienced attorney can help you recover some of the compensation you deserve. If a careless trucker or trucking company has harmed you or a loved one, please contact the Denver truck accident attorneys at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Truck injuries can be catastrophic for victims because of the immense disparity in size between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. Furthermore, a truck’s geometry makes it possible for regular cars to go under the truck’s trailer. Victims of truck accidents can sustain a wide variety of injuries, including:
- Minor bruises and scratches
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Survivors of a truck accident may face decades of medical bills, rehabilitation, and missed work. While we can’t make the accident go away, a qualified truck accident attorney can help you recover damages to facilitate your recovery.
These serious injuries typically require significant medical attention, treatment, and care. Hospital and rehabilitation providers bills can be enormous, leaving victims in a precarious financial situation. However, if you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be entitled to recover financial damages to cover these and other expenses related to your injuries. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC for more details.
Why Do I Need a Truck Accident Attorney?
Filing a truck accident claim and pursuing legal action against a negligent truck driver can be a complex process. It is in your best interests to hire an experienced truck accident attorney. Colorado law allows victims to file a claim only within a certain period of time after a truck accident, so it is crucial to enlist the services of a Denver injury lawyer as soon as possible. Determining who is at fault for a truck accident can be tricky. Truck drivers are usually performing a job-related task at the time of the crash, meaning the driver’s employer bears a certain responsibility to the victim. It takes a skilled attorney to demonstrate the liability of both the driver and the trucking company.
After a serious truck accident involving a tractor trailer, big rig or 18-wheeler, you need to contact an attorney who will take the time to listen to your story, assess the facts and the law, and represent you aggressively and professionally. Do not wait. Trucking companies and their insurers begin investigating a truck accident immediately – and so should you.
Truck drivers are subject to federal rules and regulations that do not apply to ordinary drivers. You need an experienced trucking accident attorney who knows these regulations inside and out to handle your case and maximize your financial recovery. These cases require a highly skilled lawyer with special knowledge of the laws, facts, and issues surrounding trucking accident cases. For example, a truck accident case may involve:
- State DMV laws regarding commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and trucking operations.
- State and Federal laws governing truck driver training, hours, and requirements.
- Exploring in great detail the safety record of the driver and the employer trucking company.
- Investigating and understanding the personnel and employment records of the at-fault truck driver.
- Investigating and understanding the trucking company’s driver hiring, training and retaining policies.
- Knowledge of various safety requirements for truckers such as repairs and inspections.
- Knowledge of National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations.
- Knowledge of Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations.
Truck Accident Claims
Commercial truck accident cases often begin like other car accident cases – with an insurance claim. Federal law requires trucking companies to carry a certain amount of insurance coverage to compensate any truck accident victims for their losses. However, simply because you file a claim does not mean you will automatically receive payment for all of your losses.
Commercial vehicle insurers know how to limit liability whenever possible to save money for both the insurance company and its large commercial clients. Insurance adjusters regularly challenge valid claims with tricky tactics including the following:
- Adjusters will try to get a recorded statement from you, which they can then interpret in a manner that hurts your claim.
- Adjusters will try to gain your trust to get you to accept an inadequate settlement.
- They can challenge liability for the accident and allege that you were also partially or completely responsible for the crash.
- They can challenge the severity of your injuries, whether the accident caused those injuries, and the extent of your losses.
Many insurance companies require adjusters to limit payouts as much as possible. This often involves making an initial settlement offer that is grossly insufficient in light of your losses. While accepting a settlement and ending your case may be tempting because it means quick money in your pocket. But accepting any offer without first having a lawyer review the offer can be a serious mistake. Once you accept the payment, you will lose the right to take any further action regarding the accident. If you later realize your losses far exceed the settlement, you will be responsible for those losses.
Our law firm regularly handles complex truck insurance claims and knows how to determine when a settlement offer is inadequate. We can then negotiate a higher offer or turn to the court system and file a truck accident lawsuit, if necessary. Often, initiating litigation can lead to a more favorable offer from the insurance company. We are skilled negotiators who will engage in settlement conferences throughout the litigation process to obtain the maximum settlement possible in your case.
Truck accident losses can be overwhelming but insurance claims and lawsuits are never simple. We take the stress off you by handling every step of the claim process. This allows you to focus on your recovery from your injuries, while trusting that your legal case is in good hands.
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, contact accident lawyer J. Todd Tenge and the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, serving the Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, and Loveland areas, to schedule a free consultation. The Tenge Law Firm, LLC routinely secures and maximizes legal recoveries for victims of negligent truck accidents.
Our team is here to help. Call us at (303) 665-2929 in Boulder, (970) 212-4777 in Fort Collins, or (303) 502-5587 in Denver, or submit our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.