Denver, CO, Truck Accidents Lawyers Representing Victims’ Rights in Claims Against Trucking Companies and Their Insurance
Today, we see large numbers of 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks on the roads, delivering products and providing customers with needed assistance, like garbage removal or moving services. While these vehicles are essential to our everyday lives, they can also be incredibly destructive when involved in a crash. Victims of a truck accident face higher rates of mortality and more severe injuries than those who suffer a car accident. Those who experience a trucking accident often encounter long recovery times, substantial medical bills, and lost wages due to missing work. Not to mention the mental trauma inflicted by being involved in such a terrifying event.
Trucking companies must carry higher coverage on their vehicles because of the inherent risk of serious damage if they are involved in a crash. While this would appear to make it easier for victims to recover compensation for their damages, it often has the opposite effect. Because settlements for a trucking company and their insurance can be financially significant, they often employ many experienced attorneys to fight against these claims and to reduce the amount they pay out. The Denver truck accident lawyers at Genco Injury Attorneys are here to level the playing field for victims. We believe in fighting to get you the fair compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, contact our law office today at 303-500-1376 for a free consultation with one of our experienced truck accident attorneys. We’re here to answer all your legal questions and help you get back on your feet again after your truck accident.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?
There are often many factors leading to a truck accident. The driver of another vehicle may cut off a truck, forcing it to take evasive measures. Or an essential part may malfunction, such as the brakes, which can result in a runaway vehicle leaving horrible damage in its wake. However, one of the most common causes of truck accidents is human error on the part of truck drivers.
Truck drivers are highly trained individuals, but they face many pressures on the job that can contribute to truck accidents. They often have to meet tight deadlines for their trucking company, which may lead to driving while feeling unwell or overtired. It can also cause drivers to drive at speeds too fast for the road or weather conditions. Another danger for truckers is the fact that many of them are driving on roads in areas they are unfamiliar with to make deliveries. This unfamiliarity at night, during heavy traffic, or during bad weather can greatly increase the chances of a trucking accident as drivers attempt to navigate new territory. Other potential causes for a truck accident include:
- Operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while fatigued
- Distracted or inattentive driving
- Experiencing tire problems or other truck malfunctions
- Losing control due to damaged or improperly marked roadways
- Shifting cargo leads to handling problems
- Failing to consider road conditions
- Driver experiencing a medical emergency
What Steps Should You Take if You’ve Had a Truck Accident?
The aftermath of an accident can be very chaotic. This is especially true in truck accidents because they typically involve vehicles like 18-wheelers, garbage trucks, or delivery vans with a much larger mass than typical passenger vehicles. This size disparity can lead to devastating crashes and serious injuries. Of course, ensuring you and your loved ones’ safety after a truck accident is first and foremost. If anyone is severely injured, call 911 and follow the instructions of all responding medical personnel. After this, if you are physically able, these are some steps you can take that may help improve your case:
- Call the police: It is required by Colorado law to alert the police after any accident that causes injury or damage. Police officers will come to the scene and create an accident report. Because this report is important evidence in your case, be sure to understand how you can get a copy after it is completed.
- Collect information from the driver of the truck: Include the name of the truck driver, the plate number, the vehicle number (if present), and the name of the owner of the trucking company.
- Gather insurance information from the truck driver: Get the name of their insurance company, policy number, and the insurance’s phone number.
- Take photographs: Take several photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage from various angles. You could capture something that police photographs of the scene missed.
- Get contact information from witnesses: If anyone is present who saw the accident or if someone stopped to help, get their name, address, and phone number.
- Seek immediate medical attention: Even if you don’t feel hurt, get yourself and any of your passengers medically evaluated as soon as possible. Some injuries are not immediately apparent and could even be life-threatening. If your vehicle was damaged, it’s likely your body was too.
- Do not make any statements: You mustn’t discuss whose fault the accident was, tell anyone that you feel ok, or make apologies, as these statements could be used against you later by the insurance company in negotiations or a courtroom.
- Call a Denver truck accident lawyer immediately: They can advise you on any further steps you should take. They can also speak with the insurance companies on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.
What Injuries Can Occur During a Trucking Accident?
A truck accident can happen in a moment and leave catastrophic damage in its wake. The definition of a large truck is any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds. Meanwhile, an average passenger vehicle weighs between 3000 and 4000 pounds. It’s not surprising then that the overwhelming majority of injuries and deaths in truck crashes occur to individuals who are not in the truck. The sheer mass of a truck makes it especially devastating in a collision. Some common injuries resulting from a truck accident include:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Back, head, and neck injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head trauma
- Lacerations and contusions
- Severed limbs
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Permanent disability or death may also result from truck crashes due to their severity. Survivors could suffer trauma-related mental health issues such as nightmares, phobias, anxiety, and PTSD. A truck crash can be a life-altering experience for you and your loved ones. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will painstakingly investigate your truck accident claim to hold both the truck driver and the trucking company responsible for the negligent actions which resulted in your injuries.
What Are the Dangers of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)?
Newer vehicles are outfitted with the most modern safety features. From crumple zones designed to diffuse the force of an impact before it reaches the seating area of a car to advanced airbag designs to cushion the body from blows from nearly any angle, a new car is made to protect the occupants as much as possible during a car accident. Unfortunately, a truck accident causes impacts that are often far beyond the protection capabilities of most passenger vehicles. These impacts lead to severe injuries, especially damage to delicate brain tissue.
There are varying levels of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): mild, moderate, severe, and coma. However, do not be misled by the naming conventions because a mild TBI is still a serious injury requiring immediate medical attention. Instead, the levels are named based on the potential a victim has for healing from the damage and how long that healing will take. As the levels increase, so does the likelihood of permanent damage. A TBI can also be classified by the type of injury sustained. In a closed injury, such as a concussion or brain hemorrhage, the skull remains intact. In a penetrating injury, something has pierced the skull and damaged brain tissue, like a piece of glass or debris.
Survivors of traumatic brain injuries can face long hours of rehabilitation, substantial medical expenses, and life-long disabilities as a result of their accidents. It can impact their personal relationships and ability to maintain a job. Some of the symptoms a victim of a TBI may experience are:
- Brain swelling
- Changes in personality
- Chronic, severe headaches
- Coordination issues
- Difficulty speaking
- Light sensitivity
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Post-traumatic amnesia
- Vision loss
If you or a loved one have indications of a serious head injury immediately after a truck accident or in the following days and weeks, you should seek immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms to look out for include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dilated pupils, unconsciousness, slurred speech, seizures, or loss of coordination. These injuries can rapidly become life-threatening and must be treated as soon as possible.
What Are the Elements of a Successful Truck Accident Claim?
In any personal injury case involving a vehicular accident, specific standards must be met for your case to be successful. First, you must prove that the truck driver owed you a duty of care to drive in a safe manner. Then you must show how they breached that duty of care with their actions. Maybe they did not follow the rules of the road or acted recklessly in the operation of their vehicle. That breach must be shown as the cause of the injuries you or your loved one(s) experienced. You also have to prove how those injuries caused you specific losses. These losses may be tangible financial impacts, such as medical bills and lost wages. They can also be non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of quality of life. The defendant will be held liable for these losses if their claim is successfully proven.
Of course, the defendant may not always be the truck driver themselves. Several different parties can cause a truck accident. For instance, maybe the truck suffered from improper maintenance, which caused a malfunction leading to the crash. In that case, the defendant may be the owner of the trucking company or the individuals responsible for the maintenance. If the heavy cargo was improperly loaded on an 18-wheeler, leading to a truck accident, the third-party company who loaded it might be at fault. Even a government entity that created a poorly designed road or intersection may be partially responsible for your injuries. A skilled truck accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your crash to determine who may be liable. But in all cases, the standards for the lawsuit remain the same: you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, that they subsequently breached that duty, and how that breach directly resulted in damages to you or your loved ones.
What Compensation Can Victims of Trucking Accidents Receive?
Personal injury lawsuits are meant to hold the at-fault party in the accident liable for the damages they caused. If the truck driver was partially or entirely at fault for the accident, you might be eligible to receive compensation. As noted above, many entities may share responsibility for the accident, including the truck manufacturer, the trucking company, third-party vendors, the local government that designed the roadway, and more. Truck accident lawyers are skilled at parsing the details of your accident and determining where the liability for your truck accident lies so that you can get fair compensation for your losses.
Two main types of damages can be recovered in a truck accident claim. The first is actual compensatory damages. These compensate you for any tangible financial losses that happened due to your injury. These are losses you likely have bills, receipts, or other documentation for and may include:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Vehicle and property replacement or repair
General compensatory damages are the second type of damages awarded in truck accident cases. These are non-monetary losses you suffered from the accident. Typically, the severity of your injuries and the length of time they are anticipated to impact you determine the amount of these damages. Examples of general compensatory damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical bills
- Loss of future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Emotional damage
If your loved one tragically perished in a truck accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for funeral expenses, the loss of their support, and other damages.
In some rare truck accident cases where the negligent behavior by the at-fault driver was highly egregious, the court may decide to award punitive damages on top of the compensatory damages. In Colorado, punitive damages cannot equal more than the actual damages awarded, except when the case meets specific criteria. When it does meet those standards, the punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of the actual damages awarded. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their behavior and dissuade others from committing the same actions as the defendant.
Why Hire a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you or a family member have been injured in a truck accident, it can feel overwhelming to handle your medical treatment, rehabilitation, and home responsibilities, on top of figuring out how to file a claim with the various insurance companies involved in your accident. You may even be feeling pressure from those companies to settle for a low amount or drop your case entirely. At Genco Injury Attorneys, our Denver truck accident lawyers understand how stressful this time can be. We believe you deserve to be able to put that stress down and focus on your family and your recovery. Our truck accident lawyers will ensure you receive the high-quality medical treatment you need to heal properly. We will investigate your accident to determine who may be at fault and what damages you are eligible to recover. Our Denver truck accident lawyers are tenacious and willing to take on the legal teams assembled by the insurance companies when necessary in order to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our law office at 303-500-1376 for a free consultation today to learn how our skilled and compassionate Denver truck accident attorneys can assist you.