The investigators who work for Metier Law Firm
are quick to get to the scene of an accident and, more importantly, will protect crucial evidence. At the scene of the accident, our team will comb the area for any evidence, take notes on skid marks, broken glass, and oil, gas, and radiator fluid stains. Our investigators will also get police reports, records from the trucking company, statements from witnesses, photos, and safety logs. We will protect the big rig's "black box," which has important information about it in addition to protecting any physical evidence on the truck itself.
Time is the most important factor in many cases as evidence can disappear quickly and permanently without the intervention of an experienced attorney.
How are truck crashes different from car accidents?
Crashes involving semi-trucks or tractor trailers are very different from those with passenger vehicles only. There’s the obvious drastic size difference—an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is 20 times heavier than a passenger car—but truck drivers have to follow federal rules far stricter than those that other drivers don't have to. Truck drivers, for example, can't drive for more than 11 hours after taking 10 hours off in a row. But many of them feel pressured to break this rule because the trucking company will give them a bonus for meeting a deadline or face consequences for missing it.
Other ways truck crashes are different than car accident:
- Injuries are almost always far more severe.
- There can be multiple liable parties – most will not even be present during the crash.
- There can be multiple insurance policies – most are typically much larger than passenger car automobile policy limits.
- The legal teams will be much larger and more aggressive than those in passenger car collision claims.
Truck accidents can be devastating and are much more complicated than car accidents
. This is why you should always talk to a Fort Collins commercial truck accident lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and track record to protect your claim and fight for your rights.
What do I do if I’m in a truck crash?
There are two things you need to get done to ensure you are doing everything you can to get justice:
1. Go to the doctor.
2. Hire a lawyer.
First, a doctor is going to be able to get rid of your pain or set a medical treatment path for your recovery. No one wants to be in pain. Do not wait to go to the doctor - go right away. In most cases, people in passenger cars are severely injured and will be taken by an ambulance to a hospital.
Second, you can’t handle a truck accident case alone. Hire a Fort Collins truck accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Timing is everything in these cases and the longer you wait, the higher the chances are of losing critical evidence. For example, modern big rigs have “black boxes” just like airplanes. If the driver was speeding or never attempted to slow down until after the collision, the black box will show this. Some truck manufacturers automatically overwrite the data after a certain number of engine restarts and without an attorney’s intervention, the trucking company will attempt to repair their equipment to keep business moving forward which will permanently erase this critical evidence.
Many lawyers will tell you to get the truck driver's information or collect evidence, but we've found that most people who are in truck accidents can't do much at the scene. If you were taken away in an ambulance and couldn't take pictures or gather evidence, your attorney should be the person that goes to the scene, not a friend or family. Most likely, a friend won't know what to look for or how to collect it.
What to look for when choosing a Colorado semi-truck accident lawyer?
First, you need a Colorado truck accident lawyer who has a lot of experience with cases involving semi crashes. The legal team fighting against you will have experience fighting to pay injured people as little as possible, so you need a team of truck accident attorneys with experience fighting to get injured people the highest settlements and verdicts possible.
Second, you need a lawyer who has a lot of experience with these cases. They will know how to find each liable party which unveils new layers of insurance, so you can get the money you deserve. They’ll also know how to protect and preserve all of the evidence to prove your injuries came from the actions of the truck driver and trucking company.
Third, you need a law firm that is big enough to handle trucking cases, both in personnel and financially. These cases are much more expensive, time-consuming, and resource-intensive than other types of cases.
Fourth, you need a lawyer who works in the area where your accident happened. That local knowledge can be very important if you want your case to go well.
Lastly, find a truck accident attorney who teaches other attorneys how to litigate truck accident cases or co-counsels with other attorneys on their truck crash lawsuits. If other attorneys seek out a specific attorney or law firm when they want the largest settlement or verdict for a client, then you should consider hiring them too.
What are common causes of Fort Collins truck accidents?
Driver fatigue: Commercial vehicle drivers are often tired because they work long hours and drive on long stretches of rural road. It's easy to get tired, so it's important that truckers stop often to rest.
Distracted driving: Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road in front of them makes car accidents more likely.
Impaired driving: Everyone on the road is in danger when a driver is high on drugs or drunk.
Mechanical failure: One of the most common causes of truck crashes is faulty equipment
Improper passing or turning: tractor trailers have a much longer distance to stop than passenger cars. If a car cuts off a truck, it might be hard for the driver to avoid a crash.
Bad weather: Northern Colorado is prone to windy and icy conditions, which can be especially dangerous for large trucks
What are common truck accident injuries?
Injuries from truck accidents are frequently much more serious than car accidents because of the enormous size and weight of commercial trucks (which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds). Serious injuries to drivers and other occupants of passenger vehicles in collisions with 18-wheelers include
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Seat Belt injuries
- Broken bones
- Rib and torso injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Burn injuries
The risk that a collision may result in death is significantly increased by large commercial trucks as well. Family members of the deceased individuals may decide to bring a wrongful death case against the negligent truck driver and the business that employed the driver if the person was killed in a commercial truck accident.
Who is liable?
Even though the truck driver may have been in control of the truck that caused your crash, the truck company will also share the blame.
Truck accidents are more likely when the driver makes a mistake and the company doesn't follow its own rules. Here are the five most common causes of truck accidents that can be stopped:
1. Driver Fatigue
This is the main reason why trucks crash. When drivers skip their required breaks, they put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. They are usually pushed to do this by tight deadlines, busy schedules, and pressure from their bosses to meet delivery dates or get fired.
2. Distracted Driving
Long stretches of flat land and empty road can be found in states such as Wyoming and New Mexico. The CB used to be a way for truck drivers to pass the time by talking to each other. In the last twenty years, new gadgets have come out that are even more interesting.
Drivers can be distracted by their phones, tablets, apps, social media, and other tech. Because of this, federal rules state that drivers can't text or use a cell phone or smartphone while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
3. Tires with too little air
Tires need to be checked all the time, both by the people who take care of the truck's maintenance and by the drivers themselves. Tires that aren't inflated enough wear out faster and can eventually damage their casings and burst if they aren't inflated enough. When a tire blows out, pieces of rubber can fly off and hit other cars, making them spin out of control. This can cause a major accident particularly for motorcycle riders.
4. Mechanical Failures
When brakes and other important parts of a truck wear down, it can be dangerous on the road. If the truck's brakes fail, the driver won’t be able to stop the big rig, doing a lot of damage and hurting a lot of people if passenger cars are in its path. These systems are supposed to be checked often.
5. Cargo Not Loaded Correctly
The truck's driver and whoever is in charge of it must make sure that it is loaded safely and properly. If this doesn't happen, the cargo could move while the truck is moving, causing the driver to lose control and cause a serious accident.
This isn’t a full list of preventable causes, but all of these things can be avoided if the driver and the company they work for are careful, alert, and do their jobs well. In fact, it is up to the government to set up the rules and ways to enforce them that will keep everyone safe on the road.