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The True Cost Of A Truck Accident Is Different Than That Of A Car Crash

Although commercial truck drivers can be the safest drivers on the road, when truck accidents occur, they can also cause the most devastating injuries to the occupants of the other vehicles involved.

When a car and truck collide, the truck’s sheer size and weight multiply the consequences. Trucks can weigh between 4,700 pounds for an average pickup to 80,000 pounds for an 18-wheeler. The average car weighs just 2,800 pounds. When a 2,800-pound car is stuck by an 80,000-pound vehicle, it is not hard to predict the outcome. Injuries due to trucking accidents are often severe and permanent.

Truck drivers and trucking companies understand, or should understand, that the large sizes of their vehicles place great responsibility on them to share the road and keep other drivers safe from harm. When truck drivers drive unsafely or trucking companies do not properly maintain trucks, accidents can happen due to negligence. Unlike car accidents, where drivers are generally responsible for their own actions and liability is often clear, the assignment of liability in truck accidents can be more complicated.

The parties often involved in truck accidents include:

  • The driver of the truck, who may have been speeding or feeling distracted, exhausted or impaired.
  • The trucking company that may have hired an unsafe driver, ignored regulations or ignored maintenance needs.
  • A manufacturer who may have produced a defective part, like a tire, hitch or trailer.
  • A shipper who may have improperly loaded cargo. Improper loading or overloading can cause trailers to veer out of their lanes or make it difficult for trucks to stop.
  • A municipality that may have allowed roads to become unsafe.

Of course, accidents can occur due to the negligence of passenger vehicles as well. Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash helps protect your rights and ensure the best possible financial recovery. A lawyer will work to obtain the evidence necessary to determine liability, which may include some or all of the following: accident and police reports, driving records, the testimony of witnesses, black box data, duty logs and regulatory compliance records. Colorado is an at-fault state, so the determination of liability is very important. In a Colorado automobile crash, the party who caused the accident pays for the damage.

Colorado’s Trucking Industry

The trucking industry is essential to Colorado. Our land-locked state depends heavily on trucks for the transportation of goods, not to mention the payment of salaries and taxes. According to the Colorado Motor Carriers Association, as of 2017, there were 13,180 trucking companies in Colorado – most of them small, locally owned businesses. The trucking industry provides one out of 20 Colorado jobs. The vast majority of Colorado communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods.

The trucking industry does a lot of good for Coloradans and employs many responsible, hard-working people. Unfortunately, the size and weight of trucks means that even one person’s decision to cut corners – by neglecting maintenance or speeding to improve delivery time, for example – can have severe consequences in the form of accidents, injuries and fatalities.

A State Notorious For Trucking Accidents

Colorado is one of the more notorious states for trucking accidents. Our mountain highways are used by long-distance semi-truck drivers, skiers and residents alike. Colorado’s beautiful stretch of Highway 550, also known as the Million Dollar Highway, is a well-traveled thoroughfare with no guardrails. Highway 70’s stretch from Morrison to Dotsero is frequently congested. Add in the steep grades and winding curves endemic to mountain roads, plus snow and ice, and it is not hard to see why navigating these roads requires skill and care. Our state sees dozens of fatal truck accidents and approximately 2,000 non-fatal truck accidents every year. In these crashes, approximately 75% of fatalities are incurred by occupants of passenger vehicles.

Steps To Take After An Accident

If you have been involved in a truck accident, what happens in the days and weeks afterward is very important.

After an accident, you should do the following:

  1. Get medical treatment: Even if you think you are OK, you need to get a medical exam. Truck accidents involve a lot of force, overwhelming emotions and adrenaline. These factors can combine to mask injuries that would be obvious in normal circumstances.
  2. Take pictures of the accident scene: Your photos might provide much-needed evidence later.
  3. Contact a truck accident attorney: Trucking companies and their insurers are extremely savvy when it comes to managing the aftermath of a crash. They will contact you soon after the accident and pretend to be your friend. They will encourage you to make a recorded statement, sign medical releases and settle quickly, perhaps implying that it is in your best interests to do so.

But, insurance companies are not your friend, and it is not in your best interests to do any of these things. The pain from your injuries may last for a very long time. Insurance companies know this, so they will pressure you to settle before the extent of your injury is known. Let an experienced personal injury and accident lawyer fight for the best settlement possible for you. When you are hurt, you need to focus on healing, not fighting a giant corporation by yourself.

Injured In A Truck Accident? Call A Personal Injury Lawyer.

At Shafner Injury Law, we have over 40 collective years of experience recovering compensation for victims of truck accidents, including truck drivers, drivers of passenger vehicles and passersby. We understand that when injuries are severe or a loved one is lost, no amount of compensation can return things to the way they were before. But without a financial recovery, the future can be very bleak. Compensation helps victims rebuild their lives and chart a path forward.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, we want to help you recover. For a free consultation, call our office at 720-800-4715 or fill out the online contact form.