Truck Accident Attorney in Colorado Springs
Commercial trucks perform the essential task of hauling cargo and goods to where they need to be. Most truck drivers operate their vehicles responsibly as they drive from state to state. Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies operate their rigs negligently. They may speed to make up for lost time or disregard trucking regulations intended to keep other motorists safe.
When a truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence ends up injuring other motorists, those at-fault parties should be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause.
If you have been involved and injured in a Colorado Springs truck accident through no fault of your own, contact Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC today. You can schedule a consultation to discuss your legal rights and options. You will also learn more about how an experienced Colorado Springs truck accident attorney can help you seek maximum compensation for your injury claim.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents?
Most motor vehicle accident claims involve only the drivers in the accident. However, the trucking industry may have multiple parties involved. One or more of these parties may bear liability when a truck accident occurs, such as the:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company, which may own the truck involved in the accident
- Truck’s owner, if different from the truck driver or the trucking company
- Freight company that loaded the truck’s cargo
- Mechanic or maintenance company responsible for servicing the truck
- Truck’s manufacturer or the manufacturers of parts used in building or maintaining the truck
How a Colorado Springs Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Do you have a truck accident claim in Colorado Springs? A dedicated and experienced attorney can improve your chances of securing the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages.
The trucking companies and their insurers will look to use every trick and tactic to get you to accept less than full and fair compensation. Their goal is to limit the amount of money they have to pay you. A Colorado Springs truck accident attorney can fight back against these efforts. Jeffrey Scott Lasswell can help you seek the financial recovery you deserve by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident to recover all available evidence. This includes sending evidence preservation requests to the trucking companies to secure documents in their possession.
- Working with expert witnesses to build a legal argument that persuasively explains how your accident occurred, who was responsible for the accident, and the extent of your damages.
- Aggressively negotiating with the trucking and insurance companies on your behalf to secure a settlement as efficiently as possible. The settlement will provide you with the full and fair monetary compensation you deserve.
- Preparing your case to go to court and to trial. That preparation shows the other side that you are serious about getting you full and fair compensation.
Gathering Evidence in a Truck Accident Claim
Truck accident claims are complex, often requiring a review of these types of evidence:
- The truck driver’s log – Drivers must record the hours they spend behind the wheel. Drivers are limited in how long they can be on the road. Laws and regulations require that they get a certain amount of rest or down time. If the driver’s logs show those limits were not met, that evidence may show the truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident.
- The truck’s “black box” – Commercial trucks may have computers that record data from the truck. Some black boxes record the truck’s GPS position, which can also be used to calculate speed. Other black boxes may record the driver’s steering and acceleration/deceleration inputs. This data can be used to show what the truck was doing in the moments leading up to the collision.
- The truck driver’s toxicology report – If a truck accident results in serious injury or death or serious property damage, the truck driver may be required to submit to an alcohol and drug screen, even if he or she does not appear to be intoxicated. A positive screen can serve as irrefutable evidence that the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
- The load manifest – An improper or unsafe load can cause a truck driver to lose control. The load manifest can show whether a truck was carrying a safe load that was properly loaded.
- The truck’s maintenance records – Maintenance records can reveal if a truck has had deferred maintenance and whether maintenance was performed properly.
Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries
After you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for certain damages you have incurred as a result of your injuries. Those damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medication, physical and occupational rehab, and long-term care
- Lost wages for time missed from work during your recovery
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries disable you from returning to your old job or from working in any gainful employment
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life caused by physical disabilities or disfigurements
- Pain and suffering from the injuries
In rare cases of particularly egregious conduct by a truck driver or the trucking companies, you may also be entitled to seek punitive damages. Those damages are intended to punish a defendant for conduct that “shocks the conscience.”
Statute of Limitations on Truck Accident Lawsuits
If you have been injured or suffered property damage in a truck accident, Colorado’s trucking laws and the statute of limitations give you a limited period in which to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit allows you to seek compensation from the party or parties responsible for your truck accident.
In Colorado, you generally have three years from the date of your accident in which to file your lawsuit. If you fail to file in court by that deadline, the court can permanently dismiss your case. That means you will have lost your right to seek compensation from those at fault for your accident.
What to Do after a Semi-Truck Accident
Following your truck accident, take these steps to protect your rights and interests in case you later make a claim for compensation over your injuries and damages.
- Call 911 or contact the police. If you or someone in the accident was injured, call 911 to summon emergency medical services. Otherwise, report the accident to the local or state police. An officer will come to the scene and prepare an accident report. The police accident report often serves as crucial evidence in a truck accident claim
- Get contact and insurance information for the truck driver and the trucking company. You will need this information if you wish to later make a legal claim.
- Notify your own insurance company of your accident. Even if you were not at fault, your policy probably requires you to notify your insurer of your accident within a certain period. If you fail to do that, you may lose coverage under your own policy for benefits such as Med Pay or underinsured motorist coverage.
- Document the accident scene. If possible, photograph or take a video of the scene with your cell phone. Capture the damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road, the traffic controls at the scene, and the weather, lighting, road, and traffic conditions at the time of the accident. Also take photos of any visible injuries you may have.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you are not feeling any pain or other symptoms of an injury, you should still follow up with your doctor or other medical provider. Your doctor may be able to identify injuries that are not immediately apparent. Promptly identifying your injuries can strengthen your claim for compensation.
- Consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights following your accident. The attorney can begin the process of investigating the accident and securing evidence. The attorney can also contact the trucking companies to request they preserve documents and other evidence.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Like any motor vehicle accident, truck accidents have many potential causes. When the truck driver or trucking companies are at fault for a truck accident, common causes can include:
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Unsafe lane changes, including failing to signal or failing to check mirrors/blind spots
- Unsafe turns caused by failing to check mirrors or failing to yield to traffic
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving, often caused by the need to meet delivery deadlines
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Distracted driving caused by cell phone or radio use
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Improper truck maintenance
- Improper or unsafe truck loads
- Getting lost, which can cause truck drivers to end up travelling the wrong way or travelling on restricted roads
In addition, external factors can play a part in causing a truck accident, including poor road condition, low lighting or bad weather.
Truck Accident FAQs
Truck accident cases tend to be more complicated than your typical car accident case for several reasons.
- Victims of truck accidents tend to suffer more severe injuries that can take longer, more extensive medical treatment. As a result, injured victims may have substantial damages and may still be undergoing treatment when their claim is being resolved through settlement negotiations. The ongoing treatment can make the process of resolving all issues more complicated.
- Truck accident cases involve more types of evidence than other kinds of motor vehicle crashes. That evidence includes truck driver logs, truck black box data and load manifests.
- While many motor vehicle accident cases usually only involve the drivers of the vehicles, truck accident cases can have several parties that share fault for the accident. That complicates the process of determining fault and assigning shares of liability.
Most truck accident attorneys will handle an injured party’s case on a contingency fee basis. This means that the client does not pay the attorney anything unless and until the attorney recovers compensation for the client.
In contingency fee arrangements, the attorney will also typically pay for the costs of the case, such as expert witness fees or court filing fees. The attorney’s fee is usually calculated as a percentage of the client’s total recovery. Any expenses covered by the attorney, will be deducted from the client’s recovery.
Several factors can affect the value of a truck accident case.
The parties who bear liability for the accident and their financial resources (such as insurance) will affect the value of the case. It may not matter how much the damages are if the liable party does not have the money to compensate the injured party.
The extent of the plaintiff’s injuries will also control the value of the case. If a person suffers serious injuries, he or she will likely require expensive medical treatment. The injured party may need to miss considerable time from work. The injured may never be able to return to work. Serious injuries also mean that a plaintiff has had to endure pain and suffering and lost quality of life. Compensation may include those damages.
The truck accident claims process will usually begin with a thorough investigation to determine which parties (the trucking company, freight company, etc.) may bear liability for the accident. The next step involves making a formal claim for compensation against those companies and their insurers. Their trucking company insurers will conduct their own investigation.
Usually, your attorney and the other parties will begin negotiating a compensation amount acceptable to both parties. If the parties cannot reach a negotiated settlement, the case will head to a trial in court.
Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer in Colorado Springs Now
If you have been involved in a truck accident in Colorado Springs that was not your fault, you need dedicated, experienced legal representation to help guide you through the complicated truck accident claim process.
Contact Colorado Springs truck accident lawyer Jeffrey Scott Lasswell today. You can schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case and to learn more about your legal rights and options following your accident.