18-Wheeler, Semi-Tractor Trailer Truck Accident Lawyer in Denver, Colorado (CO)
Tractor-trailers and other large trucks involved in collisions in Colorado often cause catastrophic injuries, disruptive traffic snarls, and unparalleled carnage. When vehicles that weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and reach 53 feet (or longer with special approval) collide with 3,000 pound passenger cars, the occupants of the smaller vehicle face a disproportionate risk of permanent, debilitating injury and wrongful death. The trucking accident lawyers at Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC provide persuasive, compassionate, and effective legal representation to trucking accident victims and their families.
While all motor vehicle collisions can result in significant property damage, devastating injuries, and even loss of life, accidents involving tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks magnify this risk exponentially. Basic physics dictates that a collision between two vehicles with a disparity in weight of 20-30 times or more can have disproportionately poor results for occupants of the smaller vehicle. During a recent one year period, 66 percent of people who die in fatal collisions involving a large truck and a passenger car were occupants of the vehicle other than the semi-truck. Another 16 percent of people who died in these types of accidents were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Although this data might seem alarming, the situation could get worse before it improves because the number of commercial truck collisions increased by 27 percent from 2009 to 2017.
Litigation of Semi-Truck Accidents Poses Special Legal and Factual Issues
While many people assume that any attorney who has handled auto collision cases can effectively litigate a commercial truck lawsuit, this misconception can impede the best choice of legal representation. Commercial trucking accident lawsuits involve distinct complex issues that make it important to work with attorneys who have a proven record of success and extensive experience in this specialized type of personal injury litigation. Issues that are particular to semi-truck accident lawsuits include:
Gathering of Evidence: While evidence must be gathered in any motor vehicle accident claim, the investigation of trucking accident cases differs dramatically from collisions involving other vehicles. Commercial carriers (trucking companies) usually utilize rapid response teams of investigators who can promptly be deployed to the scene of a collision involving the companies’ vehicles and/or drivers. These investigators are not tasked with conducting an objective analysis of the accident, these experts begin developing a defense strategy based on this evidence.
Review of “Black Box” Data: Commercial trucks typically are equipped with black boxes that are comparable to those installed on commercial airlines. The information stored on an “event data recorder” (EDR) or “electronic control module” (ECM) can provide critical information in the wake of a collision. The black box will contain vital information about the the vehicle, location of the truck, and driver actions immediately prior to the collision. Data from the black box can answer vital questions about sudden acceleration/deceleration, speed immediately prior to the accident, braking activity, RPMs and hards stops, use of cruise control, airbag deployment, daily/monthly truck activity, and more. Most trucks also will be equipped with GPS systems that establish the location of the vehicle at the time of the crash and communication between the trucking company and driver. The information also provides a way to check maintenance and hours of service logs to expose fraudulent records.
Catastrophic Injuries: Insurance companies and the commercial carriers they represent have an incentive to zealously resist settling these cases because they tend to involve catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. The massive force generated when a tractor-trailer combination collides with a passenger vehicle often results in permanent mental and physical debilitation to those not within the protection of the truck’s cab. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 97 percent of vehicle occupants who die in trucking collisions between a passenger vehicle and a large truck are occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Exposing Falsified Driver Records: While truck drivers must keep records of vehicle inspections, truck vehicle maintenance, time behind the wheel, rest periods, and off duty time, log entries frequently are manipulated or falsified. Exposure of hours of service (HOS) violations or a failure to conduct maintenance often means uncovering discrepancies between log entries and documents like gas receipts, tire purchase orders, lodging receipts, and other documents.
Dealing with Multiple Parties and Insurers: Trucking accident lawsuits often require naming multiple parties like the commercial carrier, cargo shipper, truck driver, independent maintenance company, and the truck and/or trailer owner, which means the involvement of a multitude of insurers. Our trucking accident lawyers in Denver, CO have experience effectively navigating lawsuits with multiple parties and their multitude of insurers that will frequently attempt to shift blame for the accident to evade financial responsibility.
Mitigating “Spoliation” Risk: The legal term “spoliation” of evidence refers to destroying or failing to preserve property that might be utilized in reasonably foreseeable litigation. When trucking companies learn that their driver has been in a collision, they sometimes engage in spoliation of evidence to obscure negligence by the driver or trucking company. The truck might be hastily repaired and placed back into service. The repairs can adversely affect an accident reconstructionist expert’s ability to analyze body damage. Because black box data recorders only have limited memory, valuable electronic information also can be lost when the trucking company puts the vehicle back in service. Our law firm provides notice regarding the spoliation of evidence that specifies the property that must be preserved in an unaltered state. If the trucking company disregards this warning, the court can draw a negative inference against the commercial carrier that altered or destroyed the property. The court also can impose monetary and other sanctions against the offending parties.
Navigating Trucking Laws & Regulations: Litigation of trucking accident injury lawsuits necessitates extensive knowledge of the myriad of trucking laws and regulations. Hundreds of regulations apply to the trucking industry that are designed to mitigate the potential risk of injury posed by these massive vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), constitutes the entity primarily responsible for trucking regulations at the federal level. These regulations also have been adopted by the State of Colorado.
Unique Dynamics of Trucking Collisions: Although tractor-trailers can be involved in a rear-impact collision, side-impact accident, and head-on collision, the unique handling of large trucks create distinct hazards. Large trucks can be prone to rollover especially when transporting heavy and unbalanced loads. Similarly, big-rigs can jackknife when not driven safely by an experienced truck driver. Passenger cars might be crushed when a truck rides up over the top of a car or a car slides under a large truck that is not equipped with adequate override or underride collision guards.
Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC Bring Proven Results and Experience to Trucking Cases
Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC has successfully handled the most complex motor vehicle accident insurance claims and lawsuits, which includes commercial trucking accidents. While every personal injury case can have different outcomes based on the facts and circumstances, Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC has obtained millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts, including large recoveries in trucking cases, such as:
Along with a pattern of successful recoveries, our Denver trucking accident lawyers at Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC have obtained national recognition for providing effective and exemplary representation by respected online legal portals and publications:
- 2017 “10 Best for Client Satisfaction” by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys
- 2018 “Lawyers of Distinction”
- 2016-2017 “Best Female Attorney for Client Satisfaction” by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys
Significant Factors Contributing to Large Truck Accidents in Denver, Colorado
Many actions committed by commercial drivers and trucking companies cause collisions involving semi-trucks. Conduct that causes semi-truck collisions includes violations of trucking industry regulations and other negligent acts, such as the following:
Substance impaired commercial drivers
- Deficient pre-employment screening by commercial carriers
Fatigued drivers who disregard hours of service rules
- Disregard of Colorado Vehicle & Traffic Laws
- Trucking companies that entrust vehicles to medically unfit drivers
- Unsafe routes selected by trucking companies and their drivers
Truck driver lack of attention to “no zones” (large truck blindspots)
Unsafely loaded or unbalanced cargo
- Large trucks that exceed size and weight maximums
Neglecting to perform adequate vehicle inspections and maintenance
- Failure of trucking companies to take drivers out of service after accidents or regulatory violations
Lack of supervision of semi-truck drivers by commercial carriers
- Faulty repairs or maintenance performed by independent maintenance companies
- Semi-cab, trailer or coupler design and manufacturing defects
Injuries in Large Truck Collisions in Denver, CO
Despite extensive trucking industry regulations and safety standards, these safeguards become ineffective when trucking companies, commercial drivers, and others disregard these protections. When injury victims seek legal representation from trucking accident lawyers in Denver, Colorado, their attorneys must gather treatment records that include diagnostic screenings, secure knowledgeable medical experiences, and pursue compensation for medical bills and other damages. Trucking accident injuries cover a broad spectrum that includes:
Broken Bones and Fractures: Because the force of impact generated by a large truck typically exceeds that of a passenger car, compound fracture and bone crush injuries frequently occur.
Burn-Related Injuries: The high volume of gasoline in large tractor-trailer fuel tanks can catch fire or explode during a collision that involves a large truck. These burn injuries can cause intense pain, disfigurement, and life-threatening infections.
Neck & Back Injuries: Whether injuries include soreness, a vertibrae fracture, or a slipped disc, injuries to the back and neck can cause debilitation, paralysis, impaired sensation, and chronic pain.
Head Injuries: Injury to the brain can have devastating and life-changing consequences that include impaired cognitive functioning, compromisd motor skills, loss of memory, mobility limitations, loss of vision, and more. Brain injuries can occur even without impact to the head when a vehicle occupant’s head suddenly stops or changes direction.
Harm to Internal Organs: Internal injuries to the spleen, kidneys, bladder, or liver can be among the most difficult injuries to treat. Whether an individual suffers internal bleeding or impairment of vital organs, the injury cannot be diagnosed unless an injury victim visits a hospital.
Lacerations: Whether large or small, cuts can cause scars and disfigurement.
Injuries to the Torso: Although the ribcage functions to protect vital organs, broken ribs can do significant damage to internal organs.
Injury to the Spinal Cord: Damage to the spinal cord frequently constitutes one of the most debilitating forms of injury. Depending on the area of the spinal cord damaged and the extent of the injury, the victim could suffer paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Wrongful Death: When a family prematurely loses a breadrunner, recovery from the intense grief can be complicated by stress related to financial hardships.
Speak to an Experienced Denver Truck Accident Attorney
Our dedicated and seasoned trucking accident attorneys at Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC can review your situation to evaluate and determine the compensation we can pursue for you. Depending on the specific facts, we can zealously fight for compensation that includes:
Money to repair/replace your vehicle
Awards for your pain and suffering
- Costs related to past and future medical care and rehabilitation
Lost wages & reduction in earning potential
- Exemplary/punitive damages in cases of extreme misconduct
Loss of consortium
Burial/funeral expenses in wrongful death cases
- Other monetary compensation based on the circumstances
While injury victims have a right to financial compensation for injuries and losses caused by careless truck drivers and indifferent commercial carriers, strict deadlines apply to the right to pursue a lawsuit. The entire process of pursuing an insurance claim or lawsuit includes traps for the unwary that can easily derail a valid claim without legal advice and representation. Our Denver truck accident attorneys at Alhasoon, Glidden & Glidden, LLC zealously advocate for clients and challenge trucking companies and their insurance companies throughout Colorado. Call us at 1-720-487-1050.