Truck Accident Lawyers in Pueblo CO Answer Your FAQs
At Brylak Law, we represent injured parties in claims against commercial trucking companies. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident lawyers in Pueblo CO can help you obtain just compensation.
Trucking accidents involve large commercial delivery trucks like tractor-trailers, box trucks, and other commercial vehicles. These are distinct from commuter or passenger vehicles, which are not driven by employees on the job. The distinction is relevant for several reasons. First, the company that employs the driver can be held vicariously liable for any accident they cause. Secondly, claims are made against large commercial insurance policies that pay out in the event of a large settlement.
It’s important to understand that those who are in smaller vehicles tend to suffer severe injuries in accidents with larger commercial vehicles. Even the largest commuter vehicles don’t stand a chance against a tractor-trailer. Truck accident injuries can be life-altering and sometimes even result in death.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is any vehicle operated by a business for the purpose of transporting goods. The majority of these vehicles are tractor-trailers or semi-trucks. There are, however, other large trucks that are used for other commercial purposes, such as transporting people. In each case, those who operate such vehicles require a CDL (commercial driver’s license) and generally work for a company that specializes in logistics. Your attorney can help you determine whether or not the truck involved in your accident qualifies as a “commercial vehicle”.
How Common Are Truck Accidents?
Unfortunately, truck accidents are quite common. Despite the fact that the technology has improved to prevent truck accidents and the regulations regarding commercial trucks are more strict, the number of commercial truck fatalities increased in 2019 to a 29-year high. Today, however, there’s less excuse than ever for commercial trucking and driver negligence. The diagnostics that can be performed on such vehicles are more advanced and technologies such as blind-spot sensors prevent certain types of accidents.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Accidents Between Cars and Commercial Vehicles?
The most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Operator error on the part of the truck driver,
- Failure to load the trailer properly, and
- Mechanical failure of the truck itself.
Operator errors include:
- Failing to abide by the rules of traffic,
- Illegal or unsafe lane change,
- Speeding or unsafe passing,
- Driving while tired, distracted, or inebriated,
- Poor driver training, and
- Failing to check mirrors before changing lanes.
In some cases, the truck experiences a mechanical or other failure that puts other drivers at risk. These include:
- Failure to perform diagnostics and maintenance before deliver,
- Tire failure, brake failure, or other mechanical failure,
- Lack of side rails to prevent undercarriage accidents, and
- Failure to load the truck properly causing the truck to jackknife.
In some cases, the driver in the passenger vehicle is responsible for the accident because they violated some traffic law and in other cases, dangerous road conditions may be blamed for the accident.
What Can I Recover in a Truck Accident?
Those injured by driver or company negligence are entitled to recover both compensatory and noneconomic damages. In the case of egregious misconduct, a plaintiff may be able to recover punitive damages as well. Compensation includes:
- Past and future medical expenses and any out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries;
- Past and future lost wages related to your employment or your lack of ability to continue your employment;
- Noneconomic damages including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, emotional trauma, and more.
In cases where a driver is partly at fault for an accident, they can recover damages only if it is determined that they are 50% at fault or less and their damages are reduced by their percentage of blame.
Can I Sue a Company That Is Transporting Toxic Substances?
In some cases, you can sue both the trucking company for the accident and the company that was paying to have it shipped. The latter is more difficult to sue because you need to prove that the shipping company failed to inform the trucking company of dangers concerning the substance. The shipping company has a “duty to inform”. If that duty was not met, the shipping company can be held liable for injuries related to the toxic substance.
What Is a Truck “No Zone” and Why Is It Dangerous to Drive There?
The “No Zone” constitutes a major blind spot for the truck driver. It’s usually on the passenger side of the truck or directly behind the truck. Unless the truck has blind-spot sensors (which not all of them do) you want to avoid this area. You can tell that you’re in a blind spot by looking into the driver’s mirrors. If you can’t see them then they can’t see you.
Can I Sue the Trucking Company Whose Driver Caused the Accident?
Yes. Trucking companies have a duty of care to ensure that their drivers are fit to drive large commercial trucks. Additionally, all companies have what is known as “vicarious liability” for their employees. Chances are if an employee is on the job, their company is responsible for their actions. That’s because corporations are legally considered “persons” under the law. In other words, they’re one entity.
However, sometimes truckers are independent contractors and, in other words, their own company. In that case, there is no corporation beyond the driver themselves. Your Pueblo, CO trucking accident lawyer will go over your options with you.
Does a Jackknife Accident Automatically Mean the Truck Driver is at Fault?
There’s no such thing as “automatic fault” under the law. There may be a presumption of fault but no “automatic” fault. In the case of every accident, a specialist will attempt to reconstruct the accident as best they can from witness statements, surveillance footage, and vehicle damage. In some cases, a road condition may have caused the truck to jackknife.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Team of Pueblo CO Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have any more questions or believe you have a suit, contact Brylak Law today.