At roughly 80,000 pounds, tractor-trailer trucks have incomparable potential for causing serious injury on the highways if involved in a trucking accident. Your risk of severe auto injury, or even death, can increase drastically if you are part of a crash with a semi truck while in a passenger vehicle.
Even though drivers of these big rig trucks are required to be carefully trained for a specific skill set in order to maneuver our nation’s roadways, many are not. When a truck driver causes a severe or fatal auto accident injury, they tend to leave critical legal ramifications for those involved. So don’t be left without the best Colorado personal injury attorney from Burg Simpson, submit our Free Case Evaluation form today.
To have the best defense in your accident case you need to know who was at fault for the crash. There are many circumstances that can be the cause of these incidences, including:
- Impaired Driving (Driver intoxication or drug use)
- Driver fatigue (excessive hours, inadequate rest, failure to observe rest stops)
- Excessive speed
- Overloaded trucks
- Driver error
- Improper Maintenance
- Unbalanced truck loads
- Road hazards
- Faulty Brakes
- Inclement weather
- Poor training and supervision
Legally speaking, any vehicle classified as a “Common Carrier” must adhere to strict state and federal regulations while on the road, including:
- The number of hours a truck driver can be on the road driving;
- The amount of rest that driver must have before each trip;
- The type and size of the cargo that can be hauled;
- Adherence to heavy truck preventative maintenance schedules;
- Specific requirements for record-keeping of these regulations
All truck drivers are required to stop at designated weigh stations to check that their load isn’t overweight, falsely-reported, or contains illegal cargo. If a truck is found to be above its weight limit at one of these stations, the driver can be given a ticket but often times are allowed back on the road with an unsafe amount of weight in tow, increasing the chances of causing a devastating accident! Occasionally offenders may be detained until a specific permit is issued or the weight is reduced. If this was the cause of your accident, contact a truck accident lawyer today!
There are also strict guidelines in place that limit the time a driver can be on the road to no more than 10 consecutive hours, no more than 11 hours in one day, and they may not drive more than 60 hours during one week, or more than 70 hours during an eight day period. To make sure they stay in compliance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates these Hours of service (HOS), which can be found here
Impaired driving can mean a lot more than just driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It is estimated that driver exhaustion is involved in up to 40% of trucking accidents. A truck driver can be impaired by several other influences including lack of sleep or improper use of medications. Many truckers will even compound fatigue with drug use. Coffee doesn’t go very far in combating real sleep deprivation. Stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, will often help drivers stay awake. However, they can cause confusion, paranoia, and impaired judgment, all leading to possible truck driving errors.
Using drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle is extremely dangerous. When you add in all the possible factors that can cause truck driving accidents, you increase that threat exponentially. While impaired, a driver’s reaction time and judgment is reduced, and these are imperative when driving a commercial vehicle as large as a semi-truck. The Federal Government has laws in place to regulate truckers taking drugs and alcohol, including regulating legal limits on alcohol intake. Driver’s that have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are held to a higher standard on the road, so if you have suffered a personal injury due to an impaired truck driver, contact your trusted Burg Simpson Personal Injury Law Firm today.
Large trucks are inherently dangerous compared to other vehicles on the road. Since they are typically bigger, longer, and heavier, they can be more difficult for drivers to maneuver than standard passenger cars. This causes drivers to likely lose control easier, potentially leaving destruction if involved in an accident.
Sometimes trucks even have defective parts or are not properly maintained per their fleet vehicle maintenance schedule, ultimately increasing their odds of accident. In addition, because of their momentum from weight, it may be nearly impossible to recover from a problem situation particularly in wet or icy weather.
- Trucks can lose control easily when going downhill.
- Truck tires can burst when there is too much weight.
- Semi-trucks may shift weight, which can causes steering difficulties and topple over.
- A trailer tractor’s center of gravity could rise, making rolling more probable.
- Trucks often need a much longer stopping distance than regular automobiles.
- Extra weight might cause a bridge or overpass to collapse, putting other lives in serious danger.
- Large amounts of weight adds momentum, which can put added stress on the brakes, causing them to fail.
Truck engines have a device integrated into them called an Electronic Control Module (ECM). It can be referred to as a "black box”, which captures information regarding the operation of the truck during driving. The truck ECM can be crucial evidence to prove any negligence or wrongdoing of the driver involved during a trial lawsuit. In some cases, it may also prove negligence on the trucking company’s part, increasing your odds during litigation. Contact a Burg Simpson Denver Personal Injury Attorney now to discuss the details of your case by filling out the Free Case Evaluation form.
What is a "Common Carrier"?
A common carrier is referred to as any company that fleets oversized vehicles to transport goods, like a bus, train, airplane, or semi tractor-trailer. These large automobiles are subject to strict laws by the state or federal government. Whether these vehicles are compliant with these laws or not may be an important factor in your case if you are injured in an accident involving a common carrier vehicle.
What are some legal issues with trucking accidents?
Trailer trucks and the trucking companies that operate them must abide by stricter rules and regulations than private vehicles do. They must pay attention to how many hours the driver is allowed to operate the vehicle during any one stretch of time, the type of load they may carry, how the truck is maintained, when it is serviced, and much much more. If you would like to know more about the rules and regulations that must be followed by these companies and their truck drivers, contact Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine trial law today to see what your case may be worth by filling out the Free Case Evaluation and discuss with a qualified personal injury lawyer in Colorado!
Who is responsible when a big rig truck driver is found to be at fault?
Multiple parties may be found to be at-fault for a trucking accident including the trucking companies. The manufacturer of the truck that may have supplied faulty assembled parts could even be held to product liability rules for damages. The trucking company has a responsibility to monitor their drivers and maintain the equipment under a timed fleet schedule. Drivers who did not adhere to their specific licensing responsibilities or trucking laws, who were driving carelessly, or did not follow regulations for truck stop checks, can also be found at fault.
Who is allowed to drive big trucks?
Truck drivers must have a special Commercial driver’s license (CDL), different than a regular driver’s license. Special training and tests are required to obtain a CDL and keep it. Furthermore, there are different classes of CDLs, which dictate the types and weights of trucks that drivers may operate. Extra training and tests apply to drivers who haul certain types of cargo, like hazardous materials, or who drive certain types of truck equipment like triple trailers. Accidents and violations of traffic or trucking laws can cause a driver to lose his or her CDL.
What is an "under-ride" accident?
Because tractor trailer vehicles are so much larger and sit higher than passenger cars, sometimes a car's hood and engine compartment or its trunk can slide underneath the trailer truck, causing impact to occur directly to the occupant compartment of the car. These accidents are particularly dangerous and can cause serious injury, decapitation, and even death. An under-ride accident can occur due to impact between a car and the front, rear end, or side of a large trailer truck.
If you have been involved in a tractor trailer accident with a large truck, it is important that you find a lawyer you can trust before it’s too late and start to build your trial case immediately after the accident you were involved in. A Burg Simpson Truck Accident Lawyer has the experience and knowledge of state and federal regulations these truckers must abide by. Many of our injury accident lawyers even have a CDL license of their own from past experiences. Let a Denver Injury Attorney help gather the evidence needed to build your case by filling out the Free Case Evaluation form now!
Along with being the Denver injury lawyer department head, Stephen Burg is a nationally recognized member of several associations including the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers:
Stephen has also given presentations on trucking cases and published several articles for Personal Injury topics online. Here are a few examples of cases that Stephen has fought and won for his clients:
- Represented a family who was hit by a semi-truck: $2.1 million won
- Represented client hit by a CDL vehicle suffering right leg injury: $183,000 won
- Represented Clients hit by gas truck causing orthopedic injuries: $1.37 million won
- Represented a 79 year old client hit by a truck, causing brain injury: $1.5 million won
*These are only a few examples of clients represented in the area of Trucking Accident Lawyers. Please contact a Burg Simpson Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer for more information.*