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Why Are Truck Accidents So Serious?

October 30, 2023 | 6 min read

Every year, thousands of truck accidents occur on American roads, leaving a trail of devastation for victims and their families. A majority of truck accidents result in some sort of injury for the occupants of smaller vehicles. Tragically, many of these accidents are also fatal.

According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,700 fatal truck accidents in 2021 (the latest year for which full statistics are available). That represents an 18% increase over 2020 and a 49% increase over the past decade. When you or someone you love is the victim of a truck accident, you have every right to hold the responsible party to account and seek the full compensation you are due.

For more than 40 years, the truck accident lawyers at Burg Simpson Law Firm have been helping people injured in semi-truck crashes get justice. Our award-winning attorneys have the resources and experience needed to navigate the legal complexities of 18-wheeler accidents. We are here to listen to your story and help you choose the best way to pursue fair and full compensation.

For a FREE and confidential case evaluation with one of our lawyers, please call the Denver office of Burg Simpson at 303-792-5595 today. We serve victims of truck accidents in Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and throughout the state.

Truck Accidents Are Deadly and Legally Complex

There are several reasons truck accidents are more dangerous and complex than those involving passenger vehicles alone. These include:

Size and Weight Disparities

The massive size and weight of semi-trucks can result in more severe impact during a collision. This often leads to catastrophic injuries and fatalities for occupants in smaller vehicles.

Longer Stopping Distances

18-wheelers require a greater distance to come to a complete stop compared to passenger vehicles. This increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions and makes emergency stops difficult.

Reduced Maneuverability

Due to their size and length, large trucks are more challenging to maneuver, particularly on narrow roads, sharp turns, or during lane changes. This can increase the risk of accidents from jackknifing, rollover, and more.

Larger Blind Spots

Trucks have much more significant “No-Zones,” or blind spots where other drivers are not visible. This increases the risk of side and rear collisions.

High Center of Gravity

Commercial trucks have a higher center of gravity, which increases the risk of rollovers or crushing accidents, particularly when making sharp turns or when impacted from the side.

Cargo Shifting

Tractor trailers often carry hazardous or heavy cargo. In the event of an accident, shifting or spilling of the cargo can lead to secondary accidents, fires, or exposure to dangerous substances.

Complexity of Equipment

18-wheelers are complex machines requiring specialized understanding for safe operation. Any failure in equipment or poor maintenance can lead to mechanical issues and increase the risk of accidents.

Multiple Parties Involved

Truck accidents often involve multiple parties. This may include the driver of the truck, the trucking company, the manufacturer of truck parts, government entities, and more, making legal matters much more complicated.

Because semi-truck accidents typically involve more than one party, having an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side is incredibly important. Our attorneys are here to review your claim free of cost and obligation to help you understand the best way to move forward.

The Leading Causes of Truck Accidents

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, some of the leading causes of truck accidents include:

  • Driver Fatigue. Tired or overworked drivers are more likely to make errors, impacting their ability to react to emergencies. Semi-truck drivers are often forced to work long hours without adequate rest to meet unrealistic schedules.
  • Distracted Driving. Texting, eating, or any form of distraction can divert the driver’s attention from the road. Long-haul truckers essentially live in their vehicles for days or weeks at a time. The number of available distractions for commercial drivers is significant.
  • Speeding and Aggressive Driving. Exceeding the speed limit or engaging in aggressive behaviors like tailgating can be particularly deadly when operating a large commercial vehicle. This is often more of an issue in states where semi trucks are not allowed in the left-hand passing lane. However, even in Colorado, speeding and aggressive truckers can cause serious harm.
  • Vehicle Defects. Mechanical failures or defects may contribute to accidents, particularly if regular maintenance checks are neglected. Checks should be performed at mandatory weigh stations along the highway. When these fail to identify risks or allow illegal operations to continue, federal and state officials may be liable for injuries.
  • Inadequate Training or Experience. Driving a commercial truck requires specialized training and skills. Inadequately trained or inexperienced drivers are more likely to make errors leading to accidents.
  • Underride Truck Crash. An underride accident occurs when a vehicle (generally a smaller passenger vehicle) crashes into the side or rear of a semi-truck and slides underneath. Tractor-trailers are required to have safety bars (underride guards or Mansfield Bars) that decrease the height of open space from the bottom of the trailer to the ground, but the durability and manufacture of these bars are not standardized or regulated – often resulting in failure of the guard. 

Some trucking companies blame things like inexperienced drivers, unrealistic schedules, and poor maintenance on the “national trucker shortage.” This is an excuse for laxity, not an actual occurrence. In fact, the number of truckers has increased significantly over the last four to five years.

When you are injured by a negligent trucker or harmed due to a trucking company’s failure to follow safety regulations, you are entitled to hold everyone who played a role accountable. The experienced semi-truck accident lawyers at Burg Simpson know how to investigate these accidents and identify the liable parties. We are prepared to take your claim as far as needed to fight for every penny you are due.

Seeking Compensation After a Truck Accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, the immediate aftermath can be overwhelming. Between medical visits, insurance claims, and the emotional toll, it can be challenging to focus on your legal rights. Knowing the types of compensation available after a truck accident can help you choose the best course of action.

Types of compensation that may be available after an accident with a semi-truck include:

  • Medical Bills. This includes not only immediate medical expenses but also future medical costs, such as rehabilitation, ongoing treatments, and home care.
  • Lost Wages. If your injury prevents you from returning to work, either temporarily or permanently, you may be entitled to compensation for the wages you’ve lost and will lose in the future.
  • Property Damage. This covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
  • Pain and Suffering. These are non-economic damages meant to compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress you’ve experienced as a result of the accident.

During your FREE case review at our Denver office, we will carefully assess your claim to help you understand the damages you may be entitled to seek.

The Importance of Acting Quickly

Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a claim. Generally speaking, you only have three years to file a lawsuit following a truck accident in Colorado. While there are a few exceptions to this statute, it is advisable to speak with an attorney long before the time limit approaches.

Burg Simpson Is Here to Help

Navigating the complexities of a truck accident requires knowledge of the law and experience in personal injury claims. At Burg Simpson, we have both. Our team understands the nuances of state and federal regulations governing the trucking industry, and we have the resources and experience to pursue the justice you are due.

To schedule your FREE consultation with one of our Denver truck accident lawyers, contact Burg Simpson Law Firm today. We serve victims of semi-truck accidents throughout the state of Colorado.