Any type of auto accident is dangerous, but add a loaded semi-truck into the mix and the risk of serious injury or even death increases drastically. And not only is the danger increased when a truck is involved, but the cost of injuries and damages is amplified also.
Furthermore, in a truck accident case you must battle the driver, the trucking company, and the insurance company to receive full compensation, which is why you need legal representation from an experienced truck accident attorney who understands these types of cases.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Car accident injuries involving a semi- or tractor trailer truck commonly occur as a result of the following reasons:
- Malfunctioning Brakes. Most trucks have air brakes, which are designed to stop a loaded truck in about 100 feet when traveling at a speed of 35-40 mph. However, when malfunctions or failures in the air brake system occur, these 80,000 lb. vehicles become a deadly force on the road. Even if a truck driver continuously pumps the brakes as recommended, malfunctions can still occur, resulting in a dangerous scenario.
- Rollovers. The most common type of truck accidents are rollovers. If a driver loses control of his truck and starts sliding sideways, any obstruction can trip up the vehicle and trigger a rollover—a curb, guardrail, uneven ground, another vehicle, etc. A truck that turns too sharply or aggressively is also at risk of rolling over, especially if it is carrying a full or unbalanced load. The danger and severity of truck rollovers are extremely high, and have high fatality rates.
- Blind Spot Accident. Trucks in particular have large “no zone” areas that can potentially cause an accident. As most warning stickers on the back of trucks say, if you can’t see the driver in his side mirror, he cannot see you. Blind spots for trucks are on their left and right sides, and following too closely behind.
- Swinging Turns. When trucks cause a collision while turning, it is known as a swinging turn or “squeeze play” accident. Swinging turn accidents can happen one of three ways:
- When a truck swings left to make a right turn (or right to make a left turn)
- When a truck makes too wide of a turn, hitting other vehicles head on
- Squeezing cars beside the truck by not turning wide enough
- Tire Blowout/Bald Tires. Just drive down the highway and you will see scores of stripped tires and tread alongside the road. The heavy loads trucks carry, and the long distances they travel, cause significant wear and tear on their tires. Sometimes, when a tire blowout occurs, it can lead to an accident, and potentially cause serious injury or death.
- Overloaded Cargo. There are certain limitations as to how much weight a truck is allowed to carry at one time. In Colorado, interstate haulers cannot exceed the maximum gross weight allowance of 80,000 lbs. When truckers go above that limit, the weight of the load may become too heavy to manage, and they risk losing control of their vehicle and causing an accident.
- Falling Debris. Improperly packed trucks may lose some of their cargo in transit, causing falling debris that can potentially lead to an accident. According to the law, a truck driver is responsible for properly securing their load so that nothing falls onto the highway. Clear water or feathers from live birds are the only exceptions.
If You’re Involved in a Truck Accident in Colorado
For drivers who are involved in a collision with a truck, or an accident caused by a truck, first you should determine if anyone at the scene of the crash requires medical attention. Truck accidents are generally very serious, and the appropriate medical care should be given to all parties involved.
Second, avoid talking to a trucking company without the presence of an experienced Colorado truck accident attorney. The truck company may try to negotiate a settlement, but without having a lawyer present, you could be cheated out of the full costs and expenses associated with treating your injuries, fixing damage and compensating you for lost wages.
At Babcock Law, we understand how trucking companies and their insurance providers operate, and we refuse to settle for an offer that is unjust. Founder R. Mack Babcock previously represented big corporations and insurance companies before deciding to fight for the rights of Colorado citizens affected by truck accidents, and he will use this experience to win in your case.
Contact a Denver-based truck accident lawyer today for a free, no-risk, no-commitment consultation.
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