SEMI TRUCK ACCIDENTS IN COLORADOCall me now if you have been injured due to a negligent truck driver. I have 22 years of experience handling 18 wheeler accident cases. I have represented the insurance companies like State Farm and GEICO in defense of these types of claims. So, I know how to negotiate with the insurance adjusters. I only charge a 28% contingency fee which is lower than most attorneys. Most attorneys charge 33-45%. When you are injured, you need an experienced Fort Collins truck accident attorney on your side. 99% of cases settle without the necessity of filing a lawsuit.
HOW ARE TRUCK ACCIDENTS DIFFERENT THAN CAR ACCIDENTS?
When you are hit by a truck, the injuries are normally much more severe than being in a collision with a car. Trucks like 18-wheelers have the following characteristics:
1. Semi Trucks are up to 6 times larger than your everyday car.
2. An average semi truck produces 400-600 horsepower and 1-2 thousand foot pound of torque.
3. A semi truck engine is made to run for 1 million miles! before an overhaul or rebuild.
4. Semi truck engines are made to run non-stop.
5. Semi truck engines can hold more than 15 gallons of oil.
6. The semi truck will typically have more than 12 gears.
7. Semi Trucks normally have turbo engines.
8. A semi truck needs 40% more time to stop than a car. Thus, failure to properly brake is often a common cause of truck accidents.
9. A common occurrence with these large trucks is a “jack-knife” accident. This occurs when a truck starts to skid on a dirty, icy or snowy road. Once the trailer exceeds a 45 degree angle, compared to the tractor, a jack-knife is inevitable.
10. Semis are equipped with an air braking system. We have all seen the signs on the road that say no air braking. Air brakes are more practical when dealing with these large trucks. Air can store energy. A hydraulic system has no pressure in it at rest. Hydraulic systems store no braking power until the brakes are actually used. Air brakes are safer because a leak in the system does not cause brake failure. Instead, the truck can stop when there is a malfunction with the air brake system.
11. Oftentimes, towns will have no Engine Brake signs due to the noise of Air Brakes. If your particular area does not have these signs, you can lobby your municipality to put up these type of signs.
12. The average automobile weighs about 5,000 lbs. Semi Trucks on the other hand weigh close to 80,000 lbs. or 40 tons! You can easily imagine that the damage caused by the extreme weight of these vehicles will smash your car apart. This is why those hit by these trucks usually suffer more severe injuries than being hit by a car.
COMMON INJURIES RESULTING FROM TRUCK ACCIDENTS?
2. Traumatic brain injuries.
3. Neck and back pain/spinal injuries.
4. Broken and fractured bones.
5. Internal injuries.
7. Rib and torso injuries.
8. Seatbelt injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found the following:
- 1% of all truck crashes are fatal. 1% does not sound like a lot, but it is when compared to all truck accidents in the United States.
- 23% of truck accidents result in injury.
- Truck accident injuries account for 8% of all fatal accidents and 3% of all car injuries in the United States.
- 63% of all semi truck accidents happen on rural roads (so be careful when driving on rural roads).
- 83% of truck crashes happen on weekdays. This is when there is usually more traffic on the road and may be partially due to rush hour traffic.
- In 74% of all truck accidents, the first thing that happens is the truck crashing into another vehicle.
- Only 5% of trucking accidents start with a roll over event.
Just like in normal car accident cases, an attorney has to prove liability (fault), causation (that the injuries were caused by the truck accident) and damages (the amount of money claimed for your injuries. Trucks are more difficult to control than cars. Frequently, truck drivers are driving impaired. We have all heard about the many problems that truckers have with sleep and a sleepy driver is a dangerous driver. Truckers have tight schedules as they need to get their cargo to the destination within a certain time frame. Truckers frequently sleep in their trucks and bathe at truck stops.
Federal laws and regulations are looked at to prove liability or fault. Title 49 of the Code of Regulations contains many of the rules that truckers and truck owners must abide by. Other agencies that regulate the trucking industry are the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Lawyers must be familiar with these specific rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry. Also, every state has its own set of rules so an attorney must be familiar with his or her state rules and regulations.
WHO IS LIABLE OR AT FAULT IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
- First of all, the at-fault driver is liable
- Next, the owner of the truck itself is vicariously liable
- Can also be the person or company that leased the truck from the owner
- The manufacturer of the truck can be liable in certain situations like when a tire defect contributes to causing the accident or solely causes the accident
- Either the shipper or loader of the truck can be found legally liable if for example the truck was improperly loaded and that caused or contributed to cause the truck accident
It is not hard proving that injuries resulted from a 40 ton truck. Normally, that is not an issue in trucking accidents as the damage is quite perceivable. Just like a normal car accident, you must prove damages; that you were “damaged” by the truck accident itself.
WHAT ARE NORMAL DAMAGES IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
1. Medical bills
2. Lost wages
3. Loss of earning capacity
4. Pain and suffering
5. Permanent injuries
6. Loss of enjoyment of life
7. Scarring or disfigurement
8. Future medical care
These are damages that could be awarded by a jury of your peers. It is illustrative of what categories that a Fort Collins truck accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster. Of course, the more serious your injuries the higher the settlement actually is. If you suffer serious injuries, the idea would be to ask for the trucking insurer’s full policy limits. Policy limits are the limit of liability carried by an insured. In other words, say a truck has $300,000 of bodily injury liability insurance. Then, if serious injuries, I could negotiate for the full policy limits. If an insurer gives the full policy limits, they will require that you sign a Release which releases all parties from liability after they pay their full policy limits.
Douglas Allen understands insurance policies better than anyone else. He has studied insurance policies since his first year out of law school. Mr. Allen started his legal career by representing the insurance companies. After 7 years, Mr. Allen opened his own law firm and only represented injured victims, those who have been injured due to the fault or negligence of another driver. He has specialized in personal injury law and car accidents for 22 years. Let him put his experience and knowledge as one of the best Fort Collins truck accident attorneys to work for you. He will get you the best settlement humanly possible.
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