Given their massive size and weight, a crash involving a truck can cause serious harm, resulting in significant bodily injuries and damage to your automobile. On top of that, truck accidents are unfortunately not uncommon. According to a 2017 report from the Denver Regional Council of Governments, there were 2,600 crashes involving trucks in the Denver region alone in just one year.
When a negligent trucker causes you to suffer harm, fair compensation could help you care for yourself during this difficult time. An experienced Lakewood truck accident lawyer could help you pursue the damages you deserve. Speak with a skilled personal injury attorney today and know that you are in capable hands.
Truck Accident Causes
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that truck driver fatigue is a particularly common and well-known truck crash risk. Current regulations allow drivers to work for 11 hours straight, and many drivers are found to violate these rules and work even longer. The Institute’s research finds that truck drivers who work for more than eight hours are twice as likely to crash as those who do not.
In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identified several other primary causes of collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles, which include:
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Illegal maneuvers
- Following too closely
Other potential causes include problems with the truck itself, such as the brakes or tires. A Lakewood truck accident lawyer could investigate any individual accident to determine its cause and possible sources of liability.
Identifying Negligent Parties in Truck Accidents
In truck accident cases, a cause of action can be filed against the parties responsible. These individuals and groups can include the driver, the trucking company, and/or the truck manufacturer. To file a claim against one of these parties for negligence, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant(s) owed a duty to them, breached that duty, and through that breach directly caused financially compensable injuries to the plaintiff.
In Colorado, plaintiffs can also assert a claim of negligence per se, which means that the defendant can be presumed negligent if they violated a law or regulation. Under this rule, a truck driver in Lakewood could be found to be negligent per se for violating any traffic laws—for example, by driving above the posted speed limits.
Claims for Damages
For victims of truck crashes, the types of compensatory damages that a plaintiff may pursue can vary based on their needs and the specific characteristics of their accident. In general, truck accident cases seek compensation for, among other damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and impairment
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages and future income
- Medical treatment
- Property loss
In Colorado, plaintiffs may also be awarded punitive damages in certain cases. Under Colorado Revised Statutes §13-21-102, punitive damages can be awarded for the defendant’s “willful and wanton” conduct, which means they behaved in a way that they should have realized as dangerous, and they did so recklessly without regard to the consequences or safety of others—specifically, the plaintiff in the case against them.
Additional Matters to Know
It should be noted that a plaintiff’s total damage award may be reduced under the doctrine of comparative negligence by the degree of negligence they themselves bore in causing the accident. In Colorado, plaintiffs can still collect damages as long as they are found to be less than 50 percent at fault.
Additionally, the statute of limitations in Colorado for bringing a claim involving a motor vehicle is three years from the date of the truck accident or discovery of the plaintiff’s injuries, or when the injuries reasonably should have been discovered.
Consulting a Lakewood Truck Accident Attorney
Going up against large trucking companies and insurers can be challenging. That is why it may be critical to have an experienced Lakewood truck accident lawyer by your side who could advocate aggressively for the compensation you seek. Work with a capable personal injury attorney has extensive experience handling complex truck cases. Call today to get started on yours.