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Commercial truck accidents often cause devastating damage and catastrophic injuries to occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. Large commercial trucks, such as tractor trailers, are far larger and heavier than other vehicles, weighing on average 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Their size and weight make it hard for them to stop quickly or take evasive actions to avoid a collision. If a semi collides with your car, even if you drive a large pickup or SUV, you and your passengers can sustain extremely serious, life-threatening injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a commercial truck accident, you could obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other areas of your life impacted by the tragedy.
Our Denver truck accident lawyers at Fuicelli & Lee have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to help you seek the justice you deserve following a serious trucking crash.
Contact us today online or call (303) 355-7202 for a free consultation. We proudly serve Longmont and Pueblo areas of Colorado’s Front Range.
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On this page, we discuss:
- Why Choose Fuicelli & Lee as Your Denver Truck Accident Attorneys?
- How Can a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer Help You Get Full Compensation?
- How Do Truck Accident Cases Differ from Those Involving Passenger Vehicles?
- Understanding the Stages of a Truck Accident Claim
- Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident Case?
- Federal Regulations on Trucks
- Time Limits to File a Case
- Truck Wrecks Caused by Driver Fatigue
- Alcohol or Drug Related Truck Crashes
- Brake Failure and Truck Crashes
- Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Truck Accidents
- Loading Regulations
- Common Truck Accident Injuries
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Speak With Our Truck Accident Attorney Today for Free
Why Choose Fuicelli & Lee as Your Denver Truck Accident Attorneys?
- Fuicelli & Lee is an accomplished Denver personal injury law firm, representing clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries as the result of someone else’s reckless or careless actions.
- Many firms are intimidated to go to trial and don’t have the experience needed to win in court. All of our attorneys are former prosecutors with 20+ years of experience.
- In the field of personal injury law, there is simply no substitute for hard-earned, real-world experience, and our results speak for themselves. Whether in a courtroom or at a negotiating table, we have obtained over $100M in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
- We offer all clients our No Fee Promise, which means that we only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict on your case. We offer free initial consultations to help you determine if you have a case.
How Can a Denver Truck Accident Lawyer Help You Get Full Compensation?
Our Denver truck accident attorneys will fight hard to protect your rights and ensure you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries. Trucking accidents often cause injuries that are so traumatic, most victims never fully recover. Trucking accident victims are frequently unable to return to work for an extended period of time—or ever. Many require ongoing medical and rehabilitative care for months, years, or even a lifetime. In worst-case scenarios, victims die from their injuries.
Our experienced team of Denver truck accident lawyers understands how a severe injury can impact your life and livelihood, as well as your future well-being. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to obtain the maximum compensation allowed under the law. Call us today to discuss your case for free.
How Do Truck Accident Cases Differ from Those Involving Passenger Vehicles?
Trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles, and truck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries for drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) claims that most deaths in large truck accidents are occupants of passenger vehicles. Because of the potential dangers that commercial trucks pose for other road users, the federal government strictly regulates the trucking industry.
Every truck owner is required to have insurance coverage in the following amounts:
- $50,000 to cover property damage caused to others
- $100,000 to cover bodily injury or death of one person as a result of one accident
- $300,000 to cover bodily injury or death of all persons injured or killed as a result of one truck accident.
These insurance coverage limits are higher than those required for passenger vehicles. The minimum passenger vehicle insurance coverage requirements are $25,000 for one person injured or killed in a passenger vehicle accident. $50,000 for all persons injured or killed in a passenger vehicle accident, and $15,000 to cover property damage.
Just like airplanes, trucks also have event data recorders, often referred to as the black box. A truck’s black box performs the same functions as that of an airplane. It records and stores data on the operation of a truck before an accident. Black box data can provide useful evidence in the investigation of a truck accident as to the cause of the accident.
Obtaining information from a truck’s black box requires legal processes, which an injured person may not be able to access without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. However, getting access to the black box is only part of the story–you also need an expert who can analyze the information on the black box and determine what role the truck itself or the truck driver played in causing the crash.
This is why having a truck accident attorney working for you is critical for your case. They have access to truck accident experts who can extract relevant information from the black box for your case.
Understanding the Stages of a Truck Accident Claim
While every injury-related case is unique, there are some common elements involved with many truck accident claims, including:
This is the first phase of your trucking accident claim. Evidence can include truck driver’s driving logs and personnel files. The driver’s personnel files can indicate whether the driver was properly trained, and whether the trucking company conducted a thorough background check at the time of hire. Important evidence includes:
- The safety record of the trucking company
- Witness statements
- Photos of the accident site
- Analysis of the truck’s black box data
- Communication records between the company and their driver
- The official police report
- Expert reconstruction of the accident
Sending a Demand Letter
Once your truck accident attorney collects sufficient evidence, they will submit a demand letter to the at-fault party and/or their insurance carriers. The demand letter puts the other party on notice that you intend to file a lawsuit, and it details the reasons for the lawsuit, the damages you are seeking, your injuries, and the amount you are seeking as a settlement for your injuries and damages.
The other party or parties will then have the opportunity to respond to the demand letter. Many times, insurance companies make a counteroffer—which is sure to be less than you are asking. If you believe the counteroffer is fair, you can accept it, and the matter will be put to rest. Your attorney and the other party’s legal counsel will draft a settlement agreement, and all parties will sign it. You will also sign a waiver promising you won’t pursue additional compensation for your injuries in the future.
If the insurance company’s counteroffer is completely unsatisfactory, your attorney will negotiate to get more favorable terms. If both sides can’t reach a mutually acceptable settlement, your attorney will file a formal court complaint and initiate a lawsuit.
Since you can’t seek more compensation for your injuries if you accept a settlement, you need to ensure you have gotten a thorough medical evaluation and prognosis for how your injuries may affect you going forward. You do not want to rush to settle only to find yourself having to pay for additional medical treatment, physical therapy, psychological counseling, or disability accommodations later on.
Our Denver truck accident attorneys will diligently work to make sure you get the comprehensive medical evaluations you need, and we can rely on medical experts to attest to the severity of your injuries and any probable adverse effects they may have on your future. We will do all we can to ensure you account for all compensation for may need and fight to help you get it.
Truck Accident Lawsuit and Trial
If settlement negotiations prove unfruitful, or if the insurance company flat-out denies your claim and refuses to settle, you will have to take the other party to court. However, actually going to trial can easily take a year or more.
To prepare for trial, both parties will engage in a discovery process. This is where each side requests evidence from the other side so they can evaluate the strength of evidence and create their respective arguments. Sometime before trial, both party’s legal counsel and the judge will select a jury. Your attorney and the defendant’s attorney can vote against accepting specific jurors they feel would not be sympathetic to your case.
At trial, both sides will make opening statements. The attorneys will begin calling witnesses, who have sworn to tell the truth, and each side will question the witnesses to either corroborate or refute evidence and testimony. When the trial comes to a close, the attorneys will make their closing arguments to try and influence the judge or jury. The jury will then deliberate alone in a separate room to reach a decision. The jury will then read the verdict aloud in court.
Who is Liable for a Trucking Accident?
Trucking accidents are more complex than typical traffic collisions for a number of reasons. For example, depending on the cause of the crash, a number of parties can be held liable, such as the:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Person or company responsible for the truck’s maintenance
- Truck manufacturer
- Person or company that loaded the truck
The trucking company likely has an experienced legal team at their disposal, and will often send someone to immediately remove the truck driver’s logs black box and from the rig. It’s important that you have an experienced truck accident lawyer in Denver in your corner to hold the responsible party or parties accountable.
As mentioned, several parties can be held liable for damages you suffered as a result of a truck accident. Only a full investigation of the accident can reveal which parties bear liability, and your attorney will hold them accountable based on the appropriate legal theory.
Many truck drivers are either employees or subcontractors of truck companies. These truck companies are responsible for maintaining the trucks, hiring competent truck drivers, and complying with government truck regulations. The overall responsibility of the operation of a truck falls on the truck’s owner, regardless of whether they are an individual or a corporate entity.
Vicarious liability allows an injured person to recover compensation from the truck driver’s employer or truck owner, even where the driver is at fault for the accident. For a claim to succeed based on vicarious liability, the truck driver must be an employee and must have been driving the truck in the normal course of their work duties for the employer. If, for instance, a truck driver made deliveries on behalf of their employer, and on their return, took a detour for personal reasons, vicarious liability may not be applicable.
Sometimes, truck owners try to avoid liability by denying an employer-employee relationship with the truck drivers. They categorize their truck drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Such tactics, although common, are not a shield for truck owners. Truck companies may still be held responsible for the actions of their contractors, subcontractors, lessees, and sublessees.
It is possible for a truck accident to occur due to no fault of the driver or the truck company. A defect in the truck or parts used for the maintenance of the truck could be at fault. In cases where product failure or defect is the cause of the accident, the manufacturer of the product could be held legally responsible for any damages resulting from the accident.
A claim based on product liability must show that the truck accident was caused by some aspect related to the product’s design, manufacturing, or installation. It also includes the marketing of a product used in the operation or maintenance of the truck.
Succeeding on a product liability claim requires skilled industry experts that can give evidence as to the defect in the product and counter any defensive arguments put forward by the manufacturers.
As with vicarious liability, a claim based on product liability requires extensive investigation carried out by skilled professionals who understand the trucking industry. Conducting these investigations is resource intensive, but an experienced truck accident attorney knows that such investigations are non-negotiable to get full compensation for their clients.
Federal Regulations on Trucks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the operation of trucks in the U.S. It provides guidelines for the safe operations of trucks including:
- Licensing requirements for drivers
- Maintenance of trucks
- Logging of driving time for passenger- and property-carrying trucks
- Drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers
- Retention of records of the use and maintenance of the truck
Failure to comply with the regulations can be the basis of a negligence per se claim. This allows an injured person to file a claim without having to prove that the truck owner owed them a duty of care and breached that duty of care. Non-compliance of the regulations proves those two elements of a negligence claim. To succeed, the injured person only has to prove that the truck owner’s failure to comply with the regulations caused the accident. This was the legal cause of their injury, and they suffered actual losses because of their injury.
An experienced truck accident attorney at Fuicelli & Lee can determine the strongest basis for your claim and gather the evidence to prove it. We will thoroughly investigate your case to ensure that we make a claim against every party legally responsible for your injury to get you the compensation you deserve.
Time Limits to File a Case
Colorado imposes time limits on how long a person may make a claim for injuries or death resulting from the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity. Any action based on an injury or death arising from the operation of a motor vehicle, including trucks, must be commenced within three years of the accident.
Truck Wrecks Caused by Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is a term that refers to being tired or sleepy while behind the wheel. It is also the leading cause of truck accidents in the United States.
While federal regulations limit the amount of time truck operators are permitted to drive each day, these regulations are commonly ignored. Because truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, the more they drive, the more they earn. Weather and traffic-related delays often add to the problem, causing them to try and make up for lost time.
Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous because it can diminish an individual’s ability to accurately judge his or her level of tiredness.
Common symptoms of driver fatigue include:
- Falling asleep while driving
- Difficulty staying in lane
- Slow reaction time
- Inability to concentrate
Alcohol or Drug-Related Truck Crashes
Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster in any traffic situation. When the impaired driver is behind the wheel of a fully loaded 18-wheeler, the results can be absolutely devastating. Under Colorado and Federal law, any time a commercial truck is involved in an injury-related crash, the driver must get a post-accident alcohol and drug test. The results of this test can be particularly incriminating to the trucking company and driver and can also lead to a claim for punitive damages.
The following is a list of commonly used intoxicating substances:
- Prescription medications, including painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin as well as muscle relaxants like Xanax and Valium
In cases like these, it is critical to hold impaired drivers responsible for their reckless behavior, not only for causing you harm and suffering, but for the safety and well-being of the community. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
Brake Failure and Truck Crashes
Brake failure is one of the leading causes of commercial truck wrecks in the country. Often carrying up to 80,000 pounds or more of cargo, trucks place tremendous on their braking system. If a commercial truck has rear-ended you, brake failure may likely be the cause. If you suspect brake failure, you should consult an attorney immediately. Since trucking companies conduct their own investigations to minimize potential liability, it is crucial to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to tell your side of the story and protect your rights.
Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Truck Accidents
When a truck is overloaded with cargo, or not loaded in accordance with state and federal regulations, the results can be catastrophic. When cargo adds too much weight to an already oversized 18-wheeler, the truck can become top-heavy, increasing the risk of a rollover or jackknife accident.
Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo can also shift during transit, causing trucks to tip or cargo to fall off. Falling cargo can crush your car and severely injure you and your passengers, or you may get in a crash trying to avoid cargo that has fallen off the trailer or back of the truck.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established several laws regarding the proper loading of trucks to minimize the number of crashes caused by shifting cargo or falling debris, including the following:
- Rigs hauling loads that project beyond the rear of the truck by more than four inches or extend beyond the truck’s width must warn other drivers by attaching colored lights to the load.
- Trucks carrying vehicles, pipes, metal coils, heavy machinery, and similar items must meet specific hauling requirements.
- Cargo that can roll must be restrained by cradles, chocks, or wedges.
- Trucks must adhere to minimum tie-down requirements.
- Cargo must be fastened securely on or within a vehicle.
Truck accident cases are incredibly complex and require the knowledge and skill of an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. If you’ve been hurt as the result of negligently-loaded cargo, contact Fuicelli & Lee today.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents result in some of the most catastrophic personal injury cases on American roads. Some of the most common types of truck accident-related injuries include:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputated limbs
- Loss of sight
- Burn injuries
At Fuicelli & Lee, your health and recovery are our top priorities. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. Let us handle your case so you can focus on healing.
Fatal Truck Accidents
Tragically, truck accidents are often fatal. While no financial award can undo the hardship you are experiencing, compensation in a wrongful death claim can help to ease the subsequent financial burdens placed on your family. Depending on the details of the case, a spouse or dependent of the deceased may seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost earnings and benefits
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of companionship
This is not an exhaustive list of potential damages in a wrongful death case. It is important to speak with one of our experienced Denver truck accident attorneys right away to discuss the details of your claim. We are committed to helping you through this difficult time with dignity and compassion. Call now to learn how we can help you.
Speak with Our Denver Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you suffered server injuries or lost a loved one in a truck accident, Fuicelli & Lee wants to hear your story. Call our experienced Denver personal injury attorneys today at (303) 355-7202 for a free case review. We serve Denver, Longmont, and other areas along the Front Range.
“Lori Tolle and her team are fantastic! They communicate well and are very compassionate. They made a complicated case go much smoother than anticipated. I highly recommend Fuicelli & Lee, P.C.” – Troy H. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Fuicelli & Lee, PC – Denver Office
1731 Gilpin Street
Denver, CO 80218
P: (303) 355-7202