Recently, statistics have shown a significant increase in the number of semi and commercial truck accidents in Colorado. More than 530,000 large trucks were implicated in traffic crashes across the country in 2018. These motor vehicle accidents resulted in many serious injuries and fatalities.

Many people don’t understand their rights after a commercial vehicle accident. Below, we will go over three facts about accidents with a semi or commercial vehicle. That way, you will know what your options are after a traumatic accident of this kind.

Victims of semi-truck accidents should call Matlin Injury Law at 720-464-3600. Then, a skilled personal injury attorney can answer your specific questions and help you seek the compensation you are entitled to for your recovery. Our Colorado firm has helped many clients win their cases and pay for medical bills and lost wages. Find out how we can help you too!

Fact #1: Semi Trucks Accident Fatalities are More Common Than Standard Vehicle Fatalities

It is important to understand that semi and commercial vehicle crashes tend to be more deadly than standard automobile accidents. In fact, the victim fatality rate of large truck crashes is 50% higher than other standard car wrecks. Those who survive these crashes often have extensive injuries.

So just how dangerous are semi-truck accidents? They are very dangerous, especially to the passenger vehicles involved. Up to 98% of civilian passenger vehicle drivers are killed when commercial truck crashes occur. This is especially true if the crashes occur at higher speeds such as on the interstate or highway. This means that those involved in semi-truck crashes are likely to pass away due to injuries as a direct result of the accident.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated to handle alone. If you have lost a loved one in a semi-truck crash, it might be time to hire an attorney. The companies that commercial drivers work for are aware of the dangers that large trucks pose. For this reason, they usually have legal teams to deal with the aftermath of inevitable accidents. You should have professionals on your side as well.

Fact #2: Semi Truck Drivers Will Often be Held Liable if Found at Fault After a Crash in Colorado

You should also know that the driver at fault is a key component of a semi-truck crash. When a crash occurs in Colorado, the fault will need to be assigned to one of the people behind the wheel. The driver found to be at fault will be responsible for paying for damages. Usually, their insurance provider will cover liability. So how does this apply to commercial drivers, their insurance providers, and the companies they work for? According to the FMCSA, many semi-truck crashes are caused by the actions of the commercial vehicle operator, not the civilian driver. However, the final determination of fault can be hard to quantify. Many reporting agencies such as CRSS, FARS, GES, and MCMIS describe the events of motor vehicle crashes but emit the data on crash causation or fault.

Therefore, statistics on who’s fault a commercial trucking accident was must be cited with care. Still, plenty of commercial truck drivers are found to be at fault after an accident. For example, in 2019, a Colorado commercial truck accident involving a two dozen car pileup and the death of four people made international news. In this case, the driver of an 18-wheeler barrelled the I-70 going around 80mph. The impact caused an enormous explosion and involved rush hour traffic. The negligence in this Lakewood case earned the driver a prison sentence of 110 consecutive years.

The judge and jury took the factors of this case very seriously. It brought attention to the problem of irresponsible commercial truck operations in Colorado and shined a light on the duty of care these drivers must uphold. In many scenarios, commercial truck operators are expected to make deliveries in short time frames. This leads to hurried trips and a lack of caution. Plus, over-the-counter drug use and fatigue can increase the likelihood of accidents occurring.

After a commercial truck accident takes place, an investigation will be conducted to assign fault and uncover any contributing factors. An attorney can help you through this process. Your attorney will help to ensure that your interests and rights are protected. Companies that employ commercial drivers are obligated to protect their own interests. It’s business, after all. However, your personal life is not a business. Injuries are nearly inevitable with a heavy vehicle crash. You could lose the ability to earn an income, be severely injured, or even suffer the death of someone you love. This is why it is so important to have a professional advocate on your side.

Your lawyer will be able to help you navigate complex commercial claims and help you determine who is actually at fault. You will have a better chance of gaining the compensation you are entitled to with a skilled attorney representing you. Even if you aren’t sure who’s fault a commercial accident was, you should contact a lawyer. Truck drivers must carefully share the roadways with civilian drivers. Laws are in place to protect other drivers from careless commercial truck operations. In Colorado, there could be legal nuances that determine commercial vehicle fault that you are unaware of. Our firm is here to help you find the answers to your questions as you build a case.

Fact #3: Commercial Vehicle / Semi Truck Accident Lawyers Are More Affordable Than You Might Realize

Hiring a lawyer does not seem like a viable option for some people. After all, lawyers are expensive, right? However, personal injury attorney costs are not the same as standard litigation attorneys. That is to say, many personal injury attorneys are aware of how devastating accidents can be and tailor their services accordingly.

Personal injury attorneys fully understand that their clients are likely already struggling financially after an accident. Medical bills can pile up and unemployment is common after an accident. As such, most personal injury attorneys take cases on a fee contingency basis. This means that clients will not have to pay any out-of-pocket or upfront costs until a case is settled.

In fact, many clients only have to pay attorney fees after they get their compensation and damages paid out. This means that if you have been in a commercial truck accident, you might not have to pay anything out of your own budget. The legal fees will be covered by the compensation you gain from winning your legal case. Indeed, at Matlin Injury Law, we offer free case consultations. That way, you can find out what your case is worth, commitment, and risk-free. You don’t have to make any kind of financial investment until you have the surety and confidence needed to move forward. We can explain how it all works so that you will know exactly what to expect from our firm.

Best of all, you can submit an online form with your email and phone number any time of the day or night. One of our team members will call so you can discuss your options and our free consultations help clients proceed with peace of mind.

What are the most common causes of commercial vehicle accidents in the US?

The most common causes of commercial trucking accidents involve driver error and external factors. For instance, fatigue and the use of controlled substances, over-the-counter medications, and narcotics can create a deadly combination.

External factors like steep gradient curves, wind, weather, and road conditions can also cause accidents. Ice and snow are particularly dangerous during fall, spring, and winter in Colorado. Truck drivers must also check to make sure that their brakes are working and all cargo is distributed correctly to prevent weight shifts.

Common causes of commercial/semi-truck accidents may include:

  • Brake failure or engine brake issues
  • Lack of routine maintenance of the truck
  • Cargo securement
  • Cargo shifting around a curve
  • Fatigue or exhaustion from demanding schedules
  • Over-the-counter drug use or sleep-aids
  • Illegal drug use and narcotics
  • Drunk driving and DUI
  • Distracted driving or cell phone use behind the wheel
  • Traveling too fast for the road conditions
  • Inadequate training and lack of experience performing equipment checks
  • Unfamiliar or inexperienced with the vehicle in general
  • Speeding or violating traffic laws
  • Work-related pressure and delivery deadlines
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Aggressive driving (tailgating, weaving)
  • False assumptions of other vehicle maneuvers
  • Traffic flow (pre-existing crash, congestion)
  • Unfamiliar with roadway
  • Road conditions or faults
  • Road construction
  • Adverse weather like rain, snow, ice, or wind

Semi-truck drivers face a range of complexities when they get behind the wheel, which means they must drive carefully and experience is important. Your attorney will be able to assist you in determining which factors may have contributed to your or a loved one’s semi or commercial vehicle accident.

Which injuries are most prevalent after a commercial truck accident?

Semi-truck and commercial vehicle accidents can be devastating for the victims involved. After all, a passenger vehicle usually only weighs about 4,500 lbs. However, most semi-trucks or commercial trucks weigh between 20,000 and 120,000 pounds, or about 80,000 pounds, on average.

As such, a passenger vehicle can be crushed underneath the weight and momentum of a large truck. Occupants in both vehicles usually sustain serious injuries. However, the most catastrophic injuries are usually sustained by the victims in the smaller passenger vehicle.

Common semi-truck injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries and compression fractures
  • Multiple broken bones and fractures
  • Amputations and loss of limbs
  • Skull fractures and other head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries like complete paralysis
  • Severe burns
  • Disfigurement
  • Back and neck injuries in general
  • Whiplash
  • Chest injuries and internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Wrongful death

Which kinds of commercial vehicles are involved in the most crashes in the United States?

Most commercial vehicle accidents involve civilian vehicles colliding with semi-trucks. However, buses are also often implicated in accidents. In 2014, a bus near Gillette, Wyoming carrying coal mine workers collided with several vehicles on Highway 59, killing three people.

Common vehicles involved in commercial accidents include:

  • Box or dry van trucks
  • Busses
  • Dry bulk cargo trucks
  • Dump or tipper commercial trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Lowboy semi-trailers
  • Refrigerator and reefer semi-trucks
  • Tankers & fuel trucks

What should victims do after a semi-truck accident for the best chance of winning a legal case?

If you have been in a commercial or semi-truck accident, the first thing you need to do is get to safety. Then, seek treatment from a medical professional and accept an ambulance ride. After that, it may be time to contact a commercial vehicle or semi-truck personal injury accident attorney. Calling an attorney right away, before speaking with claims adjusters or submitting an official police statement, is the best way to ensure your rights are protected.

Remember, even if you are not told that what you say is an official statement, it could be used in court if a legal case is opened. So, after making sure you are safe and being treated for your injuries, call a lawyer.

What compensation is available to commercial trucking accident victims?

Many damages may be included in a claim filed after a commercial vehicle accident. Damages may include non-economic and economic loss compensation. Economic losses are expenses and financial losses directly associated with your commercial vehicle accident. Non-economic losses are things like pain and suffering.

Examples of commercial accident damages include:

  • The cost of medical treatment and care
  • Therapy cost
  • Out-of-pocket losses and expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement, permanent impairment, and scarring
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Loss of income or loss of the ability to earn income
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Wrongful death

How large must a vehicle be to qualify as a semi or commercial vehicle?

Semi-trucks are large vehicles with gross weights of at least 10,000 lbs. It is important to understand that these vehicles have greater fatality rates when they are implicated in crashes. This is because they are larger, more powerful, and tend to be harder to control at high speeds.

Do you need an attorney after a commercial truck accident in Colorado?

Commercial trucking accidents can be challenging for injured victims. In most cases, victims cannot handle the complexities of cases like this. As such, victims may agree to settlements that are lower than what they really deserve and need to compensate for their injuries and expenses.

However, a skilled Colorado truck accident lawyer will have access to an array of resources and key legal connections. They will also possess an in-depth understanding of Colorado’s driving laws and statutes. Your personal injury attorney can help you conduct a full investigation to determine the facts of your case. Your attorney can also help you obtain any evidence needed to prove liability after a truck accident.

A personal injury attorney will also be able to ensure that your injuries are evaluated and thoroughly documented by trusted medical professionals. Your lawyer can also work with financial and economic experts to help calculate your total expected losses after an accident.

Additionally, your attorney can handle all communication with companies like insurance agencies and commercial trucking businesses. This lets you put your time and energy toward what really matters, recovery.

Why choose Matlin Injury Law after a semi or commercial vehicle accident?

At Matlin Injury Law, our team understands that commercial truck accidents can be stressful, complicated, and devastating. We can help you understand what your legal options are and help you get the compensation and services you need to recover fully.

We’ll keep your personal interest in mind as we help you reach a settlement. Our firm has a reputation for excellence, and our attorneys know how to fight for your legal rights in a commercial accident case.

We have a successful track record when it comes to securing significant settlements for injured victims in Colorado. We believe that your case needs a personalized approach with plenty of attention to every detail. We will listen to your story and prioritize your needs and goals as we create a customized case strategy for you.

Injured by a Commercial Truck or Semi? Call Our Colorado Personal Injury Firm Now!

Matlin Injury Law proudly represents automobile accident victims in Parker, Colorado, and the surrounding areas. For a personalized case review and free consultation, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible after your accident. You can email, submit a consultation form online, or call 720-464-3600.