Semi-trucks and big rigs can cause significant injuries and property damage in an accident. Because these vehicles are dangerous and complex, maintenance checks should be a top priority. When mechanical problems strike, multi-car pileups can happen, ending or forever changing lives.
So what are the common truck problems that lead to accidents in Colorado? In this post, we review the common truck maintenance issues and truck problems that cause accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, don’t handle the legal claim alone. Our team has helped many people like you recover compensation after a crash uproots their lives.
What Are Common Truck Problems That Lead to Accidents?
Various issues can cause truck accidents, from weather to intoxication to reckless driving. But truck maintenance and equipment problems can spell disaster if not correctly identified and addressed. These problems are often preventable if the truck driver, trucking company, or manufacturer takes the time to properly build and maintain a truck.
Problems with the Brakes
Trucks have upwards of eighteen wheels and a maximum load weight (payload) of up to 80,000 pounds. The brakes on these vehicles must be in tip-top shape at all times to be able to stop the truck in time to avoid an accident.
But not every manufacturer, trucking company, or truck driver dots their i’s and crosses their t’s when installing or maintaining brakes. A brake malfunction can cause brakes to go haywire. Brake lines may falter, brake pads may go bad, or anti-lock brake systems can fail, leading to an accident.
Regardless of the reason, when the brakes on large trucks fail, catastrophic injuries can follow.
Issues with the Tires
The enormous weight of these vehicles also makes proper tire installation and maintenance vital for trucks to be safe on the road. A blown out tire can cause the truck to fishtail, potentially causing a jackknife truck accident or rollover. Because of the size of these vehicles, a popped tire can cause a multi-car pileup if not appropriately handled. Bad tires—including those with worn or uneven tread or low tire pressure—can prevent a truck from stopping in time to avoid an accident.
The truck driver or trucking company should follow routine maintenance protocols and checks to ensure tires are in good working order. When these safety checks don’t happen or people cut corners due to time pressures, lives can be lost.
Malfunctioning Turn Signal or Lights
Lane violations accounted for approximately 11% of Colorado’s 5,338 accidents involving medium to heavy trucks traveling in or through Colorado in 2021, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Lane changes present significant challenges and risks for large trucks traveling through Colorado’s motorways.
Because of their size, trucks take up a lot of space on the road. Lane changes must be done carefully and by giving surrounding vehicles proper notice with turn signals before entering another lane.
Likewise, having proper headlights and lighting is essential, especially for night driving. If surrounding vehicles can’t see the semi-truck or vice versa, devastating crashes can happen.
Missing or Improperly Installed Under Rails or Guards
Under rails are guards installed to prevent vehicles from going under a semi-truck during a collision. Without these vital safety features, passenger vehicles can get lodged under a big rig’s trailer during a crash.
Semi-trucks that don’t have an under rail or have an improperly installed under rail pose serious risks to others on the road.
What Should I Do If I’m in a Truck Accident in Colorado?
Being in a truck accident can be life changing. If you’re in an accident, there are steps you can take to protect your physical health and your legal rights.
Our lawyers help personal injury victims like you recover compensation and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions.
Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, take care of your physical health and safety. Call an ambulance to have medical professionals assess your health and the health of others involved in the crash. Even if you don’t think your injuries are “that bad,” it’s important to be checked by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Often, symptoms of internal or brain injuries don’t show up for hours or even days after the accident because your body is in shock. Once the shock wears off, your body can be overwhelmed by the true extent of your injuries. Protect yourself by seeing a doctor right away.
Report the Accident
Colorado law requires you to report the accident to law enforcement. Help ensure you meet your legal reporting requirements by calling 911 or notifying local law enforcement about the accident.
When you communicate with the officers, stick to the facts necessary to describe what happened. Try to limit or eliminate commentary (e.g., “I didn’t see them” or “My phone buzzed and I looked down briefly”) because the insurance company may try to argue you admitted fault.
Contact an Attorney
After you file a claim with your insurance company, it’s important to talk to a lawyer early on. Insurance companies may try to get you to admit fault or accept a lowball settlement offer. Having an attorney you trust on your side is the best defense against these tactics.
An attorney can also help protect your legal rights and meet your filing deadlines.
Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C.—Colorado Attorneys You Need on Your Side
Our team has over 149 years of combined experience practicing personal injury law, and past clients praise us for our diligence and supportive nature. We earned their praise by providing excellent service and achieving the best possible result for their situation.
We believe every injury victim deserves a voice, and we pride ourselves on being the voice for dozens of injury victims throughout our many years serving Colorado residents. Contact us today.