The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined a total of 4,014 people died in large truck crashes in 2020, and thousands more non-fatal truck accidents occur each year. Of the fatalities cited, 68% were occupants of private passenger vehicles. Being a truck accident victim can turn your world upside down with devastating consequences. Initially, you may be in shock from the sheer magnitude of what occurred. But once the shock wears off, you may wonder, Who is liable for a truck accident in Colorado? There is no black-and-white answer, and who may ultimately be responsible for your injuries may only come to light after a thorough investigation. At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we prioritize making navigating this challenging time in your life a little easier. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve while you rest and recover.
Truck Driver Liability
As with any car accident, the truck driver that hit you may be responsible for damages caused in a truck accident. The truck driver can be one of several possible defendants at fault in a collision. Most of the reasons for truck driver liability will be the same as any other motorist, with a few possible reasons unique to truckers.
Common reasons the truck driver may be at fault include:
- Fatigue from driving too long without adequate rest;
- Distracted driving, including texting or talking on the phone while driving;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
- Reckless driving, such as tailgating or speeding.
After a truck accident, it is necessary to perform a thorough investigation to determine what caused the crash.
Who Is At Fault in a Truck Accident?
In addition to the trucker, liability for a Colorado truck accident can fall on many possible individuals or entities.
The trucking company is a potentially liable party for several reasons. In certain situations, any employer could be held responsible for the actions of their employees—and a trucking company is no different. Before hiring a trucker, the company must perform thorough background and driving record checks to ensure the driver is qualified to drive the rig they will be responsible for. An employer must ensure that their drivers follow safety rules and protocols. For instance, if a trucking company pressures its drivers to make a run in an unsafe timeframe, it could contribute to the driver being on the road for far longer than safety would allow. If an accident results from fatigue, the company could potentially be held liable. The trucking company can also be at fault for a crash if they fail to train or supervise their drivers adequately.
The truck or parts manufacturer might also be responsible for causing a truck accident if there is a defective truck component. For instance, if the truck tires are defective and lead to a blowout, the truck and tire manufacturer could be liable for damages.
Warehouse and Shipping Companies
Although an untrained eye or subpar investigation can overlook it, warehouses and shipping companies could be liable for a crash. It is essential to secure and distribute cargo weight in the trailer safely. If warehouses or cargo companies improperly load the truck, it could result in rollovers and horrific accidents.
Maintenance or Repair Shop
Sometimes, the failure to properly maintain or service the truck can lead to a wreck. A tremendous amount of hours, miles, and wear and tear are put on semi-trucks—much more than the average private passenger vehicle. These commercial trucks must be adequately and routinely serviced, inspected, and maintained. The failure to do so can result in a mechanic, maintenance center, repair shop, and trucking company liability.
Determining Truck Accident Liability in Colorado
Although several parties can be responsible for a truck accident, determining fault is no easy feat and often requires the expertise of professionals. In other words, the complexity of truck accidents can lead to extensive investigative work before stepping foot in a courtroom.
An experienced Colorado truck accident attorney can successfully gather all the evidence needed to prove your claim. As with any other motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff must prove their case and damages.
Common examples of evidence used in truck liability cases are:
- Police reports,
- Eyewitness statements,
- Medical records,
- Photos and video,
- Accident recreation technology, and
- Expert opinion.
Collecting substantial and persuasive evidence can be time-consuming and challenging. Our truck accident lawyers can help ensure you gather enough evidence to build the strongest case possible.
Potential Truck Accident Damages
If you are injured in a truck accident, the circumstances surrounding the wreck and your injuries will influence your potential damages. Several common types of damages may be available.
Reimbursement of Medical Bills
One of the most common types of recoverable damages is medical costs for treatment. Medical bills include emergency room treatment, surgical care, physical therapy, pharmaceuticals, and essentially any other type of medical treatment that is needed.
Often, a truck accident victim will miss time from work while recovering from their injuries. You can seek reimbursement for any lost wages due to the accident, including past and future wages. Lost wage damages can also include compensation for loss of earning capacity.
If your car or other property was damaged in the wreck, the liable party might be responsible for the cost of fixing or replacing it.
Injuries and damages from a truck accident often go far beyond tangible losses like those mentioned above. Victims often suffer emotional or psychological harm as a result of the accident. Therefore, you may also seek compensation for these noneconomic losses. Such compensation can be recouped for things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Keeping track of bills, lost wages, and other damages is always a good idea. Having clear and precise record-keeping can make calculating damages much more straightforward. Our attorneys can assist you in determining what records are essential and the best method for keeping track of them.
Contact Our Attorneys Today
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have decades of litigation experience. We have the knowledge, resources, and expertise to hold the responsible parties liable in a Colorado truck accident. After a truck collision, your focus should be on recovery and healing. Let our personal injury team handle the rest. Contact us to schedule a free case review to discuss your options.