Denver’s trucking industry has been booming in recent years by providing almost 110,000 jobs for the state last 2017. While trucks have been involved in fatal accidents on the road, the rate of crashes due to trucks has decreased due to measures such as the Share the Road program which aims to teach other drivers about truck blind spots and how to safely merge in lanes with trucks.
Truck accidents are different from car accidents in that the former is subject to different circumstances. Ask any Denver truck accident lawyer, and they’ll tell you that it’s the smaller vehicles that get the brunt of the damage so cases tend to become complex, involving not just the truck driver but also several other parties’.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Familiarize yourself with the common causes of truck accidents so you can detect danger before it happens:
- Driving Under the Influence
Truck drivers are held to a stricter standard especially when it comes to driving a very large and heavy vehicle. In the event of an inebriated driver losing control over his truck, the results can be devastating especially on passenger cars and other lightweight vehicles.
- Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers are on the road for long hours so they often find themselves sleepy and tired. Their schedule demands that they keep working despite this, making them liable to lose focus and overlook traffic signs.
- Driver Error
Other possible errors on the driver’s part fall under this category. These include speeding, being unaware of their blind spot, and confusion. Driver error makes up a significant percentage of truck accidents so be warned.
- Improper Securing of Loads
Trucks carry heavy loads that need to be tied down properly. No matter the size, they must be secured since the speed of a running truck can cause them to fly off toward other vehicles nearby. The load also has to be balanced in weight so that it is less likely to get undone.
- Short Liquid Loads
This refers to trucks that carry large amounts of liquid such as gas or oil. It’s actually more dangerous to leave trucks with too little liquid. This is because the extra space inside the holding tank can make the liquid splash around and cause the weight distribution to fluctuate. This will make the truck more likely to become unstable and lose control when braking or making a turn.
- Rear-End Crash
When a truck fails to stop in time, it can cause a fatal crash with the vehicle in front of it. The heavier and larger truck is likely to crush a smaller car, putting those inside, especially ones in the backseat, at risk.
- Wide Turns
Due to its large size, trucks need a wide berth when making a turn. This becomes difficult when they have to turn across lanes. Truck drivers need to be careful in doing so to prevent hitting other cars and allow fellow drivers enough time to give room.
What to Expect After A Truck Accident
Unlike in a car accident, you’re dealing with not just the driver’s insurance company, but also the truck owners, the trucking company’s, and even the truck manufacturers. This requires a thorough investigation so that insurance companies know who is truly at fault.
Since there are strict regulations on trucking, investigations can trace the main reason for the accident and the fault can lie among any of the involved parties. It will become vital in determining how much compensation will be given and who has to be responsible for it.
Who Is Liable?
To give you a better idea of how multiple parties can be involved in one accident, we’ll go over the areas each one is responsible for and how these could have contributed to the accident:
- Truck Driver
The first person that would be questioned is the truck driver. Out of the parties involved, he was likely the only one physically present during the accident and could also be an injured party. Negligence in the form of speeding, driving while intoxicated, fatigued, or using the phone are some of the possible reasons where the truck driver is at fault.
- Truck Loader
The weight of the load and how it was loaded are important factors that, when done recklessly, can cause the truck to topple over. Here, the fault would lie in the loading company or whoever was responsible for loading the truck. This is why checking for proper loading is a significant step before the truck heads out.
- Trucking Company
The driver is usually an employee of the trucking company, and so the company will often shoulder part of the blame. This follows since the company is responsible for training the officer and arranging his schedule. Overscheduling and negligence of trucking regulations are typically connected to the wrongful action of the company.
- Truck Manufacturer
If the accident was caused by a problem with the truck, the trailer, or other truck parts, the manufacturer could be the one at fault. Usually, safety testing is conducted for all parts of the truck so any lapse in judgment would draw the responsibility to the manufacturer, especially if they approved the vehicle or part for use.
What Compensation Will I Get?
Truck accidents can result in steep bills and high costs, not to mention more serious injuries. Appropriate compensation becomes your next issue in this situation. The amount you’ll get is influenced by how good your attorney will be in ensuring you receive enough for all your bills.
You can claim for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to your medical bills and lost wages incurred while you’re injured and unable to work. Non-economic damages mean any suffering and pain you experience that would cause a significant negative effect on your daily life.
There has been much emphasis on safe truck driving practices and it has led to a decrease in accidents over the years. It’s important to pass them on to new drivers and to upkeep, the strict rules and regulations truck drivers need to follow. That way, the rate of accidents can be lowered and drivers of smaller vehicles would not have to be afraid of driving beside them.