Collisions with Trucks
You need knowledgeable counsel from the very beginning.
We focus on trucking cases: think large commercial trucks and haulers.
We are located in Colorado.
Crashes Involving Trucks
Our Colorado law firm has extensive experience in cases involving large commercial trucks and haulers.
Crashes where a truck driver is at fault cannot be handled like car accidents. These cases require knowledge of federal truck safety laws, transportation industry requirements, and Colorado’s specific trucking regulations.
Attorney David M. Sargent has that knowledge and background. David is an Advocate member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and regularly attends national conferences and symposiums that provide the latest information and best practices for commercial trucking injury cases. These events also connect the country’s preeminent trucking attorneys and create powerful synergy that benefits victims and their families.
Trucking Cases are More Than Just “Accidents”
Truck crashes are not simply accidents. Trucking companies pledge to follow specific safety protocols to minimize risks on the roads. Truck drivers pledge to honor similar safety guidelines. They make these commitments in exchange for being allowed to use large, heavy vehicles to do business on the highways alongside people in much smaller cars and light trucks.
The safety standards for trucking companies and their drivers are, for good reason, much higher than those for other drivers. They include comprehensive training, certifications, record keeping, pre-trip safety inspections, as well as, post-trip and post-collision inspection and reporting requirements.
These obligations are designed to protect others on the roads and highways, and they are necessary because commercial trucks and trailers are inherently dangerous. They often weigh 20 to 30 times more than average cars and accelerate, brake, and turn more slowly than smaller vehicles. Whether loaded or empty, their momentum can easily crush a passenger vehicle. And their increased risk of causing extensive damage is true at any speed. Ask someone whose vehicle has been hit by a truck going even 5 miles per hour and they will tell you how devastating a collision physics can be.
An Even Higher Standard of Care in Adverse Conditions
Trucks pose a significant risk of property damage, injury, and death even in ideal driving conditions. When darkness, rain, snow, wind, or other adverse conditions are added to the equation, that risk is even higher. That’s why the expectations placed on truckers for careful driving are also elevated in these scenarios.
Unfortunately, truckers and trucking companies do not always follow the rules or put safety first. Frequently, they drive the same in adverse conditions as normal conditions. Afterwards, they claim various defenses like, “I couldn’t control the truck under the circumstances,” or, “I couldn’t see the cars up front.” These are not valid defenses, just excuses.
Further, laws about distractions like cell phone use, food, hours driven, and others are sometimes disregarded with catastrophic results. This disregard for rules and regulations often starts with a company’s hiring practices when they overlook drivers’ past infractions.
Why does this occur? Trucking is highly competitive industry. They are incentivized to complete long hauls, minimize downtime and maximize revenue. This frequently takes precedence over safe operations. Of course, accident victims end up paying the price for collisions that could have and should have been prevented.
Gathering Evidence Promptly Is Essential
The unfortunate reality is that most truckers, trucking companies, and insurers will do everything they can to avoid paying a claim or, if they must pay, to minimize their cost. That’s why it is essential to gather as much information as you can as soon as you are able.
Dashcam footage, GPS tracking data, bills of lading (showing who is responsible for a shipment), hours logs, and other information can be essential to getting a fair settlement or winning a court case. Unfortunately, many people wrongly believe law enforcement will handle that.
The reality is that fewer than 1% of officers are properly trained to investigate a truck crash. Lacking that knowledge, a responding officer may simply take a few photos, measure any skid marks, get brief statements from the parties, and consider their job complete when, in fact, there’s a wealth of additional data that can and should be captured. Frequently, they don’t even know how to properly identify the truck and trailer involved.
The best way to offset the lack of a thorough law enforcement investigation is to have our team respond to the site or get involved as soon as possible after a crash. We have the skills and experience to ensure that vital information will be preserved and available as we develop a case valuation and engage with the trucking company, its insurer, and others as needed.
Trucking Safety by the Numbers
There are approximately 650,000 motor carriers or trucking companies in the U.S. today. Only about 12,000 have ever been safety rated. That’s about 2% of the entire industry. This means that the first time many companies and drivers get rated may be for the collision. When a company has multiple safety violations, it’s clear they don’t have a culture that prioritizes safe operations. Consequently, they pose an ongoing threat to others on the road.
What are the consequences of trucking companies disregarding safety? Each year, an estimated 150,000 people are injured in crashes involving large trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 5,000 people die annually in large truck crashes. About 7 of 10 of the deaths are people in cars, riding bicycles, or walking.
Obviously, many operators are not meeting safety standards, beginning with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act FMSCR 49 U.S.C. 350-399. It includes regulations on motor carriers and drivers, and all 50 states have adopted it. Additionally, there are a whole host of safety manuals and industry standards.
Some have modified the federal regulations for intrastate carriers. For example, Colorado has adopted the FMCSR regulations and loosened some of the provisions for trucks pledging to do business only in Colorado. That’s another reason that if you’ve been injured in a truck crash, you need a Colorado attorney with a firm grasp on all the applicable trucking laws, rules, and regulations.
Get Guidance from an Attorney Specializing in Truck Crashes
Truck crashes are traumatic events that lead to complex negotiations about fault and compensation. The sooner you get assistance from an attorney and firm specializing in this type of case, the better your outcome is likely to be.
Don’t wait. Call David M. Sargent, LLC immediately after a truck crash to discuss how we can take the lead in getting you full and fair compensation for everything you’ve gone through and the challenges you may face going forward.