Denver Truck Accident AttorneyRequest Free Consultation
Hundreds of thousands of commercial trucking accidents occur every year in the United States. Unfortunately, wrecks that involve semi-trucks are invariably more devastating than accidents involving automobiles. With an average weight of 80,000 pounds or more, any crash between a big rig and another vehicle is likely to result in life-altering injuries, putting your health, job and family’s future at risk.
If you’ve been hurt in a trucking crash, our Denver truck accident lawyers at Fuicelli & Lee have the experience, skill and resources necessary to help you seek the justice you deserve. Contact us today online or at (303) 355-7202 for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve Longmont and Pueblo areas of Colorado’s Front Range.
Why Choose Us?
- Fuicelli & Lee is an accomplished Denver personal injury law firm, representing clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries as the result of someone else’s reckless or careless actions.
- Many firms are intimidated to go to trial and don’t have the experience needed to win in court. All of our attorneys are former prosecutors with 20+ years of experience.
- In the field of personal injury law, there is simply no substitute for hard-earned, real-world experience, and our results speak for themselves. Whether in a courtroom or at a negotiating table, we have obtained over $100M in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
- We offer all clients our No Fee Promise, which means that we only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict on your case. We offer free initial consultations to help you determine if you have a case.
On this page, we discuss:
- Truck Wrecks Caused by Driver Fatigue
- How Our Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Get Full Compensation
- Alcohol or Drug Related Truck Crashes
- Brake Failure and Truck Crashes
- Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Truck Accidents
- Common Truck Accident Injuries
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Determining Liability in a Truck Accident Case
- Understanding the Stages of a Truck Accident Claim
- Speak With Our Truck Accident Attorney Today for Free
Our Denver truck accident attorneys will fight diligently to protect your rights and ensure you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries. Trucking accidents often cause injuries that are so traumatic, most victims never fully recover. Trucking accident victims are frequently unable to return to work for an extended period of time—or ever. Many require ongoing medical and rehabilitative care for months, years, or even a lifetime.
Our experienced team of Denver truck accident lawyers understands how a severe injury can impact your life, livelihood and future wellbeing. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to obtain the maximum compensation to which you are rightfully entitled under the law. Call us today to discuss your case for free.
How Do Truck Accident Cases Differ From Those Involving Passenger Vehicles?
Trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles. Because of their size and weight, truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries for persons involved in the accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), most deaths in large truck accidents are passenger vehicles. Because of the potential dangers that they pose for other road users, truck operations are strictly regulated by the government.
Every truck owner is required to have insurance coverage in the following amounts:
- $50,000 to cover property damage caused to others;
- $100,000 to cover bodily injury or death of one person as a result of one accident; and
- $300,000 to cover bodily injury or death of all persons injured or killed as a result of one truck accident.
These insurance coverage limits are higher than those required for passenger vehicles. The minimum passenger vehicle insurance coverage requirements are $25,000 for one person injured or killed in a passenger vehicle accident; $50,000 for all persons injured or killed in a passenger vehicle accident; and $15,000 to cover property damage.
Just like airplanes, trucks also have event data recorders, often referred to as the black box. A truck’s black box performs the same functions as that of an airplane. It records and stores data on the operation of a truck before an accident. Black box data can provide useful evidence in the investigation of a truck accident as to the cause of the accident. Obtaining information from a truck’s black box requires legal processes, which an injured person may not be able to access without the help of an experienced truck accident attorney. Obtaining access to the black box is one thing, but having an expert who can analyze the information on the black box is another thing. This is another reason why having a truck accident attorney working for you is critical for your case. They have access to truck accident experts who can extract relevant information from the black box for your case.
While every injury-related case is unique, there are some common elements involved with many truck accident claims, including:
- Collecting evidence: This is the first phase of your trucking accident claim. Evidence can include truck driver’s driving logs and personnel files. The driver’s personnel files can indicate whether the driver was properly trained, and whether a thorough background check was performed at the time of hire. The safety record of the trucking company, witness statements, photos of the accident site, the evidence obtained from the truck’s black box, communication records between the company and their driver, the official police report and expert reconstruction of the accident are all types of evidence which will be collected during this period.
- Sending a demand letter: Once sufficient evidence has been collected, a demand letter will be submitted to the at-fault party. This puts the other party on notice that you intend to file a lawsuit, and details the reasons for the lawsuit, the damages you are seeking, your injuries and the amount you are seeking as a settlement for your injuries and damages. The other party or parties will then have the opportunity to respond to the demand letter, and may make a counter-offer—which is sure to be less than you are asking. If you believe the counter-offer is fair, you can accept it and the matter will be put to rest. If the amount is completely unsatisfactory, your attorney will continue negotiations. If no mutually acceptable settlement can be reached, your attorney will file a formal court complaint and a lawsuit will be initiated against one or more defendants in your accident.
- Settlement: Getting to the point of an actual trial can easily take a year or more. A jury will be selected, and your attorney, as well as the defendant’s attorney, can vote against accepting specific jurors they feel would not be sympathetic to your case. Opening statements will be made, then the attorneys will begin calling witnesses and questioning those witnesses who have been sworn in and promised to tell the truth. Expert witnesses may be called from both sides to back up claims. When the trial comes to a close, the attorneys will make their closing arguments in an attempt to influence the judge or jury. The jury will then reach a decision, and the verdict will be read aloud in court.
Trucking accidents are more complex than typical traffic collisions for a number of reasons. For example, depending on the cause of the crash, a number of parties can be held liable, such as the:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Person or company responsible for the truck’s maintenance
- Truck manufacturer
- Person or company that loaded the truck
The trucking company likely has an experienced legal team at their disposal, and will often send someone to immediately remove the truck driver’s logs black box and from the rig. It’s important that you have an experienced truck accident lawyer in Denver on your corner to hold the responsible party or parties accountable.
As already mentioned, there are a number of parties that can be held liable for damages suffered as a result of a truck accident. Only a full investigation of the accident can reveal the parties to be held liable and on what legal theory they can be held accountable.
Many truck drivers are either employees or subcontractors of truck companies. These truck companies are responsible for the maintenance of the trucks, the hiring of competent truck drivers, and the compliance with government truck regulations. The overall responsibility of the operation of a truck falls on the owner of the truck, whether they are an individual or a corporate entity.
Vicarious liability allows an injured person to recover compensation from the truck driver’s employer or truck owner, even where the driver is at fault for the accident. For a claim to succeed based on vicarious liability, the truck driver must be an employee and must have been driving the truck in the normal course of their work duties for the employer. If, for instance, a truck driver made deliveries on behalf of their employer, and on their return, took a detour for personal reasons, vicarious liability may not be applicable.
Sometimes, truck owners try to avoid liability by denying an employer-employee relationship with the truck drivers. They categorize their truck drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Such tactics, although common, are not a shield for truck owners. Truck companies may still be held responsible for the actions of their contractors, subcontractors, lessees, and sublessees.
It is possible for a truck accident to occur due to no fault of the driver or the truck company. A defect in the truck or parts used for the maintenance of the truck could be at fault. In cases where product failure or defect is the cause of the accident, the manufacturer of the product could be held legally responsible for any damages resulting from the accident.
A claim based on product liability must show that the truck accident was caused by some aspect related to the manufacturing, production, or marketing of a product used in the operation or maintenance of the truck. Succeeding on a product liability claim requires skilled industry expertise that can give evidence as to the defect in the product and counter any defensive arguments put forward by the manufacturers.
As with vicarious liability, a claim based on product liability requires extensive investigation carried out by skilled professionals who understand the trucking industry. Conducting these investigations is resource intensive but an experienced truck accident attorney knows that such investigations are non-negotiable to get full compensation for their clients.
FMCSA Regulations on Trucks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the operation of trucks in the U.S. It provides guidelines for the safe operations of trucks including:
- Licensing requirements for drivers
- Maintenance of trucks
- Logging of driving time for passenger- and property-carrying trucks
- Drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers
- Retention of records of the use and maintenance of the truck
Failure to comply with the regulations can be the basis of a negligence per se claim. This allows an injured person to file a claim without having to prove that the truck owner owed them a duty of care and breached that duty of care. Non-compliance of the regulations proves those two elements of a negligence claim. To succeed, the injured person only has to prove that the truck owner’s failure to comply with the regulations caused the accident, which was the legal cause of their injury. And, that they suffered actual losses because of their injury.
An experienced truck accident attorney can determine the strongest basis for your claim and gather the evidence to prove it. At Fuicelli & Lee, we diligently investigate all our cases to ensure that we make a claim against every party legally responsible for your injury to get you the compensation you deserve.
Time Limits to File a Case
Colorado state imposed time limits within which a person may make a claim for injuries or death resulting from the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity. Any action based on an injury or death arising from the operation of a motor vehicle, including trucks, must be commenced within three years of the accident.
Driver fatigue is a term that describes the experience of being tired or sleepy while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. It is also the leading cause of truck accidents in the United States.
While federal regulations limit the amount of time truck operators are permitted to drive each day, these regulations are commonly ignored. Because truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, the more they drive, the more they earn. Weather and traffic related delays often add to the problem, causing them to try to make up for lost time.
Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous because it can diminish an individual’s ability to accurately judge his or her level of tiredness.
Common symptoms of driver fatigue include:
- Falling asleep while driving
- Difficulty staying in lane
- Slow reaction time
- Inability to concentrate
Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster in any traffic situation. When the impaired driver is behind the wheel of a fully loaded 18-wheeler, the results can be absolutely devastating. Under Colorado and Federal law, any time a commercial truck is involved in an injury-related crash, a post-accident alcohol and drug test must be conducted. The results of this test can be particularly incriminating to the trucking company and driver and can also lead to a claim for punitive damages.
The following is a list of commonly used intoxicating substances:
- Prescription medications, including painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin as well as muscle relaxants like Xanax and Valium
In cases like these, it is critical to hold impaired drivers responsible for their reckless behavior, not only for the damages you have suffered, but for the safety and well-being of the community. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
Brake failure is one of the leading causes of commercial truck wrecks in the country. Often carrying up to 80,000 pounds or more of cargo, tremendous strain can be placed on a truck’s braking system. If a commercial truck has rear-ended you, the possibility of brake failure must be thoroughly investigated. If you suspect brake failure, you should consult an attorney immediately. Since trucking companies conduct their own investigations to minimize potential liability, it is crucial to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your side of the story is heard and your rights are protected.
When a truck’s cargo has been overloaded, or not loaded in accordance to state and federal regulations, the results can be catastrophic. When cargo adds too much weight to an already over-sized 18-wheeler, the truck can become top-heavy, and increase the risk of a rollover or jackknife accident.
Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo can also shift during transit, causing trucks to tip or cargo to fall off, jeopardizing the safety of everyone else on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established several laws regarding the proper loading of trucks to minimize the number of crashes caused by shifting cargo or falling debris, including the following:
- Rigs hauling loads that project beyond the rear of the truck by more than four inches or extend beyond the truck’s width must warn other drivers by attaching colored lights to the load.
- Trucks carrying vehicles, pipe, metal coils, heavy machinery and similar items must meet specific hauling requirements.
- Cargo that can roll must be restrained by cradles, chocks or wedges.
- Trucks must adhere to minimum tie-down requirements.
- Cargo must be fastened securely on or within a vehicle.
Truck accident cases are incredibly complex and require the knowledge and skill of an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. If you’ve been hurt as the result of negligently-loaded cargo, contact Fuicelli & Lee today
Truck accidents result in some of the most catastrophic personal injury cases on American roads. Some of the most common types of truck accident-related injuries include:
At Fuicelli & Lee, your health and recovery are our top priorities. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. Let us handle your case so you can focus on healing.
Tragically, truck accidents are often fatal. While no financial award can undo the hardship you are experiencing, compensation in a wrongful death claim, can help to ease the subsequent financial burdens placed on your family. Depending on the details of the case, a spouse or dependent of the deceased may seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost earnings and benefits
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of companionship
This is not an exhaustive list of potential damages in a wrongful death case. It is important to speak with one of our experienced Denver truck accident attorneys right away to discuss the details of your claim. We are committed to helping you through this difficult time with dignity and compassion. Call now to learn how we can help you.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, Fuicelli & Lee wants to hear your story. Call our experienced Denver personal injury attorneys today at (303) 355-7202 for a free case review. We serve Denver, Longmont, and other areas along the Front Range.