Truck Crash Claims and Liability
When involved in a crash with a big rig, the outcome can be devastating injuries. When a large semi-truck’s massive weight and size collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, it's not uncommon for victims to sustain severe, life-threatening injuries. When victims of a truck crash are faced with catastrophic injuries, not only does this mean a long and painful road to recovery, but it can also mean long-term financial strains from medical bills. So, how can truck accident victims receive compensation for their injuries? The answer lies in proving that another party's negligence caused you harm. Here's what you need to know.
Comparative Fault and Liability in Truck Crash Claims
Colorado is an "at-fault" state. This means that after being involved in any motor vehicle accident — including truck accidents — proving another party's negligence caused the crash is critical to the outcome of your claim. Colorado uses a "comparative fault" rule to determine the percentage of shared liability causing a truck crash between the parties involved. This means that when filing a truck accident claim, you are eligible to recover damages against the party who was more responsible than you for the accident. However, your financial recovery will be reduced by the percentage of your shared liability.
How is the Percentage of Liability Determined?
An insurance claims adjuster determines the percentage of liability, and the math is not precise, so it's vital to negotiate with the insurance company. Remember that insurance companies are not your friend, and it's in their best interest to give you the lowest settlement possible. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to negotiate with when settling truck crash claims. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer fighting on your behalf for the maximum compensation allowed by law is vital to getting the best possible result.
Which Parties Can Be Held Responsible?
Truck accident claims are not always caused by vehicle drivers alone. Other parties could be held liable for contributing to a truck accident. Here are some examples:
- The truck driver - When a truck driver engages in negligent behaviors that cause a truck accident, they can be held responsible. Negligent behaviors may include texting and driving, driving while intoxicated, speeding, and ignoring traffic signals and signs.
- The trucking company - Trucking carriers are responsible for ensuring that their drivers are adequately trained and know the state and federal laws they are mandated to follow. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules specify how long a trucker can drive on the road without a rest break. When a trucker violates FMCSA rules and causes a truck accident, the truck driver and the trucking company can both be held responsible.
- Cargo loaders/contractors - Many trucking companies are hired by third parties to ship goods. When overloaded, it could put more weight on the truck than federally mandated. Improperly loaded cargo can shift during transit, leading to uneven weight distribution, causing an imbalance of gravity. Both these scenarios can cause a truck to tip over or be involved in a jackknife crash.
- Truck and truck part manufacturers - Truck accidents can be caused by malfunctioning parts such as brake failures and tire blowouts. In this case, a truck accident victim may be eligible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the truck or its parts.
Getting Assistance With Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents are notoriously devastating due to a truck's massive size and weight when involved in a crash with smaller passenger cars. When the careless actions of a driver or other entities cause you to sustain severe injuries, you have the right to hold them accountable. Our truck accident lawyers are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. Speak to an experienced attorney at our firm today to learn your rights.
Contact Denver Trial Lawyers® today at (303) 647-9990 for a free consultation. There are no fees unless we win.