Truck accidents are a common concern when driving along Colorado highways. The state has variable weather that often leads to dangerous roads, and truck accident rates have risen in recent years. For example, the number of fatal truck accidents in Colorado nearly doubled from 2009 to 2017.
When a truck accident occurs, anyone injured from the accident should know their legal rights and how to file a claim against the responsible driver. While most private drivers know how to approach typical traffic collisions with other drivers, many may feel lost when they have a claim involving a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck. The following tips may help an individual who has suffered injuries and losses in a Colorado truck accident determine the best next steps to take, and a Denver truck accident lawyer can help them maximize their recovery.
Seek Medical Care as Soon as Possible Following a Truck Accident
In most accidents involving large trucks and smaller passenger vehicles, injuries are all but certain. However, some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and some victims may not realize how badly they are hurt following truck accidents. A good rule to follow after any traffic accident is to see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you believe you did not sustain any serious injuries.
A doctor will know how to check for signs and symptoms of underlying traumas and often overlooked injuries. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible following a truck accident in Colorado not only helps to preserve your personal health and wellbeing but also creates a documented record that you sought treatment. If you need to take legal action for your truck accident, this documentation could prove invaluable.
Meet With a Denver, Colorado Truck Accident Lawyer to Determine Liability
An experienced truck accident attorney can help you parse through the details of your truck accident claim and help you determine whether you have grounds for legal action against another party. Depending on how your truck accident occurred, the truck driver, a third party, or multiple defendants could bear liability for your injuries and other damages.
A reliable Denver truck accident attorney can review all of the available evidence including vehicle computer crash data, traffic camera footage (if available), witness statements, cell phone records, and anything else that may help determine liability for the truck accident in question. Once your attorney determines liability for the accident, they can help you decide on the next step toward your recovery.
All drivers in Colorado and throughout the United States have a duty of care to drive responsibly. Since truckers drive as their primary job duty, the law holds them to a higher standard when it comes to safe and responsible driving. If a truck driver was negligent in the care or handling of their vehicle or if a trucking company failed to conduct required maintenance on the vehicle in question or enforce applicable hours of service laws, one or both of these parties may bear liability for your damages in a truck accident claim.
Third Parties and Colorado’s Negligence Laws
It is also possible for a third party to bear responsibility for your truck accident claim. For example, if a drunk driver swerved into the side of a truck that was driving in the lane next to you and caused a chain reaction that ultimately led to your accident, that third party would likely bear liability for the resulting damages. As long as the truck driver involved did everything possible to minimize the damage from the accident, the third party could bear the full brunt of liability for the accident in question.
Colorado follows a contributory negligence statute, and this statute indicates that a plaintiff may receive reduced compensation for a claim in which the plaintiff bears partial liability. In Colorado, the plaintiff may still recover compensation for a claim minus a percentage equal to their degree of fault for the accident. For example, if the court determines a plaintiff to be 20% at fault and the defendant to be 80% at fault for a one-million-dollar claim, the plaintiff will lose $200,000 or 20% of the case award due to their contributory negligence.
Legal Counsel Is Crucial
Ultimately, truck accidents share similarities with typical traffic accidents in many ways, but they also involve several unique variables that demand the attention of an experienced legal team. If you suffered injuries and/or economic losses due to a truck accident in the Denver area, a Colorado truck accident attorney can be a tremendous asset as you work toward legal recovery.