Truck Accident FAQs

Experienced Denver Truck Accident Lawyers Representing The Victims Of Tractor-Trailer Accidents

Cases involving tractor-trailer accidents require special representation because of the many rules and regulations that apply to Colorado truck drivers and trucking companies. Cliff Enten and the associates at his Denver firm are skilled truck accident lawyers, dedicated to making sure the victims of tractor-trailer accidents get fair compensation for medical treatment, auto damage and emotional trauma. Here are some answers to questions that have been asked by drivers involved in truck accidents.

Truck Accident FAQs

How is an accident involving a truck different from most auto accidents?

The injuries sustained in tractor-trailer accidents tend to be more severe, which means your claims for compensation may be larger than they would be for car accidents. Truck accidents also tend to involve multiple insurance companies, because the trucking company may have more than one insurance company, and the goods being transported by the truck may also be insured by another insurance company. In addition, there are special laws that apply to truck drivers that do not apply to other drivers, and each state's truck driver laws are different. To handle your truck accident case, your lawyer needs to be familiar with Colorado truck driving laws and regulations, in addition to having experience with the kinds of arguments that win truck accident cases.

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Will I need an investigator at the scene of a truck accident?

Yes. The trucking company or its insurance provider will likely send an investigator to the scene on the same day the truck accident occurred. This investigator will be more interested in finding evidence the accident was not the trucker's fault than in finding out what really happened. You will need your own investigator on the scene to gather any evidence you are not at fault. This is the evidence the trucking company's investigator is likely to ignore. A truck accident investigator who is on your side can also take steps to preserve the driving log every truck driver is required by law to keep up to date. The driving log is usually the most important piece of evidence presented in a truck accident case. In some cases, the trucking company may try to prevent you, the victim, from obtaining these important records in an attempt to destroy your case and make it difficult or impossible for you or your attorney to prove the accident was the truck driver's fault. You may not have access to a skilled truck accident investigator, but Cliff Enten, who has experience representing victims of Denver tractor-trailer accidents, will know who to call. Contact attorney Cliff Enten as soon as possible after the accident has occurred — at the scene of the accident, if possible — so he can send an investigator to the scene to help collect the evidence that will get you your settlement.

What are the most common causes of truck accidents?

Many truck accidents are the result of truck driver error. Truck drivers are required to follow a set of rules called the "hours of service requirement." These laws limit the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road without having slept or rested. Even though it is illegal and dangerous, many truck drivers break the rules on how long they are allowed to drive without resting. Often truck drivers are paid more when they drive a certain number of miles in a shorter length of time. Even truck drivers who rest when they are supposed to can be tempted to speed to make up for lost time. This puts the other drivers on the road in great danger.

Not all tractor-trailer accidents are caused by a mistake made by the truck driver. Many truck accidents are caused by equipment failure. If a semi truck does not have a strong enough brake system to handle the weight of the truck and its cargo, the brakes can give out. In cases like this, neither you nor the truck driver was responsible for the accident. A product liability claim can sometimes be filed against the manufacturer of the truck for building a dangerous vehicle, or the trucking company can be sued for failing to perform the proper repair and maintenance before the truck was put on the road. At the Law Offices of Cliff Enten in Denver, Colorado, our experienced truck accident lawyers can review your tractor-trailer accident case and determine who is at fault. We will help protect your legal rights and obtain compensation from the responsible parties.

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Who can be sued following a tractor-trailer accident that was not my fault?

That depends on whom or what caused the accident. If a mistake made by the truck driver caused the accident, then you may be able to sue the truck driver directly. Independently contracted truck drivers usually have their own insurance carrier, but truck drivers often work for larger trucking companies that own multiple trucks. Truck drivers are responsible for driving their trucks safely, but trucking companies are also responsible for hiring drivers who have been properly trained to know how to drive a truck safely. If a trucking company hires a driver who does not have a special commercial driver's license, then that company is breaking the law. If you get in an accident with that unlicensed truck driver, you have the right to be compensated for the trucking company's mistake. You can sue the trucking company for failure to screen the truck driver's credentials and experience.

If the tractor-trailer accident was caused by equipment failure, then you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the truck. If the truck malfunction was only to a specific part of the truck, such as the tires, you may be able to sue the manufacturer. This kind of lawsuit is called a product liability claim.

If the accident was caused by improper road maintenance, then you may be able to sue the owner of the private or public land for failing in their responsibility to keep the roads repaired. Every truck accident case is different. Our Denver truck accident lawyers can give you a free case evaluation to help you figure out who you should file a claim against to recover damages.

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When is a truck driver being negligent?

Because they operate larger vehicles, truck drivers have a responsibility to the other drivers on the road to drive safely. Truck drivers are legally required to drive at a safe speed, check their blind spots before making turns or changing lanes and watch for other cars when making wide turns. A truck driver who doesn't do these things and doesn't pay attention to the other drivers on the road is being negligent.

Negligent simply means that the driver had a responsibility to act in a certain way and failed to fulfill that responsibility. There are also more extreme cases of negligence where the truck driver was drinking and driving or fell asleep at the wheel. A truck driver who is proven in court to be negligent is usually completely at fault, unless the driver of the car was breaking the law at the time of the accident. If you were speeding or disobeying traffic laws at the time of the accident, you may still be able to receive complete or partial compensation. Contact Law Offices of Cliff Enten in Colorado Springs and Denver to speak with our truck accident lawyers.

If a semi truck jackknifes and causes an accident, does that mean the truck driver is at fault?

A jackknife is when a tractor-trailer's brakes lock up, causing the truck to skid out across a road, frequently blocking both lanes of traffic on a two-lane highway. A semi truck's brakes can lock up when a truck hits a very slippery surface or when a truck driver has to make a very sudden turn, usually to avoid a collision. These tractor-trailer accidents are often caused by truck driver inexperience or negligence, and can, in most cases, be avoided by the evasive action of an experienced truck driver. Occasionally jackknifes can occur even when a driver has done everything right to avoid one. If the road conditions made the accident completely unavoidable to even the most skilled truck driver, then the truck driver is less likely to be held at fault for the accident. This is, of course, what the truck driver's insurance company is going to argue. A complete investigation of the scene of the tractor-trailer accident, the driver's experience and credentials and the driver's log is necessary to determine whether or not the truck driver was at fault. If the brakes were more likely to lock up because of problems with their design or improper or inadequate brake maintenance, then the truck manufacturer or the trucking company may be responsible for the truck jackknifing, rather than the driver.

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The weather conditions were bad when the accident occurred; can we still prove the truck driver was responsible?

Determining who is at fault can be complicated when the truck accident occurs in very bad weather such as a blizzard or downpour. It will partially depend on the severity of the weather conditions and the speed at which both drivers were traveling.

If the weather conditions were blinding, this can negatively affect the amount of damages you can collect, and even the amount of coverage from your own insurance company you are eligible for. Some insurance companies include an "act of God" clause in their policy. Depending upon the definition provided by the insurance company, severe weather may fall into this category. The truck driver's insurance company may make the argument you should have pulled over and waited for the weather to improve, and the truck couldn't do this because of its size.

None of this means you cannot win your case. What it does mean is you are going to need a lawyer who has experience taking truck accident claims to court. The amount of damages you recover may be completely dependent on how your lawyer presents the evidence.

At Law Offices of Cliff Enten, based in Colorado Springs and Denver, our truck accident lawyers have experience providing aggressive defense for victims of tractor-trailer accidents. Make an appointment to meet with one of our skilled attorneys. We'll meet with you in your home or hospital room if you need us to.

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I think I may have been driving in the semi truck's blind spot, but I believe the trucker was driving unsafely. Who is at fault?

One reason tractor-trailer accidents happen so frequently is semi trucks have huge blind spots. Often other drivers won't even realize they are in a truck's blind spot until an accident is already unavoidable. Unfortunately, if you were in the semi truck's blind spot at the time of the accident, you will likely be considered partially at fault, but that doesn't necessarily mean you lose all rights to compensation. Just because you and the truck driver were both at fault for an accident doesn't mean you were equally at fault. Truck drivers do have a responsibility to check their blind spots before making a turn or changing lanes. If the truck driver's unsafe driving contributed more to the accident than your being in the trucker's blind spot, then a good lawyer can make sure the amount you are rewarded for damages reflects that. Cliff Enten and his associates are skilled truck accident lawyers who can help you get the fair settlement you deserve. The insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. Let us provide you with correct and detailed legal advice at no cost to you. Contact Law Offices of Cliff Enten today!

Why do I need a truck accident lawyer?

When you are involved in a truck accident, the issue is never just between you and the truck driver. The truck driver was working for a larger trucking company. The trucking company is represented by a truck insurance company. And, depending upon what cargo the tractor-trailer was carrying at the time, the goods that were being transported by the truck may also be insured, involving yet another insurance company in your truck accident case. Dealing with a truck insurance company is different from dealing with a company that insures regular passenger vehicles. Truck insurance companies order extensive investigations of any accidents involving the trucks they insure, and use more aggressive means in order to ensure the court declares the truck driver not at fault. Trying to take on multiple insurance companies without contacting one of our truck accident lawyers is a bad idea. The Law Offices of Cliff Enten, based in Colorado Springs and Denver, has handled many tractor-trailer accidents. Our accident lawyers used to work for the insurance companies, but now they use their skills to help victims rather than insurance corporations.

Let our skills work for you! Contact Cliff Enten or one of his associates for free legal advice and a complete evaluation of your case. If you can't get to us because of your injuries, we'll come to you at your home or in your hospital room. You don't have to go through this alone. Our Denver truck accident lawyers can help.

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