Few people know the considerable impact the trucking industry has on the Colorado economy. According to a recent report from the Colorado Motor Vehicle Association, the trucking industry alone pays for 33 percent of the state’s federal and state roadway taxes. But despite all the good they do, trucks remain considerable risks on Colorado highways. It is not hard to see why—they are large, imposing, and many people still do not know how to navigate around them safely. Plus, contrary to popular belief, a truck accident is not the same thing as a “bigger car accident.” Do you know what to do after a Colorado truck accident?
The good news: Most truck accidents are preventable. The bad news: Some accidents are unavoidable. You can do everything right and still have something go wrong. After all, you cannot control other people’s actions. To draw attention to the egregious number of traffic-related deaths, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has placed message boards across the state to display the current number of fatalities. They hope that “this weekly memorial will be a wake-up call for everyone to drive more safely. Remember: It’s a person, not a number.”
Most truck accidents (and most car accidents in general) are a result of driver negligence. Many parties can be held liable in the case of a truck accident: the truck driver, the trucker’s employer, the highway maintenance crews, other drivers, and even parts manufacturers. In any case, it is crucial to remember one thing: Insurance companies are not your friend.
It may come as a surprise, but a tractor-trailer in Colorado can cost more than a luxury car. Auto insurance policies for semis also tends to be more expensive, as they are bigger and deadlier than standard vehicles. In the state of Colorado, trucking accident fatalities tend to happen mostly in Denver suburbs. However, truck accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. Because truck accidents can be so destructive, it is not uncommon for a claim to exceed $1 million in damages.
Many personal injury victims make the mistake of assuming the insurance company will be on their side. After all, all insurance companies devote their marketing campaigns to being the arbiters of justice. In reality, however, an insurance company is a business like any other. They have one thing on their mind: their own bottom line. Every dollar that they offer you is a total loss for them—especially when you are involved in an accident that exceeds the trucker’s liability policy. Speaking to a respected lawyer is the best thing you can do for your truck accident claim.
After being involved in a truck accident, it is crucial to act immediately. The first thing you should do is assess yourself and your passengers for injuries. Call for help if needed, especially if the injuries are severe. A tractor-trailer can weigh over 20 tons and can easily do life-threatening damage. Then, if you are able, exchange information with the other driver. Make sure you take down their license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance carrier information, and contact information. (An attorney may also be able to use this information to access the trucker’s logbook.)
Make sure you do not leave the accident scene until you are 100 percent certain you are allowed to do so. Usually, this will entail waiting for first responders and law enforcement. Leaving too early runs the risk of looking like you are “fleeing” the accident scene, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Wait until the officers arrive on the scene. This way, you will be able to file an accident report directly.
Behind every successful personal injury claim is a mountain of evidence. It is always easier to act proactively than retroactively, so you should begin documenting everything right away. Take photographs or videos of your injuries, property damage, and any other relevant information directly after your accident. Keep extensive copies of your medical records and expenses. You may even want to consider speaking to potential eyewitnesses in the immediate aftermath of your accident. Remember to take down everyone’s contact information in case you need to refer back to them later.
Earlier in this blog post, we established that insurance companies are not your friend. But what does that mean during the claims process? Remember that claims adjusters are trained investigators looking for any and every reason to deny or minimize your settlement. For this reason, you should stick to the facts whenever you speak to any insurance representatives. If possible, direct any requests for communication to your attorney. Working with an experienced legal team can help you minimize any contact you have with the insurance company.
Dealing with a truck accident can be one of the most stressful things you ever go through. You may find yourself racking up medical bills pretty quickly. It can be overwhelming to take care of everything in the aftermath of an accident. Insurance companies know this too, and they use it to their advantage. They may pressure you to accept a too-low settlement under the guise that it is the best possible offer. Or something you say in the heat of the moment may be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. To prevent yourself from falling into any one of these common traps, consult a lawyer before speaking to a claims adjuster.
Were you or a loved one recently injured in a truck accident? We at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Taking care of a truck accident claim can be overwhelming, especially if you were in a smaller vehicle. We believe you should never have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide truck accident attorneys.