The first thing you should do when you or a loved one are in an accident with a truck or semi tractor-trailer in Colorado is act quickly in order to preserve the evidence. The truck driver has been told by the trucking company to call his or her dispatcher or supervisor immediately if he or she is involved in a collision. The insurance providers for truck companies have teams all over Colorado that are ready to respond to a collision 24/7. It is not unusual for the insurance provider of the trucking company to have its people on scene to gather evidence before the victim even knows who hit him.
There are documents and evidence which, if not gathered and preserved early on in the case, may be lost forever. This evidence is essential to holding a trucking company and driver responsible or liable. For example, the truck’s event data recorder – commonly referred to as the “black box” – records important data about the truck’s speed, braking and other valuable information about the collision. If not downloaded promptly and correctly, it is one such piece of evidence that can vanish. Therefore, contact an attorney who is truly qualified to handle trucking cases in Colorado as soon as possible so that he or she can preserve the evidence gathered by the truck company’s insurance company and law enforcement, as well as the logs and records of the trucking company.
While auto and trucking cases often involve personal injury or death, be aware that trucking cases are not just auto cases involving a large vehicle. Attorneys who handle auto collisions are not necessarily qualified to handle trucking cases and may never have (properly) represented a victim of a trucking collision. Regulations and complexities are present in trucking cases that do not exist in auto cases. Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) by the truck driver and trucking company are all too common and often the root cause of a collision. These regulations are designed to protect the motoring public from truck drivers who are fatigued, impaired or distracted. A truck driver or trucking company that fails to follow these regulations will be held responsible for causing injuries and deaths that result. A qualified trucking attorney will use the records and evidence to establish a violation of the regulations and a case for punitive damages against the trucking company.
The right expert witnesses also need to be retained by an experienced trucking attorney early in the case. It is often necessary to hire experts in fields such as accident reconstruction, “black box” downloads and data interpretation, human factors, truck conspicuity, trucking safety regulations and standards of care, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning and economics.
A qualified trucking attorney has previously represented numerous victims who have suffered major injuries or death of a loved one. A semi tractor-trailer, which can weigh 80,000 pounds, typically inflicts grave damage upon the occupants of what may be a 3,000-pound car. As such, a qualified trucking attorney should be competent in not only in the field of trucking regulation, but also in the areas of complicated medical and rehabilitation issues, life care plans, insurance coverage, wrongful death and structured settlements.
William Babich, founder of THE LAW FIRM OF WILLIAM BABICH, LLC, in Denver, Colorado, serves on the National Advisory Board of Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA); is author of “Trucking Litigation and the Federal Motor Safety Regulations;” and is an experienced trucking, wrongful death and injury attorney. He is among an elite group of trial lawyers in the country privileged to attend the Trial Lawyers College and be train under Gerry Spence. THE LAW FIRM OF WILLIAM BABICH, LLC, believes it has a responsibility to be the “voice for the injured – dedicated to seeking justice for people whose lives will never be the same again.”
Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.
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