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Truck Accident Injuries

A total of 3,163 people died in large truck accidents* in 2009. Fourteen percent of these deaths were truck occupants, 70 percent were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, and 14 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

In 2008, 380,000 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents in the United States killing a total of 4,299 people or approximately 11% of all traffic fatalities reported in 2008. An additional 90,000 people suffered personal injuries in those crashes.

Ninety-eight percent of vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle truck accidents involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck in 2009 were occupants of the passenger vehicles.

Seventy-two percent of deaths in large truck accidents in 2009 were in crashes involving tractor-trailers and 29 percent were in crashes involving single-unit trucks. Fifty-eight percent of deaths in large truck accidents in 2009 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 31 percent occurred on interstates and freeways, and 11 percent occurred on minor roads.

Truck accident deaths are more likely to occur during morning and daytime hours than crashes involving only other vehicles, which are more frequent during evening and nighttime hours. Forty-nine percent of large truck accident deaths in 2009 occurred from 6am to 3pm. Seventeen percent of large truck accident deaths in 2009 occurred on Saturday and Sunday, compared with 37 percent of crash deaths not involving large trucks.

In 2007 large trucks accounted for 4% of all registered vehicles and 7 percent of total miles traveled. In 2008 large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents and 4 percent of all vehicles involved in personal injury claims and property damage only crashes.

One out of nine traffic fatal accidents in 2008 resulted from a collision involving a large truck.

Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

Based on their numbers on the road and on the amount they travel, large trucks account for more than their share of highway deaths. Large trucks have higher fatal crash rates per mile traveled than passenger vehicles, although a higher percentage of large truck travel occurs on interstates, the safest roads.

Most deaths in large truck accidents are passenger vehicle occupants rather than occupants of large trucks. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars, and are taller with greater ground clearance according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, www.iihs.org.

Truck braking capability can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take much farther than passenger vehicles to stop, and the discrepancy is greater when trailers are empty, on wet and slippery roads, or with poorly maintained brakes. Truck driver fatigue also is a known crash risk. Drivers of large trucks are allowed by federal hours-of-service regulations to drive up to 11 hours at a stretch and up to 77 hours over a 7-day period. Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted. The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

* tractor-trailers, single-unit trucks, and some cargo vans weighing more than 10,000 pounds

Truck Accident Attorney

A Colorado truck accident attorney involved in a personal injury or wrongful death claim needs to be not only an accomplished trial lawyer but also understand the issues that often arise in connection with a truck accident, including:

  • Attacking the issue of driver fatigue from excessive hours of operation
  • Preserving and accessing on-board recorders that tell the true story
  • Size and weight violations
  • Under-ride and visibility issues
  • Violations of the Federal Motor Safety Carriers Act, Federal Regulations and commercial driving laws in Colorado, including licensing fraud

Larry Mertes, a former deputy district attorney, is an experienced Boulder truck accident lawyer ready to help you get justice when you’ve experienced serious injuries in a personal injury claim or lost a loved one and have a wrongful death claim as a result of someone else’s negligence.

Car Accident, Bicycle Accident and Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Civil justice is what you are left looking for when the negligence of another person, business or corporation has left you with personal injuries and struggling to put your life together after a car accident, bicycle accident or motorcycle accident, because no normal person would exchange money for a healthy functioning body, brain and happy life. Civil justice is also what you are left to seek when a loved one’s life is lost in a fatal accident that was not their fault.

Establishing negligence, or fault, is the first step in making a successful personal injury claim. Conducting an aggressive investigation of the facts, collecting witness statements, hiring competent engineers and accident reconstruction specialists prove this part of your claim. When looking for fault an experienced Colorado Car Accident Lawyer will look at the small details, like a negligent driver’s cell phone records in an automobile accident case. Careful investigation and preparation of a personal injury claim is a critical part of filling out the puzzle of why the accident happened and who is truly responsible for the serious injuries you’ve suffered or the wrongful death that has occurred.

Both bicyclists and motorcyclists face a great deal of vulnerability when a motorist or trucker makes a mistake or simply doesn’t see your bicycle or motorcycle on the road. It doesn’t matter that the law gives you the right to share the road with cars and trucks when a truck or car makes a left turn in front of you, crosses into your lane of traffic or simply doesn’t yield the right of way, the result is typically personal injury or worse suffered by the driver or rider on two wheels. When a motorcycle accident happens you need an experienced Boulder motorcycle accident lawyer in your corner and when a bicycle accident causes personal injury, through no fault of your own, you need an experienced Boulder bicycle accident lawyer.

Personal Injury Damages

Damages are part of what you have to prove to make a recovery for a personal injury or wrongful death claim once you’ve established the fault of another party. There are four potential areas of recovery that should always be examined and explored to achieve civil justice in your case:

What are your economic damages? Or, put another way, what permanent personal injuries, losses and damages have been caused to your income, past, present and future by the accident? Does your actual loss extend into the future? Will you be forced into early retirement?

Have you experienced pain and suffering as a result of your personal injury in this accident? Non-economic damages, or injuries that rob you of your enjoyment of life, as you spend hours of your life in painful recovery, managing appointments with doctors, and being unable to enjoy the life and experiences you had before someone’s negligence rocked your world.

Are your personal injuries permanent? Is the movement or function of your body permanently changed? Has the accident left scars or marks on your body that were not present before you suffered a personal injury? Do you have a permanent spinal injury? Do you have a brain injury that has robbed you of all that you could do before the accident? Colorado law recognizes that having an actual physical impairment or disfigurement is a separate category of damages that are entitled to compensation.

Were your personal injuries the result of an encounter with a drunk driver or reckless driver? In Colorado you are entitled to seek punitive damages for certain types of bad acts, which have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, just like in a criminal case. Punitive damages are designed to punish a wrong doer, and as an example to others, however, a punitive damage award must be reasonable and proportionate to wrong that was committed. If the party who caused your personal injuries was intoxicated or on drugs, or intended or simply didn’t care if they hurt you, then your personal injury claim may include punitive damages.

All personal injury and wrongful death claims have time limits, called statutes of limitation. The time limits vary by the type of claim you have, for instance an automobile personal injury claim for an adult over the age of 18 has a three year statute of limitations, unless that same accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one, in which case your wrongful death claim must be filed in two years, or it is forever lost. A personal injury lawyer should be consulted as soon as possible after a serious or fatal accident to preserve your personal injury claim.

Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage

Underinsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage (often called UM/UMI) is insurance designed to protect you if you, your loved ones and your passengers suffer personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident as a result of another driver’s negligence and the other driver is either uninsured or carries an inadequate amount of insurance. An experienced Colorado Car Accident Attorney will seek out coverage, including that available on your own policy, such as UM/UMI, to ensure that your personal injury or wrongful death claim is adequately compensated.

Helping you recover

An experienced personal injury law firm does more than just recover damages for your personal injury or wrongful death claim. Handling property damage claims, making sure your medical payment benefits and health insurance claims are properly handled allows you to focus on what is most important: healing, taking care of your family and working on your recovery.

A contingency fee agreement is offered, this means that your lawyer is only paid if you recover damages for your personal injury or wrongful death claim.

To ensure civil justice it’s important that your case is handled by an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney who actually takes cases to trial on a regular basis. Insurance companies do consider whether your attorney is comfortable in a courtroom and has a track record of success. Larry Mertes, a former deputy district attorney, and experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer, can maximize your recovery and work with you to achieve civil justice in your case.