What to Do After a Truck Accident

May 8, 2024 | Accidents, Big Truck Accidents

Getting into an accident with a large commercial truck can be a terrifying and life-altering experience. Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are massive vehicles that can cause catastrophic damage and injuries when involved in a crash with a smaller passenger vehicle.

If a truck accident has hurt you or a loved one, it’s important to know the steps to take to protect your health and your legal rights. Read on to learn what to do after a truck accident as well as other important information that can help you navigate the complex claims process so you can get the compensation you need.

For specific advice regarding your situation and to get help holding the at-fault parties accountable and recovering damages, contact an truck accident attorney near you for a free consultation.

The Steps You Need to Take Following a Truck Accident

In the chaotic moments after a truck accident, make your first priority your health and safety as well as the safety and well-being of others involved.

Here’s a general guideline on what to do after a truck accident:

  • Ensure your safety: If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road, to avoid further collisions. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
  • Call 911: Contact emergency services to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s essential to get a medical evaluation, as some symptoms may not appear immediately.
  • Document the scene: If it is safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles involved, road conditions, skid marks, and any visible injuries. Collect contact and insurance information from the truck driver and any other parties involved.
  • Gather witness information: If witnesses saw the accident, ask for their names and contact information, as their statements may support your claim.
  • Notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance provider to report the accident but refrain from admitting fault or discussing your injuries.
  • Keep a record of your expenses: Document all medical treatment you receive, keep copies of bills and records, and track any time you miss from work due to the accident.
  • Be cautious with your statements: Avoid discussing fault or liability with anyone at the scene, and refrain from posting about the accident on social media, as such statements may be used against you.
  • Consult with a truck accident attorney: Reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.


What Parties May Be Liable for Your Injuries

Determining liability in a truck accident case can be complex, as there are often multiple parties involved beyond just the truck driver.

Depending on the circumstances, you can hold the following parties responsible:

  • The truck driver: If the driver was negligent in operating the truck, such as driving while fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be liable for resulting injuries. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.
  • The trucking company: Trucking companies are responsible for hiring qualified drivers, properly maintaining their fleet, and ensuring compliance with federal regulations regarding hours of service, cargo securement, and more. If they fail in these duties, your attorney may hold them liable for the accident.
  • The cargo loader: If improperly loaded or secured cargo caused the accident, the party responsible for loading the truck may be at fault.
  • The truck or parts manufacturer: If a defect in the truck or one of its components led to the crash, a lawyer can help you pursue a claim against the manufacturer under product liability law.
  • Another driver: If the actions of another motorist on the road contributed to the accident, they may share liability.

Given the number of potentially liable parties, it is wise to work with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney who can thoroughly investigate your case to identify all sources of compensation.

How an Attorney Can Help You Get Compensation

Businesses suing for financial damages due to breaches, fraud, or contractual disputes.

Trucking companies and their insurers have teams of lawyers working to minimize payouts after an accident. To level the playing field and give yourself the best chance at recovering full and fair compensation, you need an attorney of your own to advocate for you.

A skilled truck accident lawyer can help by:

  • Conducting an independent investigation into the crash to uncover critical evidence, which may include the truck’s black box data, the driver’s logs and toxicology reports, the truck’s maintenance records, and more.
  • Identifying all potentially liable parties and sources of insurance coverage.
  • Hiring expert witnesses as needed to strengthen your case, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical experts.
  • Handling communications with insurance adjusters and the trucking company’s legal team.
  • Calculating the full value of your damages and building a strong case for compensation.
  • Negotiating forcefully on your behalf for a fair settlement.
  • Fully preparing to take your case to trial if necessary to recover what you are owed.

What Types of Compensation You Could Receive

If you suffered injuries in a truck accident that was someone else’s fault, you may obtain compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medication, physical therapy, assistive devices, and more
  • Lost income from any time you miss from work due to the accident
  • Reduced future earning capacity, if your injuries leave you disabled and unable to work in the same capacity as before
  • Pain and suffering, for the physical pain and emotional distress you experience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, if your injuries interfere with activities you previously enjoyed
  • Loss of consortium, for damage to your relationship with your spouse

In some rare cases in which the trucking company’s actions were particularly egregious, the court may also award punitive damages to punish the wrongful party and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

How Long You Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Colorado

Semi tractor-trailer trucks lined up for loading.

It’s important to be aware that you have a limited window in which to file a lawsuit after a truck accident. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. In Colorado, for instance, the statute of limitations for most motor vehicle accident cases is three years from the date of the crash. If you fail to file suit within that three-year timeframe, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.

However, certain rare exceptions may extend the deadline, such as if the injured person was a minor at the time of the accident or if the defendant trucking company conceals its involvement in the crash. Additionally, if a government entity is among the liable parties, you may face a much shorter time limit, as little as 180 days, to file the appropriate notice of your claim.

To avoid losing your right to compensation, it’s best to speak with a knowledgeable Colorado truck accident attorney as soon as possible so they can meet all filing deadlines and procedural requirements that apply to your case.

What if You’re Partially At Fault for the Truck Accident

Colorado follows a modified comparative negligence rule when an injured party shares some blame for an accident.

Under this rule, you are not barred from recovering compensation as long as your percentage of fault is less than that of the defendant. However, your damages award will be reduced in proportion to your assigned percentage of fault.

Trucking companies are notorious for trying to shift blame for an accident onto the injured party. Your attorney will fight back against any unfounded allegations and work to minimize any fault assigned to you to maximize your financial recovery.

Contact a Colorado Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Today

If you sustained an injury or lost a close family member in an accident with a large truck, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., are here to help.

With over 30 years representing truck accident victims across Colorado, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to take on the largest trucking and insurance companies and fight for the full compensation you deserve.

Our compassionate legal team understands the immense physical, emotional, and financial toll a serious truck accident can take on your life. We will handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery. There are no upfront costs to hire us, and we only get paid if we recover money for you.

Truck accidents are complicated cases that demand the attention of a seasoned attorney. Don’t go up against the trucking company alone.

Contact Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., today to request a free consultation with a highly experienced Colorado truck accident lawyer. We’re here to help you get the financial recovery you need after a devastating crash.