Could the Coronavirus Response Cause Truck Accidents?

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Life in the United States and across the world has come to a standstill due to the spread of coronavirus. While the economy has slowed down, it has not come to a complete halt. This is thanks to the many truck drivers who put their lives on the line to deliver vital goods across the country. 

From medical supplies to household food, truck drivers work long hours to make sure Americans have what they need to survive. However, an increase in commercial trucks on the road has some safety advocates concerned. Will the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic lead to truck accidents

Each year, truckers move more than 10 billion tons of freight across the country. They ensure that Americans have food, toiletries, general consumer products and medical supplies. Consider your life during a pandemic without those essential items. Now, more than 3.5 million professional truckers are driving through locked down communities, often with closed rest stops. However, they know their job is essential. After all, if truckers stop, the country stops.

The federal government knows this too. That is why they recently relaxed laws governing how long truckers can drive without rest breaks. Highway safety regulators suspended trucking rules that limit daily driving hours. Their hope is that relaxed rules allow commercial truck drivers to deliver critical goods to impacted communities. The change affects commercial drivers who are transporting goods related to coronavirus relief. Unfortunately, relaxed hours of services rules could also increase truck accidents.

Could Relaxed Hours of Service Rules Cause Truck Accidents?

Fatigued truck drivers pose a danger on the road. Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. When truckers are fatigued, they can cause fatal trucking accidents. In fact, fatigued driving is a major cause of truck accidents.

As the demand for household items and medical supplies skyrockets during the pandemic, trucking companies must deliver these goods quickly. They may push their drivers to drive too long or too far without sleep. Drivers may feel pressure to deliver their goods as soon as possible. This can cause them to drive without the recommended hours of sleep. When fatigue sets in, truckers may fall asleep behind the wheel or be unable to respond to emergency situations. 

It is still too early to tell how coronavirus will affect the trucking industry and accident statistics. However, safety experts urge all drivers to remain vigilant and cautious on the road. 

Truck drivers are also urged to sleep and rest even with relaxed legislation. Driving while fatigued is dangerous for everyone, but especially commercial truck drivers. In fact, sleep deprivation can mimic the effects of mild alcohol intoxication. 

Contact Our Truck Accident Attorneys in Denver, CO

Truck accidents may lead to life-altering injuries or fatalities. Victims and their family members could be saddled with millions of dollars in expenses when truck drivers or trucking companies cut corners. However, there are legal options to hold these parties accountable for negligence.

We are a personal injury injury law firm in Denver, Colorado. You can learn more about potential legal options after a truck accident by exploring our website. For a free consultation with the truck accident attorneys at Dormer Harpring call (303) 747-4404 or use the contact form on our website. 

How to Drive Around Trucks Safely in Colorado

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Commercial trucks pose unique safety risks to other drivers. First, these trucks are large and heavy. This makes a collision between a regular passenger vehicle and a commercial truck dangerous and potentially deadly. At the same time, given their length, it is difficult for commercial truck drivers to see the vehicles around them. Their blind spots are much bigger than the average passenger vehicles. This limited visibility increases the chances of a commercial truck crash. For these reasons, passenger vehicle drivers should take extra precautions about how to drive around trucks on the road.

3 Helpful Tips on How to Drive Around Trucks

Below, our Lakewood truck accident attorneys discuss how to drive around trucks with these factors in mind.

When Driving Behind a Truck

When driving behind a truck you should maintain a safe following distance. Driving too closely, or less than 30 feet away, can put you in the truck driver’s blind spot. It will also shorten the amount of time you have to stop. If the truck comes to a sudden stop, but you have been following too closely, a resultant crash could be deadly.

If you are behind a semi at a red light, leave extra space between your vehicle and the truck. Once the light turns green, commercial trucks are likely to roll slightly backwards before moving forward.

When Driving Near a Truck

Knowing how to drive around trucks requires knowing their blind spots. If you are driving in the following blind spots, the truck driver will not be able to see you:

  • Less than 30 feet directly behind the truck
  • Less than 20 feet directly in front of the truck
  • On the truck’s left side, directly beside the front half of the truck
  • On the truck’s right side, directly beside the front half of the truck
  • On the truck’s right side, with one lane between yourself and the truck

When it comes to a truck’s blind spots, a good rule is to check whether you can see the driver in his or her side mirrors. If you cannot see them, they cannot see you. Try to stay out of a truck’s blind spots as much as possible. If you must drive in a truck’s blind spots in order to pass the truck, do not linger there for an extended period.

When Passing a Truck

When passing a commercial truck, first you need to make sure it is safe. This will require checking for a few indicators that it is safe to pass. Make sure the truck is not turning or backing up. If it is, passing the truck will put you into the truck’s blind spots.

Next, try to pass the truck by using the left lane to maximize your visibility. Given his or her position within the cab, the truck driver’s blind spots are much larger on the right side.

Keep a consistent speed while passing, so the truck driver can better anticipate your vehicle. Then, before merging back into the truck’s lane, double check your rearview mirror. Only merge when you can clearly see the truck behind you.

Also, dim your lights when passing a commercial truck. The bright lights of your high beams can hit the truck driver’s mirrors and reflect that light into the driver’s eyes. You do not want to blind a truck driver, even temporarily.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact an Experienced Denver Truck Accident Attorney

Dormer Harpring is proud to serve clients across the entire state of Colorado. We have extensive experience with a wide range of personal injury cases. We strive to secure the best possible outcome for people injured due to the negligent actions of others. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, contact our office to discuss your legal options. You can schedule a free consultation with us at (303) 747-4404 or through our online form.

Important Evidence for a Truck Accident Claim in Colorado

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Investigating a truck accident is critical to collecting the money you need to put your life back together again. To do this, your Lakewood truck accident attorney must prove fault. Proving fault is often difficult without evidence of wrongdoing. Yet, collecting the evidence for a truck accident claim is nearly impossible to do on your own. Especially when you need to concentrate your efforts on recovering from your injuries.

At Dormer Harpring, our Denver truck accident lawyers can help you collect the evidence you need to win your truck accident claim. We have the resources and skills necessary to tackle even the most complex truck accident case. What type of evidence do you need for your truck accident claim?

Top 5 Important Evidence for Truck Accident Claims

Electronic Logging Device Records

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted new trucking laws in 2017. These laws require all commercial trucks to have electronic logging devices (ELDs) to track driving time. This means paper logs are no longer accepted without exemptions.

ELDs log the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. Federal law restricts the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can drive. Truck driver fatigue is a common cause of trucking accidents. Collecting these records can help your attorney see how many hours the truck driver drove. It can also help your lawyer determine if the truck driver or trucking company violated any federal rules or regulations.

Inspection Reports

Inspections are an important part of commercial truck safety. Missing an inspection or a failed inspection is a sign that the trucking company acted negligently in maintaining the safety of their vehicles. Inspection reports can shed light on how safe the truck was at the time of the accident.

Alcohol and Drug Testing Results

After a truck accident, police officials may perform an alcohol or drug test on the truck driver to determine if intoxication played a role in the crash. Your attorney will need to obtain copies of these results, as well as any other past failed drug tests.

Event Data Recorder Information

The majority of commercial trucks feature an Event Data Recorder. This device is similar to a black box found on airplanes. It logs information that is useful to your case, such as:

  • Average speed
  • Cruise control usage
  • Speed at the time of the accident
  • Hard braking
  • Sudden stops
  • Seatbelt usage
  • Airbag deployment

Obtaining the electronic data can help your attorney build a case against the truck driver or trucking company for negligence.

Your Vehicle

Believe it or not, your vehicle is an important piece of evidence in your truck accident claim. Visible damage to your vehicle can prove who caused the crash. This is why it is important for your attorney to view the damage to your vehicle. Do not repair your vehicle without first speaking to your attorney.

Collecting Truck Accident Evidence Quickly

It is important to collect truck accident evidence quickly. In the weeks and months following the truck accident, valuable evidence can be lost or destroyed. To prevent the loss of evidence, your truck accident lawyer will need to send a spoliation of evidence letter to the trucking company.

This letter requests that the trucking company preserves all information and evidence that is critical to your case. If they fail to preserve this evidence, they could face serious sanctions and penalties. This is why it is important to contact a Lakewood truck accident attorney immediately after your accident.

Contact a Lakewood Truck Accident Attorney From Our Firm

If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a truck accident in Denver, Lakewood, Littleton or the surrounding areas, turn to us for help. At Dormer Harpring, our Denver truck accident lawyers have successfully represented injured clients after a devastating truck accident. We can help you get the money you need to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

At Dormer Harpring, we work hard for our injured clients. Call us today at (303) 747-4404 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. We can review all your legal options with you, so you can choose the one that is best for you and your situation. Call us today!

5 Steps to Take After a Truck Accident

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Collisions involving large trucks are on the rise in the United States. After a 34% decrease in fatal truck crashes between 2005 and 2009, fatality rates jumped 40% between 2009 and 2017. The effects of a crash can be devastating. You should know how to protect yourself and your potential claim after a truck accident.

Step 1: Check Everyone in Your Vehicle for Injuries

Safety is paramount after a crash. Prompt medical attention can mean the difference between life and death. Check yourself for injuries and ask everyone else in the vehicle if they are safe.

If you feel okay, check on the truck driver and any other involved parties too. Take note of any injuries and be ready to report them during your 911 call.

Step 2: Report the Crash to Local or State Authorities

After a truck accident, call emergency services right away. An officer will block off the accident scene and contact any other emergency services needed. Anyone injured in the truck crash should get medical care as soon as possible.

An officer will also write up a police report. This police report will contain details of the crash that could be useful for your claim.

Step 3: Gather Evidence

Any evidence you can gather is very helpful to your truck accident attorney in Denver. Photos and videos of the crash scene may be useful in determining how a crash occurred, accident liability, and amount of damage.

If anyone observed the accident and stopped to help, get their contact information before leaving the scene. Make copies of every piece of evidence you collect and submit them to your attorney.

Step 4: Seek Medical Attention After Leaving the Scene of Your Truck Accident

Many people fail to get proper medical care after a crash. You may think your injuries are minor or worry about the possible expenses of medical treatment. Remember that your health is your top priority after a truck crash.

Injuries may not be immediately noticeable after a truck accident. The adrenaline released in a truck crash can hinder the pain response, so you may not feel the full effects of a crash for days or even weeks.

Even if you only have minor aches and pains, see a medical professional to get checked out. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the harder it is to prove that the crash caused or worsened your injuries.

Step 5: Choose a Truck Accident Attorney in Denver

While we recommend that you speak with an attorney for any vehicle accident, it is particularly important for a truck accident. Truck accidents are often much more complex than collisions involving two non-commercial drivers.

Truck accident liability can involve many parties. These parties may include:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck driver’s employer
  • The truck owner
  • Manufacturing company

Our Lakewood truck accident attorney can investigate the cause of the accident. Then, we can determine liability using evidence such as trucking logs, drug and alcohol screening results and maintenance logs.

Then, our Denver truck accident lawyers can fight for the compensation you deserve. We understand that truck accidents can be financially devastating. Medical bills, property damage, lost wages and permanent disability can result from these crashes.  With a record of experience and success, we may be able to help you get what you need to begin the path to recovery.

Contact a Lakewood Truck Accident Attorney From Our Firm to Explore Your Options

After a truck accident, you have a lot to process. Trying to negotiate with an insurance company is the last thing you want to do. Our team at Dormer Harpring fights aggressively for our clients at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. Call us for a free consultation at (303) 747-4404 to discuss your situation.

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