Large commercial trucks are essential parts of the Colorado economy. However, these vehicles also present more risks on the roadway than traditional passenger vehicles. This is particularly true during the winter months. Here, we want to discuss why operating large trucks is more hazardous in the wintertime as well as steps you should take if you are involved in a collision with a larger truck on the roadway.
Winter weather is inevitable in Denver and throughout the state of Colorado. Most individuals understand that they have to take additional steps to remain safe when operating in snow or ice during the winter months. However, drivers of larger commercial trucks have to take additional steps to remain safe because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles.
Trucks already present greater control challenges on the roadway for drivers. Not only are they larger and harder to maneuver, but they require longer distances to stop. Data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that the average truck’s stopping distance is 20% to 40% greater than the stopping distance needed for a regular passenger car. This can be a problem when the roadway is slick due to snow, ice, or a mixture of the two.
We should also consider that commercial trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than traditional passenger cars, sometimes up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. This can lead to devastating forces in the event a wintertime collision occurs.
In most incidents of negligence involving large commercial truck accidents, we find that the truck driver or trucking company will be held liable. However, there could be instances where government entities responsible for maintaining safe roadways in Denver and in Colorado are negligent.
If you discover that a wintertime large truck crash was caused by adverse roadway conditions, bringing a claim against the government entity can be complicated because most government entities have something called “sovereign immunity” that prevents them from facing civil lawsuits. However, there are exceptions to sovereign immunity that could allow government entities to be held responsible for a collision. It is crucial to work with a skilled Colorado truck accident lawyer who has experience handling these claims so that you understand all possible liable parties.
There may be various types of compensation available to Denver truck accident victims for crashes that occur in winter weather. An attorney will generally work to recover both economic and non-economic compensation for their client. In these situations, this could include:
Truck accident victims in Colorado must be aware of the various timeframes involved with filing these claims. First, insurance carriers have strict reporting deadlines when it comes to vehicle accidents. Any crash must be reported within a day or two after the incident occurs, or the victim could face a claim delay or denial by the insurance carrier.
Additionally, the Colorado personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. If a truck crash victim fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover compensation from the alleged negligent party.