Case Areas

Trucking Accidents

Due to the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailer trucks, they are prone to unique types of tragedies on our nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, if you are involved an accident with a truck and you are in a passenger vehicle, your chances of suffering serious personal injury (or death) are very high. Because these trucks often weigh over 80,000 pounds, they tend to inflict far more serious damage than automobiles involved in a collision.

• Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are:
• Improper maintenance
• Faulty brakes
• Overloaded trucks (very common cause of accidents)
• Unbalanced truck loads
• Driver error
• Jackknifing
• Driver fatigue (excessive hours, inadequate rest, failure to observe federally-mandated rest stops)
• Driver intoxication or drug use
• Road hazards
• Inclement weather
• Excessive speed

Because of their classification as “common carriers,” tractor-trailers (18 wheelers) are subject to very strict state and federal regulations including:

• The number of hours the truck can be driven at one time and the amount of rest a driver must obtain during the trip;
• The type and size of the cargo that can be hauled;
• Maintenance schedules; and
• Extensive record-keeping requirements.

Weigh stations are set up all along the highways in the United States and serve as checkpoints where trucks are supposed to stop, get weighed, and get inspected. Weigh stations will check for truck and load weight, illegal cargo, falsely reported cargo, and compliance with hours of service (HOS) laws. If an overweight truck is detected at a weigh station, the driver may only be given a ticket. This allows a dangerous truck with an unsafe weight right back on our roadways. Other violators may be detained until an overweight permit is issued or the weight can be reduced somehow.

• Tires can burst when there is too much weight
• Overweight trucks, when going downhill, travel much too fast and are difficult to control
• The added weight adds momentum which can mean too much stress on the brakes causing brake failure
• Overweight trucks need much longer stopping distance
• Overloaded trucks can have the weight shift in the truck causing steering difficulties
• An overloaded truck is more likely to roll over due to a raised center of gravity
• An overloaded truck can cause a bridge or overpass to collapse, posing a substantial danger to many people

What is a common carrier?
A common carrier is a special class of vehicle, such as a bus, train, airplane, or tractor trailer truck that is subject to strict regulations by the state or federal government. Compliance or noncompliance with any applicable regulations may be an important aspect of your case if you were injured in an accident with a large truck (also known as a big rig, 18-wheeler, semi, semi trailer, etc.).

What are the legal considerations associated with trucking accidents?
As common carriers, tractor-trailer trucks as well as the trucking companies that own them are subject to more stringent rules and regulations than private vehicles, including strict guidelines for how many hours a truck driver can be on the road, the type and volume of load, extensive rules regarding maintenance of the vehicle, and other factors.

If you have been in a trucking accident, it is important that you find a lawyer with experience and knowledge of the state and federal regulations applicable to truckers and trucking companies. You will need a lawyer who has experience handling truck accident lawsuits to properly represent your interests.

What are some of the factors involved in trucking accidents?
Large trucks are inherently more dangerous than other vehicles on the road. They are larger, heavier, and are more difficult to brake and maneuver than a standard passenger car, and, as such, they are more likely to lose control and more likely to cause serious damage in an accident. Trucks also can have defective parts or be improperly maintained. In addition, because of their larger weight and momentum, it can be virtually impossible to recover from a problem situation, particularly in wet or icy weather.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?
In cases in which more than one party shares the blame for the accident, courts will frequently assign a percentage of the responsibility to each party, and take that into account when establishing compensation. Depending on the law of the state where the accident occurred, you may still be able to recover damages for your injuries in proportion to the responsibility of the other party.

Who can be held responsible for trucking accidents?
Multiple parties may be responsible in trucking accident, including:

• Trucking companies
• Truck manufacturers
• Truck drivers

Trucking companies have a responsibility to monitor their drivers and maintain equipment. Defective trucks can be the responsibility of truck manufacturers. Drivers who do not adhere to trucking laws, or who drive carelessly, can also be at fault.

What are the most common causes of trucking accidents?
• Driver fatigue – It is estimated that driver fatigue is involved in up to 40% of trucking accidents.
• Intoxication - Alcohol and drugs are often a factor in trucking accidents. Many drivers turn to illegal stimulants in an effort to combat fatigue.
• Weather conditions – Poor visibility and slippery roads create hazards for any vehicle. These hazards are greatly compounded for large trucks.
• Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks – Too much weight and improper weight distribution can make a large truck impossible to handle and can cause the truck to go out of control.
• Equipment failure – When equipment fails, such as brake systems or tires, even the best driving cannot always prevent a serious accident.

Are there limitations of how much time a truck driver spends on the road?
Hours of service (HOS) regulations state that drivers may be on the road for no more than 10 consecutive hours and no more than 11 hours in one day. They must take at least 10 hours off between daily driving sessions. They may not drive more than 60 hours during one week, or more than 70 hours during an eight day period. They must take at least 34 consecutive hours off each week.

Can just anyone drive a big truck?
No. Truck drivers must have a special license called a commercial drivers license (CDL). Special training and tests are required to obtain a CDL. Beyond that, there are different classes of CDL's which dictate the types and weights of trucks which drivers may operate. Extra training and tests apply to drivers who haul certain types of cargo, such as hazardous materials, or drive certain types of trucks, such as triple trailers. Accidents, traffic violations, and violations of trucking laws can cause a driver to lose his or her CDL.

What is an under-ride accident?
Because of the height difference between tractor trailer trucks and passenger cars, the hood and engine compartment or trunk can slide underneath the truck causing all of the impact to occur between the bed of the truck and the occupant compartment of the car, resulting in serious injuries, decapitation, and death. An under-ride accident can occur due to impact between a car and the front, rear, or side of a large truck.

21 Burg Simpson Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers® in America

 August 17, 2015

21 Burg Simpson Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers® in America

Denver, CO – Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. is pleased to announce that 21 lawyers have been named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers, one of the most respected peer review publications in the legal profession. The following attorneys were listed as 2016 “Lawyers of the Year” in various categories. Only a… Read more »

26 BURG SIMPSON ATTORNEYS FEATURED IN COLORADO SUPER LAWYERS MAGAZINE

 March 20, 2015

26 BURG SIMPSON ATTORNEYS FEATURED IN COLORADO SUPER LAWYERS MAGAZINE

DENVER, COLORADO – Burg Simpson is pleased to announce that 26 of the firm’s attorneys are featured in the 2015 edition of Colorado Super Lawyers® magazine. Shareholder David P. Hersh has been named a Colorado Top 10 Lawyer and shareholder Diane Vaksdal Smith has been named among Colorado’s Top 50 Women Lawyers. Further, shareholders Michael… Read more »

BURG SIMPSON LAUNCHES CONSUMER CLASS ACTION AS A RESULT OF DANGEROUS LEVELS OF INORGANIC ARSENIC IN CERTAIN CALIFORNIA WINES

 March 19, 2015

BURG SIMPSON LAUNCHES CONSUMER CLASS ACTION AS A RESULT OF DANGEROUS LEVELS OF INORGANIC ARSENIC IN CERTAIN CALIFORNIA WINES

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, PC has filed an important consumer class action in Los Angeles, California alleging that 83 different types of wine produced in California contain levels of inorganic arsenic that significantly exceed the level found to be acceptable by California, in some instances over five times the safe threshold. CBS News… Read more »

BURG SIMPSON’S DIANE VAKSDAL SMITH TO SERVE AS VOLUNTEER JUDGE AT COLORADO BAR ASSOCIATION HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION

 March 18, 2015

BURG SIMPSON’S DIANE VAKSDAL SMITH TO SERVE AS VOLUNTEER JUDGE AT COLORADO BAR ASSOCIATION HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL COMPETITION

DENVER, COLORADO – Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. is pleased to support the Colorado High School Mock Trial Tournament. For the nineteenth consecutive year, shareholder Diane Vaksdal Smith will be volunteering her time to act as a presiding judge at the tournament finals, which takes place March 20 – 21 at the El… Read more »

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 June 16, 2015

CONSTRUCTION ZONE CAR CRASHES PLAGUE COLORADO ROADS

Active construction zones are hardly a rare sight during the spring and summer months in Colorado, as workers take to the state’s highways to repair the ravages of winter. When crews shut down a lane or two of traffic, it can create serious surprises for drivers, despite signage and other attempts to alert motorists to… Read more »

motorist-accidents

 May 23, 2015

UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST POLICY EXHAUSTION CLAUSE HELD VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE BY COLORADO COURT OF APPEALS

In a very important decision yesterday (May 21, 2015) by the Colorado Court of Appeals, the court decided that exhaustion clauses in uninsured/underinsured motorist policies are void and unenforceable under Colorado law. Most all auto policies in Colorado that provide underinsured motorist coverage include a clause stating that an insured cannot make a claim for… Read more »

auto-accidents

 May 4, 2015

HEAD-ON COLLISION SIDELINES ‘REVENGE OF THE NERDS’ ACTOR

Most people remember Robert Carradine for his lovable roles in the 1980s hit filmRevenge of the Nerds and early 2000s TV staple Lizzie McGuire. Unfortunately, Carradine’s recent media coverage has nothing to do with his nearly five decades-long acting career. Instead, Carradine’s image was splashed across the news recently due to a horrific car crash… Read more »

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 May 1, 2015

SNOWBOARDER’S INSPIRING BRAIN INJURY DOCUMENTARY COMES TO COLORADO

When Kevin Pierce wiped out shredding a Park City half-pipe five years ago, he was at the top of his game as a professional snowboarder. The New Hampshire native had won multiple medals in the X-Games, in addition to being crowned the TTR World Champion. All of that changed when Pearce suffered a devastating traumatic… Read more »

Screenshot 2015-04-13 15.26.48

 April 13, 2015

Water v. Wine

Michael Burg explains the difference between arsenic levels in water, versus arsenic levels in wine. #ArsenicInWine

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 April 2, 2015

We Love Wine

Michael Burg, founding shareholder of Burg Simpson, goes into detail about the facts of the case. Learn more about the lawsuit and the reasons for filing this important class action.

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 April 2, 2015

Arsenic in Wine: The Class Action Lawsuit 2015

As a consumer, you should have a choice. Michael Burg explains the crux of the class action lawsuit against certain California wineries. Inorganic arsenic has been found in certain low-cost wines, prompting the lawsuit.

Helpful Links

 July 23, 2015

Helpful Links

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10 important things about Burg Simpson

 April 13, 2015

10 important things about Burg Simpson

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