Sorting out the legal issues involved in a commercial truck accident is rarely an easy thing to do. Victims of truck accidents often find themselves frustrated by the complexity of making a personal injury claim or property damage claim afterward, while they should spend their time and energy focusing on recovery.
Unfortunately, truck accidents can involve multiple parties, all claiming that they are not responsible for the losses of the victims. If you or a person close to you recently suffered injuries and other losses in a truck accident, be sure to use strong legal resources and guidance as you build your claim, to protect your rights and help secure the complete compensation you deserve. Trying to navigate these complex issues without a clear understanding of the applicable laws in Colorado can cost you time and resources you can't afford to lose.
Drivers and employers
When an employee causes damage or injury while on the job, their employer typically holds legal liability. However, many companies that hire truck drivers go to great lengths to classify them as independent contractors, not employees. Before you make a claim against a driver or the company that hired them, you must understand the nature of this relationship.
If the driver was acting as an employee when the accident occurred, then the employer may be on the hook for your losses, but if the driver acted as an independent contractor, then the driver may shoulder the liability through their own insurer.
Special evidence to gather
After any truck accident, victims should always seek out two important pieces of evidence as quickly as possible, the driver's logs and the electronic control module data. Drivers' logs indicate how frequently a driver rests during a haul, which may show that the driver was drowsy when the accident took place.
Electronic control module data is similar to flight recorder data, and may indicate mechanical failures that lead to the accident, or driving habits that contributed. Make sure to request the data from the owner of the truck (not necessarily the driver) as soon as you can, as the owner retains the legal right to destroy the data as their own property until you request it formally.
Building a strong claim is not easy, especially when commercial trucks are involved. For the sake of your recovery and the preservation of your rights, make it a priority to use strong legal resources as you move forward, so that your recovery and compensation do not suffer.