Semi-Truck and Truck Accidents
An automobile collision with a semi-truck and trailer, even at low speed, generates many times the injury producing forces that are generated in a similar car to car crash – because of the much greater mass (weight) of the semi-truck/trailer (Physics geeks: See Newton’s Laws of Motion – especially the 2nd Law). The collision may not have caused significant visible damage to the car, but there is often damage under the surface: a bent frame or bent or broken bumper supports. The collision forces that are not absorbed by the vehicle are transferred to the vehicle occupant – who is instantly propelled by the force of the collision until stopped by the seatbelt or interior of the car. This instant acceleration/deceleration of the body can, and usually does, cause injury – because the crash forces cause parts of the body, usually the spine, and especially the cervical spine (neck), to move in abnormal ways and beyond the usual ranges of movement.
Trucking companies bring in insurance investigators, adjusters, and even attorneys immediately upon the happening of a car/semi-truck crash in order to more favorably set the stage for their defense of potential claims against them. On the other hand, the person injured in the crash almost never has anyone on their side looking out for them. Semi-trucks have a “black box” that records the truck’s speed, braking, and other factors. It is imperative that the black box information be preserved before it is recorded over or before the vehicle is sold. Oftentimes an attorney will not be brought in for the injured person until after much of the evidence (vehicle damage; vehicle “black box” information) has been altered (repaired; erased) or lost (vehicle sold). It is essential that the black box evidence be preserved by downloading the information by a qualified expert. It is also essential to obtain photographs of the damage to all involved vehicles. It is usually beneficial to bring in an attorney sooner rather than later.
Many lawyers handle car crash cases but few have handled car-truck crash cases, and fewer still understand the injury generating forces in “low speed” car-truck collisions. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) apply in addition to the laws of the state of Colorado in trucking accident cases. The FMCSR regulates maximum loads and maximum driving hours, among other things. Early evidence gathering and investigation based upon FMCSR violations are usually productive. Be sure to hire an attorney who is experienced in trucking cases and FMCSR regulations and who is knowledgeable in the physics of injury producing forces in car-truck collisions.
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