Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyer

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Albuquerque Truck Accident Attorney

Albuquerque Truck Accident Lawyer

Accidents involving tractor-trailers lead to thousands of deaths per year across the country. Many more people suffer severe, life-altering injuries as a result of semi-truck crashes. New Mexico residents who have been hurt in truck crashes can have major medical bills and expenses to deal with, so it is important to speak with an Albuquerque truck accident lawyer about your case.

The personal injury law firm of Berenson & Associates, PC, has worked with Albuquerque residents who have been hurt in truck accidents for more than 25 years. Our compassionate, caring attorneys understand just how serious these cases are for the people who need help. We treat every case and every client with the respect and understanding that they deserve.

When You Need Help, Rely on Our Firm

While big trucks are all over our streets and highways, Albuquerque’s location means we have more than our share of large-vehicle traffic. Interstates 25 and 40 are major trucking routes that converge in our city, bringing in vehicles from every direction on a daily basis.

When their drivers are involved in accidents, trucking companies and their insurance companies can be very aggressive in trying to defend the interests of their businesses, meaning they are often willing to fight personal injury claims every step of the way. This makes it especially important that people who have been hurt in a truck accident have experienced personal injury attorneys on their side to protect their rights and fight for the compensation they deserve.

Tips for Avoiding Truck Accidents

While you can’t control what other drivers do, you can take steps to reduce your chance of being in an accident with a large truck, such as:

  • Leave more room between you and the truck than you would for a car or other passenger vehicle. This will give you time to react if the truck suddenly slows, stops, or swerves.
  • Be aware of the truck’s blind spot. Semis and other large trucks have a larger blind spot than a car. How can you tell if you’re in the driver’s blind spot? If you can’t see their face in the side view mirror, then they likely cannot see your vehicle.
  • Be cautious when a truck is turning. When trucks make wide turns, especially to the right, they can lose visibility to other vehicles near them. Stay back, and don’t pull up alongside them where they may not see you.

Potentially Liable Parties for a Truck Accident

A trucking operation is often complex and can involve many different parties. There is also a possibility that any one or several of those parties may have had something to do with the cause of an accident. This means that all the potentially liable parties one could expect in a car accident and more can be involved in a truck accident.

One of the most important things that your lawyer does is investigate the accident thoroughly to determine who may be liable for what occurred. Some of the potentially liable parties include:

One of the most important things that your lawyer does is investigate the accident thoroughly to determine who may be liable for what occurred. Some of the potentially liable parties include:

  • The Truck Driver – In many cases, the truck driver may have failed to drive appropriately or made an error that led to the accident.
  • The Driver’s Employer – Sometimes, the policies of the company that employs the driver, such as unreasonable delivery time expectations, could lead to more reckless driving and may signify liability in an accident.
  • A Different Driver – There are times when a driver not directly involved in the collision is to blame for the accident. They may have been driving recklessly, and the accident occurred because others were trying to avoid a collision with them.
  • The Truck Loader – Loading a truck improperly could cause it to become imbalanced or create risk another way, which could lead to their being liable.
  • The Freight Owner – The freight owner may have done something, such as failing to identify hazardous materials, that could lead to their being responsible for the accident.
  • A Part Manufacturer or Installer – Sometimes, the failure of a part, either by defect or improper installation, could lead to an accident and a manufacturer or installer being the defendant in a claim.
  • The Government – If the roads or an issue with signs or lights caused or contributed to an accident, the government in charge of those things may be held liable.

Proving Liability in a Truck Accident

The key element in winning a truck accident claim is proving that the defendant is responsible for the accident and the injuries that you suffered as a result. Because a truck accident claim is a kind of personal injury claim, this is done through proving negligence on the part of the defendant. Proving negligence is done through these three elements:


The defendant must have had a duty to care in the situation where the accident occurred. This means that they had a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure that their actions wouldn’t put others around them at any unnecessary risk. Generally, this is not difficult to prove in a situation involving a truck, as they have the potential to be dangerous if something goes wrong.


Once the duty is established, it must be shown that the defendant breached that duty. This means that they failed to behave reasonably carefully in the situation that led to the accident. Just what this would mean in a given situation depends on who the defendant is in the case.

The plaintiff’s lawyers will need to prove both what the defendant did or didn’t do and how that was a breach of their duty. In some cases, because there could be specialized knowledge involved with the trucking process, the plaintiff’s team may rely on expert witnesses to clarify what should have been done and how what was done was a breach.


The breach of duty must lead directly to the injuries the plaintiff suffered for the defendant to be held liable. This means showing that the breach led to the accident. Once that is done, it will need to be proven that the injuries the plaintiff suffered were a direct result of the accident.

What Costs Someone May Be Liable for in a Truck Accident

If your lawyers have been successfully able to prove negligence on the part of the defendant, then you will be able to collect damages. These cover the costs that are associated with the accident.

However, they must be shown to be directly caused by the injuries that you suffered in the accident. The defendant may try to challenge the costs in some situations, so it’s important that you have documentation that links the costs to the injuries. The damages that you may be awarded fall into three categories:

Economic Damages

The things that are easily calculable because they have a financial component are paid out through economic damages. These damages include:

  • Medical bills that have resulted from the accident
  • Damage to your vehicle or the value of a replacement
  • Any lost wages if you’ve had to miss work
  • Loss of use of your vehicle while it is being repaired.
  • Mileage to and from medical appointments

Future costs, which may occur with more serious injuries, are also included in economic damages. For instance, if the injuries will require continued treatment, these future expenses are estimated and included. The same is true if the injuries will prevent you from returning to work in the same capacity.

Non-Economic Damages

An injury often results in psychological and emotional burdens in addition to economic ones. Things like pain and suffering or mental anguish are addressed with these damages. These are given a value and then compensated. While the money isn’t going to solve these issues, it can mitigate stress and challenges in other aspects of life, leaving space to manage these things.

Punitive Damages

These damages won’t be awarded in most cases. They are meant to act as a deterrent and punishment for particularly egregious behavior. Unless something a defendant did was malicious or negligent in an extreme way, punitive damages likely won’t be awarded in a truck accident claim.

Comparative Negligence

It’s important to recognize that New Mexico operates on a pure comparative negligence system, and that could limit the damages that you may be able to collect. The defendant will be given the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff is at least partially responsible for their injuries. If the court agrees, then a percentage of liability will be determined for the plaintiff. The damages that can be collected will be reduced proportionately to the liability. This is true even if the plaintiff is deemed to be more than 50% at fault.

Federal Trucking Regulations

Many trucking accidents occur as a result of a truck driver’s failure to adhere to government safety regulations. Ranging from proper cargo loading techniques to mandatory rest breaks, these safety standards established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are designed to keep motorists safe and minimize the risk of truck accidents. Violating these guidelines can put innocent people at risk and cause a truck driver to have their commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended. If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a violation of government safety regulations, an Albuquerque truck accident attorney from Berenson & Associates, PC can help you seek compensation for your suffering.

Countless clients have chosen us to handle their cases for the following reasons:

  • More than 25 years’ legal experience
  • Fluent in English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian
  • Certified in accident reconstruction techniques
  • Powerful courtroom presence

Call 505-243-4400 to discuss your situation with a trusted legal professional from our firm.

How Long Can Drivers Work Without Rest?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has mandated that truck drivers must take a 30 minute rest break for every eight hours spent driving. If a driver reaches their maximum allowed hours in a week, they are required to take a 34-hour break before returning to work. Drivers are required to take these breaks to avoid disruptions in their circadian sleep-wake cycles, reducing their chances of falling asleep while driving. Despite these regulations, drivers may skip these breaks to keep up with deadlines and reach their destination within their employer’s designated window of time.

Federal law dictates that commercial drivers may not:

  • Drive more than 11 hours in a day
  • Drive more than 70 hours in a week
  • Work more than 14 hours per day

Maintaining Vehicles And Securing Cargo

In addition to hours of service requirements, trucking companies are required to perform frequent safety inspections of their trucks. This includes checking the integrity of tire treads, replacing windshield wipers, changing headlights & taillights, inspecting trailer hitches, and replacing worn brakes as necessary. Skipping inspections can lead to mechanical failure on the roads, leading to accidents.

Part of these inspections also involves examining how cargo is loaded onto a vehicle’s trailer. Without an oversize load permit, most trucks are only permitted to weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds Overloading or under loading can inhibit a truck’s maneuverability and alter its center of gravity, causing jackknifing and rollover accidents. Cargo that is not properly tied down with dunnage bags, shoring bars, and tie-downs can shift in transit and possibly come loose, striking nearby vehicles. Proper cargo loading techniques are crucial, especially if a truck is transporting hazardous materials such as gasoline or caustic chemicals.

Common Truck Accident FAQs

If you have been injured by a commercial truck, you probably have many questions. Please see some of the most commonly asked questions below.

How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?

Truck accident cases, like all personal injury cases, are taken on what are called “contingency fees.” This means that if we take your case, we will handle all of the expenses up front. We only get paid if we get compensation for you. So you don’t have to worry about affording a lawyer because we take our fees from the settlement or jury award.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?

You should have a lawyer in any vehicle accident case, especially in cases involving large trucks. These cases are unique because there are federal laws involved if it is an interstate truck. In addition, commercial vehicles may have many liable parties, which complicates the process of proving liability. It’s also important to note that the injuries in a truck accident are typically severe or fatal. The accident victims will need considerable financial compensation to cover their medical bills and other losses. You can’t fight this battle alone; let us help.

What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents?

There are many reasons that truck accidents occur, but some of the most common are:

  • Reckless or distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue from inadequate rest periods
  • Jackknife and rollover accidents from slick roads or driver error
  • Speeding
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Inability to slow down or stop when traffic slows

Regardless of the reason that your accident happened, you should talk with an attorney about your case.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Injuries to drivers and passengers in trucking accidents are often catastrophic. In the most severe accidents, the injuries result in wrongful death. Some of the most frequent injuries people suffer include:

  • Crushed bones and amputations
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage

These types of injuries are permanent and will require long-term medical care. The injured person likely will not be able to fully go back to their life before the accident. Some will need around-the-clock care. Compensation will include covering the past, current and future losses from the accident, such as medical expenses, any lost income and benefits, and pain and suffering. If you lost a family member in a truck accident, your family may also receive damages for funeral and burial expenses and your emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a loved one.

New Mexico Insurance Coverage Amounts

According to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, drivers of passenger vehicles must have a minimum of liability auto insurance coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons
  • $10,000 for property damage in any one accident

Commercial drivers must have certain coverage amounts, as well. New Mexico has regulations for cargo vehicles as follows:

  • $750,000 for household goods and general freight
  • $750,000 for towing expenses
  • $5 million for transporting hazardous materials
  • $1 million for transporting oil

We can explain how insurance limits may affect the outcome of your case.

New Mexico State Traffic Fatalities

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, in 2022, there were 466 fatal vehicle accidents in our state. This is a little lower than 2021, when there were 481 deaths, but still high in general.

The Mid-Region Council of Governments in New Mexico calls our state’s roadway safety “dire.” New Mexico has had more pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in five out of the most recent six years. Smart Growth America also notes that the Albuquerque metro area is the second most dangerous metro area in the country for vehicle accidents.

New Mexico Truck Accident Stats

Out of the 466 fatal vehicle accidents in 2022, large trucks and buses accounted for 19 of these deaths. That does not take into account the crashes that caused catastrophic injuries.

Data from the New Mexico Department of Transportation from 2014-2018 shows that large trucks are a serious factor in accidents involving injuries. Annually, the data shows that the number of people injured by large trucks driven by a driver intoxicated by alcohol is in the high 80s. The data for people injured in large truck accidents involving a driver using drugs is in the low 20s.

As for where these accidents tend to happen, the data shows Albuquerque has 28% of the people involved in large truck crashes. Next is Las Cruces at 6%. The state’s rural areas came in at 29%, while Bernalillo County is at 30% and Doña Ana County is at 9%.

Hire a Top-Notch Albuquerque Truck Accidents Lawyer

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a truck driver’s violation of a federal safety mandate, an experienced Albuquerque truck accident attorney from Berenson & Associates can examine the details of your accident and craft a strategy that maximizes your chances of securing a fair settlement in court.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to recover compensation for losses related to medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Nobody should have to suffer the consequences of a negligent truck driver’s actions. Let us put our skills and vast legal knowledge to work for you so you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.

Contact our Albuquerque lawyers now for a complimentary consultation about your case and to learn what we do for people involved in tractor-trailer accidents. Call us today at 505-243-4400 or email us your contact information.


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