Colorado Truck vs. Car Crashes: Fatal I-70 Accident Highlights Liability
Accidents can and do happen despite technological advances and efforts to cut down on dangerous activity behind the wheel.
Collisions involving large commercial trucks are particularly dangerous. They can result in severe and life-threatening injuries while also raising difficult questions about who is to blame.
A few years ago, a fiery truck crash on I-70 in Lakewood highlighted both the carnage that can come in these collisions and how driver error and trucking company mistakes can lead to accidents.
What Led to the Crash and Fatalities?
According to the Denver Post, four people were killed in the accident, and another six were injured after an 18-wheeler plowed into stopped traffic on the highway. The accident caused 28 cars to be damaged, including a truck carrying a full load of lumber that went up in flames.
The trucker involved in the crash allegedly continued to travel at high speeds, despite knowing that the vehicle’s brakes were failing, and blew past a runaway truck off-ramp that he could have used to avoid the collision. As a result, he was charged criminally and convicted of four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault, 10 counts of attempted first-degree assault, four counts of careless driving causing death, two counts of vehicular assault, and one count of reckless driving.
In December, the man was initially sentenced to 110 years behind bars, which the judge called the mandatory minimum under the law for the convictions. However, Gov. Jared Polis, weeks later, reduced the prison time to 10 years to “correct the injustice of the first sentence,” according to his office.
The criminal punishment is separate from any civil liability that the trucker may face in lawsuits by people injured in the crash and family members of those who were killed, who have the right to take action for wrongful death.
However, the trucker is not the only one facing blame for the accident. The company that employed him is already facing at least one lawsuit related to the crash, according to 9News.
That company reportedly dissolved shortly after the accident and opened a new trucking business in Texas. Both businesses have been cited for a string of violations of federal truck regulations, stemming from insufficient brakes on vehicles, 9News reports.
The news outlet uncovered at least 30 violations for the company in less than a two-year period before the crash. At least 10 violations include issues like “brake tubing and hose adequacy” and “clamp or Roto type brake out-of-adjustment.”
Injured in a Truck Accident? Know Your Rights
Truck accidents like the I-70 crash are far too common and can be caused by a wide range of factors.
Driver fatigue, intoxication, and just plain trucker error are often to blame when 18-wheelers collide with cars. That is not to mention insufficient training and oversight by trucking companies.
Improper truck maintenance and repair can also wreak havoc on the road. Because of how much time trucks spend in operation – and the potential threat that they pose – regular maintenance and inspections are not only vital to ensure that the vehicles are in working order, they are also legally required.
Anyone who is injured in a truck accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible, including negligent drivers and trucking companies. The money damages typically available in these cases include compensation for medical bills, missed wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, and other crash-related consequences.
In the tragic situation in which a person dies in a truck accident, his or her loved ones can seek similar compensation by suing for wrongful death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash in Colorado, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Denver truck accident attorney. An attorney can help you identify those responsible for the crash, ensure that they are held liable for their actions, and maximize your compensation.
Speak with a Denver Truck Accident Attorney
At Levine Law, we have a strong track record of success for our clients, including a $1.8 million settlement for a Colorado teacher who was injured after her car was rear-ended by a truck.
We serve clients throughout Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver truck accident attorney.