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Truck Driver in Fatal Colorado Accident Did Not Have Commercial License

by  on  Truck Accidents

New details emerging from a tragic truck accident in Weld County expose a staggering level of negligence by the company that owned and operated the big rig. It should serve as a stark warning to regulators, law enforcement and anyone on the road.

The 26-year-old man behind the wheel of the truck did not have a valid commercial driver’s license when the vehicle slammed into slowing traffic on I-25 in June, according to an extensive report from 9 News. The crash killed a family of five traveling back to Wyoming after a trip to Denver.

Caminantes Trucking, the California company that the truck driver was working for, has a track record of allowing drivers to get behind the wheel without a required CDL, 9 News reports.

“About three months before, an officer in Platteville stopped the same truck. It had a different driver with the same story–no CDL,” Marc Sallinger reports for 9 News. “In California in July, another Caminantes Trucking truck was stopped. The driver of that truck also didn’t have a CDL, according to a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

The family’s 2015 Ford Edge had reportedly slowed for traffic and was moving at about five miles per hour when the truck plowed into the back of the vehicle. The truck was said to be traveling at 75 miles per hour at the time of the impact, according to 9 News.

A Colorado State Patrol accident report raises several red flags about both the trucker and his employer. The report indicates that the driver was “distracted,” according to 9 News and that the truck’s brakes may have been “defective.”

“Troopers indicate that the driver made no effort to avoid the car by braking or steering away,” Sallinger wrote in a July news report.

The Weld County crash is at least the second fatal crash involving a Caminantes truck in the last two years, 9 News found. One person was killed in a 2021 collision with a company truck in California.

The company was fined more than $21,000 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration following the Weld County crash, but it continues to operate. That includes carrying mail under a contract with the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS told 9 News that the contract is now under review.

The local district attorney’s office said it is waiting to get the case from CPS before determining whether to pursue criminal charges. Meanwhile, other family members have already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company.

“The hardest part about it all is that it could have been preventable,” the deceased woman’s mother said in a 9 News interview. “And it shouldn’t have happened. They should be enjoying their lives right now. They were way too young.”

Injured in a Colorado Truck Accident? Here is What You Should Know

The Weld County crash is a tragic example of how recklessness and utter disregard for safety can wreak havoc on roads throughout Colorado and across the country. The CPS report, sadly, reads like a how-to manual for negligent trucking companies.

A truck driver who gets in a big rig without the required commercial driver’s license and causes an accident is likely to be legally liable for any injuries. So too is a trucking company that permits and encourages drivers to hit the road without a CDL.

Truck crashes can happen in many different ways, but driver fatigue, intoxication and just plain trucker error are often to blame. That is not to mention insufficient training and oversight by trucking companies. The truth is that trucking companies often push drivers to stay on the road and hit tight deadlines under difficult conditions, including exhaustion and extreme weather.

Trucking companies and their drivers also often cut corners when it comes to maintenance and repair, creating a recipe for disaster on busy highways. Regular maintenance and inspections are legally required in order to prevent big rigs that spend long hours in operation from breaking down in the middle of traffic and creating safety hazards.

Anyone who is injured in a truck accident in Louisiana has the legal right to seek compensation for those injuries from those responsible for the crash. That often includes the trucker and his or her employer.

The money damages typically available in these cases are meant to try to put the injured person back in the financial position that he or she was in before the accident. That includes compensation for medical bills, missed wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, and other crash-related consequences.

Colorado law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death. State law also imposes certain caps on monetary damages in wrongful death cases.

Fortunately, many truck accident cases can be resolved without a long and drawn-out court battle. Because insurers often try to quickly settle cases for pennies on the dollar, however, it is vital to have an experienced truck accident lawyer in your corner. An attorney who has handled these kinds of cases can evaluate your particular case and help you understand your rights and options.

How a Denver Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or other accident in Colorado, a Denver truck accident lawyer at Levine Law can help.

We combine decades of experience helping people injured in a wide variety of accidents get the maximum compensation available under the law. We are proud to have an extensive track record of successful results for our clients.

Our lawyers are pleased to serve people and families throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver truck accident lawyer.