Colorado Truck Accident StatisticsRequest Free Consultation
Vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks have a tremendous impact on people’s lives. They can cause severe damage, injury, and even death. If you live in or drive through Colorado, the trends and statistics related to truck accidents can help you appreciate the potential risks, causes, and consequences. These figures highlight the importance of working with an experienced truck accident lawyer if you are ever in a collision with a commercial truck in Colorado.
Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities From Truck Accidents in Colorado
According to the most recent crash statistics from the FMCSA, Colorado saw 268 crashes involving large trucks and buses in one recent year, resulting in 60 injuries and seven fatalities. These numbers highlight the significant impact of truck accidents on public safety and the lives of those involved.
In terms of national trends, Colorado’s truck accident rates follow those of other states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported approximately 538,000 large-truck-related accidents nationwide in one recent year, resulting in 5,005 fatalities and 159,000 injuries.
Trends in Truck Accident Statistics
While the number of truck accidents in Colorado varies each year, recent years have seen a general upward trend in accidents, injuries, and fatalities. FMCSA estimates a 33 percent increase in truck accidents over the last 10 years. Although changes in reporting techniques and other factors may contribute to these variations, increased traffic and economic growth in the state may also play a role.
The Impact of New Regulations and Enforcement Efforts
Both state and federal authorities continually work to implement new regulations and enforcement efforts to increase safety and reduce the number of truck accidents. It may, however, take time for these initiatives to measurably impact accident statistics. Policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and the trucking industry must continually assess and adjust regulations and enforcement strategies to ensure that safety remains a top priority.
If you or someone you know has been in a truck accident, understanding these statistics can contextualize your experience and underscore the importance of seeking legal representation. The right personal injury attorney will help you navigate the intricacies of truck accident cases and work to secure the best legal outcome for your situation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Colorado
The causes of truck accidents vary widely but broadly fall into three categories.
In many cases, you can hold the truck driver at fault in an accident because of:
- Fatigue: Drivers tend to work long hours, and fatigue can impair their judgment, reaction time, and ability to safely operate their vehicles.
- Distracted driving: Cell phones and other media can divert a driver’s attention from the road, causing them to make poor decisions or miss critical cues.
- Speeding: Drivers exceeding the speed limit may not have enough time to react to changing road conditions or other vehicles, increasing the likelihood of a crash.
- Driving under the influence:Drugs and alcohol can severely impair a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely. Federal and state regulations, therefore, mandate strict drug and alcohol testing for commercial drivers.
The FMCSA estimates 87 percent of all large truck accidents stem from driver error. Truck drivers must pay attention to the road around them at all times.
The vehicle itself can cause accidents resulting from:
- Equipment failure: Tire blowouts, brake failures, and other equipment failures can cause truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Regular inspections and maintenance are essential to prevent these types of accidents.
- Improper loading: Cargo that doesn’t sit correctly in the truck can become unstable, making the vehicle more difficult to control and increasing the risk of accidents. Both federal and state regulations dictate specific guidelines for loading commercial vehicles to minimize this risk.
- Maintenance issues: Poor maintenance of commercial trucks may lead to mechanical issues that increase the likelihood of accidents. In some cases, trucking companies may neglect their duty to maintain their vehicles to cut costs, putting other motorists in danger.
According to the FMCSA, vehicle failures account for 10 percent of large truck accidents in the United States.
State and Federal Regulations Governing Truck Accidents
After an accident, you need a lawyer who understands the laws governing truck drivers in Colorado and the United States. A truck accident lawyer will already know about:
Colorado Traffic Laws and Regulations
To operate a commercial vehicle, such as a truck, in Colorado, you must obtain a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get a CDL, you must possess a valid driver’s license and a current Department of Transportation medical card, have passed a commercial driving skills test, have undergone entry-level driver training at an approved school, and have paid the applicable fees. If transporting hazardous materials, you must also pass the hazardous materials written exam and complete a background check.
Colorado law mandates that commercial vehicles undergo regular inspections and maintenance to identify and address potential safety hazards. Drivers must perform annual checks and carry out pre-trip inspections before each journey. Holding the correct license and ensuring your truck is well-maintained can significantly reduce the risk of truck accidents.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces hours of service rules, which dictate the number of hours a truck driver can work and rest. These regulations aim to prevent fatigued drivers from causing accidents. For example, truck drivers can typically drive a maximum of 11 hours out of 14. They should then have 10 consecutive hours off duty. They must also take at least 30 minutes of break time after eight consecutive hours of driving.
FMCSA regulations also require truck drivers to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing to ensure they are not operating vehicles under the influence of banned substances. Trucking companies are responsible for implementing and enforcing these drug and alcohol testing programs. They may conduct tests randomly, following an accident, or based on reasonable suspicion.
Finally, the FMCSA enforces vehicle weight and size limits for commercial trucks to minimize the risk of accidents caused by overloaded or improperly loaded vehicles. Trucks that exceed these limits are more difficult to control and maneuver and may cause damage to road infrastructure, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Your attorney will help you navigate the complexities of state and federal regulations in truck accident cases, identify potential violations, and use this evidence to bolster your claim. Their knowledge in this area will be invaluable in helping you establish liability and seek the compensation you deserve.
Establishing Liability in Truck Accident Cases
To establish liability in truck accident cases, you must first identify the responsible party: the truck driver, trucking company, cargo loader, or vehicle manufacturer. An attorney will investigate your case to identify all potentially liable parties.
Your attorney will gather evidence to demonstrate that the accused parties violated traffic laws or FMCSA regulations. The evidence may include police reports, driver logs, maintenance records, and expert testimony.
Proving Negligence in Truck Accident Cases
To succeed in a truck accident claim, you must prove the responsible party’s negligence.
That means establishing four factors:
- Duty of care: You must prove that the accused party had a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and abide by all relevant laws and regulations.
- Breach of duty: You must demonstrate that the accused party breached their duty of care. They may have violated traffic laws or FMCSA regulations or perhaps engaged in other unsafe behaviors that contributed to the accident.
- Causation: You must show that the accused party’s actions and their breach directly caused the accident and your resulting damages.
- Damages: You must demonstrate the extent of the damages you have suffered as a result of the truck accident. You can include medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and property damage.
By proving negligence and establishing liability, your attorney can recover fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Damages and Compensation in Truck Accident Cases
To calculate your potential compensation, your lawyer will add up the four types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses include hospital bills, medication costs, rehabilitation services, and future medical expenses related to your injuries.
- Lost earnings include income lost when you were not able to work or earned a reduced income because of the accident. You may also be eligible for loss of future income due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering include non-economic physical and emotional distress resulting from your injuries.
- Property damage includes the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and anything in your vehicle that was damaged in the accident.
Your attorney can identify which of these damages apply to your case and help you gather evidence to prove their extent.
Sources of Compensation for Damages From Truck Accidents
The most common source of compensation for truck accident damages is the insurance companies of the responsible parties. That might be the truck driver’s liability insurance company or the trucking company’s commercial insurance firm.
The court may hold the trucking company directly liable for damages in a truck accident case. Your attorney can help you navigate these complex issues and seek compensation directly from the trucking company.
Factors Affecting Compensation
Two factors affect the compensation you may receive as a result of the accident: the severity of your injuries and their impact on your life and work.
More severe injuries result in higher medical expenses, more lost earnings, and increased pain and suffering, leading to a larger settlement. If your injuries significantly affect your ability to work, engage in daily activities, or participate in hobbies and other activities you once enjoyed, your compensation may also increase. Your lawyer can explain your potential compensation and the evidence you need to prove your claims.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Cases in Colorado
In Colorado, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident is three years from the accident date. If you don’t file a claim by the deadline, you risk losing the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Your attorney can identify the exceptions to the three-year rule. Different time limits may apply if the victim is a minor or the accident involved a government entity. You should work with your attorney on the specific details of your case rather than assuming you will have more time.
The Importance of Timely Legal Action
Taking timely legal action is crucial in truck accident cases. The longer you wait to pursue your claim, the greater the risk that you will lose evidence, have difficulty locating witnesses, and forget the details of the accident. By retaining an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can help protect your rights.
Don’t risk losing the opportunity to seek compensation for your truck accident injuries and damages by letting the statute of limitations deadline pass. Consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and begin the process of holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Working With a Lawyer to Pursue Justice After a Truck Accident in Colorado
Understanding truck accident statistics in Colorado helps you recognize the risks associated with these accidents and what to expect after a collision with a commercial truck.
If such an accident occurs, your personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of liability, negligence, and compensation. They can gather evidence, identify responsible parties, and build a strong case to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident in Colorado, don’t postpone seeking the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in Denver. Time is of the essence. Contacting a lawyer promptly will improve your chances of a successful claim.
Consult a knowledgeable attorney in your jurisdiction to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. With the right legal representation, you can focus on healing from your injuries and moving forward with your life.