According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety¹, more than 4,000 people lose their lives each year in truck accidents. Unfortunately, most of these victims are traveling in passenger vehicles. Because of their significant size and weight, speeding trucks can create dangers on the roads. Our Colorado truck accident attorneys assist clients who are injured in traffic accidents to claim financial compensation for their losses. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been hurt in a truck accident in Colorado.
How Are Speeding Trucks Dangerous on the Roads?
Speeding trucks are dangerous on the roads because they make it difficult for the driver to react to changing conditions around them. Speed limits are set based on safe driving behaviors. They consider how long it takes for a truck to come to a stop or take adverse action to avoid a dangerous situation. Auto accidents can result when the driver speeds and no longer has enough reaction time to drive safely.
Legal Liability for Speeding Truck Accidents
A victim who is hurt because of a speeding truck driver may claim financial compensation. All drivers have a legal duty to drive carefully. When a person has a commercial driver’s license (CDL), this duty is heightened even more. The driver has met extra qualifications to be a professional driver and is driving for a business or professional purpose. When they choose to speed, they may cause an accident and should be held accountable. The law allows victims to claim financial compensation when they are hurt, including economic and non-economic damages.
When a victim is injured by a speeding truck, it’s essential to explore all avenues for the victim to claim financial compensation. Vicarious liability may allow the victim to include an employer as a defendant in the claim because most commercial drivers work on behalf of a company or organization.
The driver acts on behalf of their employer. That may make the employer legally liable for the actions of the employee. In addition, certain actions on the employer’s part may amount to direct negligence like poor hiring, training and retention of workers. Even things like inadequate sleep periods and unsafe work assignments may create employer liability for a speeding truck accident.
Who Has the Burden of Proof for a Speeding Truck Accident?
The plaintiff has the burden of proof for a speeding truck accident. The plaintiff must show that the other side is responsible for their damages by a preponderance of the evidence. The standard equates to having to prove the plaintiff is more likely to be right than the defendant.
A victim must prove a number of different elements to win a claim, including negligence of the defendant, causation between the accident and the resulting harm and damages. Every element must be proven in order for the victim to succeed in their claim.
Colorado Commercial Driver’s License Requirements for Truck Drivers
Colorado law requires drivers to possess a commercial driver’s license in several different scenarios:
- Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more
- Transporting 16 or more passengers, including the driver
- Hazardous materials transport
The requirements to get a Colorado CDL are:
- A valid driver’s license (from any state) or a CDL permit
- DOT medical certification
- Your social security number
- Passing score on the commercial driving skills test
- An extra written exam certification if you want to drive hazardous materials
There are multiple classes of CDL licenses in Colorado based on the tractor and trailer weight involved in towing. A driver must renew their license every four years.
Speeding as a Driving Offense for a Truck Driver CDL
In addition to legal liability, speeding may cause a truck driver to lose their CDL. The State of Colorado revokes a commercial driver’s license for an offender with two or more serious offenses within a three-year period. A revocation may be as short as 60 days or up to 120 days if a third offense occurs. Traveling more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit qualifies as a serious offense. Other serious offenses are reckless driving, erratic lane changes, tailgating and texting. In addition, any traffic offense causing death may count as a serious offense.
Along with serious traffic offenses, DUI and drugged driving offenses can also result in the suspension of a CDL. Colorado law 42-2-126(2)(c)² creates a lower bodily alcohol content limit for commercial drivers. The standard is .04 for commercial drivers. In addition to suspension for DUI and driving over the legal limit, a suspension may also be based on refusing a DUI chemical test or leaving the scene of an accident.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Hold a Speeding Truck Driver Accountable?
There are many ways that a personal injury attorney can help you seek justice when you’re hurt by a speeding truck driver. They may assist with:
- Investigating to determine negligence and wrongful conduct by the driver
- Accident reconstruction to identify the likely speed of the operator leading up to the accident
- Questioning of the defendant and interviews of witnesses
- Determination of the value of the case
- Exploration of the parties that may be financially responsible for damages in addition to the driver
- Thorough investigation and compiling proofs for all damages
- Bringing of the claim through trial
- Creating a legal strategy based on the unique evidence in the case
If you’ve been hurt by a speeding driver, we invite you to meet our legal team to discuss your case. We’re proud of our experience, successful case results and extensive track record helping truck accident victims. We offer free and confidential consultations.
¹Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality Facts 2019 Large trucks. Retrieved 28 June 2021 from https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/large-trucks