In 2020, there were 1,795 reported crashes involving large trucks in Colorado. Eighty people lost their lives and 568 others were injured, many of them seriously. When the operator of a 40-ton vehicle fails to uphold the duty of care owed to others on the roadway, people die, and the lives of those who survive are irrevocably changed.

If you have been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, or if a loved one has been incapacitated or killed, you are probably overwhelmed by medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income. You may be able to hold people accountable for the losses and harms you have endured.

With more than 75 years of combined experience, our team of attorneys at Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley helps semi-truck crash victims and their families in and around Durango, Colorado as they seek justice. We seek to hold individuals and companies accountable for their negligence.

We are proud to serve individuals and families in Durango, Telluride, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, and the greater Four Corners region of Colorado.

State & Federal Laws Regarding Semi-Trucks

Due to their size and weight, semi-trucks are subject to stricter federal and state laws designed to maintain safety on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations govern numerous aspects of semi-truck operation, including driver training and qualifications, inspection and operation of the vehicles and trailers, compliance reviews and audits, and minimum requirements for liability insurance coverage.

The Colorado State Patrol has statutory authority to conduct safety compliance reviews and enforce state and federal laws regarding the safe operation of semi-trucks on Colorado roadways.

There is a three-year statute of limitations for semi-truck accidents in Colorado. If you have been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, or a loved one has been killed, you have three years from the date of the crash, or the date of death resulting from crash injuries, to either settle an insurance claim against the liable parties or file a lawsuit in the appropriate Colorado court.



Semi-Truck Accident Liability in Colorado

Liability (or “fault”) for an 18-wheeler accident can lie with more than one individual or entity. Under the law, you can file a claim or lawsuit against any party whose negligence contributed to the crash, including:

  • The truck driver who failed to inspect the semi-truck properly, logged excessive hours on the road and was fatigued, or simply failed to pay attention.

  • The trucking company that failed to adequately train or supervise a driver, prioritized profit over safety, or put a driver with a poor safety record back on the road.

  • The manufacturer of the semi-truck or trailer, or of parts used on them, that provided faulty parts, like defective brakes, or a compromised coupling mechanism, which led to the crash. 

  • Maintenance personnel who failed to inspect, repair, or maintain the vehicle. 

  • The person who improperly loaded cargo if shifting or falling cargo contributed to the crash.

There are multiple factors considered when determining liability for a crash, including potential negligence or comparative fault on the part of the drivers of passenger vehicles involved. In Colorado, the terrain, road conditions, and weather may also contribute to findings of fault.

Filing Personal Injury or
Wrongful Death Claims

Commercial trucks are large and dangerous. Trucking companies are required to carry high limits on liability insurance policies. With substantial sums of money at stake for them, trucking insurance companies retain aggressive attorneys to defend them against claims.

The investigation of an 18-wheeler accident is critical to documenting evidence of negligence against any party who might have contributed to the crash. You need an experienced truck accident attorney who knows how to preserve evidence, investigate the circumstances of the crash, interview witnesses, research the history of the truck driver, and retain crash engineers, medical professionals, and other experts if necessary. The personal injury attorney you hire should be able to negotiate aggressively with the insurer, and if the claim cannot be settled, litigate the case in court.

If a loved one has been incapacitated or killed in a truck-related crash, you need to talk to an attorney right away to ensure the preservation of critical evidence.

Hire a Skilled Attorney Today

No one who has been injured in a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle or who has suffered the incapacitation or loss of a loved one should pursue a claim on their own. There is simply too much at stake.

Proof of negligence is vital to the settlement of a claim or a favorable jury verdict. Federal and state laws require the trucking industry to comply with rigorous and highly specific safety standards. You need an attorney who knows those regulations and how to determine if those standards were breached.

Moreover, you need an attorney with reliable legal expertise, experience, and grit to ensure that everyone responsible for your injuries or your loved one’s death is held accountable.


If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash involving a semi-truck, turn to our seasoned team of attorneys at Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley to help you pursue fair compensation for your damages. Our firm is proud to serve clients in Durango, Telluride, Pagosa Springs, and Cortez, as well as the Four Corners region of Colorado.