This past October, Kit Carson, Colorado, suffered a terrible loss. During commuting hours, a van containing the driver and 12 children on their way to school rear-ended a tractor-trailer.

The consequences of the Colorado truck accident were tragic. The van driver and five of the children lost their lives and seven children were injured; six required hospitalization. The trucker was also hospitalized with serious injuries.

The accident occurred on a stretch of US-287 that is under construction, and the van and the tractor-trailer were in a line of traffic 1,000 feet long.

Establishing Accident Liability

In the aftermath of a serious accident like this one, it is important to establish liability so victims can receive appropriate compensation. The families of those injured and killed in the Colorado motor vehicle accident may wish to pursue damages to cover medical, emotional and financial costs.

In a rear-end crash, police and insurance companies tend to find that the driver of the car that hit the vehicle in front of it liable for the accident. The law assumes that when drivers get behind the wheel, they take responsibility for maintaining a safe driving distance between themselves and the vehicles in front of them. A rear-end crash is evidence that this distance was not maintained.

However, not all rear-end crashes result in liability findings this straightforward. Investigators will also look into whether or not the hit vehicle somehow contributed to the crash. If that vehicle stopped short or even hit another car, these conditions may lead to a decision of splitting liability between drivers.

Depending on the outcome of the police crash investigation of the US-287 crash, several parties may be entitled to compensation through litigation. If the van driver is found at-fault, both the truck driver and the families of the child victims may seek compensation from his estate. If the truck driver is somehow at fault, the van driver’s family and the children’s families may seek compensation from him and his trucking company.

There are also other parties that may be liable. For example, if a mechanical defect in the van caused the crash, all injured parties may seek awards from the van manufacturer.

Crash liability is a complicated matter, and determining liability in the recent crash could become complex and emotionally charged, considering the age of many of the victims. Of course, no amount of compensation can replace those who lost their lives in the crash, but funds may be used to help families with necessary expenses.

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