Truck drivers and trucking companies have a number of responsibilities, including special training for drivers, vehicle maintenance and responsible management policies, above and beyond those of passenger vehicle drivers. Negligence in any of these areas will likely indicate that the driver or company bears some liability when a truck accident occurs. However, passenger vehicle drivers may also bear some liability if they contribute to the accident through unsafe driving practices.
Common causes of truck accidents that would not be considered the fault of the truck driver include driving in the trucker’s blind spots, or “no-zones,” which are much larger on semi trucks than they are on cars. It’s the responsibility of other drivers to avoid these areas. Similarly, suddenly changing into a lane with a truck directly behind you or not accommodating a truck attempting to change lanes can cause an accident that would not necessarily be the trucker’s fault (or at least, not entirely).
Passing a truck can be an unsafe maneuver, as the cross-winds can blow a smaller vehicle out of control and cause a crash. Sometimes, drivers turning left at an intersection may think a truck is approaching more slowly than it actually is, resulting in an accident.
And some drivers will cause an accident when their own driving forces a truck to turn sharply or slam on its brakes and lose control. These situations, generally speaking, would be considered negligence on the part of the passenger vehicle driver, not the truck driver.
Ultimately, it is important for Denver residents to understand that the theory of comparative negligence applies in Colorado. That means that both parties in a truck accident could bear some liability, with the greater share going to whichever driver was at greater fault. In a personal injury lawsuit, that could decrease or even negate an award for damages. This information is provided not as specific legal advice, but as a general background on truck accidents and liability.