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Who Is Liable for Trucking Accidents?

Semi Truck in a black and red silhouette

Trucking accidents are complex, and multiple parties can face liability. Depending on the details of the truck accident, the truck driver, the shipping company, the truck owner or manufacturer, vendors, and even the government can all be liable for the crash. Any party that causes or contributes to a truck accident can be held responsible for the victim’s injuries and losses

If you have been injured or bereaved in a truck accident, a good attorney can help you pursue every avenue of liability and receive the highest possible compensation.

The Truck Driver

Truck drivers are the most obvious source of liability for trucking accidents. You can hold a truck driver liable for your crash if they were behaving negligently or breaking the law at the time of the accident. Examples of truck driver negligence include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Texting and driving
  • Driving while drowsy or distracted
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Aggressive or reckless driving

Sometimes, truck drivers get into accidents for reasons beyond their control. For example, a driver might be sleep deprived because they are trying to meet unrealistic expectations set by the shipping company.

The Shipping Company

Shipping companies can face liability in trucking accidents because truck drivers are their employees. Trucking companies also cause accidents by cutting corners around safety, letting drivers on the road without proper training and licensure, and violating regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).

Attorneys often implicate shipping companies in drowsy driving truck accidents because they violate FMSCA hours-of-service regulations and force drivers to skip breaks and rest periods.

The Truck Owner or Manufacturer

The party that owns the truck can face liability in trucking accidents caused by inadequate maintenance. If the windshield wipers fail to operate during a rainstorm, for instance, and they are overdue for replacement, the person responsible for replacing them would also be responsible for an accident the truck driver caused while unable to see in the rain.

Similarly, the truck’s manufacturer or truck parts manufacturer can face liability when the vehicle or its parts are defective, and those defects cause an accident. To return to the windshield wiper example, the manufacturer would be liable if the windshield wipers failed to operate due to a defect.


Vendors oversee loading the truck, and if they fail to fully inspect the cargo and secure it properly, they can face liability in an accident. Trucks are more likely to roll over, jackknife, and even lose their loads when vendors create unbalanced or unsecured loads.

Any of these accidents can be devastating to other drivers on the road.

Government Agencies and Contractors

Large trucks are especially vulnerable to subpar and dangerous road conditions. If unmarked hazards, such as broken pavement or a soft shoulder, contribute to a truck accident, the government and its contractors could be liable for the crash.

If your truck accident happened in a construction zone or on a notoriously “bad” stretch of road, this may be an avenue worth pursuing.

How to Navigate Truck Accident Liability

Liability in trucking accidents can be overwhelming. You may not know how to determine liability or pursue liable parties.

Fortunately, this is what truck accident attorneys are for. Your lawyer will start with an in-depth investigation to evaluate all potential sources of liability, then file as many claims as possible to help you maximize your compensation.

Often, truck accidents are caused by multiple parties. These individuals and institutions should be paying for your medical bills and other losses – not you.

At the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, we dedicate more than 2 decades of legal experience to helping you through the aftermath of your truck accident. We pursue all avenues of potential liability and offer personalized attention to help make sure you get exactly what you need.

If you’ve been injured or bereaved by a truck accident, you can call us 24/7 to start navigating your personal injury or wrongful death case. Call us at (516) 628-6402 or send us a message online to schedule your free consultation today.

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