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Who is Liable in a Semi-Truck Accident?

Due to its location in the tri-state hub and at a crossroads for major interstates, the Cincinnati area sees more than its fair share of semi-truck crashes.

If you were hurt in a collision with a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced accident attorney. Establishing liability in these cases is challenging and may involve multiple parties, and the process of dealing with trucking companies’ insurance agencies and attorneys can make it difficult for injury victims to get the money they need without help.

Responsible Parties in Truck Accidents

Some truck accidents—like most car crashes—are the result of driver error. But with tractor-trailers, there are a number of other factors that can come into play, including inadequate vehicle maintenance, poor cargo loading, and faulty parts.

When it comes to establishing liability in semi-truck and commercial vehicle claims, the responsible parties may include:

  • The driver
  • The trucking company
  • The owner of the truck and/or trailer
  • The vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturer
  • The shipping agent or cargo loader

In some cases, multiple parties may share responsibility for injuries resulting from a commercial vehicle crash. Following is a closer look at how each of these may be a factor in truck accident liability.

Truck Drivers

Semi-truck drivers must adhere to regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules include hours-of-service limits.

Some drivers exceed these limits in order to meet unrealistic schedules or to maximize their delivery pay. This can lead to truck drivers operating big rigs while drowsy. Truck drivers may also engage in other risky behaviors including distracted driving, speeding, or driving under the influence.

Trucking Companies

In certain circumstances, trucking companies may be held liable for accidents caused by their drivers.

For example, a trucking company may share responsibility for a crash if it hired an underqualified driver, if it established unrealistic delivery schedules, or if it encouraged its drivers to disobey hours-of-service standards. Depending on the circumstances, trucking companies may also be responsible for vehicle maintenance and proper cargo loading.

Truck and/or Trailer Owner

If the driver or the company for which the driver works does not own the truck or the trailer involved in the collision, the owner may be held at least partially liable in some situations. If the owner was responsible for maintenance and ignored or failed to perform upkeep or make necessary repairs, he or she may be responsible for resulting damages.

Vehicle Manufacturer or Vehicle Parts Maker

Recalled vehicles or defective vehicle parts can also contribute to semi-truck and commercial vehicle crashes. In these cases, the manufacturer of the faulty vehicle or defective component may be held accountable.

Shipping Agent or Cargo Loader

Like truck drivers, commercial vehicle cargo loaders must follow standards regarding weight limits and cargo balancing. Overloaded vehicles or vehicles with unbalanced loads pose accident risks and can also affect the severity of injuries that result from a truck accident. 

Attorneys Dedicated to Helping Truck Accident Victims

The attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei are dedicated to helping victims of semi-truck and commercial vehicle accidents pursue the financial security they need to restore their lives. Please call us today at 513-721-1200 to arrange your free consultation or contact us online to get started now.

Our accomplished team of lawyers welcomes clients from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas. We are also proud to represent clients in Campbell County, Kenton County and Boone County in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana. See our Locations page for a complete list of offices and directions.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association