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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > General > Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

A portrait captures a young, bearded trucker standing proudly beside his vehicle, embodying the essence of transportation service and the essential role of a truck driver.

A lawyer will determine who is liable for your truck accident, as liability varies from one case to the next. Often, a trucking company is financially responsible for an accident. This is the case whether a truck driver causes the collision or the trucking company’s negligence contributes to an accident.

Parties aside from truck drivers and trucking companies can be liable for truck accidents. To establish liability, you and your truck accident lawyer need to have all relevant evidence and information. Once you have established liability, you can pursue fair compensation from liable parties.

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All Parties Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident

A list of the parties who can be liable for a truck accident includes:

Truck Drivers

Truck drivers undergo a rigorous testing and training process before they can legally operate a commercial vehicle. Yet, having the skill and knowledge necessary to drive a truck does not prevent accidents.

Dangerous driving actions are one of several ways a truck driver can contribute to a collision. Your lawyer will determine if a truck driver is at fault for your accident.

Trucking Companies

American roads are populated with trucks owned by some of the largest trucking companies, which include:

  • Yamato Holdings
  • XPO
  • TFI International
  • Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings
  • Schneider National
  • Old Dominion Freight Lines

These and other trucking companies must take extensive measures to minimize the risk of accidents. When those companies fail in this duty, they can be liable for accident victims’ damages.

Truck Manufacturers

Truck manufacturers can be liable when a defect contributes to an accident. If the manufacturer of a specific component is responsible for the defect, that manufacturer can also be liable for the harm they cause.


A truck towing a trailer navigates a treacherous road marred by crumbling asphalt, littered with dangerous potholes and pits, posing a hazard to drivers.

Municipalities have a responsibility to:

  • Fill potholes and address cracks in driving surfaces
  • Install stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals throughout roadways
  • Install pedestrian crossing signals where necessary
  • Ensure all traffic signals are in good working condition
  • Install and maintain adequate lighting throughout roadways
  • Ensure that construction zones are not accident hazards
  • Take all other reasonable measures to reduce the risk of accidents

If a municipality fails in these or other duties of care, it can cause truck accidents.


Truck drivers must make evasive maneuvers when a pedestrian unexpectedly enters the roadway. Such an evasive maneuver, like swerving, can cause the truck to hit another vehicle. In such a case, you can hold the pedestrian partially liable for entering the roadway in a manner that leads a truck to hit your car and injures you.

Truck Drivers Are Often Responsible for Truck Accidents

Because truck drivers are often responsible for truck accidents, it is worth examining how they can cause a collision.

Some of the common ways that truckers increase the risk of an accident are:

  • Being tired or impaired: Truck drivers are behind the wheel for long stretches of time, and it is only natural to become tired. Truck drivers must get adequate sleep and take any other necessary (and legal) measures to remain alert while driving. If a truck driver is not alert or sober, they must not drive.
  • Being distracted: Truck drivers are not immune from distracted driving. In fact, long driving periods may tempt a truck driver to text, engage with digital media, and engage in other distracting behaviors.
  • Driving dangerously: Drivers who speed, tailgate, weave through traffic, or engage in other dangerous behaviors present an unacceptable risk of harm to others. When dangerous driving results in a collision, the driver is generally responsible for their victims’ damages.
  • Failing to secure cargo (or ensure safe cargo): Truckers have a duty to ensure their cargo is secure before driving. This means distributing weight evenly, securing pallets, locking trailer doors, and taking other precautions.
  • Violating industry regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has many rules governing the trucking industry. Hours of service limits are one of those rules, and truckers may increase the risk of causing an accident whenever they breach industry regulations.
  • Failing to monitor or service their truck: Trucks take a beating. A truck driver must regularly examine the vehicle for potential hazards. They must also get immediate service when warning lights or other concerns arise.

When a truck driver’s negligence leads to an accident, they and their employer may both be liable for victims’ damages.

How a Trucking Company Can Contribute to an Accident

A cluster of white trucks rests in a parking lot, their vehicles neatly parked in formation.

Trucking companies can be financially responsible when their drivers cause accidents.

Sometimes, non-drivers employed by trucking companies contribute to accidents and can do so by:

  • Hiring drivers or other employees who are not qualified for their position
  • Failing to drug test drivers and other employees
  • Failing to monitor drivers and other employees for alcohol use
  • Failing to properly train employees
  • Failing to enact discipline when drivers or other employees endanger others
  • Failing to properly service and replace trucks and trailers
  • Encouraging (or permitting) employees to cut corners or violate industry regulations

Your truck accident lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation of your accident. They will document any negligence by a trucking company that contributed to your collision.

What Is the Standard for Liability in a Truck Accident Case?

Negligence is the standard for liability in most truck accident cases.

A negligent person or organization:

  • Owes a duty of care to the victim (as truck drivers and trucking companies do)
  • Violates their duty of care by acting in an unreasonable manner
  • Causes harm through their breach of duty of care
  • Causes the victim to suffer damages

Your attorney will identify every instance of negligence that led to your truck accident. Once they know who the negligent parties are, your lawyer will know who to demand compensation from.

How to Prove Fault for a Truck Accident

Once your lawyer knows who is at fault for your truck accident, they will have to prove it.

Your attorney may prove fault using:

  • Witness testimony: Witnesses can provide objective accounts of how a truck accident happened. Their observations may provide compelling evidence, as eyewitnesses generally have no motivation to lie.
  • Expert testimony: Various experts may testify about the cause of a truck accident. These experts may also testify that liable parties’ actions qualify as negligence.
  • Video footage and photographs: Video of a truck accident can be crucial evidence, as can photographs of an accident scene (or of other scenes related to your accident).
  • A police report: The police report documenting a truck accident can provide a law enforcement officer’s findings. These findings may align with your account of events and your case.
  • An accident reconstruction: Experts can reconstruct truck accidents when no clear video footage of an accident exists.

Your attorney will take full advantage of all available evidence and witness accounts. They will build the strongest case possible, working to establish fault and liability beyond a doubt.

What Victims of Truck Accidents Must Do After the Collision

There has been a collision involving two trucks, resulting in a frontal impact.

Your three greatest priorities after your truck accident should include:

  • Getting medical treatment: You should not hesitate to seek medical treatment after your truck accident. These collisions cause severe injuries, and you should get checked out as soon as possible. You will protect your health and document the effects of the accident by seeing a doctor.
  • Getting mental health treatment: If you are experiencing any type of pain and suffering, don’t wait to see a mental health professional. You may get the necessary treatment for your conditions and document the psychological and emotional effects of your truck accident.
  • Hiring your truck accident lawyer: Your attorney will take over your claim or lawsuit as soon as you hire them. There is generally a filing deadline for truck accident lawsuits, so you should not wait any longer to hire an attorney.

These are all extremely time-sensitive priorities. If you fail to receive the necessary treatment and retain a lawyer, you may jeopardize both your health and your hopes for a fair financial recovery.

How a Truck Accident Attorney Will Fight for Your Financial Recovery

Your lawyer will immediately begin fighting for a fair financial recovery. They will serve you by:

Securing All Evidence That Benefits Your Case

Your legal team will quickly secure any witness accounts and other evidence that benefits your case. The more evidence of negligence your lawyer can secure, the stronger your case.

Obtaining Proof of Your Accident-Related Damages

Your attorney will work to paint a vivid, detailed portrayal of your accident-related damages.

Important pieces of this puzzle may include:

  • X-rays, MRIs, and other medical images of your injuries
  • Your doctors’ diagnoses of your injuries and symptoms
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs, temporary transportation, and other property-related expenses
  • A mental health expert’s diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of pain and suffering
  • Proof that you can’t work and have lost income as a result

Liable parties rarely offer fair compensation until you prove your damages.

Establishing Your Case Value

Your lawyer will determine the exact financial cost of your accident-related damages. In doing so, they will consider any damages you may suffer even after your case concludes.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Trucking companies often have robust insurance policies covering their drivers and other employees. If you file an insurance claim, your lawyer will eventually negotiate a settlement with one or more insurers.

Filing a Lawsuit

"Truck Insurance" prominently displayed on the page.

Should insurance not adequately cover your losses (for any reason), filing a lawsuit may be your best option.

An attorney will:

  • Advise you whether filing a lawsuit is the right decision
  • Draft and file the lawsuit before the statute of limitations lapses
  • Continue negotiating with insurance companies (if it makes sense to do so)
  • Move forward with the lawsuit if settlement negotiations still don’t succeed

Your lawyer should have years of experience handling truck accident lawsuits. They may even be familiar with the legal venue in which your case will take place.

Going to Trial

If your case requires a trial, your lawyer will:

  • Prepare you thoroughly for the trial process
  • Take care of pre-trial obligations like depositions
  • Exchange case materials with the defense (a process known as discovery)
  • Make your case in the courtroom

Your lawyer will prepare witnesses, present evidence, and handle every other detail of your trial. Success means a jury awarding you all of the compensation you deserve.

Damages a Truck Accident Victim Should Demand Compensation For

Severe injuries associated with truck accidents mean your case may have great financial value.

You should receive compensation for both economic and non-economic harm resulting from your accident, which may include:

  • Pain and suffering, which can include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, physical pain, disfigurement, lost quality of life, and various other non-economic damages
  • Property costs, which can include the cost of repairing a vehicle, replacing a totaled vehicle, and getting temporary transportation
  • Professional harm, which can include lost income, diminished earning power, lost benefits, lost bonus, promotion, and overtime opportunities, and lost status in your organization
  • Medical expenses, which include the cost of all emergency and non-emergency care related to your truck accident
  • Mental health treatment costs, which can include the expense of medications and therapy
  • Disability-related damages, which may include debilitating pain and suffering, the cost of medical equipment and care, permanent loss of income, home updates, and a disability-friendly vehicle

Lawyers generally expect that truck accident victims will have serious damages. Therefore, your lawyer will be ready to calculate the value of your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Truck Accidents Are Notoriously Complicated

Truck accident cases come with many challenges, from proving the precise cause of the collision to obtaining evidence from trucking companies. Find a lawyer with many years of experience representing truck accident victims. Task that lawyer with obtaining all of the compensation you deserve.

Do not wait for time to run out to hire your personal injury lawyer and file a lawsuit. As soon as you choose your attorney, they will begin fighting for your financial recovery. Get your free consultation with a truck accident attorney today.

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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

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As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

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The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

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After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

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