4 Parties Who May Be Liable in a Trucking Accident

An auto accident involving two passenger vehicles is scary enough and, chances, are you have been involved in one or more during your lifetime. The result of such a collision is usually a simple fender-bender, and the two drivers often follow the accepted protocols (exchanging information, taking pictures, etc.) and resolve the issue fairly quickly. Accidents involving 18-wheelers and large trucks are quite different. The stakes are much higher due to the enormous weight of the vehicles and, unfortunately, the chances of serious injuries or loss of life is much greater with trucking accidents. 

When this type of accident has affected you or a loved one, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation to determine exactly what caused the crash. An investigation is important because it can determine the at-fault party, who is ultimately responsible for paying damages to the victims or victims’ families. Again, compared to regular car accidents, finding the liable party associated with a large trucking accident is more complex. Here are some possible liable parties:

  1. Truck Driver. Any accident investigation usually starts here. The behavior of the trucker will be heavily scrutinized – was he or she speeding, driving erratically, or operating the truck in an unsafe manner? Something else that needs to be found out is whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other times, the trucker might have simply been driving drowsy because he or she was trying to make it through the night without stopping. 
  2. Trucking company. There are many different employment arrangements for truck drivers. The trucker might have been an independent owner-operator or an employee of a large corporation. Regardless, someone has to be accountable for ensuring the truck driver has a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and adheres to federal regulations. 
  3. Public works. Sometimes, the road itself is in an unsafe condition that can only be exposed when a large vehicle travels over it. If this was the main or contributing factor to a trucking accident, it’s possible that a municipal or state government could be held liable.  
  4. Cargo owner or loader. Federal regulations layout clear restrictions for how cargo can be loaded onto 18-wheelers. Cargo may not exceed a certain weight and must be secured. Overloaded trucks are very susceptible to rollovers when the cargo shifts or, simply, when, taking a sudden swerve.


Attorney John M. Totten is well-equipped to take your personal injury case associated with an 18-wheeler accident, having represented trucking companies in past civil cases. To discuss your situation over a free consultation, call the firm today at 256-233-2025.

John M. Totten
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