Close this search box.

Truck Accident Liability: Driver or Trucking Company?

Crashes involving large trucks, such as dump trucks and semi-trucks, nearly always translate to severe injuries for the occupants of other vehicles. For most truck accident victims, the priority is seeking the best medical treatment for their injuries. Unfortunately, a hefty price tag comes with these devastating collisions.

As if the catastrophic injuries, agonizing pain, and suffering aren’t enough, you are slammed with medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to your recovery. Victims and their families are left confused, wondering how to proceed with putting their lives back together. If this is your situation, determining who was at fault for causing your truck accident is an excellent place to start. If blame belongs to another party — whether it’s the truck driver or trucking company — they may be held accountable for all your damages and losses.

If you or a family member has suffered injuries, we can help. At Nix Patterson, our personal injury attorneys investigate and litigate all types of commercial truck accidents, helping injured victims and loved ones who have lost a family member move forward.

What Parties Can Be Held Liable After a Truck Accident?

While it’s easy to assume that the truck driver is liable after a truck accident, a thorough review of the facts and evidence your truck accident lawyer collects may indicate that other parties are liable for your injuries, either independently or jointly. Our truck accident attorneys can help you identify who is liable in a truck accident, including the following:

Truck Drivers

All commercial motor vehicle drivers must have a commercial driver’s license and follow the state laws — no texting while driving, no speeding, and so on. In addition to these rules, truck drivers must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

While most truckers take the hazards they face while driving seriously, some are negligent and engage in risky driving behaviors. If a semi-truck driver was engaging in any of the dangerous behaviors listed below, they are likely to be found liable after a crash:

  • Texting while driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving, including unsafe lane changing, tailgating, and other dangerous maneuvers
  • Driving while fatigued or falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Speeding

Truck Companies

A trucking company is responsible for the trucks and drivers it deploys. This includes implementing a system that promotes safety. Unfortunately, some trucking companies don’t always create systems that promote safety or benefit drivers.

Suppose a trucking company’s actions violated laws that protect drivers and other road users, like pushing drivers to increase profits by cutting corners on FMCSA hours of service limits. In that case, they might be liable for damages after a truck accident. Trucking company negligence can come in different forms, including the following:

  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Deploying drivers who have driving or FMCSA regulations infractions on their records
  • Inadequately training drivers
  • Failure to properly inspect and maintain trucks
  • Encouraging dangerous truck driver behaviors such as the use of stimulants to stay awake longer or speed to meet strict schedules
  • Allowing drivers to operate trucks without proper licenses

According to FMCSA regulations 49 C.F.R. §390.5, all truck drivers, no matter their status, including independent contractors, are considered trucking company employees. In other words, in addition to their own negligence, a truck company can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their truck drivers.

Truck Owners

Sometimes, trucking companies rent trucks from a separate party to perform their work. In these situations, the owner of the truck can share the blame if their negligence caused the wreck. The owner is responsible for regularly inspecting and maintaining their truck, including safeguarding engine function, replacing worn-out tires, and other tasks that ensure the vehicle’s safety. If the owner breaches this duty, they may be liable after a truck accident.

As you can see, it’s not just the truck driver who may be liable in a truck accident. Other parties may hold fault for your truck accident, including:

  • Third-party drivers could be accountable for damages if their dangerous conduct — such as making an illegal turn — leads to a truck accident.
  • Cargo loading and shipping companies may be liable if incorrectly loaded or secured cargo causes a truck accident.
  • Truck and parts manufacturers may be liable if a defective part or design, such as brake failures, tire blowouts, or problems with the coupling system, cause a crash.

What if Multiple Parties Caused the Truck Accident?

If an investigation uncovers that multiple parties were at fault for causing the truck wreck, you may be able to name all potentially liable parties in your claim and maximize the compensation you obtain.

Often, when trucking companies and other liable parties learn multiple parties share fault, they work quickly through their insurance companies and legal teams to close your claim, offering a seemingly generous settlement.

Do not accept an offer or sign anything without consulting an attorney. You could end up accepting less than you deserve, and once you’ve signed, there’s no going back. You waive your right to seek more.

Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Prove a Truck Driver or the Trucking Company Was Negligent?

A truck driver’s or trucking company’s liability after a crash is not always clear-cut. If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a family member, a detailed investigation will be the only way to prove the truck driver and the trucking company’s negligence.

At Nix Patterson, we help you by putting our resources to work and working with experts with experience investigating truck accidents to prove that the truck driver and company are to blame. Below is a list of some types of evidence our truck accident lawyers will collect to point to the cause of the crash and who may be liable:

  • Witness statements
  • Bills of lading
  • Trip-monitoring documents
  • Phone records, including the trucker’s cell phone records
  • Maintenance records
  • Truck’s black box
  • Inspection records
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Dashcam and surveillance footage
  • Training documentation
  • Police reports

When you’re struggling with catastrophic injuries after a crash, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to gather evidence to prove who is liable for a truck accident on your own. Besides, the chances are that the trucking company won’t give you the evidence voluntarily.

To avoid losing crucial evidence, you should act quickly after the crash and retain an experienced truck accident lawyer. Your attorney can subpoena the trucking company, send a spoliation letter, and take other measures to preserve important evidence.

Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today for Sound Legal Advice

The injuries suffered in a truck accident can burden victims and their families with pain, emotional anguish, and medical debts, leaving them vulnerable to the tactics of insurance companies. As you can imagine, struggling with injuries, investigating your crash to determine liability, and simultaneously dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming. You deserve a legal team with the resources to fight for you.

The attorneys at Nix Patterson have served clients nationwide involved in truck accidents. While you focus on recovery, we will gather evidence to prove the truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence. We are committed to working tirelessly for our injured clients, seeking justice and resolution.

Call 512-328-5333 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

PA Contact Form

"*" indicates required fields


Related Pages

Nix patterson, LLP
$ 0 Billion
Recovered in Verdicts and Settlements