Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

February 5, 2024 | By Hancock Injury Attorney
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?

You can hold a truck driver, trucking company, vehicle manufacturer, municipality, or other parties liable for a truck accident. The details of each truck accident vary, so liability also depends on the details of each collision.

You don’t have to determine who you can hold liable for your truck accident. A truck accident lawyer will investigate the collision, weigh all facts and evidence, and establish liability for your damages. Attorneys have the resources to conduct an in-depth investigation and the experience to determine liability beyond a doubt.

Parties Who You Can Hold Liable for a Truck Accident

Many parties can be responsible for a truck accident, and many cases involve multiple liable parties and insurance claims. Some common parties that might be accountable for your losses include:

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies can be financially liable for the negligent behaviors of their employees. If a truck driver causes a collision, the trucking company may be on the hook for victims’ damages.

Trucking companies can also contribute directly to an accident by:

  • Hiring unqualified drivers
  • Failing to properly and thoroughly train drivers
  • Failing to ensure drivers are healthy and skilled enough to work
  • Using unsafe equipment (including outdated trucks)
  • Failing to terminate drivers with a disqualifying safety record
  • Encouraging drivers to work beyond the hours of service limits
  • Failing to monitor and test drivers for drug and alcohol use

Your truck accident lawyer will identify any errors by the trucking company that may have contributed to your accident. Even if the trucking company did not directly cause your accident, it may be liable if its driver did.

Truck Drivers

Acts like speeding, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and tailgating result in accidents. If a truck driver engages in these or any other reckless acts that trigger an accident, the truck driver may be personally liable for a victim’s damages.

Truck Manufacturers (and Other Vehicle Manufacturers)

Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident

Every vehicle manufacturer must meet a duty of care, which includes:

  • Designing vehicles in a logical, safety-conscious manner that reduces the risk of defects
  • Constructing the vehicle using high-quality materials and labor
  • Putting vehicles through rigorous testing to detect any potential defects
  • Refraining from releasing any vehicles with unacceptable safety concerns
  • Recalling defective vehicles once the defect becomes apparent
  • Providing proper instructions and warnings related to the maintenance and operation of the vehicle

If a defect played a role in your truck accident, your truck accident attorney may sue the manufacturer, seeking the compensation you deserve.


Cities, states, and federal agencies are responsible for ensuring safe road conditions.

Truck accidents can result from:

  • Malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Absent or downed signage (like stop signs)
  • Absent lane markings
  • Lack of lighting on roadways
  • Dangerous work zones

A municipality may be financially accountable for your damages if dangerous road conditions contributed to your or a loved one’s truck accident.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists

If a pedestrian or bicyclist enters the roadway and a truck must swerve to avoid them, the truck driver may consequently hit another vehicle or pedestrian. The individual who caused the truck driver to swerve may be liable for the accident.

Establishments That Serve Alcohol

If drunk driving was a factor in your accident, the institution that overserved the intoxicated motorist may be liable for your damages.

Such establishments can include:

  • Bars 
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Package stores
  • Sporting venues
  • Any other establishment that serves alcohol

Any establishment that serves alcohol has an obligation to refuse visibly intoxicated customers.

You may have a case against a trucking company, truck driver, or both. A truck accident attorney will determine who owes you compensation and the most appropriate way to seek compensation from liable parties.

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Truck Accident?

Only you can determine whether you should hire a truck accident lawyer.

Those facing this decision should know the benefits of hiring an attorney, which include:

  • Valuable financial support: Law firms provide value through their services, but the support doesn’t stop at the hours your lawyer puts into your case. A law firm will also pay the upfront cost of completing your case, perhaps even hiring experts to help build your claim. 
  • Experience-based advice and services: One of your greatest challenges (if you handle your own case) can be inexperience. Conversely, your truck accident lawyer will be familiar with the demands and challenges of cases like yours. 
  • Defense of your rights and case: Your attorney will protect your rights as soon as you retain them. By shielding you from any bad-faith tactics by liable parties, your lawyer will, in turn, protect your case for compensation.
  • The ability to prioritize your recovery: Time can be an accident victim’s constraint. When you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to choose between dividing your time between your recovery or your case. You will focus on your recovery while your attorney handles every step of your case.

These are a handful of the many benefits you may realize from hiring a truck accident lawyer. Even more importantly, your attorney may ultimately obtain the compensation you need to treat injuries and move on from your accident without financial harm.

Truck Accident Attorneys’ No-Risk Fee Structure Is Another “Pro” of Hiring a Lawyer

Truck accident lawyers generally use contingency fees, ensuring anyone can hire an attorney after their accident.

Contingency fees benefit the client because:

  • There is no upfront cost to hire a law firm
  • The lawyer only receives their fee if you receive compensation
  • The fee comes as part of any settlement or judgment you receive (rather than from your pocket)
  • The law firm pays the expense of completing your case

Law firms often work with investigators, experts, and other helpful professionals when building insurance claims and truck accident lawsuits. Such resources are part of the firm’s contingency fee, so they come at no direct cost to you.

Truck Accident Cases Involve Painstaking, Complex Processes

When deciding whether to hire a lawyer, you must confront the unique challenges that come with truck accident cases.

Along with the typical hurdles of completing an insurance claim or lawsuit, a truck accident case may require:

  • Understanding complicated trucks and trailers: Truck drivers undergo extensive training to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL). One reason for such rigorous testing is the inherent complexity of trucks, which have many different components. An experienced truck accident lawyer will have similarly deep knowledge of trucks and trailers (and defects that can cause accidents). 
  • Knowing truck industry regulations: Trucking companies and truckers must abide by a lengthy list of rules and regulations. An attorney’s knowledge of these regulations may allow them to identify violations by those responsible for your accident.
  • Obtaining evidence from a liable trucking company: A trucking company named in your claim or lawsuit may possess important evidence to your case. An attorney can identify such evidence and take legal action to prevent the company from discarding or destroying such evidence, like black-box data and employment logs.
  • Securing a large settlement or judgment: Trucks are overrepresented in fatal accidents, suggesting how dangerous these large, heavy vehicles are. You may have serious injuries (or may have lost a loved one) and deserve substantial compensation. It’s never easy to secure a large settlement or judgment, and a lawyer’s experience and resources may be useful.

These challenges can be even greater because you suffered an injury, are traumatized, and are low on time. Rather than struggle to lead your own case, empower a truck accident attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Will Help You

You must know what a lawyer will do for you to understand their value. An attorney’s services will include:

Handling Insurance Companies

Insurance companies generally owe accident victims compensation. However, insurers may put their own financial interests before truck accident victims.

Your attorney will:

  • Handle all communications with insurers
  • Rebuff any bad-faith tactics (like lowball settlements and claim delays)
  • Make any necessary statements for you
  • Work to resolve your claim as quickly as possible

You can find a truck accident attorney with a long record of obtaining financial recoveries in these complex cases. Such a lawyer will know how to deal effectively with insurance companies.

Investigating the Cause of the Truck Accident

The details of your truck accident will be paramount to your case’s outcome, and your lawyer will:

  • Obtain all available witness accounts of the accident
  • Secure any video footage of the accidents
  • Have an expert reconstruct your accident (if necessary)
  • Gather any other evidence that will benefit your claim or lawsuit

Attorneys take a controlled but urgent approach when investigating truck accidents. Your lawyer will want to secure evidence while it is available, and they also want to move your case forward as quickly as possible.

Documenting Damages from the Truck Accident

Every damage counts after a truck accident. Your lawyer will seek proof of every damage you’ve suffered because of the collision.

Such proof may include:

  • Medical records
  • Images of injuries
  • Doctors’ notes
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs
  • An invoice for a new vehicle (if yours was totaled)
  • Mental health experts’ evaluations of your pain and suffering

Your lawyer will tailor their approach to your damages. For example, your attorney will contact your doctor, pair you with a mental health pro, or take any other necessary steps to prove your damages.

Calculating a Fair Settlement Value

Truck accidents have a cost; your lawyer’s role is to determine that cost.

Your lawyer will calculate:

  • Economic damages (like medical bills)
  • Non-economic damages (like pain and suffering)
  • Current damages
  • Future damages

Calculating a fair settlement value requires more than just adding up expenses. Your attorney will need to perform special calculations to determine the cost of your pain and suffering.

Negotiating a Settlement

Your lawyer will negotiate with insurers or any other liable party that owes you compensation. Settlements are relatively common in civil cases but don’t come without working for them.

When negotiating a settlement, your lawyer will present evidence of negligence, documentation of your damages, expert testimony, and all other relevant materials. They will insist that the liable parties pay you fairly and may undergo multiple rounds of negotiations to secure the compensation you deserve.

Going to Trial if Necessary

Your attorney will take your case to court if no fair settlement emerges. Trials come with costs, time investments, and a degree of uncertainty. For this reason, your lawyer will discuss the trial with you before proceeding further.

The severity of truck accidents means they can cause several expensive, potentially life-changing damages like:

  • Healthcare costs: Truck accident victims often need emergency medical services. You may also need hospitalization, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and other medical care.
  • Pain and suffering: The traumatic experience of being in a truck accident may lead to physical pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emotional anguish, psychological distress, and other forms of pain and suffering. 
  • Mental health treatment expenses: Your attorney will consider the cost of any treatment you seek to address your pain and suffering. 
  • Professional harm: Professional damages from a truck accident may include lost income, diminished earning power, lost bonuses, and more.

Seventeen percent of traffic accident-related deaths come from truck accidents.

If you lost a loved one because of a fatal truck collision, your recoverable damages may include:

  • Funeral and burial costs (or cremation costs)
  • Grief and several other forms of pain and suffering
  • Grief counseling expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of the decedent’s benefit to their household (like security and handiwork)
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support

An experienced truck accident lawyer will have represented clients in wrongful death lawsuits. They will understand the gravity and demands of your case and fight relentlessly for justice.

Don’t Wait Any Longer to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer

Mike Hancock, Truck Accident Attorney
Mike Hancock, Truck Accident Lawyer in Tampa

Your truck accident lawyer may face a strict deadline for filing a truck accident lawsuit on your behalf. Also, remember that a liable trucking company may have sensitive evidence your lawyer needs to collect as soon as possible.

Research truck accident lawyers in your area and hire a Tampa personal injury attorney as soon as possible.