Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

truck accident

Big rig accidents – who may be held liable?

Being involved in a road accident with a commercial truck or tractor-trailer is a frightening experience.  You could suffer severe injuries from an accident involving such a large vehicle. Large truck accidents are considered complex because determining liability is a challenge, especially where several parties are involved. Once such an accident happens, you must contact an attorney who is well versed in federal and state trucking regulations and has experience handling those types of claims.

Commercial truck accidents are different from the usual crashes that involve passenger vehicles. This is because the trucking company employs a truck driver who may have been injured during the accident. The trucking company responsible for employing the driver could face legal responsibility for the accident. The carrier company bears responsibility for truck drivers’ actions as well as the safety of the truck involved.


Possible liable parties in a truck accident

Most victims of trucking accidents or truck collisions usually point to the truck driver as responsible.  Besides the truck driver and the carrier, other possible liable parties that may be held responsible include:



Truck driver

A truck driver may be held responsible if their actions led to the accident. The contributing factors why a truck driver in Chicago will be held liable for a truck accident include driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol

  • speeding
  • violation of federal trucking regulations
  • driving recklessly
  • distractions
  • truck driver fatigue

In some cases, there may be criminal charges and eventually a conviction. It is the responsibility of the commercial truck drivers to inspect the large truck and ensure proper maintenance and loading of cargo. If the truck accident is a result of truck maintenance or cargo shift, the trucker may be held liable for the crash.


Truck owner

A semi-truck is not always owned by the truck driver or the trucking company. They could have been leased from a third-party owner. The truck’s owner who provides the commercial vehicle can be held responsible for the accident. The truck owner may be held responsible for such tasks as failure to inspect the truck and its systems as well as truck maintenance. These tasks should have been completed according to the state and federal regulations failure to which the truck owner is held legally responsible for the accident.



The trucking company

A truck company, or cargo shipper, is responsible for the safety of the trucks and all the truck drivers it puts on the road. It is held liable for hiring and the training practices it gives its truck drivers. The trucking company will also be held liable in instances where to cut costs, and the company uses a tired driver leading to serious accidents. The trucking company can be held responsible for semi-truck accidents when they place unsafe demands on the truck driver or overlook safety procedures.

When a large commercial truck collides with passenger cases, the cargo shipper and its insurance will send investigators and insurance representatives to the crash/accident scene to begin gathering evidence for building their defense. Contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to conduct their own investigation and determine who is at fault.



Trucking companies cargo loader

A truck must be loaded in a specific way to ensure the ship cargo is safely secured for safe travel. Overloading or not loading the cargo properly is one of the major causes of truck accidents. These issues can cause cargo and equipment to fall off, leading to malfunctions that cause trucking accidents. The cargo originator, loader, shipper, and transporter can be held liable for trucking accidents if found not to have followed the federal regulations.  If a cargo shift contributes to a car accident, all parties involved could be held liable for truck accidents. The cargo loader should seek legal advice if they don’t wish to be held liable.



Truck manufacturer

When a defective part causes a truck accident, the manufacturer may be partially or fully liable for any injuries that result. Depending on the type of defect, the designer or distributor of the vehicle may also be held accountable.


Government agencies and contractors

The condition of a road may contribute to a road accident. The local state or government can be held responsible if the condition of a road and its maintenance causes a road accident.



Proving fault and liability after a truck accident

If you or one of your loved ones has been injured in a truck accident, you are likely to engage the services of an independent contractor to assist in determining who should be held responsible for the losses and the injuries from the truck crash. Different types of data and records are crucial in establishing what happened and who is liable for a trucking accident. These include police reports, video footage, and the testimonies of other commercial vehicles, and other vehicles in the big rig accident.

The tractor-trailers involved in an accident are examined and data downloaded from the black box and event data recorder to determine if the truck driver error caused the accident. In some instances, you may be required to engage the services of an accident reconstruction specialist to get an interpretation of the accident and a forensic analysis.

The truck driver activity logs can show how long they were behind the wheel and the distance traveled. Other trucking company records are accepted, including statements from witnesses and trucking company employees.



Not sure who is liable? Contact our Chicago large truck accident attorneys


If you suffer any injuries during a truck accident, you can file a personal injury claim through our law firm and be paid by the culprit’s insurance company. Truck accident lawyer Michael J. Brennan has been litigating truck accident cases in Chicago for years and has an awesome attorney-client relationship. He has a track record of assisting many truck accident victims in proving truck accident liability. As a top truck accident attorney, he can obtain appropriate documentation and evidence and ensure the courts use the evidence in your favor. Call 708-560o to request a free case review today.


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