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Unfortunately, trucking accidents are incredibly common. Because of the size and weight of semi-trucks, the injuries associated with these accidents can be catastrophic or deadly. When someone is injured or killed in an accident with a commercial truck driver, knowing who is liable for the injuries and damages can be difficult to determine. A skilled attorney will investigate the accident, identify its cause, and who is responsible.

Common causes of semi-truck accidents include:

  • Driver fatigue or error
  • Improper truck and equipment maintenance
  • Insufficient training
  • Insufficient supervision
  • Malfunctioning or defective truck parts 
  • Negligence
  • Overloading or improper loading
  • Poor conditions
  • Speeding
  • Unrealistic driver expectations
  • Unsafe driver scheduling
  • Unsafe road design

Identifying the root cause of the accident is the first step in determining who is liable. It is not uncommon for semi-truck accident cases to involve multiple parties, including shipping carriers, brokers, shippers, and even manufacturers. The complex nature of commercial trucking accidents makes litigation more complicated. But, with the support of a skilled attorney, you can hold liable parties responsible for their negligence or recklessness.

Holding Shipping Carriers Responsible

Frequently, semi-truck accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the shipping carrier. The shipping carrier is the company that transports goods across the country and around the world. You may also have heard of a shipping carrier referred to as a motor carrier. The shipping carrier is not the same thing as the shipper. The shipper typically hires the carrier to transport products or goods. Shipping carriers may then hire drivers as direct employees or work with independent contractors (sometimes referred to as owner-operators). Examples of well-known shipping carriers include DHL, FedEx, Swift, and DHL.

To determine if a shipping carrier can be held liable for a semi-truck accident, any contracts existing between the shipper, broker, shipping carrier, etc. need to be examined to determine each party’s responsibility. If it is determined that the shipping carrier was negligent in their duty, you can sue them for compensation.

Compensation can be sought for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Wrongful death

If you or a loved one was involved in a semi-truck accident, you should reach out to an experienced lawyer like ours. Shipping carrier liability cases require extensive investigative work, and you want to work with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.

What About Shippers & Brokers?

Shippers are the entity that hires the shipping carrier to transport the goods in question. A shipper can be a company, organization, or even an individual. While they may work directly with trucking companies, they often utilize third-party brokers. The broker acts as a middleman between the shipper and the carrier. Typically, a broker works with a wide range of shipping carriers and facilitates the contract and agreement between the shipper and the carrier. In some cases, brokers have oversight responsibilities over the motor carrier, such as supervising scheduling, pickup, and delivery.

Both shippers and brokers can be held liable for accidents. For example, if a shipper or broker does not verify the licensing of a shipping carrier before hiring them, they may be found negligent. Alternatively, if a broker is responsible for scheduling and sets an unrealistic delivery date, leading to a speeding accident, the broker may be found liable. Your lawyer can help you determine who should be held responsible in your case.

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