Traffic accidents involving semi-trucks are the sort of thing most people would rather not consider. After all, given that trucks are 20 to 30 times larger than passenger vehicles, the results of such an accident can be devastating, even deadly. Data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) over the last two decades indicates that these sorts of accidents are on the rise, and have increased in frequency by 20%. This unsettling figure makes it increasingly likely that you, or someone you know, could be involved in a trucking accident. If such a thing were to pass, you might wonder who is legally liable for such a tragedy.

We’re here to shed some light on that very issue.

In most cases the trucking company must assume liability for its driver because the truck driver is operating on the company’s behalf, making the company responsible for the results of actions that are part of his job, i.e., operating the truck. However, this only applies if the driver is an actual employee and not an independent contractor. If the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company might still be responsible for the driver’s actions (or, for example, its decision to hire that particular driver) but that is a somewhat more complicated issue.

Of course, other circumstances could come into play. Depending on how the semi-truck accident occurred, parties responsible could include the actual owner of the truck the company is renting or leasing, the manufacturer of the vehicle and its parts, or the person who loaded the truck’s cargo. Therefore, it can be critical to have an experienced legal expert on your side to ensure that the responsible party is found, and the appropriate actions take place.

Semi-Truck Accident Liability

Liability is a term used within this context to describe who is legally and financially responsible for the accident. It’s important to note that legal responsibility is different from merely determining who you believe is to blame for what went wrong. For starters, even if you think the driver crashed into your vehicle due to an error on their part, causing the accident, they aren’t necessarily liable.

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In most cases the trucking company must assume liability for its driver because the truck driver is operating on the company’s behalf, making the company responsible for the results of actions that are part of his job, i.e., operating the truck. However, this only applies if the driver is an actual employee and not an independent contractor.  If the driver is an independent contractor, the trucking company might still be responsible for the driver’s actions (or, for example, its decision to hire that particular driver) but that is a somewhat more complicated issue.

Of course, other circumstances could come into play. Depending on how the accident occurred, parties responsible could include the actual owner of the truck the company is renting or leasing, the manufacturer of the vehicle and its parts, or the person who loaded the truck’s cargo. Therefore, it can be critical to have an experienced legal expert on your side to ensure that the responsible party is found, and the appropriate actions take place.

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Help with Semi-Truck Accidents

If you are the victim of an accident involving a semi-truck, you may be entitled to compensation in court. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your situation and answer any questions you might have. You can reach our offices by phone at 419-843-6663, or reach out to us online.

Our team of experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys are prepared to assist in determining liability and getting you back on your feet. Our personal injury attorneys also have experience with Michigan semi-truck accidents.