Skip to content

When Is a Shipper Liable for a Truck Accident?

Truck accidents can lead to serious, life-altering injuries, such as amputation, paralysis, damage to organs, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. Victims of truck accidents often find themselves in the hospital for weeks or months at a time undergoing multiple surgeries, therapy, and other treatments. Truck accidents can force victims out of work, into depression, and into debt because of extensive medical bills.

The shipper is responsible for checking the registration, licensing, safety record, and insurance coverage of the truck driver or trucking company they hire to ship their goods. As such, the shipper can be held liable for the negligence from a driver they hire, a trucking company whose driver was the cause of a crash, or the owner-operator.

A shipper can also face liability issues when it comes to loading the truck. If the driver of the truck picked up a trailer that was already loaded and sealed, it can be assumed that the shipper was involved in the loading process. If the load shifts, causing the truck to roll over, the shipper can be held liable for this accident. If the trailer is overloaded, if the load falls off the truck, or if the load is not properly marked for hazardous materials; the shipper can be held liable for any accident that is related to loading the truck.

Shippers can face liability if they permit carriers to violate any regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier safety regulations (FMCSR). Two common examples of these violations include creating driver schedules that force drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations and overloading trucks.

How are motor carriers evaluated?

The safety record of the motor carrier should be verified by the shipper before moving goods. Motor carriers are evaluated by the following:

  • Reckless driving, speeding, not using a seat belt, and others
  • Defective brakes, defective lights, defective tires, and other improper truck maintenance
  • Drivers who are unable to meet medical qualifications, have improper CDL endorsements, have been disqualified, and others
  • Hours of service violations, driving the truck after being placed out of service, driving while fatigued, logbook violations, and others
  • Violations for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and other controlled substances or alcohol violations

Many shippers tend to overlook safety violations or other issues related to a driver’s record in an effort to save money on the shipping costs. This is inexcusable and should be dealt with appropriately. That’s why it’s important you consult with an experienced truck accident attorney when injured in a trucking accident. Shippers can be held liable for their negligence, compensating you for your injuries.

Truck accidents are some of the most tragic on the roads of Tennessee and across the country. They lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills due to the severity of injuries caused. The experienced Chattanooga truck accident lawyers at Wagner Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Lawyers understand the complexities of the law and can assist in your case. Call our office at 423-756-7923, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation today.