Michigan Lawyer Blog

In a Truck Accident, Is the Driver or Company Liable?


Personal Injury Results






One of the main differences between commercial trucks and passenger cars, besides the obvious difference in size, is that those driving passenger cars aren’t working on the clock and their cars are personal vehicles, while truck drivers are working while on the road and drive company-owned vehicles. When a truck causes an accident, many victims wonder whether they need to hold the truck driver or their company liable for damages. The answer is that it depends on the unique situation. A truck accident lawyer can work with you to determine who to hold responsible.

When is a Truck Driver Liable?

If the truck driver who caused your accident is working within their employment scope when the accident occurs, and the actions weren’t intentional, they aren’t usually liable for the accident.

In certain cases, the truck driver could be held responsible if they:

  • Are working as an independent contractor, which means they aren’t an employee of the trucking company

  • Were behaving deliberately and intentionally caused the crash

  • Were not driving within the scope of their employment, meaning that they were using the truck for personal reasons

  • Were driving recklessly, e.g., under the influence of alcohol

  • Ignored truck driving limit rules to beat a deadline

When is the Truck Company Liable?

In many cases, trucking companies are the ones held liable in the event of an accident.

Companies may be held responsible for injuries based on:

  • Mandatory hours violations: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers have limits on how long they can be on the road without break times. Truck companies may be found guilty for forcing drivers to work without break, which can cause fatigue that leads to accidents.

  • Negligent hiring practices: Companies have a responsibility to hire and properly train their truck drivers. If they are found to be negligent in their hiring practices, the company may be held responsible for the accident.

  • Poor vehicle maintenance: Companies must conduct regular vehicle inspections in order to keep trucks safely maintained. Tires, lights, mirrors, and brakes need to be routinely checked to limit the number of hazards. If the company doesn't load their truck, does not adequately secure the cargo, and so on, the company would be liable for the claim.

A dedicated truck accident lawyer is trained in determining liability and can help you figure out who needs to be held responsible for your injuries. Injuries from truck accidents are typically more serious and can include broken bones, fractures and sprains, spinal cord and neck injuries, and head and brain trauma.

When is the Manufacturer Liable?

In some cases, truck accidents are not caused by driver error, but because of vehicle malfunctions. When this happens, the manufacturer of the vehicle may be found responsible for designing or producing a vehicle with a dangerous defect. If, for example, the brakes fail because of some type of system glitch, the manufacturer could be held liable for the damage caused as a result.

Rely on Our Detroit, MI Lawyers to Help Distinguish Truck Accident Liability

It’s important to remember that each accident is different, which is why it is crucial that you work with an experienced truck accident attorney to get to the bottom of your case. Our Detroit personal injury attorneys can work with you to investigate the circumstances of your crash and determine who may be liable for the harm you suffered.

We’ve achieved a $2 million settlement on behalf of a college student who was run over by a semi, as well as a $1.4 million settlement for a client who was T-boned by a semi that ran a red light at full speed. We understand how catastrophic truck accident-related injuries can be, and we fight tirelessly so our clients won’t have to worry about missing work or how they’re going to repair their property damages.

Contact Goodman Acker P.C. online or at (248) 286-8100 if you’re a victim of a truck accident. Because of their size and weight, trucks can cause devastating accidents resulting in serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Our team can seek full compensation for your damages so won’t need to worry about paying your bills.