Truck Accident

Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?

February 17, 2022

When you get injured or lose a loved one in a truck accident, determining who is liable is one of the first steps toward recovering financial compensation. There are several possibilities, and conducting an investigation as soon as possible is critical for identifying the liable party (or parties). 

At Coplan + Crane, our Chicago truck accident lawyers understand the complexities of these difficult cases. Unlike most wrecks involving only passenger vehicles, trucking accidents can have a number of potentially liable parties. These cases require an attorney with the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to properly investigate the wreck and build a compelling case. Our firm has a proven record of success in truck accident cases and we are committed to helping our clients pursue the justice and compensation they deserve.

7 Parties that Could Be Liable for Your Chicago Truck Accident 

If the truck driver or the truck itself caused the accident, the parties that could potentially be liable include: 

1. The Truck Driver

Some truck drivers own and operate their own trucks. These owner-operators have (or should have) liability insurance that covers other drivers’ and passengers’ losses in the event that the truck driver causes a crash. 

2. The Trucking or Transportation Company

If the truck driver works for a trucking or transportation company, then that company could be liable. In addition to facing direct liability for negligent acts such as hiring inexperienced drivers and forcing drivers to spend too many hours on the road, trucking and transportation companies can also face vicarious liability for their drivers’ mistakes behind the wheel. 

3. The Retailer or Wholesaler 

Many companies own and operate their own delivery trucks. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident involving a truck owned by a retailer or wholesaler (i.e. Amazon, Costco, Sam’s Club, or Aldi), then this company could be liable for your injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death. 

4. The Truck Manufacturer or Dealership

Truck manufacturers and dealerships can be held liable for truck accidents that result from truck defects. A truck is considered “defective” if it has a safety issue when it leaves the factory. If a safety issue arises due to negligent maintenance or repair work, then the dealership or shop that performed the work may be liable instead. 

5. A Part or Component Manufacturer 

Large commercial trucks have thousands of parts. While truck manufacturers make many of these parts themselves, they buy components from other companies as well. If a failure of one of these components caused your (or your loved one’s) truck accident, then the component manufacturer could be liable. 

6. The Shipping Company or Broker

Several companies are involved in the process of shipping goods across the United States and around the world. This includes shipping companies and brokers. If a shipping company or broker is responsible for causing unsafe cargo to end up on the back of the truck that hit you or your family member, then this company may be liable for the financial and non-financial costs of the crash. 

7. The Owner of the Truck’s Cargo

It is possible that the owner of the truck’s cargo could be liable as well. This could be the case, for example, if the cargo was not properly packaged or if it was not properly labeled as a hazardous material. 

More Potential Claims After a Truck Accident in Chicago

While many truck accidents result from truck-related factors, other factors can play a role as well. When investigating potential liability for a truck accident, it is important not to overlook the possibility of filing a claim against:

  • Another Driver – Sometimes negligent drivers leave truckers with no way to avoid a serious accident. If another driver set off the chain of events that led to your (or your loved one’s) crash, that driver’s insurance company could be liable. 
  • Another Vehicle Manufacturer or Dealership – Brake defects, tire defects, and other issues can affect all types of vehicles. If an issue with your, your loved one’s, or another driver’s vehicle triggered the collision, the manufacturer or dealership that sold the vehicle could hold full financial responsibility. 
  • A Government Agency or Contractor – Issues with the road can also cause truck drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly lose control. When an issue with the road leads to a truck accident, the government agency or contractor that is responsible for building or maintaining the road can face liability for victims’ injuries and losses. 

These are just examples. Numerous issues can lead to truck accidents, and this means that numerous parties can potentially be liable. If you need to determine who is liable for a truck accident in the Chicago area, we encourage you to contact us immediately so that we can conduct an on-scene investigation. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been hurt in a truck wreck, don’t face your injuries alone. Contact the accomplished truck accident lawyers at Coplan + Crane today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Chicago, Oak Park, and Rockford, Illinois.