Who Is Liable in a Semi Truck Accident?

When you or a loved one is seriously injured in a semi truck accident, determining who (or what company) is liable for the accident is one of the first steps in the recovery process. While the truck driver or trucking company will be liable in most circumstances, this isn’t always the case, and you cannot afford to make any assumptions when it comes to asserting your legal rights. 

Determining who is liable in a semi truck accident requires a comprehensive investigation. This investigation should take place as soon as possible, and it should involve gathering evidence at the scene of the accident in addition to various other sources. Your lawyers will use the available evidence to assess why the accident happened, and then they will use this to determine who (or what company) is liable. 

7 Parties that May Be Liable in a Semi Truck Accident in Arkansas

With this in mind, who might be liable for a semi truck accident in Arkansas? Some of the main possibilities are:

1. The Semi Truck Driver

Many semi truck accidents are the result of truck driver negligence. If the truck driver is to blame for your (or your loved one’s) accident, then you may have a claim either: (i) under the truck driver’s insurance policy, or (ii) against the truck driver’s employer. 

Some semi truck drivers are owner-operators. This means they own (and insure) their own trucks and make deliveries for other companies. Other drivers work for trucking companies, retailers, and other businesses. In semi truck accidents involving negligent owner-operators, victims and their families can file liability claims against the driver’s insurance company. In semi truck accidents involving drivers who are employees, victims and their families can file claims against the driver’s employer.

2. The Trucking Company (or Other Truck Operator)

Along with liability for their drivers’ negligence, trucking companies and other businesses can also be held liable for their own negligence in some cases. For example, if a trucking company hires an unqualified driver, this could justify a liability claim against the trucking company. Or, if a retailer fails to adequately maintain its semi truck fleet, this could justify a claim against the retailer. There are various other possibilities as well.

3. The Shipping Company

Semi trucks often carry cargo containers that have been packed and shipped by other companies. If a semi truck accident results from an issue with the truck’s cargo, then the shipping company could be liable. Some examples of cargo-related causes of truck accidents include:

  • Overloading a cargo container
  • Improperly loading a cargo container with hazardous material
  • Failing to properly balance a cargo container’s load
  • Failing to properly secure the cargo in the container

4. The Truck’s Manufacturer

In addition to issues with a semi truck’s cargo, issues with a truck itself can also lead to serious and fatal accidents. If an issue exists when a truck leaves the factory, it may be classified as a “defect.” Truck manufacturers can be held liable for defect-related accidents under Arkansas law.

5. A Dealership or Maintenance Garage

If an issue with a semi truck doesn’t qualify as a defect, then it may be the result of negligent maintenance work or a negligent repair. When negligent service leads to a semi truck accident, the dealership or garage that performed the service can be held liable.

6. A Government Agency or Contractor

Along with cargo and truck-related issues, issues with the road can also lead to semi truck accidents in some cases. Negligent road construction, inadequate road maintenance, and dangerous road construction zones are just a few examples of road-related issues that can give rise to claims against government agencies and contractors after semi truck accidents in Arkansas.

7. Another Driver, Vehicle Manufacturer, or Third Party

Sometimes, semi truck accidents result from other drivers’ mistakes. Semi truck accidents can result from car and SUV defects, negligent car or SUV maintenance, and a variety of other issues as well. When evaluating your legal rights, it is important to consider all possible claims in order to make sure that you are seeking the maximum compensation available. 

Speak with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Arkansas for FREE

If you need to know more about your legal rights after a semi truck accident, we encourage you to get in touch. Our accomplished truck accident lawyers serve clients across Arkansas and throughout the United States.
To speak with an experienced semi truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, call us at 479-202-5200 or request a FREE consultation online today.