Proving Shipper Liability

Many plaintiffs truck accident attorneys fail their clients when pursuing claims in cases. Lawyers often focus on the truck driver and trucking company while completely ignoring a key stakeholder in the truck crash: the shipper.

Proving Shipper Liability in Truck Accident Cases

A shipper is a company that sends or receives property that is transported in interstate or foreign commerce. While the law surrounding proving shipper liability continues to evolve, the well-established theory is that a shipper owes a duty to the motoring public to select a competent and fit motor carrier to haul its loads.

Three Steps to Proving Shipper Liability

Proving that a shipper negligently selected a motor carrier consists of three main steps:

First: Determine the standards that the shipper should have used in the selection of the motor carrier that was involved in the trucking accident;

Second: You must establish that had your shipper used those standards, your shipper would or should have discovered that the carrier and/or driver were not competent, safe motor carriers; and

Third: You must show that had your shipper discovered the motor carrier’s and/or driver’s deficiencies, your shipper would not have selected the carrier and/or the driver and, therefore, the truck and driver would not have been on the road hauling that shipper’s load at the time of the collision.

The most effective way to accomplish all three steps is to have a thorough understanding of the case law involving shippers, effectively depose the shipper’s employees, and hire a transportation expert who has experience in the shipping industry.

National Advisory Board of APITLA

Through my work as a truck accident attorney, I was asked to join the National Advisory Board of Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, or APITLA. Through its member attorneys, APITLA is making America’s roads and highways safer for our everyone through improved legislation, greater education and vigorous litigation.

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