Broker and Shipper Liability in Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are the backbone of the North Carolina economy. The more of these trucks you see on the roads of Charlotte, the better off the economy is performing. At the same time, these trucks are quite dangerous. Commercial trucks are long, wide, heavy and some carry hazardous loads.

What happens when you are involved in a truck accident? Who can be held liable? We know that the driver and the trucking company can be held liable. But, what about the broker and the shipper?

Who is the broker?

The broker is a third party involved in the shipment of any goods via the trucking industry. This means that the broker is responsible for hiring the trucking company or driver used to transport the goods. The broker might also handpick the driver who will operate the truck used for the job.

How a broker is held liable in a trucking accident

Two of the most common claims against a broker are (1) negligent hiring, retention or selection of the motor carrier – alleging that the broker should have known the motor carrier was unfit or incompetent; or (2) agency – alleging that the broker exercised such control that the broker should be held liable for the driver’s negligent conduct. For the most part, the broker has a responsibility to ensure the trucking company or truck driver they hire for the transport of goods has a safe record. This means that the broker must conduct due diligence to find out the company’s record so that any issues can be avoided. When they fail to do so, the broker can be held liable.

Who is the shipper?

The shipper is defined as the entity whose cargo is being shipped in the truck. A shipper can be a product manufacturer or anyone who needs to have products shipped.

How shippers are held liable

Shippers can also be held liable for injuries suffered by victims of trucking accidents in North Carolina if any of the following happens:

  • The shipper failed to check the record, license, insurance coverage or registration of the driver or trucking company
  • If the shipper helped load the cargo and the cargo caused an accident
  • If the trailer has been overloaded
  • If the load has not been properly secured
  • If the shipper permits the carrier to violate the laws and rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • The shipper failed to check a truck driver for drug or alcohol violations
  • The shipper failed to check a truck driver for hours of service violations

If you ever find yourself injured in a truck accident, you need to speak with an experienced Charlotte truck accident attorney. The team at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC is here to discuss your accident case and explain all the parties who can be held liable for your injuries. Call our office today at 704-377-7777 or complete a contact form to schedule your free consultation.


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