Who Is Responsible in a Commercial Trucking Accident?

How liability is decided in Ohio if property damage or a physical injury takes place

By Super Lawyers staff | Reviewed by Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on March 13, 2023

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Trucking companies have a responsibility to operate their commercial fleet in a safe manner. These large trucks pose a serious safety risk to passenger vehicles—a fully loaded eighteen-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.

Unfortunately, commercial truck accident cases remain a significant cause of injury and highway fatalities in Ohio. Truck drivers and truck companies that fail to take proper safety precautions must be held accountable for the property damage and/or physical injuries that they caused.

Here, you will find an overview of commercial truck accident liability in Ohio.

Truck Accident Liability in Ohio: Fault-Based State

Ohio is a fault motor vehicle accident state. A trucking company is not automatically responsible for a wreck. To hold a defendant legally liable for property damage or a physical injury, an injured victim must establish that the accident happened because of the defendant’s reckless or careless conduct. Many different parties may bear liability for a trucking accident, including:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • The company leasing the truck/trailer
  • Truck manufacturers
  • Third-party motorists

Ohio Uses a Comparative Negligence Standard

It is important to note that Ohio uses a comparative negligence legal standard.

This means that more than one defendant may bear responsibility for the same trucking accident. Under Ohio state law, each party to a collision will be liable for their apportioned share of the fault. Of course, serious disputes can arise regarding who exactly was at fault for a trucking accident. 

If a trucking company is found to be at fault for 75 percent of an accident, it will be liable for 75 percent of property damages and personal injury damages. Even as a trucker, if you are partially at fault for your own truck accident, you can still recover financial compensation. Your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of the assigned blame. 

All Commercial Truck Accidents Require a Comprehensive Investigation

After a truck crash, injured victims should seek immediate medical attention. Nothing should come before your health and safety. All injuries should be assessed and treated by a qualified physician.

Additionally, truck collisions require an immediate investigation. Truck companies and their insurance company waste little to no time in preparing a legal defense. They will start investigating a crash right away. Plaintiffs do not want to fall behind in the claims process. Anyone hurt in a trucking accident in Ohio needs to secure all relevant evidence.

If you or your loved one was injured in a collision, it is imperative that you contact a law firm and seek legal advice from an experienced trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Many personal injury attorneys provide free consultations. An experienced attorney will review your case, explain your options, and initiate an immediate investigation of the crash. Here are some questions to ask when meeting with a truck accident attorney for the first time:

  • What is your experience giving legal representation for truck accident claims?
  • What are your attorney’s fees and billing options?
    Who is liable for my personal injuries?
  • Who do you prove that a truck driver was acting in the scope of employment?
  • What compensation are available for truck accident victims?

For more information on this area of the law, see our overviews of trucking accidents and transportation and maritime law.

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