The Role of “Logo Liability” in Your Truck Accident Case

Establishing fault and liability is at the core of any auto case. Because victims of commercial truck accidents often suffer serious or catastrophic injuries, if not death, the need for holding an at-fault party liable for damages – including victims’ pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages – is of the utmost importance. That’s why our experienced personal injury lawyers at Hare Wynn work diligently to conduct the investigations and legal work needed to prove liability.

Although every accident is unique, trucking companies are often named as defendants and held liable for damages inpersonal injury or wrongful death cases involving truck accidents. However, there are cases where holding a trucking operator liable is not always a straightforward matter – especially when they lease tractor-trailers or have independent contractors operate their rigs, rather than a driver whom they directly employ.

While businesses are generally liable for the conduct of their employees – as well as any injuries or damages caused by their negligence – they are generally not liable for damages caused by an independent contractor. Because such an arrangement would enable trucking companies to skirt responsibility and minimize liability, many courts recognize the theory of “logo liability” in cases where trucking companies lease trucks or drivers they don’t own or employ.

Also known as placard liability, logo liability is based on a federal regulations requiring trucking operators that lease trucks or drivers to have exclusive possession, control, and use of leased vehicles. It also presumes that when a trucking company’s signage or logos appear on the truck during the course of a lease or contractual arrangement, the company is liable for accidents and damages, even if drivers are independent contractors. The majority of courts in the U.S. adhere to logo liability theory in truck accident cases.


Whether or not logo liability plays a role in your truck accident case depends on the unique circumstances involved, including:

  • Whether or not the truck was leased;
  • Whether the driver was self-employed, working as an independent contractor, or part of some other type of lease agreement with a trucking company; and
  • Where the accident took place.

Because the theory of logo liability has been questioned, challenged, and used differently in various jurisdictions, where your accident occurred plays a large role in whether or not it can be applied effectively to your case. If it does apply, victims will generally be able to recover their damages from the trucking company.

While victims in other scenarios may have the opportunity to recover their damages through the driver’s liability insurance or a company that leases a commercial vehicle to the trucking operator, their damages may exceed those policies. Should that coverage not be sufficient in providing the full amount of compensation they need to cover their damages, and the jurisdiction where the case is being handled does not adhere to the doctrine, more creative approaches may be required to seek liability and compensation elsewhere, if and when possible.


Given the many parties involved in the operation of commercial trucks and the many potential causes of wrecks, determining fault and liability in a truck accident case can be complex. By working with experienced attorneys who have the insight and resources to address the unique liability issues involved in these cases, and pursue compensation from the appropriate parties, victims can position themselves to secure the financial recoveries they need and deserve.

To learn more about truck accident liability or discuss your potential case, rights, and whether you may have a valid claim, contact Hare Wynn for a free consultation.

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