Serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire Including the Merrimack Valley

Call us: 978-374-4736

Assigning liability for intermodal equipment failures

Whenever Lawrence residents come to us here at the offices of Finbury and Sullivan following a truck accident, they typically want to know who is ultimately responsible: the truck driver or the trucking company. The easy answer may seem to be the truck driver, yet that’s assuming that the accident was a direct result of his or her negligence. However, most truck accidents are rarely that simple. In some cases, neither the trucker nor the trucking company may be responsible. In this post, will examine this scenario.

Many of the large trucks that people seen on the road are carrying their cargo in intermodal containers. While most have probably seen these containers, few have probably heard them called by this name. Intermodal containers are the large rectangular or cylindrical steel storage containers one often sees on cargo ships, trains, and (as was mentioned earlier) tractor-trailers. Often, these containers are the property of the freight company, and not the trucker or trucking company.

According to Section 390.40 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations set for by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, intermodal equipment providers have the following responsibilities when it comes to their containers:

  • Comply with all maintenance, repair, and inspection requirements as standard motor carriers on those containers intended to be transported by a motor carrier
  • Ensure that all equipment presented for motor carrier transport is in safe operating condition
  • Perform any needed maintenance or repair that have been identified by motor carrier drivers prior to departure

If a truck accident occurs due to the failure of an intermodal container, the owner of the container may be held liable for damages, rather than any of the parties involved in operating the tractor-trailer.

For more information on semi truck accidents, please visit our Truck Accidents page.


55 Ginty Boulevard Haverhill, MA 01830
Phone 978-374-4736, Fax 978-521-5307

E-mail Us | Haverhill Law Office Map | Sitemap