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Litigating Broker Liability for Trucking Accident Injury Claims: Theories of Liability, Defenses, Preemption

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will examine the liability of freight brokers and shippers for injuries sustained in trucking accidents. The panel will discuss the prevailing theories of liability, including negligent hiring, selection, vicarious liability, and the statutory employment doctrine. They will also examine how brokers and shippers can mitigate risk and the various defenses to liability.


Negligent selection happens when a freight broker selects a carrier not competent to perform the work. A broker also can be held vicariously liable if it retains the right to control the motor carrier.

Some brokers argue that checking that a motor carrier has operating authority with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is sufficient. Other brokers and courts, however, acknowledge the duty to exercise reasonable care, which could include checking safety data, crash history, and other indicators of a carrier’s fitness and safety.

In addition, some brokers argue that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) preempts these types of claims. The only federal circuit court to rule on the issue has held that the safety exception to the FAAAA preemption provision saves the claims. Most federal courts to consider the issue agree and conclude that the claims are not preemption. But a handful of courts have adopted the brokers’ position.

Listen as this experienced panel guides counsel through making the case against brokers and shippers.



  1. Overview of property (cargo) brokering
  2. Property (cargo) broker liability theories
  3. Key discovery/docs in broker cases
  4. How transportation indemnity agreements impact trucking cases
  5. Preemption issues


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is a freight broker?
  • What regulations apply to freight brokers?
  • What theories of liability are available against brokers?
  • Is the liability risk increased or decreased when a broker uses third-party software to monitor safety?
  • What is the status of the FAAAA preemption defense?
  • How do you prove your case?
  • What practical strategies are available?
  • How do you try a broker liability case?


Leizerman, Michael
Michael Jay Leizerman

The Law Firm for Truck Safety

Mr. Leizerman’s entire caseload consists of catastrophic truck crash claims, including a recent settlement of $34...  |  Read More

Leizerman, Rena
Rena M. Leizerman

The Law Firm for Truck Safety

Ms. Leizerman concentrates her practice in the area of serious personal injury and wrongful death involving truck...  |  Read More

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