There are a variety of reasons that can cause trucking accidents. Mechanical failures are some of the more common reasons. The department of Transportation found that around 30% of all large truck crashes involved brake failure or brake-related issues. You and other drivers on the road are required to drive as a reasonable and responsible person. There are additional duties that go beyond responsible driving. The law requires that you have a mechanic look at your car and inspect it when necessary. Tires are not complicated to take care of. It is your duty to notice the defect and not drive until it is fixed. If you are sued after a blowout, you cannot claim that you did not know about the defect because the law says you should be aware. Ultimately it is up to a jury to decide in your specific circumstance so make sure to contact an experienced attorney to get help.
When brakes malfunction, blame may be placed on a variety of parties such as the driver, the company that loaded the truck, the party responsible for maintaining the brakes, and/or the manufacturer of the brakes. The trucking, hauling and leasing companies often argue among themselves over whose insurance is going to compensate the victim. For example, the trucking company might claim that the accident was caused by defective brakes. The brake company might claim that the accident was caused by the leasing company. The federal government has imposed strict regulations on the safety of truck braking systems. A truck must be able to develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s weight), decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to its size, and meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements. If a truck does not meet those standards, you have a claim against the manufacturer.
In some cases, the federal government has already determined that certain types of brakes or brake parts are defective. When this happens, the government requires brake manufacturers to recall the defective brakes or parts. A brake recall is powerful evidence that those brakes are dangerous. Make sure to mention this to your lawyer if you are aware of a brake recall.
Negligence is a common cause of brake failure. Federal regulations require that commercial trucking companies keep maintenance records demonstrating that truck maintenance has been performed according to schedule. In addition, every driver is required to perform and complete a daily pre-trip inspection report of the condition of the tractor and trailer equipment. Such inspections include checking the brake shoes to ensure they function properly and do not have missing or broken mechanical components, checking for loose brake components, and listening for air leaks in the brake chamber, which would indicate problems with the brake system.
Tire problems are also a common cause for truck accidents. Defective tires may happen because the tire manufacturer sold a defective truck tire. As with brakes, in some cases defective tires are recalled. Failure to maintain tires and perform pre-trip tire inspections can cause accidents. Improper tire pressure can lead to deterioration and eventual catastrophic failure. A tire that is worn or damaged may fail as a blowout and result in loss of control of the vehicle. Again it is the responsibility of the company to inspect or maintain the braking systems on their vehicles and if they fail to do so, mechanical problems can cause an accident. Make sure you explore all possible explanations of an accident.
Proving your accident was caused by mechanical errors can get complicated. If the case involves a manufacturing, design or installation defect, an expert will likely be needed to testify to those issues. Make sure you get the help of a licensed attorney.
If you or a loved one suffered substantial injuries or death as a result of careless, negligent or irresponsible truck driving contact our big rig accident lawyer to discuss your case. We offer a free initial consultation to all new clients. You can reach us by phone at (916) 357-6767 or send us an email to schedule an appointment.