Mechanical Failure Truck Accident
Were you the victim of a truck accident leaving you with severe injuries, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another's negligence? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys provide immediate legal advice and representation to protect your rights.
We encourage all victims to call our truck accident law office at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule an initial free consultation. Let's discuss your case, the contributing factors that caused your injuries, and hold the trucking company and trucker responsible for your damages.
The proper maintenance of large trucks ensures the safety of truck drivers and other car drivers on the road. Because semi-trucks with a heavy load can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, it is essential to ensure they are properly maintained and secure.
If these truckloads are not secured, then it may be possible for a truck's belongings to fall off the commercial vehicle and hit other cars. Catastrophic large truck crashes result when truck drivers and companies do not take necessary precautions to maintain equipment. This negligence results in unsafe trucks on the road that pose a hazard to all drivers.
The federal government has also addressed the need for proper maintenance of trucks in the commercial trucking industry. It is now possible for car drivers to file lawsuits against trucking companies when they fail to maintain equipment and cause accidents.
If you were injured in a trucking accident due to a failure to maintain the cargo, speak with a personal injury lawyer who can represent your side of the story today. You may be entitled to receive monetary compensation. A truck accident lawyer who has experience with truck accidents caused by mechanical failure can help you pursue the recovery you are entitled to receive.
Truck Maintenance Required Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations
Under the federal regulations administered by the FMCSA, one must continuously inspect and maintain records for each vehicle in a trucking business.
The FMCSA is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation and was created in 2000. Its sole purpose is to provide for the safety of truck drivers and car drivers. The Administration has enacted hundreds of regulations to ensure that truck drivers utilize the best safety practices in driving on the road to meet this goal.
Inadequate truck maintenance is a common cause of trucking accidents, and it is why regulations governing maintenance have been codified into law.
Under FMCSA Regulation §396.11, truck companies must maintain accurate daily inspection reports for their vehicles. Therefore, upon completing a single day's work, a truck driver is expected to fill out an inspection report under this statute's language.
The report should be very detailed, and it must cover equipment like the:
- Lights on the truck
- Missing or broken rear guards
- Parking brakes
- Rear vision mirrors
- Service brakes
- Steering wheel
- The truck's emergency equipment
- Tires including low tire pressure
- Wheels & rims
- Windshield wipers
Each equipment piece listed in this statute must be maintained properly because it is critical for fostering safe driving habits.
If the windshield wipers are in disrepair, this could cause a truck driver to not see anything through the windshield in the event of a storm or heavy rain. In addition, if the tires are not in proper condition, then a truck driver could be at risk of being involved in a jackknife accident.
Holding Truck Drivers Responsible for Mechanical Failures
Here are some other typical examples of inadequate truck maintenance that result in accidents with injuries or fatalities:
- Failing to replace or fill tirescompromising the trucker's ability to drive safely
- Failing to replace the brakes on the truck could affect performance during inclement weather
- Failing to add new lights to the truck
- Failing to replace windshield wipers
- Not replacing a broken rear guard that could cause underride accidents
- Failing to ensure the hazard lights work if there are problems with the truck's engine
- Not utilizing adequate safety devices to secure loads to ensure a proper operating condition
The unfortunate reality is that many pieces of equipment in disrepair go unnoticed because a truck driver or company fails to complete required inspection reports.
Were you involved in a truck accident and seriously injured? Please speak with a lawyer today in a free consultation who can perform an independent investigation to determine whether these daily inspections were ever completed.
If there are no records to indicate a truck's condition, then this violation of §396.11 may be enough to confer liability on the trucking company.
Truck Accident Tire Blowout or Failure (Faulty Tires or Defect)
Many truck accidents are the result of a truck blowout. A tire blowout is usually caused by worn-out, underinflated tires or by a defect in the tire. The force of the air escaping from the explosion can cause significant damage to people and property.
Because of the visual prominence and danger of tire explosions, all truck drivers must visually inspect their tires and record daily inspections.
Truck drivers are required to conduct a daily inspection of each tire on their vehicle through the use of air gauges that measure the amount of pressure at each wheel. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also mandates that truck drivers visually inspect the tire sidewalls for damage after a tire blowout.
Tire manufacturers are also responsible if their product was not produced with proper safety measures in place. The law requires that truck tires are made of a material strong enough to resist the force of an explosion. Tire-makers must also ensure that their product is manufactured, packaged, and labeled with proper safety measures in mind to ensure a safe operating condition.
The FMCSA has issued regulations regarding tire maintenance through §396.11. This statute requires that
"no motor carrier shall permit or require any driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle or permit any driver to drive, operate, move, park or position a commercial motor vehicle in such a manner as to indicate that the operation of the tire is prohibited."
How Mechanical Failures Cause Truck Accidents
Every year, thousands of people are injured in truck accidents. Unfortunately, mechanical failures cause many of these accidents and often lead to catastrophic injuries.
This post will discuss some common mechanical failure causes that led to truck accidents and what steps you can take to protect yourself from being a victim of this type of accident.
The main danger with mechanical failures occurs during critical moments like changing lanes or merging onto the freeway. However, the braking system also risks those nearby because it typically does not perform well in an emergency due to its design.
As a result, brakes may lock up too quickly when there's still considerable speed on the roadway, or they may fail altogether if there's no pressure applied at all. Truck manufacturers try to prevent this by loading trucks evenly or having unique weight distribution systems.
Unfortunately, these techniques are not always reliable enough to prevent accidents with injuries and fatalities. So another way truck manufacturers try to reduce mechanical failures in trucks is by making them less reliant on the air braking system.
Overloading vehicles is a leading cause of catastrophic truck accidents, creating hazard issues when moving or maneuvering, compromising stability.
Another major source of mechanical failure that may cause an accident is the steering mechanism, which can be affected by poor maintenance or other factors. Bad steering could cause big rigs to swerve out of control, especially when the driver is trying to maneuver quickly at high speeds.
Truck manufacturing companies also try to prevent this type of accident with systems by measuring things like tire tread and pressure, which are critical for maintaining proper traction and handling.
However, vehicle manufacturers can be held civilly liable for selling dangerous or defective products that could result in accidents caused by mechanical failure, including faulty brake pads (brake failure), defective transmission oil (transmission failure), or faulty bulbs (potential hazards and lighting issues).
Another mechanical failure that can cause accidents is the truck's transmission. The most common failures in transmissions include gear slippage or popping out of gear, which could cause a truck to move at an improper speed or change directions quickly and unexpectedly.
How Truck Maintenance Is Monitored
The recent upswing in truck accidents has left many wondering how these vehicles are monitored. The short answer is that the FMCSA monitors and regulates the safety of commercial trucks, including driver hours-of-service time, vehicle maintenance records, and more.
Yet despite this oversight, there have been many crashes that led to fatalities or serious injuries. All trucking companies must keep maintenance logs in the truck to give regulators and highway patrol officers the information they need to determine whether or not the truck was too unsafe to drive.
Truckers must call their trucking company to notify them that the vehicle needs emergency repairs before taking it out on the road. Truck maintenance logs will also show when regular maintenance is due for vehicles and are to be kept in each cab, so there is no excuse for not knowing when to schedule these services.
Truckers must continuously monitor their vehicle to identify common mechanical failures that could include:
- Brake failure
- Transmission failure
- Defective, broken, or worn windshield wipers
- Low tire pressure causing unusual wear and tear on tire treads
- Missing rear guards
- Steering failure, including broken steering mechanisms
- Faulty brake lines
- Tire recalls
- Worn brake pads
- Broken steering column
- Broken headlights
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Malfunctioning suspension systems
- Mechanical issues
- Malfunctioning lights, including broken signal lights
- Overloaded trucks
- Potential mechanical issues
For many trucking companies, a failure to maintain logbooks and logs adequately can lead to stiff fines and other sanctions by the FMCSA. Was your serious injury due to a mechanical failure in large vehicles?
If so, you may still have some recourse towards claims against the driver or trucking company that caused the accident.
The injured trucker or other drivers can typically seek compensation that pays for all current and future medical costs and the future costs associated with therapy and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, many devastating injuries generate massive medical bills where the injured party suffers injuries that last a lifetime.
Truck Driver Error or Not: Determining the Cause of a Truck Accident
Mechanical failures are only one of many causes that may lead to truck accidents. Some of the other most common causes include driver fatigue and distraction, which could cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle due to inattention or poor judgment.
Other accidents caused by mechanical failure can occur when hauling hazardous materials without proper permits or oversight, leading to punctures or the release of dangerous fumes.
How these mechanical failures occur is also a critical part of determining fault in truck lawsuits, especially when other vehicles are involved. For example, if the driver was negligent and traveled at an excessive speed rate that caused them to lose control, they are more likely responsible for injuries sustained in the crash.
Conversely, truck manufacturing companies may be held accountable for mechanical failures caused by something else, like poor maintenance or neglectful drivers who did not report repairs as they should have.
Liability Regarding Commercial Truck Mechanical Failure Causing Accidents
The commercial truck industry is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in America. This excessive regulation has caused an increase in costs for companies, which has led to a decrease in full-time employees and an increase in contracted drivers.
One flaw that often goes unnoticed is mechanical failure. Often, these accidents are not due to driver error but instead because of vehicle malfunction. So, who's liable when an accident occurs?
Many people think they're protected by their personal auto insurance policy when involved in a commercial truck accident, but this is not always true and should be looked into before assuming you will be covered under your policy.
When looking at this issue from both sides, there can be some gray areas for liability. For example, a driver may not be at fault for the accident but could still be liable for injuries because of their negligence-related behavior before or after the actual crash.
For example, a trucker who has an accident with a passenger vehicle can be charged with driving negligently if they were texting while driving up to the point of impact or fleeing the scene.
Truck owners and operators could be sued under their policy or the truck company policy where they work. However, it's important to note that your injury claim will likely be against the trucking company and not the driver if you have suffered injuries due to truck mechanical failure.
In any case, if a semi-truck injured you, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the extent of your rights.
Asserting Negligence Against Commercial Trucking Companies for Accidents Causes by the Failure to Maintain Their Motor Vehicles
Filing a negligence claim against commercial trucking companies for personal injuries can be a complicated task. However, trucking companies are often well-prepared to face litigation and have hired lawyers to deal with claims like a failure to maintain.
You must hire a lawyer who is equally prepared to enter into a legal battle with these companies. Consider whether a lawyer has extensive knowledge of the FMCSA rules and regulations and knows how to assert them in a negligence claim.
Your attorney will review maintenance logs that identify the required inspections and outline any safety issues that were not repaired to prove the negligence of every party responsible for causing your injuries.
Hiring an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney to Resolve a Truck Accident Claim
Were you injured in a truck accident or lost a family member due to a commercial truck's mechanical failure? If so, you must contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
A lawyer with experience with the laws and regulations regarding trucks and their drivers might be able to help you recover maximum compensation for injuries sustained in the crash. Additionally, if a faulty truck component caused your accident, then you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of that part.
If you would like more information about filing an injury claim for an accident involving a commercial vehicle or possibly pursuing litigation against a trucking company, please get in touch with Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to schedule an initial consultation.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with your truck accident lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship. In addition, we accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This guaranteed fee promise ensures you pay nothing until your legal issue is successfully resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial verdict.
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