When we think about truck accidents, what often comes to mind is driver error. Maybe the driver fell asleep at the wheel, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or was driving aggressively.
While driver negligence certainly happens and is the cause of far too many truck accidents, other parties can also be responsible for truck accidents, including manufacturers, maintenance companies, and trucking companies.
Each of these parties has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of semi-trucks. When they neglect their responsibilities and this negligence causes accidents, they can all be held liable for the damages caused by those accidents.
Here, we are going to take a look at a particular cause of truck accidents – truck failure – to examine how the negligence of various parties can contribute to a truck accident. The truck accident lawyers at Colombo Law can fully investigate the circumstances of the crash and build a strong case on your behalf against all liable parties.
Trucks, by nature, are dangerous vehicles. They are far different from regular passenger vehicles in many ways, most notably in weight. A fully loaded tractor-trailer weighs 80,000 pounds, whereas a typical passenger vehicle weighs only a few thousand pounds.
This is why the trucking industry is so heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency that oversees the safety of commercial vehicles. One of these regulations involves the regular maintenance of trucks, ensuring they are frequently inspected and that worn or broken parts are fixed promptly.
However, sometimes trucking companies and maintenance companies fail to uphold these regulations. They may put off a repair or neglect to perform required maintenance altogether, potentially missing a faulty braking system or an overly worn tire.
When this happens and it causes an accident, one or more parties (including the owner of the semi-truck, a maintenance provider, etc.) could be held liable for damages.
Defective Semi-Truck Parts
Semi-trucks are made up of thousands of parts, many of which come from different manufacturers. Each of these manufacturers is responsible for building products that meet industry standards for durability and safety.
The reason for this is clear. If a part breaks and it causes the truck to become uncontrollable, the results could be devastating. The stakes are simply too high for manufacturers to ignore flaws in truck parts. If they do, they may be held responsible for an accident.
Defective Design of the Semi-Truck
Sometimes, no matter how well parts are manufactured and maintained, the truck is still not safe. These types of flaws are called defective designs. This could mean that the way the truck or a part of the truck is designed makes it easier to break or cause an unnecessary hazard.
Defective designs include errors in the design of the tires, the fuel systems, or any other part of the vehicle. It may be that the material chosen for a specific part is not durable enough to withstand the rigors of heavy-duty hauling.
Identifying a defect on a semi-truck is a complicated process. It is important to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible for assistance with your claim.
Your lawyer may enlist expert mechanics, engineers, and other experts to inspect the damaged truck for design or mechanical errors that could have caused or contributed to the accident. If the investigation turns up evidence of a faulty part, the party responsible for manufacturing or improperly installing the part could be held responsible.
Failure of the Truck Driver to Inspect the Rig
Federal regulations require truck drivers to inspect the vehicle at multiple points in the course of a haul. When drivers are diligent in their inspections, the likelihood of a crucial part failing – and, as a result, an accident – is reduced.
When drivers neglect to inspect the rig, they and/or the trucking company they work for could be held liable for accidents caused by the unnoticed problem. Trucking companies can share the blame because they are required to ensure their drivers are properly trained. Failing to do so creates a dangerous, unnecessary hazard for other drivers on the road.
Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Although driver negligence is a leading factor in truck accidents, it is important not to overlook other elements that may have caused the crash. Multiple parties may be liable for issues such as negligent maintenance, defective parts, and failure to inspect the truck. This complex liability may create additional avenues for compensation of your damages, but it also makes your claim more complicated.
If you have been hit by a truck, it is important to hire an experienced team. Colombo Law has been handling complex trucking accident claims for over 20 years, winning millions of dollars in results for our clients. We thoroughly investigate each semi-truck accident to identify all of the liable parties.
Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a free consultation. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.