Semi-Truck Accidents Caused by Mechanical Malfunctions
Truck accidents are devastating. Big rigs, commercial trucks, eighteen wheelers, they all have one thing in common: their sheer size. Because of their size and weight, stopping them isn’t easy. The force of an impact with a truck can easily shatter bones and destroy lives. From 2009 to 2017, fatal truck accidents in the United States increased by 40 percent.
Despite increases in safety measures put into place in your car and commercial trucks, this increase in truck accidents is due to several major factors. While distracted driving is one main reason so is a mechanical failure. As safety features in trucks become more widespread, so too do the complexity of the systems and mechanics in the vehicle. These systems can fail, and it’s hard to determine exactly why.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you need the services of a seasoned truck accident injury lawyer. There are many nuances involved with truck accidents which make them much more complex than everyday car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you need the services of a seasoned truck accident injury lawyer. There are many nuances involved with truck accidents which make them much more complex than everyday car accidents. You shouldn’t trust your case to just anyone.
Types of Mechanical Failures
Understanding common causes of mechanical failures in trucks can be a challenge. But doing so will help you determine who was at fault in your truck accident. Most likely, it’s more than one party, and mechanical failure causes many of these accidents.
Brakes on commercial trucks have an important job. They are stopping a large vehicle and many times, must do so quickly. A fully loaded tractor-trailer takes 20 to 40 percent farther on the road to stop than a car. But sometimes, brakes fail. In some cases, brakes fail because they weren’t properly inspected. This could mean the company servicing the brakes did not conduct a proper inspection or did not service them correctly.
Commercial trucks are also federally regulated, which means the owner of the truck could also fail to properly inspect the brakes. In this case, multiple parties are responsible for the accident and your resulting injuries.
Steering System Failure
As is the case with many private vehicles, trucks have steering systems which require regular maintenance. If the fluid was low or some other issue went unnoticed during an inspection, the company servicing the truck could be liable for your injuries.
If the truck wasn’t regularly serviced, the owner of the truck could bear liability for your injuries. Again in this instance, multiple parties are at fault for your injuries.
Truck transmissions, much like brakes, take a lot of wear and tear. Trucks have many more gears than cars do and shifting happens more frequently. If the transmission isn’t properly inspected and issues resolved timely, failures can happen which often lead to accidents.
Transmission failure also occurs when the truck is overloaded. Transmissions are rated to carry certain weights. When the driver or the owner of the truck consistently overloads the weight, that can lead to serious issues with the transmission. This, in turn, can lead to accidents.
Tire failures happen frequently. While trucks usually have several tires, they all serve an important purpose of keeping the truck in safe operating condition. But sometimes, tires fail.
Tires may blow out. When this happens, it can indicate improper air pressure. This could be the fault of the company servicing the vehicle, the owner, or the driver. Tires can also blow out because of a manufacturing issue. Here, the manufacturer is to blame for your injuries.
Whether faulty equipment or improper maintenance caused your truck accident, it’s important to remember that you didn’t cause the accident. Someone else is at fault for your injuries, and they should be the one to pay your medical bills; not you.
How to Stay Safe Around Big Rigs
Trucks are massive and intimidating vehicles. Drivers are often scared when around them. But taking action to stay safe means understanding how they operate.
Trucks have a substantial stopping distance. At highway speeds, a tractor-trailer can take over 400 feet to stop. So pulling out in front of a truck or cutting in front to make a turn are bad ideas that could lead to a rear-end collision.
Trucks also have much larger blind spots than your car. This makes it difficult for the truck driver to see you when you’re in several blind spots around the truck. Because of this, it’s also important to make sure you’re not cutting around a truck when it’s making a turn. Trucks have a wide turning radius which means they must swing way out to make a turn. If you’re trying to cut around them, you may not be seen by the driver and may get stuck in an accident.
Determining the Cause of Your Accident
Truck accidents are complex. Regular car accidents have their own nuances but tractor-trailer accidents are in a league of their own. Determining the cause is important to hold the right parties accountable for your injuries
Working with a seasoned truck accident lawyer gives you access to years of experience investigating truck accident injuries. A truck accident attorney can conduct an independent investigation, speak with witnesses and review police reports, review medical records and the mechanical history of the truck involved in your accident, and leave no stone unturned because your well-being is at stake.
There are many different ways to pursue the at-fault parties in your truck accident claim. There may be a claim for improper maintenance with the owner of the truck or the maintenance company. We determine this by looking at the truck logs, maintenance records, and inspection records. It’s also possible the owner of the truck conducted negligent hiring. To make this determination, we can review employment records, training, certifications, and past violations.
Steps to Take After Your Accident
The moments after your accident are very important, both for your safety and for the preservation of evidence. Immediately following your truck accident, take these steps:
- Call 911 – Of utmost importance is making sure you are okay. Injuries caused by truck accidents are often severe and can be life threatening. Getting seen by a medical professional as soon as possible after your accident helps to make sure your injuries are attended to immediately. This also serves the purpose of having the police create an objective report describing your accident. While the police may not assign fault, they will create a diagram showing the accident scene.
- Take pictures – One of the best ways to preserve evidence in your truck accident is to take pictures. You may not be able to because of your injuries so ask a trusted family member or loved one to take pictures of the accident scene, all the vehicles involved in the crash, and your injuries. Documenting the accident with pictures is very helpful for your personal injury lawyer to review.
- Get witness contact information – Many times, witnesses won’t stick around long enough after an accident to speak with police. If you have their contact information, the police can reach out to them later. In addition, the insurance companies will want to speak with witnesses, too.
- Inform your insurance company -Inform your insurance company that you were involved in a commercial truck accident. But do not give them a statement until you’ve spoken with a trusted personal injury lawyer first. Many people think their insurance company is there to protect them. In reality, insurance companies are in the business of making money and they don’t make money if they pay the full value of your claim.
- Keep an injury journal – Write in your journal every day. Describe how your injuries are healing, or not, and describe how you’re feeling, including your level of pain. Over time, you’ll forget how you felt on any given day and, as you get better, you’ll just recall feeling better. But it’s important to understand your daily progression through your healing process. This will also give your truck accident injury lawyer detailed information about your recovery process.
- Contact a truck accident lawyer – You deserve to have experienced personal injury lawyers fighting to protect your rights so you can get better and not have to worry about how to pay your bills.
Compensation for Your Injuries
Your injuries are likely severe, and you may be out of work temporarily or even permanently. The insurance company knows this and they will offer you a settlement and hope you are enticed by the quick cash. While you need money to pay your medical expenses, this low ball settlement offer likely won’t include compensation for future bills. We don’t want to see you suffer financial hardship for injuries you didn’t cause.
While it’s true that most personal injury claims settle out of court, look for a truck accident lawyer who is prepared to take your case all the way to trial if that’s what is necessary to get you the full compensation you deserve to get better. Only work with a truck accident attorney who won’t settle your case unless it’s right for you and your situation. Ask your truck accident lawyer if you qualify for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Future medical costs
Good truck accident lawyers can help you determine the full value of your claim and accurately estimate your future costs. You may only see the medical bills sitting on your coffee table. But you must also account for your future costs, which could include additional medical procedures. We all know these do not come cheap.
The Right Attorney Makes the Difference
Besides having experienced and skilled truck accident injury lawyers ready to serve you, we also work with accident investigators who will reconstruct your accident scene. Many lawyers don’t have the budget for this detailed and time-consuming work. Look for a lawyer who does.
Truck crashes are inherently complex. Many layers of insurance coverage and many parties are potentiallly at fault for your injuries. Holding each party responsible for their part in causing your injuries requires extensive investigation and testimony from expert witnesses. Proving that a specific part failed, like the brakes, will require knowledge from an industry expert. Because of the need for all of this investigation and expert testimony, truck accident injury cases are often extremely expensive. The average law firm has trouble footing the bill for these expenses. You will want someone who has handled thousands of commercial truck accident cases.
Most truck accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if you recover compensation, and attorneys who charge contingency fees only take cases they plan on winning.
If you have further questions involving a truck accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you decide the best path forward. to contact Dolman Law Group either call our office at (305) 676-8154 or fill out a contact form online.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1820 NE 163rd St 306
North Miami Beach, FL, 33162