Anyone who drives, owns, services, or hires a large commercial truck undertakes a major responsibility for keeping the vehicle in safe condition. Breaching this responsibility puts the truck’s occupants and countless other motorists in danger; accidents caused by faulty maintenance or equipment lead to serious accidents and even death.
Not only for the immediate victims, but also for the protection of the general public, when a truck owner or operator flaunts safety violations, they need to be held accountable. Los Angeles truck accident lawyer Sean Salamati fights aggressively for the rights of victims of truck accidents and helps make the highways safer for others sharing the road.
Types of truck equipment failure
Federal statistics show that in 2016, nearly 4,000 people were killed in large truck accidents, and two-thirds of the victims were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. The statistics do no give thorough calculations on the number of truck accidents caused by equipment failure but they do tell us that more than 250 of the fatal accidents involved recognized vehicle-related factors and many more involved human factors that may cause or be caused by equipment failure.
In representing accident victims, we see fatal and other serious truck accidents caused by failure of just about any part of the vehicle, including:
- Trailer, including load issues
- Steering system
- Engine or transmission
Leading causes of faulty truck equipment
A truck can experience a truly defective product, such as faulty tires caused by a manufacturing flaw. More often, however, it is human error related to the truck’s maintenance, loading, or operation that is to blame.
Some of the causes of truck equipment failure include:
- Poor maintenance
- Neglecting to change worn parts
- Improper loading of cargo, including poor balance or restraint of load
- Overloading, which can lead to brake failure
- Using restraints that are too weak to prevent cargo from releasing on the road
For a vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds and traveling at highway speeds, it is crucial that each of these components perform as expected.
Liability for truck accidents caused by defective equipment
Like other traffic accidents, liability for truck crashes is determined on the basis of negligence – parties who breached a duty which resulted in the accident may be held legally responsible. Laws related to commercial carriers, however, adds another layer of complexity.
Often it is the owner or operator of the truck who is held liable for an accident. In the case of truck accidents caused by poor maintenance, it may be a third-party mechanic who is at fault. The driver might be the party who acted carelessly but often the motor carrier laws will hold the trucking company responsible for his actions.
Truck defect accidents are different from other traffic crashes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates large trucks, including tractor-trailers. Its regulations govern inspection, maintenance, and repair for these vehicles. When trucking companies, employees, or contractors fail to follow these regulations and it leads to an accident, they may be liable for the losses, including physical injuries and property damage.
Proving a claim when truck accidents are caused by defects
It is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that an accident – and the plaintiff’s injuries, property damage, and other losses, were caused by the truck equipment failure. Meeting this burden requires extensive research into the facts of the case, a thorough understanding of the safety regulations that apply to the trucking industry, an expert investigation into the precise physical causes and effects of the crash, and the ability to convey this all in a convincing way to insurance adjusters, judges, and juries.
It takes specialized knowledge and resources to prevail on a truck accident claim. Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati has an extensive record of successes in the fight for justice on behalf of truck accident victims. He has a trusted network of medical and scientific experts, along with his years of experience fighting against those who acted negligently or recklessly.
Protecting the rights of truck accident victims in Los Angeles
Whether a serious accident is caused by a truck defect, driver inattentiveness, or some other factor, its wake leaves a tremendous burden on the victims and their families. Attorney Sean Salamati understands this burden and is here to take on the responsibility of researching the facts, negotiating with insurance companies, coordinating the efforts of expert witnesses, and ultimately taking the case to trial if it becomes necessary.
We accept most personal injury claims on a contingency basis, which means clients do not owe legal fees unless and until we obtain a financial settlement or favorable verdict on their behalf. If you would like to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial review of your case, call 888-259-4060. Se habla español.
More on truck accidents caused by equipment failure:
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2015, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts-2015
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Fatality Facts: Large Trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks