Truck Mechanical Failures

Truck Mechanical Failures

Tractor-trailers are big, heavy, and complicated vehicles that can cause horrifying damage in motor vehicle accidents. The law requires that owners keep commercial trucks well maintained and safe for the road, but carriers may choose profits over expensive repairs.

That’s why some companies don’t maintain their vehicles properly, potentially leading to truck mechanical failures that cause severe accidents. These severe accidents can seriously injure other motorists with head injuries, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, burns, amputations, etc.

If you suffered an injury due to a commercial truck because of mechanical failures, you can recover compensation in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Experienced truck accident attorneys know how to determine fault in these complex scenarios and hold the liable parties accountable.

Don’t hesitate to contact a truck accident attorney in your area today for a complimentary consultation. They can assess what caused your crash and advise on your legal options.

If the lawyer believes you have a valid claim, they can immediately begin preserving evidence of liability, so you can seek the compensation you deserve.

Why Trucking Companies Don’t Maintain Their Vehicles

Just like all businesses, truckers and trucking companies want to make money. They may try so hard to make a profit that they fail to maintain their rigs correctly. To make on-time deliveries, truck drivers may keep rigs on the road instead of maintaining them according to federal law.

Some of the most common parts that are not always maintained and may cause truck mechanical failures are:

  • Lights: Dim headlights make it harder for the driver to see other vehicles and make the truck hard to see.
  • Suspension: A truck with a poorly maintained suspension can be harder to control and cause a severe crash. For example, the trucker can lose control on a curve or in evasive maneuvers if the suspension is worn or malfunctioning.
  • Fuel system: If the fuel system isn’t working right, fuel leaks can occur in an accident.
  • Windshield and wipers: Cracked windshields and worn wipers make visibility challenging, possibly causing severe accidents.
  • Tires: Tires that are old or worn on trucks may fail or lose traction.
  • Brakes: Big trucks have air brakes that are supposed to stop heavy vehicles, but if they are not maintained, they also do not work. The truck can take longer to stop, which can lead to a severe or fatal crash.

After a truck accident with injuries, one of the first things that should be looked at is the truck’s condition. Any parts or systems in disrepair can prove fault in the truck accident.

Your truck crash attorney will want to see the truck’s condition and maintenance records. If the truck wasn’t properly maintained and the crash occurred, you can receive compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

Tractor-Trailer Inspection Requirements

Truckers and their employers are responsible for ensuring their rigs are safe. Safety accountability always starts with the carrier.

Federal law states that trucking companies must carefully inspect, repair, and maintain their rigs, per 49 CFR 396.3. Trucking companies may not put trucks on the road unless all vehicle parts and accessories are safe and in working order.

Trucking companies are also required to maintain careful maintenance and inspection records for 16 months after the truck is no longer in their control.

Also, workers inspecting trucks have to meet tough standards set by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Truck safety inspectors must complete a state or federal training regimen that teaches them how to maintain commercial trucks safely.

Also, all truck drivers must inspect their vehicles before taking them on the road and after the trip is over.

A commercial truck is not allowed to be on the road unless the trucker is sure the following systems are functioning:

  • TiresTractor-Trailer Inspection
  • Horn
  • Wipers
  • Wheels and rims
  • Parking brake
  • Service brakes
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Coupling devices
  • Steering system

It is not just the trucker or their employer that can be liable in a truck accident involving truck maintenance or parts. If the parts manufacturer made a part that failed or was improperly designed, you can sue them after a truck accident. A truck accident attorney can help with a product liability claim.

Tractor-Trailer Repair Regulations

Any defective party found on the truck that affects safety must be repaired before driving on public roads. Truckers also must maintain a log of their vehicle inspections.

However, many drivers spend only five minutes or less going over the vehicle before driving. Such a short inspection can have tragic consequences in a severe accident.

Generally, defective or worn tires are the most common truck part flaw that leads to severe and fatal accidents.

FMCSA states that no commercial truck can be driven on a tire when the belt shows through the sidewall or tread.

The federal government also says no tractor-trailer can be driven on tires with under 4/32 on the front wheels and under 2/32 of an inch on the back wheels. If the tires are too worn, a truck accident attorney will find out and hold the carrier liable for their negligence.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common causes of defective truck parts that cause severe accidents:

Defective Truck Brakes

The NHTSA routinely focuses investigations on truck brakes because if they fail, the resulting accident can be deadly. Last year, NHTSA investigated 500,000 trucks that had a certain type of brake chamber due to a risk that trucks could catch fire during heavy braking.

But more often than not, defective brakes on trucks are simply because of improper maintenance or part defects. One of the most common issues in truck crashes is brake fade, where the shoes and drum separate because of brake overheating.

Also, an imbalance in the brakes can make the liners break down faster. When brakes fade or are imbalanced, stopping is harder, possibly leading to jackknife accidents.

Hydraulic Power System

A truck’s hydraulic power system features a motor, sump, valves, actuators, and fluid for the hydraulics. The system is designed to transfer the engine’s power and reduce the mechanics’ complexity.

Replacing the hydraulic power system can be expensive, especially for a smaller trucking company. However, failing to maintain the hydraulic power system can be dangerous.

A truck that slows suddenly on the highway and stops moving can cause a terrible accident. This problem also can lead to the trucker losing control of the rig and careening out of control into other vehicles.

The risks related to hydraulic system failure are so severe that there have been recalls of tractor-trailers in the past. For example, Daimler Trucks North America recalled 122,000 trucks because of a possible break in battery terminal cables. A total loss of power to the hydraulic power system is possible if a battery terminal cable breaks.

Defective Steering

A defective or malfunctioning steering system is another common parts and maintenance problem that may lead to severe crashes. Damaged and worn ball joints can make it difficult for the truck driver to turn the steering wheel.

The trucker can lose control of the truck and cannot safely turn or change lanes. A related problem in the steering system is the power steering. Hydraulic pumps can leak steering fluid if hoses wear out.

Coupling Malfunction

With a two-part motor vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, there is always the chance that the coupling device that connects the tractor and trailer can fail.

A catastrophic accident can occur if this part breaks or malfunctions, especially at highway speeds. This is why the federal government requires safety devices to reduce the chances of a coupling malfunction. The trucking or maintenance company can be liable if the coupling devices fail and cause an accident.

Why Hiring A Truck Accident Attorney Is Critical

Why Hiring A Truck Accident Attorney Is CriticalMost truck accidents cause serious injuries. These vehicles are much bigger and heavier than regular vehicles.

You or your passengers can have head trauma, spinal injuries, internal injuries, neck and back trauma, broken bones, amputations, burns, and more. You need an attorney to prove who was at fault and hold them accountable.

However, the trucking company may try to make it harder to prove who was at fault. One of the first things a truck crash attorney will do is contact the carrier and tell them to keep any evidence that can matter for the investigation.

It isn’t unusual for a trucking company to destroy incriminating evidence. Vital evidence can disappear if you don’t retain a lawyer fast after the truck crash. Your attorney will ensure that any critical evidence is preserved for your case.

The carrier will send representatives to the crash scene when a truck crash happens. They will investigate what happened, obtain evidence, and do anything to reduce the lawsuit’s chances.

Protect yourself and your family by hiring an experienced truck crash attorney. If any physical evidence can prove what happened and why, your attorney will find it. Mechanical defects and truck part failures often cause these severe accidents.

Your truck accident attorney will investigate the vehicle’s history, data log, maintenance record, and black box data. Your lawyer and their expert witnesses must thoroughly study this information.

This evidence can prove that the truck’s maintenance was deficient and that this negligence led to the accident. Your attorney may argue that the maintenance company should pay you damages for your injuries and additional losses.

Proving trucker or carrier negligence is challenging and will require a careful review of the accident, the truck, the driver’s record, and maintenance information.

A skilled truck accident lawyer will contact the trucking firm immediately and get started on the accident and vehicle investigation. You should never attempt to do these things on your own.

Only a skilled truck accident attorney can handle a large carrier’s insurance adjusters and attorneys. Doing it yourself will always result in a smaller settlement than you could have gotten with your attorney’s help.

How a Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You Receive Compensation

You can receive compensation if the truck accident attorney can prove that someone’s negligence caused the accident. The negligence can be due to a defective part, improper maintenance, or driver error. In problems with the truck itself, the parts manufacturer and maintenance company are often responsible.

Some of the damages you can be paid in a defective parts or poor truck maintenance claim are:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Future costs of medical care and rehabilitation

When facing a truck accident case or improper maintenance, choosing a lawyer with experience in truck and defective parts claims is important.

Large and powerful insurance companies and law firms represent trucking and parts manufacturing companies. Their goal is to save money for corporations, not compensate injured accident victims.

You need to have a skilled lawyer at your side to get the most compensation from the liable defendants. You will unlikely receive fair compensation for your losses if you don’t have an attorney. Insurers and trucking companies know how to take advantage of unrepresented accident victims, trying to offer as little as possible to settle the claim.

With the right legal representation, you do not have to worry about accepting less than you deserve. Your truck accident lawyer will fight for every penny you need to cover your losses.

Speak to Trusted Truck Accident Attorneys Today

Truck Accident Attorney, Mickey Fine

Mickey Fine, Truck Accident Lawyer

Getting in a truck crash and suffering serious injuries can be extremely stressful and devastating. If truck mechanical failures caused the truck crash, the trucker or their employer might be liable for your damages.

You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get the most in your settlement, so speak to a law firm near you today. You don’t pay any out-of-pocket legal costs; the legal consultation is free.