If you’ve been in an accident with a semi truck, it’s good to understand the most common causes of mechanical failure in order to figure out who might potentially be responsible for the crash – and liable for any injury to yourself and damage to your vehicle.
Truck braking systems are regulated by the federal government, and truck companies are required to test their vehicles regularly to make sure they meet the standard. If you were in an accident where a semi truck was unable to brake sufficiently to avoid hitting your vehicle, you may have a valid claim against either the manufacturer of the brakes or the truck company who was supposed to maintain the vehicle.
In some cases, it’s simple driver error that caused the accident. Truck drivers sometimes depower the front brakes and rely solely on the rear brakes and downshifting to slow the vehicle. This strategy can save wear and tear on the brakes, and a good driver can usually brake sufficiently using these methods – always assuming, of course, that nothing unexpected happens, which is so frequently the case at high speed. Drivers are not legally allowed to drive with the front brakes disengaged. Visit our truck accidents caused by brake failure page.
Trucks are required to get proper routine maintenance, so any problems with the steering should be noticed and rectified well before they get bad enough to cause an accident. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When the steering fails, the truck is unable to maneuver properly around obstacles or to avoid collisions, which can cause an accident.
If the steering has failed, again, your liable culprits may be the manufacturer of the steering mechanism, the company who failed to do routine maintenance, or the truck driver disobeying the standard rules of the road. If a truck driver consistently drives with a heavier load than he should, the truck entire mechanical system is forced to handle more weight than it was designed for. The steering can be damaged if it is forced to maneuver an over-loaded truck for too long.
Transmissions are perhaps most susceptible to the wear and tear caused by ignoring the regulations for weight and proper loading. When a truck is overloaded, the transmission is overworked on hills and steep grades, and burns through far more quickly than it should. Truck transmissions are designed to handle a great deal of weight, but going over the recommended loading weight will burn through a transmission before its time.
Since transmissions are also checked on a regular maintenance schedule, it’s entirely possible for a semi to burn through a brand-new transmission in far less time than it should, which means that it could fail before the truck company is required to perform proper maintenance. In this case, the company or the truck driver is still liable for the failure, since the overloading and excessive wear on the transmission caused the failure.
If you’ve been a semi accident with a truck that had a mechanical failure of any kind, you’ll want a lawyer on your side who can determine the cause and who is at fault. Reach out to us at Appel Law Firm LLP.