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Defective Parts: A Hidden Cause of Alabama Truck Crashes

April 27, 2021

It’s easy, as we’re driving down any road, to blame other drivers for everything from no turn signal to a serious accident. Often, carelessness, inattention, and even rudeness are in fact to blame for these issues.

However, there’s another, less obvious cause of traffic trouble: defective truck parts. Defective or poorly maintained parts can cause serious trouble and play a prominent role in truck crashes.

This post will explain how improperly working truck parts can influence crashes and resulting insurance and legal issues. We’ll also show how an experienced Alabama truck crash attorney can help you navigate the more complicated aspects of these cases.

Defective Truck Parts Impact Crashes, Claims, and Legal Outcomes

According to a study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 141,000 large trucks were involved in fatal and injury crashes over a 33-month period. Of those, nearly 50,000 had brake or tire problems associated with the cause of the crash.

In Alabama alone in 2019, 417 out of 10,486 truck crashes involved defective truck equipment.

These are only two examples of how defective truck parts can affect the safety of our roadways. Such factors are important to any insurance claim or legal case as they place at least some of the blame with those who operate, own, and maintain the truck.

Manufacturers, Distributors, and Retailers May Be Liable for Defective or Dangerous Parts and Products

When defective braking systems, tires, seatbelts, or other vehicle parts contribute to a crash, you may have a product liability claim against the companies that designed, built, distributed, and sold these products. You can (and should) file these personal injury claims in addition to your claims against the negligent truck driver and trucking company.

To win compensation in a product liability claim, you’ll need to prove that the company was negligent when it designed or manufactured the part. This typically requires hiring experts, like engineers and accident reconstruction specialists, to determine the precise causes of the truck wreck and the errors made during the part’s design or manufacture.

You’ll also need physical evidence—the truck parts themselves. However, it’s common for trucking companies to throw out damaged parts when they’re repairing trucks. Your personal injury lawyer must act quickly to preserve this evidence—so don’t wait to call a lawyer.

Don’t Ignore Possible Negligent Maintenance Claims

Sometimes, a damaged part wasn’t improperly designed or manufactured. Instead, the trucking company used it for too long. Truck drivers and commercial trucking companies must regularly inspect their vehicles and maintain them. In fact, they must keep detailed maintenance logs under the federal trucking rules.

However, just like damaged parts, truckers only need to keep these logs for a limited time. If you don’t preserve this evidence, you might lose out on valuable compensation and weaken your legal claims.

RELATED: What Caused My Truck Wreck? Find Out From the Black Box

Look Out for the 5 Most Common Truck Part Defects

When you or a loved one suffered life-changing injuries in a truck wreck, you want to hold every negligent party accountable and get the compensation you deserve. This might include filing claims against multiple parties and working with experts to prove your case—and Andy Citrin wants to help.

Certain truck parts and systems are more likely to be defective due to poor manufacturing, maintenance, or design:

Brake Systems

Brakes should be regularly inspected, including checking the hoses and lines for correct fit and drum brakes for overheating or cracks. If warning signs like screeching, fluid leaks, vibrations, and dash alerts are ignored by the driver, company or mechanic, a loss of brake control could be fatal.

Tires

Truck tire blowouts can be sudden and disastrous. Tires should be matched to ensure the truck handles properly. Over/under inflation, worn tread, cracks and cuts can all lessen a driver’s ability to keep full control.

Hydraulics and Steering

Defective ball joints, power steering pump, tie rods, hydraulic lines, or steering gear will all make it harder for the driver to control the direction of the massive truck.

If something, even a minor collision, triggers the hydraulics unexpectedly, the truck bed can move. Depending how high it goes and what’s on it, the outcome could be fatal.

Visibility

It goes without saying that a truck driver needs to see clearly and other drivers need to see the truck. Even slightly defective windshield wipers allow water, debris, and other residue to obscure visibility.

Burned out or dimmed lighting makes is harder for drivers to see the road and for other drivers to see the truck. The truck should also have reflective tape to catch other headlights. If the tape is placed incorrectly or worn from time, it will be less effective.

Component Placement

Rear underride guards keep other vehicles from going under the truck in a rear-end collision. If they aren’t up to code, smaller cars could end up dangerously stuck.

Side-saddled fuel tanks, because of their placement in the truck, are far more likely to explode in a collision. A good lawyer knows how to find out if the truck had this kind of fuel tank.

RELATED: What if My Seatbelt Fails in a Crash?

Experienced Lawyers Root Out Hidden Causes

Crashes involving large trucks are far more complicated than other car crashes. Not only can trucks do more damage with their size and weight – as commercial vehicles they fall under the responsibility of multiple people and entities.

Working with an experienced truck crash attorney means you’ll be able to uncover all the causes of a crash, from driver fatigue and distraction to improper loading to under-maintained equipment and parts. We want to hold every at-fault party accountable and get you the compensation you deserve.

A good truck crash lawyer knows:

  • How to quickly preserve evidence, like defective or poorly maintained truck parts, telematic or GPS data, and maintenance logs, so you can prove your product liability claims.
  • That truck insurance companies try to get victims to accept low-ball, lump sum settlements. Further, because the policies are so huge, defendants will try to blame to victims to keep costs down.
  • The specific requirements and higher standards to which truck drivers and companies are held, and how to use them to quickly preserve evidence like truck inspection records.
  • Who may be included as a negligent party, including the truck driver, truck owner, trucking company, parts manufacturers, mechanics, freight owners, and other drivers.
  • How to negotiate for economic and non-economic damages, which can be significant considering the massive damage trucks can do. Punitive damages may also come into play.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Can Represent You After a Crash with an 18-Wheeler Truck

If you or someone you love has been in a large truck-related crash, you deserve the knowledge and representation of an Alabama truck crash attorney. Andy Citrin’s team is made up of litigators and investigators with years of experience with 18-wheeler truck crash cases, and we’re ready to take on your case.

Put our record of success to work for you. To schedule your free consultation and learn about your options with our lawyers, call (251) 888-8888 or complete the contact form on our website today.

References

2019 Crash Facts (2020). Alabama Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.caps.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CrashFacts_2019.pdf

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief (2007, July). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

 

 

 

 

 

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