Truck Accidents Caused by Poor Maintenance and Defective Equipment
Most fatal truck accidents occur in rural areas, so it is not surprising that Texas and California lead the nation in the number of fatal truck accidents each year. More than 400 people are killed every year in trucking crashes in Texas.
More than 8,000 people were injured in Texas truck accidents in 2008. That sad statistic translates into 8,000 lives forever changed by serious injuries such as brain damage, spinal cord injury, compound fractures and disfiguring burns. What makes these numbers tragic is that the majority of these accidents were avoidable.
Was The Truck Improperly Maintained? We Can Help.
At the Houston law office of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, we have been fighting for the rights of truck accident victims since 1951. Our board-certified personal injury lawyers work tirelessly to investigate each truck crash case. We identify all possible sources of financial recovery so our clients get the money they need.
If you have been in a trucking accident caused by improper maintenance or defective equipment, talk to an Houston accident attorney today. Call 713-396-3964 (toll free 800-594-4884) or contact us online.
The Effects Of Poor Truck Maintenance And Defective Truck Equipment
Trucking companies are required to keep maintenance logs and inspection records and to ensure that interstate semis and local commercial vehicles are operating properly. Poor maintenance can contribute to:
- Brake failure
- Steering equipment malfunction
- Tire failure
- Trailer problems, including issues with safe transport of freight
Operating a truck that is overweight or overloaded or one in which the cargo is improperly balanced or poorly restrained can put even more strain on weakened equipment. For example, a truck that is overweight may experience brake failure while trying to slow down suddenly. A weak or defective restraint can break, allowing the load to fall on cars beside or behind the truck.
At Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, our team is trained to recognize the difference between poorly maintained trucks and defective equipment. Though regular maintenance may be performed and precautions taken, defective equipment will sabotage many safety efforts. Whether the problem is defective tires, faulty underride bars, faulty gears in cement trucks or faulty restraints on logging trucks, our thorough investigation will uncover the facts.
- Failure To Maintain Trailer
Given that poor maintenance is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, expectations concerning the maintenance of trailers are highly regulated by the federal government. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to routinely inspect their vehicles and perform maintenance to address any potential problems. When proper safety is in place, accidents can be prevented. When safety measures are ignored, innocent people can be put at risk.
If you were injured in a vehicular collision involving a commercial van or truck such as an 18-wheeler or another delivery vehicle, it is never too early to obtain an experienced attorney. Often, trucking companies will begin investigations shortly after an accident, and their insurance companies will want injured victims to make statements. Do not make a recorded statement! This could severely restrict the compensation you will be able to pursue. Instead, contact us.
Investigations of tractor-trailer accidents routinely uncover problems with truck maintenance such as:
- Tire blowouts and shredded tires
- Brake failure
- Lack of reflective tape
- Broken taillights
- Failure to install blind spot mirrors
- Defective couplings
- Defective air brakes
- Poor Truck Tire Maintenance
Many trucking accidents are caused by defective tires or tire problems that are the result of poor truck maintenance. It is easy to see the debris left after a semi-truck tire blowout. Long, heavy strips of tire litter the roadway, but what isn’t always seen are the accidents and injuries that tire failures cause.
Tread Separation and Other Common Causes
The most common causes of tire failure on semi trucks are:
- Defective tires: When tire manufacturers sell defective truck tires, these tires may blow out or malfunction in a way that causes an accident. Tire manufacturers can be held accountable for defective products that result in serious injuries.
- Failure to maintain tires: Trucking companies and their drivers have a responsibility to properly and regularly inspect and maintain tires. If tires aren’t properly inflated or if potential problems need to be fixed, it puts all drivers on the road at risk. A tire that is worn or damaged may fail as a blowout and result in loss of control of the vehicle. Tread wear, air leakage, and tread and sidewall damage are all indicators of deterioration and simple fixes that are ignored can result in accidents.
- Other mistakes made by trucking companies include using tires that fail to meet minimum tread depth requirements, mounting mismatched tire sizes, and mixing bias and radial tires on the same axle.
- Brake Maintenance Failure
When brakes malfunction and a serious accident results, a variety of parties — either alone or in combination — may be responsible for the error. This includes the driver, the trucking company, the maintenance company and the brake manufacturer. For those who have been injured as a result of brake failure, it is important for an attorney to determine who was at fault and who should be held liable for providing compensation.
The federal government has strict regulations on the braking systems of semi trucks and other commercial vehicles. Trucks must be able to develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s weight), decelerate at a rate specific to its size and meet automatic brake adjustment system requirements.
If brakes do not meet these standards due to poor manufacturing or poor design, an accident victim may have a claim against the manufacturer. If trucking companies or drivers did not properly inspect and/or maintain brakes, they, too, may be held liable for damage caused in truck accidents.
Contact Our Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers
There are many causes of trucking accidents. Driver error, speeding, fatigue and negligence play a role in many crashes. But poor truck maintenance and trucking equipment failure due to defects can also play a part in causing or contributing to crashes. In cases of trucks carrying hazardous materials (like oil tankers), containment problems can also cause serious injury.
Though you may be grieving the loss of loved ones or recovering from significant injury, it is important to get legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights. For a free consultation, call 713-396-3964 (toll free 800-594-4884) or contact us online. You will pay attorney’s fees only if we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.