Did a Defective Truck Part Cause a Crash, Injuring You?
Due to the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks, collisions involving these trucks often cause more damage to other vehicles and their passengers than might occur in a car-on-car accident. For this reason, it is critical to determine what caused the wreck, and who to hold financially responsible for the devastation.
Often times, big rig collisions in North Carolina can be traced back to defective equipment. Federal regulations mandate that commercial trucks be maintained to certain standards for the safety of the truck’s driver and the general public. Not only is regular maintenance required, but inspections must be coordinated to maintain an acceptable level of safety. When these requirements are not met, defective parts are not discovered and replaced until they cause a crash.
Common Defective Equipment on Trucks
As complex as today’s cars have become, large trucks are even more complex and require more maintenance to remain functional. Not only do trucks require more safety systems and features due to their size, but they also cause more wear and tear on equipment than a standard passenger vehicle, which makes regular maintenance critical for everyone’s safety.
Some of the truck parts and systems that can fail and cause an accident include:
- Tires: Worn-out or defective tires are common on commercial trucks because of the massive weight they carry and the number of miles they are driven. Tire separation and tire blowouts occur regularly, as evidenced by the remnants of tires on highways across the state.
- Brakes: Brakes receive a great deal of wear because of the extensive mileage put on commercial trucks. As the brakes wear down, the stopping distance needed for these huge trucks increases and can easily be the cause of a major accident. Malfunctioning brakes can also increase the stopping distance or eliminate the driver’s ability to stop the truck at all.
- Broken mirrors and faulty windshield wipers: Both of these are relatively inexpensive parts on a commercial truck, but they are critical to its safe operation. If a trucker has impaired vision, it can result in collisions that cause serious injury to innocent victims.
- Broken or malfunctioning lights: Having no lights on a commercial truck can make it difficult for the driver to see, as well as for other drivers to be able to see the truck.
- Malfunctioning or broken turn signals: Can also be the cause of a preventable accident.
- Steering defects: With the average weight of a semi being 35,000 pounds, it is easy to see why steering is critical. Being able to maintain control of that immense weight rests on the ability to steer the rig. Even a small failure of the assist mechanism can make controlling a truck almost impossible.
- Defective straps: Worn-out tie-downs and straps are some of the most common causes of accidents involving trucks. These inexpensive pieces hold the load in place, keeping it from spilling onto the road or the vehicles surrounding the flatbed truck. Worn or damaged straps can be the cause of a truck spill, or a shifting load that causes the truck to rollover when turning.
There are many factors to take into consideration when determining who is at fault for defective truck equipment. In some cases, the manufacturer of the part is completely responsible, while other cases find the owner of the truck shared in the responsibility because of improper maintenance or irregular maintenance schedules. All of this is complicated by the trucking industry’s aggressive defense of its own liability, no matter how apparent the evidence seems.
The decades of experience found at Rhine Law Firm, P.C., are exactly what you need to navigate a trucking accident claim. Our skilled team will work diligently to secure the compensation that you deserve for your injuries and other losses as a result of a Wilmington truck wreck. Call (910) 772-9960 to schedule your free initial consultation today.
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