Mechanical failure remains one of the greatest contributing factors to trucking accidents in this country today. Two of the biggest contributing factors of mechancial failure are brake malfunctions and defective tires. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the truck driver, maintenance mechanics, the driver’s employer, and even the brake manufacturer to ensure that all drivers remain safe on the road.
If you or a loved one was involved in a serious accident involving a commercial tractor-trailer, an essential factor in any legal action is to determine which party is at fault and what duty they owed to you prior to, and during, the collision.
Defective brakes and/or under-inflated tires are usually the responsibility of one, if not all, of the following parties:
– The truck driver
Many accidents are caused by a failed tire or brake that the commercial truck driver reasonably should have noticed in the required inspections that they must perform before starting a trip. A truck driver must check the tire pressure, note the tire wear, and test the brakes before hopping into a large commercial truck for an interstate trip. If a driver fails to do any of the required pre-trip inspection tests, they may be liable for the damage caused due to the failure. If a truck driver is liable, then it is likely that the trucking company will be liable as well under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
– The company that loaded the truck
Companies have similar requirements, and must provide even further oversight with respect to their drivers and their individual responsibilities. If a truck companies knows that a driver is negligent, forgetful in his responsibilities, or has a truck that is suspected of poor performance, it is their responsibility to investigate and rectify the situation.
– The party responsible for maintaining the brakes
Many companies have independent mechanics or technicians that service the trucks and ensure they are in top working condition. If these third parties are negligent in their maintenance and inspection, they may be liable for the damages caused.
– The manufacturer of the brakes
The brake manufacturer themselves may be liable for damages caused by trucking accidents if the brakes are found to be faulty, or have a potential for causing injury.
– The manufacturer of the tires
Finally, even the manufacturer of the tires may be at fault, as tires have to comply with certain federal regulations that include stopping time and traction testing.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident it can be difficult to seek justice alone. Hiring an experienced attorney will allow you to navigate the web of players in the industry and track down the parties at fault. Effective legal representation is the first step towards recovery and retribution.