How Bad Maintenance Can Cause Commercial Truck Crashes
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August 25, 2021
Commercial truck drivers and their employers need to make sure trucks are safe to operate and have been properly maintained. If they fail to address a mechanical issue or fix problems they know about, and those problems lead to a crash, the driver, trucking company and potentially the company responsible for fixing the truck could all face some amount of liability.
While there are a wide variety of mechanical issues that could occur and lead to a crash, some are more common than others. Below, our licensed attorneys discuss these issues in detail.
If you were injured in a truck crash, you may have a valid claim for compensation. As liability for these accidents is complex, it is important to find an experienced attorney to help you build a case. Phillips Law Group has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of car crash victims over nearly 30 years serving Arizona.
Considering the size of a commercial truck, properly functioning brakes are essential for the safe operation of these vehicles. It already takes significantly more time for a commercial truck to come to a complete stop, so even a small issue with the brakes can make it harder for the driver to stop and prevent an accident.
Worn brake pads could prevent the brakes from functioning properly. Brake pads should be replaced before they wear down too much and make it more difficult for the driver to slow down or stop when he or she wants to.
Unfortunately, saving money often takes priority over making proper repairs. Some owner-operator drivers choose to disconnect the brakes on the tractor, which means the trailer brakes must do all the work of stopping the truck. This weakens the ability of the truck to slow down or stop.
Sometimes trucks suffer from brake imbalance, which means some brakes on the truck are working harder than others. This could be because of mismatched mechanical components or problems with the pneumatic system. When more air pressure is applied to some brakes compared to others, some of the brakes could lock up. When the brakes on a commercial truck lock up, the truck could skid, or the trailer could jackknife.
Drivers need to make sure their tires are properly inflated to help prevent blowouts. If a tire blows out, huge chunks of rubber could get thrown onto the road and into the path of other vehicles. Underinflated tires could begin to go flat after hitting an object.
Another problem to watch for with tires is worn down treads. When treads are worn down too far the tire does not grip the road as well as it should. This can make it harder to control the truck, particularly in rainy weather.
Sometimes truck tires are dangerous because they do not meet the minimum tread depth requirements. Sometimes trucks have mismatched tires. For example, they may mix bias and radial tires on the same axle.
Sometimes tires fail because they are defective, in which case the product manufacturer could bear liability.
Steering Equipment Malfunction
Sometimes the steering wheel is the issue and other times there are problems with the axles or other equipment that is part of the steering system (pumps, hoses, belts, etc.). Contaminated power steering fluid, worn belts, hoses with blockages and leaky hoses could all cause steering problems.
Drivers and trucking companies may try to claim they did not know about a steering issue, but the wheel tends to vibrate when there is a problem. Not knowing about a mechanical issue is often not a valid excuse for it to exist. That said, sometimes there are steering issues because of product defects. In those situations, a product manufacturer may be held liable.
Fifth Wheel Coupling
Tractor-trailers and semi-trucks have a fifth wheel coupling that joins a cab to the trailer with the freight. The mechanism needs to be secure to keep the trailer attached. If the mechanism breaks down, the trailer could break off, freight could shift around, and the trailer could jackknife.
Regular inspections should help to identify these issues before they make the truck too dangerous to drive. When issues are identified, they need to be remedied right away.
If the issues are identified but are not properly repaired, the company responsible for making the repairs may be liable for damages from a crash.
Are You the Victim of a Truck Crash? Call Phillips Law Group for Legal Help
One of the most important steps you can take after a truck crash is to call a licensed truck accident attorney in Phoenix. When a crash happens, trucking companies and their insurers quickly get to work trying to avoid accountability. You need a trusted advocate to help you build a strong case and counter the arguments being made by the defense.
Phillips Law Group has been helping motor vehicle accident victims for decades and has a proven record of success.
An initial consultation with a licensed attorney is free of charge. There are also no fees while working on your case.
Call today to learn more about how we can help. 1-800-706-3000
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