When Truck Defects Are to Blame for Your Injuries

When Truck Defects Are to Blame for Your InjuriesEvery motor vehicle has the potential to be involved in deadly collisions. We accept these risks every time we get behind the wheel or even in the passenger seat, and we have developed safety methods and preventative practices to help avoid as many accidents as possible. Aside from teaching new drivers the ways of the road, manufacturers themselves work to mitigate as many possible issues as they can before releasing a vehicle, whether by simply having sturdy seatbelts and plentiful airbags or adding driver-assist technology, but even they cannot and do not think of everything.

Sometimes, parts fail. Designs backfire. Features disappoint. Perhaps brakes seize on the highway or airbags don’t deploy. Maybe everything works correctly but something key is missing or neglected. Even driver-assist isn’t perfect; what if it merges you into another lane? When this happens in passenger vehicles, the results are dangerous enough. When it happens in a large commercial vehicle like a tractor-trailer, though, the accident is that much likelier to have a tragic end.

How can defective parts cause catastrophic truck accidents?

While driver error is the main contributor to car and truck accidents nationwide, it isn’t the only way they can happen. In fact, the driver might not be doing anything wrong behind the wheel at all. Trucks typically drive thousands upon thousands of miles from coast to coast and this means the machinery behind them not only needs to work as perfectly as possible, it also needs frequent maintenance and inspection. Unlike passenger vehicles, key equipment like tires and braking systems wear down quicker and break easier — if they’re not faulty from the start.

If an 18-wheeler cannot brake, control their tires, or shift gears on the highway, it is all too easy to see how things can go terribly wrong.Unfortunately, it happens frequently enough to make defective parts a common cause of truck accidents. Of course, blame isn’t solely on the manufacturer. Even if the truck driver wasn’t behaving recklessly behind the wheel, if they neglected routine maintenance and inspections, they still contributed to the collision. Truckers often operate on busy schedules and face high amounts of pressure to make deliveries on time, but there are still legal requirements they must meet to safely be on the road.

Many tire defects could have been caught and fixed with proper oversight. There are multiple parties behind actually getting a truck driving and making deliveries, and each and every single one of them needs to do their job meticulously and safely. Not only do truck accidents resulting from these issues frequently take innocent lives, they leave survivors with lifelong, catastrophic injuries such as:

Even something as simple as not having guard rails on a truck is a  decision , that could  take someone else’s life.

An increase in truck recalls shows hidden dangers

When a manufacturer discovers a dangerous defect or unforeseen consequence of the design of one of their vehicles, they are meant to issue a recall to get those vehicles off the roads. Because of something called product liability, they are responsible for their product and are therefore responsible for any repairs their product may need. Furthermore, they have a duty to warn potential customers of any potential risks they could face, and a duty to figure out if the defect is a one-off from the factory or a flaw in the design itself.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration helps hold manufacturers accountable by enforcing those recalls when needed to avoid as many accidents as possible. While it is undoubtedly good these vehicles get returned and fixed, a large number of recalls may indicate even more defects lurk under the surface and just haven’t been discovered yet. Ideally, manufacturers would put the safety of innocent people before finances, but recalls cost them money and reputation so they may be loathe to do it. In 2022, hundreds of thousands of trucks were recalled due to defective parts or designs. It makes one wonder — which ones WEREN’T recalled, but should have been? And how many accidents happened before the recall went out?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know.There may be hidden risks  present on any truck, and how many may only be discovered the hard way. Commercial trucks aren’t the only victims of defective parts, either. Terrifyingly enough, a fire truck was recently recalled for being unable to pump water. The dangers of that need no further explanation.

Proving fault in a truck accident

Because of the sheer difference in size between trucks and almost any other vehicle on the road, it is usually not the truck drivers who face the most serious injuries after an accident. While the overall number of truck accidents fluctuates from year to year and can be based on a multitude of factors, one of the only constants is that those outside of the truck, whether in a passenger vehicle or on a bike or walking, are far likelier to be catastrophically injured or killed after colliding with one. An accident due to a lack of underride guardrails on a truck is only one of many.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a truck accident, you deserve to know there are options available to you, no matter how complicated the case may seem. It is true that truck accident cases are more complicated than standard vehicle collisions because so many parties can potentially be held liable, but there are ways to investigate and find out the truth — no matter who does or doesn’t cooperate. Maybe the product was defective AND the employer doesn’t train employees or enforce routine maintenance AND the truck driver was reckless and negligent.

When you hire a skilled truck accident attorney, they not only comb through your medical documents and case file, they also seek out evidence by obtaining the truck’s black box, a key element to determining fault, and interviewing their own leads. Their job is to make sure you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Whether one party is liable or several, they can find out and pursue them accordingly. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to  a large settlement without needing litigation, but  your attorney can and will litigate on your behalf if needed. After such a traumatic experience, you should be focusing on your own recovery and rest — but you still deserve compensation for every medical bill, lost paycheck, pain and suffering, and everything your accident has caused you to lose. Please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC through this contact form or by calling our office.