Truck Accidents

Who’s Liable for Faulty Brakes and/or Runaway Truck Trailers?

By June 22, 2017 No Comments

When a trucking accident occurs, questions of legal liability (who is at fault) will depend on the specifics of the crash and the actions that led to the accident. If a large truck is involved in an accident in Phoenix, there are several people who may have played a role in producing the collision, and who could possibly be found liable for the damages caused.

Faulty BrakesFor example, the truck driver, supervisors of the driver, maintenance technicians, and even executives of the trucking company may all be considered partially at-fault for an accident, and liable for the injuries and damages that occur. Even the manufacturer of the truck (or of certain components of the truck) may have a share of the total liability in an accident, depending on the individual facts.

Braking System Failure

Total catastrophic failure of a braking system on a commercial truck or its trailer hitches is extremely rare. These are devices that, when maintained properly, are designed to withstand extensive use. If  a crash  occurs because of the truck’s failure to brake properly, it is usually the driver’s fault, or the fault of someone else at the trucking company. In most cases, the driver is looked at first in regard to liability because they have direct control of the truck.

Hitches and brakes have to be properly maintained by the company that is responsible for the truck, or by the private contractor that owns it. If this maintenance is not done properly or performed frequently enough, then the brakes may fail in a situation where they could have been expected to have worked properly and safely. In that case, the party that is responsible for servicing and maintaining the brakes can be held liable for the consequences that resulted from their negligence: a serious accident. Additionally, hitches may break or release, resulting in the trailer “running away”. Again, in such cases, the driver may not be directly to blame for the collision, but instead it may be the manager or technician who was at fault for the accident.

When is the Trucking Company Responsible?

In order for the trucking company to be considered responsible for an accident that results because of failing brakes or a runaway trailer, there has to be proof that the company was aware of potential safety issues regarding service, maintenance, and the like and did not take appropriate action, OR that its employee or agent was the individual who created the safety issue. This can be difficult to prove, and usually, requires investigation and analysis by experts in the field. Many trucking companies pay close attention to such issues because they want to act responsibly and avoid the negative publicity and expensive lawsuits that result from these major accidents. Just one service technician failing to do his job properly can lead to a catastrophic accident – which is why commercial trucking companies are held to a high standard under the law.

Ultimately, establishing liability and responsibility for an accident that results from a runaway trailer or faulty brakes depends on the nature of the crash and the evidence of fault that can be assembled. This is why you need to hire a truck accident attorney for help. They can work to gather the needed evidence and ensure that the right person is held responsible for any damage or injuries that may have occurred as a result of the tractor trailer accident.

If you have questions about a trucking accident or need help with a recently filed lawsuit, contact Miller Kory Rowe LLP by calling 602-648-4045 today. They can help with your trucking accident case and will be by your side during every step of the process, ensuring you get the justice and compensation you need and deserve.