There are many potential causes of commercial truck accidents, from truck driver fatigue, alcohol or substance abuse, and distracted driving behaviors. However, one possible cause of a truck crash that is not always talked about is poor truck maintenance. When a vehicle has not been regularly inspected or repaired when needed, the result can be horrendous truck crashes with catastrophic and fatal results.
When a trucking company fails to maintain their vehicles and a truck crashes because of that failure, Virginia law says that the trucking company can be held legally liable for any losses victims suffer because of the crash. The following is a brief overview of this issue. For more detailed information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to speak with one of our Virginia truck accident lawyers.
Commercial truck accidents are often significantly more catastrophic than passenger vehicle accidents because of the massive size and weight of these vehicles. This is why trucking accidents often cause injuries that leave victims permanently disabled or are so severe they are unable to survive. This is one reason why it is critical for trucking companies to conduct regular inspections and make sure their fleet is properly maintained.
Some of the more common types of mechanical failures that cause truck accidents include:
- Brake Issues: When a commercial truck is carrying full cargo, the total weight of that vehicle can reach 80,000 pounds. Under the best of circumstances, it can take that vehicle needs approximately 200 yards in order for the airbrake system to bring the truck to a complete stop. When there is an issue with any part of that braking system, it may take even longer for the vehicle to stop. National data reveals that brake system issues are a factor in about 30 percent of all truck crashes.
- Tire Blowouts: Another common mechanical failure that contributes to truck accidents are tire blowouts. Both the trucking company and the driver operating the truck should do regular inspections of all the tires on a truck to make sure that there are no signs of wear and tear. Tires should be rotated and replaced when needed. The tire pressure should also be regularly checked since both overinflated and underinflated tires can cause severe accidents. In some cases where tires were a factor in a crash, it is a defect related to the manufacturing of the tire that was the cause.
- Failure of the Steering System: All large trucks have either electric or hydraulic steering systems. If the power steering system fails, the truck driver will have a very difficult time driving and maneuvering the truck.
- Broken Suspension: The suspension system on a truck is what cushions the driver and his or her cargo from all the bumps and ruts on the roads. This system includes the steering system, joints, shocks, springs, and wheel linkages. If any component of this system becomes damaged, the truck can end up in a devastating crash.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, contact a skilled Virginia truck accident attorney to find out what your legal options may be against the at-fault party or parties responsible for the accident. Truck accidents often involve claims against multiple parties and can be more complex than other types of vehicle accident claims. The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has successfully represented many clients who were truck accident victims and will aggressively fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.