DEFECTIVE TRUCK EQUIPMENT
INFORMATION AND WHAT TO DO.
Commercial trucks come with necessary pieces of equipment for smooth operation. There are lots of moving parts to hitch the trailer to the cab, tow heavy loads, and simply to keep such a large and heavy vehicle moving safely. When one component of a big rig malfunctions, it compromises the safety of the entire truck. In one study, 10% of all truck accidents experienced part failures that caused car crashes.
Trucking companies, drivers and other parties are responsible for the condition and proper maintenance of fleet vehicles. After a collision with a large truck in Louisiana, come see our truck accident attorneys at Murphy Law Firm, so we can investigate the question of defective truck equipment.
Defective Vehicle Parts and Product Liability Law
Common components can be defective are:
- Front and Rear Lights
- Steering System
- Instrument Panel
- Safety Bars
- Fuel System
Truck manufacturers must obey the highest standards of care when designing, creating, and distributing vehicle parts and fleet vehicles. The performance of each component is important to the overall operability of the rig. A single mistake during any of the manufacturing processes can result in a truck that’s unfit for the road. If a truck contains a defective part, it’s only a matter of time before something malfunctions or breaks down–and you could be the one paying the price.
Louisiana product liability laws allow injured parties to file a claim against truck manufacturing and distributing companies in the event that a defective part causes a car accident. If the truck part has a manufacturing error, design flaw, or marketing mistake that makes it defective, the rules of strict liability come into play. This means the courts will hold the manufacturing company strictly liable for injuries the defective part caused, regardless of whether the company was negligent. Otherwise, it will be up to the plaintiff to prove negligence for a successful suit.
Part Failures Due to Truck Owner Negligence
The failure of any part of a semi truck can be caused by:
- Problems in the Parts
- Errors in the Manufacturing Process
- Lack of Proper Preventative Maintenance
- Incorrect Use by the Driver
In other cases, the truck equipment comes to the vehicle in proper working condition, only to break down later due to lack of proper maintenance or poor-quality repairs. In these situations, the party in charge of truck maintenance might be liable. This could be the trucking company, the truck’s owner-operator, or the maintenance crew. There are federal laws in place that control how often companies must inspect large trucks for part failures and problems. Breaking these rules to save time and money is a major cause of part-related truck accidents in the country.
Depending on the nature of the defect or failure, various parties can be responsible for a truck wreck. These include individual truck owners, trucking companies, truck mechanics, and parts manufacturing companies.
In the past, trucking companies largely managed to avoid liability for truck accidents by hiring self-employed drivers (independent contractors) and leasing their fleet vehicles instead of owning them. In the event of a car crash, the driver would be liable for his or her own mistakes, and the actual owner of the truck would be liable for vehicle-related problems–letting the truck company off scot-free. Today, however, this is no longer the case. New rules open truck companies to liability for crashes involving their vehicles and drivers, regardless of ownership or employment status.
Fighting a truck company for an equipment-related car accident can be difficult. You need to prove what caused the truck accident, as well as the defendant’s fault, or negligence. At Murphy Law Firm you’ll work with a personal injury attorney who can collect evidence, hire expert witnesses, and submit documentation of the crash on your behalf.
For more information about your recent accident in Baton Rouge, and surrounding parishes throughout Louisiana, get in touch with one of our truck accident injury attorneys and a schedule a free consultation.