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Defective Equipment and Truck Accidents

How Common is it for Defective Parts to Cause Accidents?

The failure of equipment on a tractor-trailer or other large truck headed down a Texas highway creates a situation that can be extremely dangerous to anyone in the truck’s path. A truck that is suddenly out of a truck driver’s control can plow into other vehicles or run off the road into nearby structures. A truck that suddenly breaks down and stops can cause a pileup.

The landmark “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cited vehicle failure as a factor in 33.1 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving a heavy truck and a passenger vehicle, and 29.4 percent of all truck accidents.

Our Lawyers Can Help

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident caused by defective equipment, an independent investigation of the crash will be necessary to determine who among several parties may potentially be held liable for your losses. At Kraft & Associates, P.C., our legal team investigates and litigates all types of truck accidents, including those caused by defective equipment.

Let the law offices of Kraft & Associates, P.C., advise you about your rights after a truck accident. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff who are easy to talk to. Please call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online.

Liability and Defective Parts & Systems on Trucks

The FMCSA regulates the use of commercial motor vehicles on U.S. highways as a means to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA regulations set out the parts and accessories necessary for safe operation of trucks and other commercial motor vehicles, and detail how truck parts and systems are to be inspected and inspection records are to be maintained.

The FMCSA also says in its regulations that every motor carrier (trucking company), its officers, drivers, agents, representatives and employees who are directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of commercial motor vehicles and equipment must be knowledgeable of and comply with rules for vehicles’ inspection, repair and maintenance.

In short, trucking companies and their employees are responsible for the safe operation of the trucks and all component parts that they put on the road. Safety should be ensured by inspecting and maintaining truck parts and systems. In addition, the manufacturers of truck parts, components and systems are legally responsible for the safety of products they sell to consumers, including businesses.

If a truck accident has been caused by the failure of the truck or its parts, components or systems, the carrier, distributor or manufacturer may be liable for accident victims’ injuries and other losses. The failure of a truck’s parts, systems, etc., could be a maintenance issue, which would likely make the carrier responsible. But if the failure was caused by a defect that was there from the start, a product liability claim may seek to hold the manufacturer and distributor accountable.

Common Defects in Commercial Truck Equipment

The FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study says the most frequent mechanical or equipment failure found in 967 truck crashes across the nation was degraded braking capability, followed by cargo shift, and brake, tire or wheel failures. Other common defective equipment problems frequently identified in truck crashes include:

  • Steering failure.
  • Trailer attachment (coupling or kingpin systems) failure.
  • Suspension failure.
  • Body, door or hood failure.
  • Transmission or engine failure.
  • Defective lighting.

Determining whether an equipment or mechanical failure contributed to a truck crash requires examining the truck, including downloading data from the wrecked truck’s “black box” event data recorder (EDR).

The information available from a commercial truck’s EDR depend on the make and model of the truck. Potential data available include information about the truck’s:

  • Wheel speed.
  • Engine RPM.
  • Delta-V (a measurement of the effort required to change the direction of the truck at a specified speed).
  • ABS (anti-lock braking system).
  • Service brake.
  • Tire pressure.
  • Cruise control.
  • Accelerator governor.
  • Cruise governor.
  • Clutch pedal.
  • Audit trail.
  • Engine usage history.
  • Daily engine usage.
  • Maintenance history.
  • Fault codes (engine problems identified).
  • Engine parameters.
  • Critical event data, for example, rapid deceleration or “hard braking.”

In many cases, a court order is required to make a carrier release the wrecked truck for examination and downloading of black box data. It is important to act quickly after a wreck to avoid the potential for the EDR to be tampered with or destroyed.

Along with examining the EDR data, the accident scene, and damage to the vehicles in a truck accident, sometimes accident reconstruction specialists may be consulted to conduct a forensic analysis of how the accident occurred.

Contact Our Experienced Texas Truck Accident Attorneys

Contact Kraft & Associates’ truck accident attorneys for a thorough investigation of any truck accident that has caused you or a loved one serious injuries. We work diligently and aggressively to maximize claims for our truck accident clients, including when our investigations show that the trucking company or a manufacturer or distributor is responsible for a mechanical defect or failure.

Never accept a settlement for losses in a truck accident without first discussing your case with a truck accident lawyer experienced with cases in North Texas. The attorneys at Kraft & Associates of Dallas have decades of experience with commercial truck accident claims. For a free assessment of your case, phone (214) 999-9999, email us at kraftlaw@kraftlaw.com, or complete our online form today.