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Truck Equipment Failure

Trucking accidents can be devastating given the sheer size and weight of these huge vehicles that can wreak havoc on a highway if it jackknifes, loses control or dumps its cargo on the roadway in front of oncoming traffic. If the load contains hazardous material, it can result in fires, toxic spills and other environmental dangers to motorists and neighbors.

A common cause of truck accidents is equipment failure.  By law, truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to numerous federal and state regulations regarding the safe operation of their vehicles. This requires them to regularly inspect their trucks, to test equipment to ensure safe and efficient operation, to keep loads secured and within weight restrictions and to drive a limited number of hours per day and week. In the winter, a truck driver has to take extra precautions to avoid truck accidents in the snow and ice by not traveling too fast for the road conditions and by ensuring that tires are sound and brakes are working efficiently.

If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident, contact the Law Office of Neil Burns, an experienced Massachusetts truck crash lawyer who has handled accidents caused by truck equipment failure and other factors.

Common Truck Equipment Failure

  • Tire failure and blowouts–Tires need to be checked often and changed on a regular basis given the tremendous loads and stress.
  • Defective brakes–Brake failure is a common cause of accidents.
  • Defective head or taillights or side safety lights–Truck drivers depend on lighting at night to warn other motorists and to avoid road debris or other hazardous road conditions.
  • Defective steering–Obviously, being unable to steer can lead to an out-of-control truck leading to a possible jackknife or collision with other motorists or road barriers.
  • Overloaded cargo–Unsecured or loads that violate weight restrictions can cause a hazardous spill.
  • Missing mirrors–An inability to see other motorists can lead to improper lane changes.
  • Separation of trailer from the truck.

Truck drivers can be negligent in how they use or operate their equipment. In Massachusetts for example, truck accidents on ice may be caused by an ill-trained or panicked driver who rides the brakes too hard or fails to take proper measures to keep the truck under control in a skid.

Determining Liability

A truck accident lawyer with a thorough knowledge of applicable rules and regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies can more readily find evidence that can hold truckers liable in an accident. For example, if you retain an attorney soon after the accident, your lawyer can request that the trucking company retain certain documents and that the truck be available for inspection by an expert chosen by your attorney.

Other documents include the driver’s log and the company’s personnel records on the truck driver, which can reveal a dubious driving record and lack of drug or alcohol testing. An on-board electronic monitor, similar to an airplane’s black box, can provide data that may contradict the driver’s statement of how the accident happened or that the driver exceeded federally mandated driving restrictions.

Damages in a Trucking Accident

In many cases, a trucking accident causes catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, burns, broken limbs, internal organ damage and crush injuries. A high percentage of truck accidents result in fatal injuries to passenger car occupants. If you are injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to the following compensation:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future wage loss
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering

Along with proficiency in finding trucking companies and drivers liable by careful investigation and by knowing what documents and other information to review, your attorney should know how to maximize your compensation. Damages need to be proved within evidentiary rules and your truck accident lawyer will know what a medical report should contain to support your claims.

If you have a loved one who was killed, you and other immediate family members can bring a wrongful death action, and the decedent’s estate may bring a survival action to collect damages such as medical expenses; lost earnings; loss of love, support and companionship; and pain and suffering if the decedent survived for a time before succumbing. There are strict rules on how such actions proceed that your attorney can explain.

Call the Law Offices of Neil Burns for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck equipment failure accident or any other type of truck accident.