Injured in an Accident with a Semi? Defective Equipment and Human Error May Have Combined


Semi-trucks are not just big trucks - they're incredibly complicated vehicles that require a tremendous amount of care in order to remain safely operable. If you've been injured in an accident involving a semi, defective equipment may be as much at fault as human error. Here's what you should know.

Half of All Semi-Trucks Involved in Accidents Have Mechanical Issues

Studies show that at least half of semi-trucks involved in accidents have mechanical issues and almost one-third should have been taken out of service because of the mechanical problems prior to the accident. The most common mechanical failures are with the brakes, but other common problems include

  • dead headlights or tail lights
  • steering mechanism issues
  • damaged coupling devices
  • stability control system failures
  • damaged axles
  • tires with worn-out tread or retreaded tires

You May Need to Sue More Than One Party If Mechanical Issues Are Involved

When a mechanical issue directly causes an accident, or even contributes to it, there's a strong possibility that your lawsuit is going to get complicated. You may end up naming multiple defendants in your lawsuit while each party's true liability is sort out.

For example, imagine that you're injured in an accident with a semi that had a rollover. It's possible that the driver oversteered his rig, causing the accident, but the driver says that something went wrong with the stability system in his truck. His load may have also shifted, causing the rollover. You don't really know because all you know is that the accident happened and you got hurt.

While all the finger-pointing is going on, you may have to simply direct your lawsuit toward all possible defendants, until the true source of the problem is identified—and it may end up being the fault of several defendants combined.

Mechanical Problems and Human Error Can Combine Liability

Product liability laws may put some of the responsibility for the accident on the designer of the defective equipment if a design flaw led to the accident. If the design wasn't at fault, it's possible that the manufacturer did something that caused the product to fail.

For example, the manufacturer may not have implemented good quality controls during production, which allowed a number of defective pieces of equipment to leave the plant. The retailer may also be liable, if it can be shown that the retailer had been notified of problems with the equipment and should have pulled the product from its shelves.

In addition, however, the trucking company or truck driver may be at fault. If they knew or should have known that a particular piece of equipment might be faulty, they had a responsibility to pull the semi out of service until the problem was resolved.

Lawsuits involving semi accidents are seldom straightforward with only one defendant involved. Because of the high probability that mechanical failure contributed to the accident, contact a personal injury attorney who handles those types of accident claims early in order to discuss your case.


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