Every truck on the roads in Georgia is filled with safety equipment that is meant to prevent truck accidents and keep people safe. However, equipment failure can happen. When it does, the truck driver can lose control of their vehicle and cause a serious accident that comes with severe consequences.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident that was caused by trucking equipment failure, the lawyers at the Hadden Law Firm can help recover the compensation that you need and deserve.
A Truck's Safety Equipment
A truck actually has a lot of safety features that are hidden from the eyes of normal drivers, in addition to the features that are well known or apparent. Some of the most important include:
- Heavy-duty brakes, which are specially designed to bring massive tractor trailers – some of which weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded – to a stop,
- Underride bars, which are found underneath the back end of the trailer and prevent drivers who hit the truck from behind from going too far underneath the truck,
- Load-securing features, which tie down or otherwise secure the truck's payload, and
- Specialty tires, which are designed to withstand far more wear and tear than the tires on a normal passenger car.
How Trucking Equipment Can Fail in Georgia
Safety equipment that was poorly manufactured, improperly installed, or negligently maintained can fail. When it does, innocent drivers and passengers are put at risk.
By far the most important safety feature on a truck, brakes keep everyone safe by allowing the trucker to bring their heavy vehicle to a stop before it hits something or someone.
However, maintaining or replacing a braking system on a truck is costly and time-intensive so many trucking companies put it off as long as possible to maximize their profits. As a result, brake failures contribute to an estimated 30% of all trucking accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Underride Bar Issues
The underride bar (sometimes called an ICC bar) below the back end of a tractor trailer plays a very specific, but also very important role: If a passenger car rear-ends a tractor trailer, the underride bar prevents the passenger car from getting too far underneath the truck. Without an underride bar, the people in the passenger car are likely to suffer a serious – and often fatal – head or neck injury. In some cases, they can even be decapitated. If a truck is equipped with an underride bar that is too weak or was improperly installed, it can be powerless to keep drivers safe.
Load-Securing Equipment Failures
The danger of a load-securing failure is most apparent on flatbed trucks hauling cargo in the open air. If it is not properly secured, the load can fly off and cause chaos behind the truck.
However, load-securing equipment is just as important in closed trailers. Cargo can shift inside these trailers and suddenly redistribute the weight in ways that make it very difficult for the truck driver to keep control of the truck.
Tire Failures Can Lead to Blowouts
The tires are another safety feature on a truck that often gets overlooked. They can be expensive to replace, and the decision to change a tire is an easy one to put off. Every time it is, though, the odds that the tire blows out on the road and causes a truck accident increase.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Equipment Failure?
How the equipment failure happened can determine who was ultimately responsible.
If the equipment itself was defective, then the company that designed or manufactured it could be held responsible through a products liability lawsuit. However, if the equipment failure happened because an inspection overlooked or failed to detect the problem, then the party responsible for inspecting the truck – often the truck driver – could be responsible. Finally, if an inspection found the problem and reported it but no action was taken by the trucking company, then the trucking company could be liable.
Unfortunately, this means that victims hurt in trucking accidents caused by an equipment failure often have to overcome the defendants' attempts to point the finger at each other in order to escape liability.
Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers at the Hadden Law Firm
The personal injury and truck accident lawyers at the Hadden Law Firm strive to legally represent victims of truck accidents in Georgia. With their legal help, victims and their families can recover the compensation that they need and deserve. Contact them online to get started on your case and pursue the compensation you are entitled to receive.