All too often a truck accident attorney will concentrate on the negligence of the truck driver and trucking company, while failing to explore the possibility that defective truck parts may well have played a key role in causing or exacerbating an accident. By focusing on defective truck parts, a good truck accident lawyer can explore liabilities from the maintenance companies and product manufacturers.
The Most Commonly Defective Truck Parts
The most common types of defective truck parts and components that should be considered in any trucking accident are fuel systems, brake systems, rear underride guards, and lighting or visibility system defects. You can also read our previous post on the five most common causes of truck accidents.
Defective Fuel Tanks
Although side saddled tanks have been phased out of passenger vehicles because of their obvious dangers, semi-truck manufacturers still place diesel fuel tanks in this dangerous location.
In cases where there’s been a fire involved in a truck accident, it’s important to hire a fire cause-and-origin expert to determine the source of the fire, and if the fuel tanks and their location were the cause of the damages to the victims involved in the crash. If the fuel tanks are determined to be a cause, then consideration should be given to engaging a fuel system design expert to identify any defects leading to the fire from the crash.
Defective Brakes and Braking Systems
Most semi truck braking systems have automatic adjustment requirements that are critical for proper braking on these 80,000-pound rigs. While the focus of most brake failure cases will be faulty maintenance, it is always worth investigating manufacturing design defects. To identify defects within the braking system and determine if any such defect caused or contributed to the truck crash, consider hiring an engineer familiar with the specifics component involved in the crash.
Defective Rear Underride Guards
Rear underride guards are those bars on the rear of the truck mounted under the doors but above the bottom of the tires to prevent cars from sliding under the truck in a rear-end collision. These guards are designed to prevent cars from slipping under the truck – even at high speeds. There can be a very strong case if the truck’s underride guard fails to meet the minimum standard and if a victim breaks through that guard, suffering severe injuries.
Proper lighting and reflective tape to allow motorists to perceive and identify a truck and its trailer’s position and speed on the roadway, particularly at night. Studies have shown that simple inexpensive reflective tape allows most drivers to see clearly a semi-truck and its trailer before it is too late. As such, FMSCA regulations have strict standards on proper reflective lighting on trucks and trailers. Many manufacturers often fail at adequately placing these crucial strips or sell solvents that while cleaning them result in diminished reflection. As a result many semi-trucks and their trailers become hidden dangers to motorists driving in the dark.
These five commonly defective truck parts are just a few of the components that if faulty could cause or worsen a trucking accident. If you have been the victim of a truck accident and you think it might have been the result of faulty, defective truck parts, please contact me today. I’d happily talk through the details of your accident, discuss the strengths of your case and answer any questions you may have – all at no cost to you.