Runaway Trailer/Hitch Failure
Burlington Runaway Trailer Accident Lawyers
While any type of truck accident can lead to a chaotic chain of events, a runaway trailer is one of the most dangerous. These occur when the trailer becomes dislodge from the back of the big-rig, either when the truck jackknifes or because of mechanical failure, and crashes into other vehicles. These hitch-failures can lead to a range of debilitating injuries and tragic deaths. But these events are no simple accidents. Rather, they are often linked to a form of negligence on the part of the truck driver, trucking company, or maintenance crew.
If a negligent party’s actions led to a runaway trailer accident and ultimately your injuries, you deserve fair and proper compensation for the losses you have sustained. The Massachusetts trucking accident attorneys at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. have the expertise and knowledge to fully investigate every aspect of your case to determine fault and hold the responsible party, or parties, accountable. Call us at (781) 262-3338 to schedule a free consultation and learn what options are available to you.
Big-rigs are high-powered vehicles that utilize complex mechanical systems to maximize their weight distribution, speed, and mobility over long distances. However, because of this, several aspects of the truck can fail and lead to a hitch-failure if a trucking company, driver, or mechanic fails to identify and repair a damaged or faulty component.
The causes of hitch-failures are often due to:
- Manufacturing errors with the truck’s design, such as the locking mechanism
- Rusted, strained, bent, or loose components that keep the locking mechanism closed
- Heavy loads that put a strain on the truck’s suspension and brakes
- Driving at high speeds, swerving, or wide turns as a result of driving under the influence
- Improperly secured loads or safety chains
The duty of inspecting a tractor-trailer for defects falls to a number of individuals. If the truck driver is a contract worker and owns their vehicle, then they are in charge of regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections to ensure it is safe to be on the road. In addition, their reckless behavior can contribute to the runaway trailer. Fatigued or distracted driving, speeding, a lack of experience with large trucks, and DUI’s can all cause the driver to lose control of their truck and cause the trailer to break free.
However, if the truck is owned by the trucking company or the driver is an employee of one, then they hold responsibility for any accidents that occur. Trucking companies often own or lease a fleet of vehicles, all of which have thousands upon thousands of miles under them. They have a duty to make sure each and every one is fully functional, but they often cut corners to make a quick profit. If the accident was due to driver negligence, then the company would share the same fault for putting them behind the wheel, especially if they knew about a history of substance abuse or that the driver had previous traffic violations.
In addition to the trucking company and the driver, mechanics can also share the blame for a hitch failure. The trucking company and driver may have stuck to a strict schedule for maintenance, but if the crew inspecting and repairing the truck were careless or cut corners, then they would be liable for any injuries sustained in a runaway trailer accident.
Determining who was at-fault will come down to the circumstances of your accident and the evidence that is collected. After you contact our office, our attorneys can collect driver records, trucking certifications, maintenance logs, traffic camera footage, and additional documentation to determine what caused the accident and who was negligent.
One of the most important pieces of evidence is a black box, otherwise known as an Electronic Logging Device (ELD). These devices are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are designed to track the performance of a truck while it is in operation. This data can include key information from the time of the accident, such as the truck’s speed, braking times, weight, and distance traveled, as well as if the driver violated the required hours of service. This can suggest that they were fatigued at the time of the accident and could have lost control because of it.
Black box data can also be substantiated by witness statements, especially if the driver demonstrated other reckless behavior leading up to the accident. They may have been swerving in and out of lanes, cutting off other vehicles, or tail-gating to force other drivers to speed up.
After an event as scary as a runaway trailer, you are probably still in shock, feeling stressed by medical appointments and surgeries, and wondering how you are going to move on after this. As the stack of bills grows bigger and you work through recovery, you will need sound legal advice to secure the compensation you deserve.
Starting a personal injury claim can be complicated for any individual, but you do not have to shoulder the burden yourself. If you bring your case to the Massachusetts truck accident attorneys at the DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we will take on the bulk of the work, from collecting evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, allowing you to focus on recovery. Do not let a negligent driver or trucking company shortchange you with a weak settlement. Secure the representation you need to rebuild your life. Contact us at (781) 262-3338 to schedule a free consultation.