Injured by an Out of Control Tractor Trailer?
A runaway truck or trailer poses a serious danger to others sharing the roadways, as well to pedestrians and bystanders. The sheer weight of a commercial vehicle, ranging up to 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded, makes the vehicle difficult to bring to a complete stop. Even in the best of circumstances with all systems functioning properly, a commercial truck will need over three hundred feet to come to a full stop while moving at 55 mph, or about the length of a football field. Without brakes, the inertia of the moving vehicle keeps it moving forward, and in some situations destroying everything in its path.
Federal Safety Standards for Trucking Firms and Owner-Operators
All commercial trucking enterprises must comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations. Braking systems are of extreme importance in big rigs, and under §396.3(a), must be carefully maintained. Hydraulic brakes or air brakes will lose power if the hoses are damaged, worn, or faulty. Commercial trucks are outfitted with heavy-duty brakes, but even these braking systems can fail, particularly when a truck is hauling a heavy load down a grade or travelling at high speed on one of the many highways serving the Chicago area.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that the braking system in the truck is the cause of 1.8% of trucking accidents, and about 1.1% of multiple-vehicle truck crashes. When truck brakes fail, the result can be multiple serious injuries or deaths. If you or a loved one was injured by a runaway trailer or commercial truck, it is imperative that you get legal help immediately.
Runaway Trailer: Out of Control Trucks
When a commercial truck has been improperly and unevenly loaded, the trailer may swing out of control, or break loose from the tractor coupling. The weight of the cargo shifts, and the trailer detaches from the tractor of the truck. Some of the issues that can contribute to a runaway trailer include:
- Uneven loads
- Sudden poorly controlled turns
- Brake failure
- Brake defects
- Overloaded trailer
- Faulty coupler
Who is Liable in a Runaway Truck Accident?
As there are various reasons why truck brakes can fail, there are also several parties that may be held liable. These include the following:
- A truck driver
- A truck maintenance company
- A trucking firm
- A truck manufacturing company
- A truck brake manufacturing company
The first step will be to determine how and why the accident occurred leading to a runaway truck or detached trailer. As with all trucking accidents, the crash scene will be evaluated by federal investigators. If brake failure is determined to have been the cause of the accident, the question is why? The answers can lie in a failure to maintain truck brakes as required, faulty brake systems, other equipment problems, a failure to maintain the vehicle, or truck driver error. Based upon the information found in post-trip inspection reports and deficiency repair reports, as well as the accident scene itself, a lawsuit or claim can be filed against all liable parties.
Discuss Your Claim with a Chicago Runaway Trailer Accident Attorney
The Chicago truck accident lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can assist with runaway trailer accident cases throughout Illinois and has recovered millions of dollars for our clients to date. Contact us today at (800) 996-4824.