Tractor Trailers And Accidents: Who Is To Blame?

Accidents involving a car and a truck are often thought to involve one vehicle hitting the other. However, many other things can go wrong when it comes to tractor-trailers. In fact, when there is an issue with the truck's load, the trailer's contents can be accidentally released onto the road, causing a major issue. Sorting out liability can be complex in this scenario, depending on what led to this catastrophe.  

Improper Loading Techniques

It is not enough to load a trailer and secure the door to ensure safety. Commercial trailers must be loaded properly to achieve this goal. For example, excessively heavy objects must be secured in place. If not, when the trailer stops suddenly, these objects could shift, potentially dislodge the door, and fall onto the roadway. In this scenario, any victims of this terrible circumstance would likely file suit with the company that operates the truck due to their lack of double-checking the safety of their loads and the third-party company that loaded the trailer. 

Poor Driving Habits

How a driver operates the truck can also affect trailer safety. Consider the previous example about the contents of the load shifting, for instance. Even when a load is secured correctly, it is essential for the driver to keep safe operating practices in mind. Breaking too swiftly and turning suddenly are two unsafe driving practices that can lead to trailer safety issues. In this case, the driver of the truck could be held liable if they are an owner-operator. If the driver is an employee, the employer would be held responsible for the unsafe habits of their employee.

Manufacturer Defects

Sometimes safety issues with a trailer arise when there is an issue with the trailer design or the hitch that secures the trailer to the truck. Incidents involving a trailer detaching from the truck can be hazardous. For instance, a trailer with poorly designed doors might be more prone to dislodge and open while the truck is in motion. 

A hitch prone to excessive rusting or some other defect could cause the trailer to detach from the truck. Often, victims in this instance may be able to file suit against the company that operates the truck as well as the manufacturer of the trailer or hitch that malfunctioned. 

Have you or a loved one been injured in a truck accident? Contact a local tractor-trailer accident attorney to learn more.