Atlanta Truck Accident Attorneys
Improper Maintenance and Manufacturing Defects
Tractor-trailer accidents are not always the fault of a negligent truck driver. Trucking companies have obligations to maintain their fleets in safe working order. Shockingly, however, this is something they fail to do with amazing regularity. As attorneys who take on catastrophic truck accident cases and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence, our lawyers at Shiver Hamilton Campbell understand how to investigate the cause of an 18-wheeler crash and determine whether negligent maintenance or manufacturing defects were to blame.
Learn more about these dangerous types of truck accidents below, and call Shiver Hamilton Campbell if you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in metro Atlanta, or if you are an attorney needing help with a complex truck accident injury case.
Negligent Truck Maintenance
Since 1988, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has held International Roadcheck, a three-day, 72-hour inspection period of tractor-trailers throughout North America. These are not surprise inspections; the annual date for the inspection period is established and published months in advance, so trucking companies know it is likely their rigs will be pulled over and inspected during that time.
Despite this fact, 18-wheelers are routinely found to be seriously deficient when it comes to safety in large numbers. About 20% of all semi-trucks pulled over are found to be so dangerous that they are immediately pulled from service. Even more than ten percent of trucks carrying hazardous materials are removed from service for being too dangerous to stay on the road.
Over a quarter of these defects involve bad or missing brake components. The number two and three problems are most often improperly secured cargo and unsafe tires or wheels. Any of these problems could cause a devastating crash, including tractor-trailer jackknife or rollover accidents that often cause catastrophic injuries or death to occupants of multiple vehicles when they occur. Other common truck maintenance safety violations include malfunctioning or non-working signal lights, improperly maintained coupling devices, and lack of proper safety equipment, any of which could lead to otherwise preventable catastrophic injury or death.
Trucking companies that fail to perform regular maintenance or conduct that maintenance negligently can and should be held liable for crashes that result from their failure to consider the safety of their drivers and others on the road.
Like other motor vehicle vehicles, big rigs can have design or manufacturing defects that render them dangerously unsafe. For instance, tires might be defectively manufactured so that they blow out or fail at a critical moment, or the wrong tire might be installed on the rig. Aged tires might also be installed that are too old to be safely used. Another example is a tractor-trailer’s braking system. According to the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, a semi-truck’s brakes must be powerful enough to stop the truck at highway speeds within 235 feet when lightly loaded or 250 feet if fully loaded. Manufacturers like Freightliner or Peterbilt can be held strictly liable for defects that fail applicable standards for safety or crashworthiness.
Tractor-trailer underride accidents are another type of crash that often cause catastrophic injuries or end in death to the vehicle occupants. An underride crash occurs when a passenger car collides with the rear or side of the semi-truck’s trailer component and travels underneath the trailer, shearing off or crushing the roof of the passenger car. Truck manufacturers and freight carriers can prevent these tragic accidents by installing underride guards on the rear and sides of the trailer, but too often these lifesaving devices are missing or are not strong enough to prevent an underride accident given the weight of many modern passenger cars.
At Shiver Hamilton Campbell, our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are experienced in taking on the largest trucking companies as well as automotive and product manufacturers, and holding them liable when they breach the duty of care they owe to drivers on the road.
Get Help After a Metro Atlanta Truck Crash Injury
If you have been hurt in a tractor-trailer crash in metro Atlanta, or if you lost a beloved family member in an Atlanta truck accident, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for a free consultation. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.