Truck accidents are often devastating, with the potential for serious injuries and fatalities resulting. There are various factors that can contribute to these accidents, and mechanical problems with the truck itself are significant causes. Understanding these issues is vital to determining fault for trucking accidents, which in turn affects the monetary damages that victims can recover.
The following are the most common mechanical problems and the types of trucking accidents they can cause:
- Brake failure — Brake system malfunctions can include issues with brake pads, brake lines, hydraulic systems or brake balance. Such a failure can make a truck extremely difficult to stop or slow down, causing collisions. It also can lead a tractor-trailer to jackknife or a truck to roll over.
- Wheel or axle problems — Problems with the wheels or axles can throw off alignment, affecting a truck’s balance and handling. If a wheel becomes separated from the hub, not only is the truck’s stability affected, but the wheel itself becomes a potentially deadly projectile.
- Tire blowouts — These occur when a tire suddenly bursts or hits something on the road that causes a gash or puncture. The resulting loss of stability and control can lead to accidents, especially when trucks are traveling at high speeds on highways.
- Steering system failures — Problems with a truck’s steering components can cause loss of control of the vehicle. The truck can veer off its intended path, potentially causing a collision.
- Suspension issues — Damaged or worn-out suspension components can lead to instability, reduced control in handling and a risk of rollovers.
- Transmission or gearbox problems — Malfunctions or worn-down components can lead to unexpected shifts or a loss of power, which can make it difficult to keep control of the truck.
- Engine failures — Sudden stalls, loss of power, overheating and component malfunctions can cause a truck to stop on a highway, creating a traffic obstruction.
- Trailer coupling failures — If the truck becomes disconnected from its trailer, it can lead to a loss of control or jackknifing. This can be especially hazardous when navigating curves or making abrupt stops.
- Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo —When a truck is carrying too much weight or its cargo is not secured correctly, the load can shift during transit, leading to instability, rolling over and possible dumping of cargo.
- Faulty lights and reflectors — Non-functional or damaged lights, including headlights, taillights and turn signals, can reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of accidents.
Many of these mechanical issues are due to poor maintenance practices or to neglecting routine inspections. In addition, truck accidents often result when mechanical problems interact with other factors such as driver error, adverse weather conditions and road hazards.
The attorneys of Feinberg & Alban PC in Boston and Brookline are experienced in protecting the rights of victims injured in Massachusetts trucking accidents. Call us at 617-232-5950 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.