Truck and Trailer Hitch Failures
Hitches are crucial to maintaining the connection between a commercial truck and its trailer. If a hitch fails on a trailer that is being towed, the results may be devastating. The trailer may come free from the truck or hauling vehicle, causing severe injuries and death to anybody on the road who is behind the runaway trailer. Hitch failures may be results of driver negligence, improper installation, or defective design. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about 50,000 towing accidents each year. If you were injured or a loved one was killed as a result of a truck-trailer hitch failure, you should consult a Los Angeles truck accident attorney. At Sharifi Firm, we may be able to help you.Causes of Truck and Trailer Hitch Failures
Trailers can become unhitched from many different vehicles, including big rigs, pickups, semi-trucks, flatbeds, moving vans, and SUVs. Hitch failures may be due to overweight cargo, a failure to use the safety chains appropriately, inadequate safety chains holding the towed trailer to the hauling truck, a manufacturing or design defect, a defective trailer tongue, a rusted component, driving at excessive speed, hazardous road conditions, or defective brakes. The first step in a truck and trailer hitch failure case is to investigate the potential causes of the accident. The causes of the accident will inform the litigation strategy.
In some cases, a truck driver's negligence causes or contributes to the hitch failure. Driver error is often a cause of a runaway trailer accident. For example, if a truck driver uses the wrong safety chains or travels at excessive speed in order to make a delivery deadline, he may have been negligent. To establish his negligence, your attorney will need to prove that the truck driver owed a duty to use reasonable care, he breached the duty to use reasonable care, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages.
Sometimes, the trucking company also bears some responsibility for failing to maintain the truck or failing to use reasonable care when hiring a truck driver or supervising the truck driver. A trucking company may be held directly liable for its own negligence that contributes to an accident. It can also be held vicariously (indirectly) liable for its employee's negligent conduct in the course and scope of employment.
Sometimes cargo loaders are to blame for a hitch failure. Cargo loaders must adhere to rules related to the maximum allowable weight. Any excess weight can put too much stress on the hitch and any other connecting component, eventually causing them to fail. If a cargo loader overloads a truck, it may be held liable for its negligence.
There are also situations in which the manufacturer or designer of the hitch is responsible for the accident. For example, a hitch can fail because it was improperly manufactured. When this is the case, the manufacturer may be strictly liable to pay the victims and surviving family members compensation for their damages.
In some cases, a poorly designed or maintained road triggers a truck and trailer hitch failure, sometimes in combination with negligent actions by a truck driver. It can be challenging to hold the government liable for a poorly designed road, and it is imperative to give proper notice to the government in order to be able to recover damages.
Sometimes there are multiple parties to blame for a truck and trailer hitch failure. We will bring in all of the parties that may be blamed for the failure. In California personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits, tortfeasors (the people or entities that caused the accident through negligence or other wrongdoing) are held jointly and severally liable for economic damages, such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. They can be held only severally liable for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.Discuss Your Case with a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
If you are injured or a loved one is killed due to a truck and trailer hitch failure, you should contact an experienced attorney so that you can obtain the compensation that you need. At Sharifi Firm, APC, our lawyers can provide knowledgeable representation. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form. We represent victims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and Riverside.