Defective Vehicle Parts & 18-Wheeler Accidents
Fighting for Justice When Truck Crashes Are Caused by Faulty Vehicle Parts
The components, equipment, and systems that power vehicles are not always reliable or safe. In fact, from big rigs to passenger vehicles, equipment failures occur all too often, causing truck accidents and other wrecks. When that happens, several parties may be liable, and you can turn to Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers for getting justice.
For more than 20 years, we have helped injured people protect and assert their rights after they have been harmed by defective vehicle parts. Strategic, knowledgeable, and compassionate, our truck accident lawyers are highly effective at standing up to the toughest opponents, and we know how to win when it matters most. That’s why we are known as leading truck accident lawyers — and it’s why you can trust our team when it’s time to recover full, fair compensation.
Whenever you need answers, advice, or advocacy for a potential claim involving defective vehicle parts, we’re here to help 24/7.
Call 888-492-5532 or Email Us for a Free, Confidential Consultation 24/7.
Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers has recovered millions in all types of defective equipment claims and truck accident cases. We are ready to make your claim and recovery our next victory.
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- How & Why Do Vehicle Parts Malfunction & Fail?
- What Vehicle Parts Fail the Most?
- Did Defective Vehicle Parts Cause My Truck Accident?
- Who’s Liable When Faulty Vehicle Parts Cause 18-Wheeler Accidents?
- When Should I Talk to a Truck Accident Lawyer?
- What Compensation Is Available for Defective Parts Cases?
In a perfect world, vehicle equipment would be totally dependable, safely designed, and properly manufactured. It would also be crash tested, flawlessly installed, and regularly maintained. It’s no secret we don’t live in a perfect world, of course. And for vehicle equipment, that can end up meaning risky or even dangerous components malfunction and fail on the roads.
In general, vehicle equipment failures tend to result from some type of negligence. Specifically, that can arise via:
- Design flaws: Defective design can make vehicle parts vulnerable to fires, leaks, cracks, or other damage. In some cases, design flaws may not be limited to one part. They could, for instance, arise from how vehicle systems are designed to fit together under the hood.
- Manufacturing errors: Using poor-quality materials or failing to follow design specifications can lead to manufacturing flaws and unsafe vehicle equipment.
- Installation errors: If vehicle components are not properly installed, they can end up overheating, detaching, exploding, or otherwise malfunctioning.
- Failures to maintain equipment: Vehicle equipment that was once safe can soon become incredibly dangerous if it’s over worn and not replaced. This is particularly true for components like brakes and tires.
Although any vehicle on the roads could experience an equipment problem, 18-wheelers tend to experience these problems the most. In fact, equipment failures are twice as likely to impact commercial trucks, when compared to passenger vehicles (source: FMSCA). That makes sense considering the facts that:
- Trucks support about 20 times the weight that passenger vehicles do: While the average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds (lbs.), a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. All that extra weight can take a massive toll on big rigs’ components, equipment, and systems.
- Big rigs spend most of their time on their roads: Commercial trucks are driven far more often and for longer periods of time than the average passenger vehicle. That tends to result in a lot more wear and tear on trucks’ systems, especially when they’re driven in rougher conditions.
Tires and brakes are the top two components to fail most often on tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles (sources: FMSCA and NHTSA). Here’s why, along with a look at other defective equipment that commonly contributes to truck accidents.
When Tires Fail on 18-Wheelers
Of all tractor-trailer equipment, tires fail the most often. Given that tires are in constant contact with the roads and that many roads are not in the best condition, it’s no wonder that tires take a beating — and that they tend to malfunction more than any other component on big rigs.
That, however, assumes that tires were safely designed and properly manufactured to begin with. Tragically, that’s not the case for many tires, some of which have:
- Design defects: Anything from a lack of skim stock to weak belt wedges could lead to belt or tread separation.
- Manufacturing flaws: Cracked liners and water pockets in rubber are just a couple of manufacturing errors that could result in defective tires and premature tire failure.
In some cases, these problems aren’t recognized until they’ve caused serious 18-wheeler wrecks. When that happens, manufacturers or regulators may issue recalls to try to get defective tires out of circulation ASAP.
When Truck Brakes Fail
Also subject to substantial wear and tear, brakes are the second most common component to fail on trucks. Like tire problems, brake failures can also result from design flaws, manufacturing defects, and failures to replace worn brakes when necessary.
These factors can end up causing all sorts of complications and brake problems, like (but not limited to):
- Leaking brake liners
- Brittle or leaking calipers
- Thin brake pads
- Antilock braking systems failures
Whenever these or other brake problems arise, truckers can have a difficult, if not impossible, time trying to control tractor-trailers. Depending on the conditions, that could result in horrific 18-wheeler crashes, like (but not limited to):
- Jackknife crashes
- Underride truck accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Pile-up truck wrecks
- Fatal truck accidents
Other Defective Components on Trucks
Beyond tires and brakes, several other components on big rig fail fairly often — and when they do, deadly wrecks can occur. According to federal authorities, those components are in the table below (sources: FMSCA).
As eye-opening as these facts are, it’s important to remember that equipment failures aren’t always obvious after a truck wreck. In fact, rigorous investigations are often needed to determine when equipment problems contributed to a crash. This is where an experienced truck accident attorney can provide indispensable assistance.
The circumstances of and evidence for your crash are key to answering this question. An attorney can also be pivotal when you need a “Yes” or “No” answer here, along with insights about how to proceed with a claim.
The truth is that you may need to review all sorts of evidence to determine whether defective equipment contributed to a wreck. That evidence could include (and may not be limited to):
- Equipment design specifications
- Equipment crash testing records
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance records
- Electronic logging devices or a truck’s “black box”
Here, it’s also critical to know that:
- Cargo issues can contribute to vehicle equipment failures: For example, overloading trucks or failing to properly balance cargo could result in tire blowouts, hitch failures, and other equipment malfunctions. Consequently, conducting thorough investigations and looking at all potential evidence can be essential to figuring out liability.
- Defective parts cases can be challenging: While these claims can involve more complicated evidence, they can also involve big-name companies who are ready with teams of lawyers to fight these cases. That can make it even more crucial to have an experienced lawyer in your corner.
A truck accident attorney at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can answer this question in an initial consultation. We can also help you determine your best options for seeking compensation and justice after a tractor-trailer crash.
Since truck equipment can fail for several reasons, there may be various parties liable when those equipment failures result in crashes, injuries, or death. In general, liable parties in these cases tend to include (and may not be limited to):
- Designers when design oversights or flaws lead to equipment malfunctions and crashes
- Distributors when they continue to ship and circulate recalled vehicle equipment
- Manufacturers when assembly mistakes, failures to follow design specifications, or other manufacturing errors result in defective vehicle equipment
- Suppliers when substandard or contaminated materials contribute to equipment defects
- Technicians and/or repair shops when installation or repair errors play a role in equipment failures
- Vehicle owners when they fail to maintain tractor-trailers and worn, damaged equipment, which should be repaired or replaced, ends up causing big rig crashes
In some cases, two or more of these parties could be liable for a truck accident. Regardless, it’s best to answer this question with the help of an experienced lawyer, rather than rely on what other parties’ say.
Now is a good time to consult an attorney if you’re asking this question — or if you or someone you love has been hurt in a tractor-trailer wreck. Remember:
- It’s never too soon to talk to an attorney: You don’t need to be fully healed from truck accident injuries, and you don’t need to know every detail about the crash. In fact, the sooner you get a lawyer involved, the better. An attorney can immediately investigate while there’s as much evidence as possible available.
- You could be facing a tough fight: Even if another party is fully to blame, they can dispute liability, your injuries, and the damages. That could create a challenge at any step of the process. An attorney will know how to overcome these issues to bring truck accident cases to the best resolutions possible.
The truck accident attorneys at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers are ready to speak to you and help 24/7. We offer free, confidential advice, and we work on contingency. We try to make it as easy as possible for victims to get the representation, justice, and compensation they deserve.
Financial recoveries, whether through settlements or jury awards, depend on the economic and non-economic losses that the injured have suffered. Compensation also depends on what victims (or plaintiffs) can prove and whether they share any liability for the accident or their injuries.
For example, truckers could be among the victims who have claims against manufacturers for inherently defective equipment. However, if a trucker’s failure to inspect a big rig contributed to the equipment failure, that driver could share some fault for the crash. In those cases, there may still be legal remedies available for victims. If so, any financial recoveries from these cases could be reduced.
Despite compensation being a case-specific matter, damages are generally available for losses like (but not limited to):
- Medical bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Burial and funeral costs (for cases involving fatal injury)
- Loss of consortium
No matter what amount of compensation is paid for these cases, victims and families can be left with lifelong trauma. While money will never erase that, truck accident compensation can provide the financial means necessary to start picking up the pieces and healing.
Get More Answers & Winning Representation from a 5-Star Truck Accident Lawyer
There are no excuses for equipment failures. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a big rig wreck, a truck accident lawyer at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help you determine when mechanical problems may be to blame. We can also help you take the right steps to recover and protect your rights when it matters most.
Dedicated to offering strategic, compassionate representation, we provide the advocacy we would expect in your shoes — and we are relentless about seeking the best possible resolutions.
Discover the difference our team can make in your case and recovery by contacting us today.
Call 888-492-5532 or Email Us for a Free, Confidential Consultation. Your path to justice can start with a call or an email.