Equipment Failure

Equipment Failure

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Accidents caused by Equipment Failure

Commercial trucks are a valuable part of our economy, but they present unique dangers. Accidents caused by equipment failure can have serious consequences, leading to property damage, injuries and even fatalities.

A driver is only as good as the truck he/she drives and a mechanical breakdown can quickly turn into a devastating accident.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did a study on Fatal Causation found that in 55 percent of truck accidents involving injury, the truck had at least one mechanical failure. This study found that at least 30 percent of all trucks had at least one out-of-service equipment issue.

Equipment Failures Responsible for Accidents

  • Brake failure: Brake system failure is one of the most common equipment-related causes of truck accidents. This can occur due to worn-out brake pads, malfunctioning brake lines, or inadequate maintenance. When brakes fail, it becomes difficult for the driver to slow down or stop the truck, increasing the risk of collisions.


  • Tire blowouts: Tire failures, such as blowouts or tread separation, can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. This is often due to factors like worn-out tires, overloading, or improper tire maintenance. When a tire blowout occurs, the sudden loss of control can result in the truck swerving into other lanes or causing a collision.


  • Steering system failure: Steering system failures can lead to catastrophic accidents. Issues with the steering mechanism, such as a malfunctioning power steering system or a broken tie rod, can cause the driver to lose control of the truck, resulting in accidents.


  • Trailer detachment: Improperly secured or faulty trailer connections can cause the trailer to detach from the truck while in motion. This can lead to accidents, especially if the detached trailer obstructs the road or collides with other vehicles.


  • Lighting and signaling failures: Malfunctioning headlights, taillights, turn signals, or brake lights can significantly reduce the visibility of a truck, increasing the risk of accidents, especially during nighttime or adverse weather conditions.


  • Other equipment failures: Other equipment failures that can contribute to truck accidents include: issues with the transmission, suspension, engine, or other critical components. These failures can lead to sudden loss of power, loss of control, or other dangerous situations on the road.

To mitigate the risk of accidents caused by equipment failure, trucking companies and drivers are responsible for regular vehicle inspections, maintenance, and repairs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established regulations that require commercial trucks to undergo regular inspections and maintenance to ensure the safe operation of the vehicles on the road.

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Who is Liable to Compensate Victims of Truck Accidents Caused by Equipment Failure?

When equipment failure is found to be cause of an accident, the investigation will focus first on the truck driver and the trucking company because it is their responsibility to inspect the equipment and determine that it is in proper operating condition.

Investigating an Accident Caused by Equipment Failure

Proving liability in any accident requires gathering evidence and establishing the legal elements of negligence. Investigating an accident caused by equipment failure involves a thorough examination of the accident scene, gathering evidence, and analyzing the equipment involved. Here are the steps typically followed in such investigations:

  • Accident scene assessment: Investigators begin by visiting the accident scene to assess the physical evidence. They examine the vehicles involved, noting any visible damage, tire marks, skid marks, or debris that may provide insights into the cause of the accident.
  • Collecting information: Investigators gather information from various sources, including eyewitnesses, drivers involved, and any available surveillance footage. Eyewitness accounts can help establish the sequence of events leading up to the accident and provide additional details about the equipment failure.
  • Documenting the equipment: Investigators thoroughly document the condition of the equipment involved in the accident. This includes taking photographs, measurements, and detailed notes about any visible damage, defects, or signs of failure.
  • Retrieving data: If the vehicle is equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) or electronic control modules (ECMs), investigators retrieve the data from these devices. EDRs and ECMs can provide valuable information about the vehicle’s speed, braking, engine performance, and other relevant data leading up to the accident.
  • Expert analysis: In cases of equipment failure, experts may be called upon to analyze the equipment involved. These experts, such as mechanical engineers or forensic specialists, examine the equipment, conduct tests, and provide their professional opinion on the cause of the failure.
  • Maintenance and inspection records: Investigators review the maintenance and inspection records of the vehicle to determine if proper maintenance procedures were followed. They check for any previous issues or repairs that may have contributed to the equipment failure.
  • Compliance with regulations: Investigators also assess whether the trucking company and driver were in compliance with relevant regulations and safety standards. This includes reviewing records related to driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle inspections, and maintenance logs.



Bringing a Claim for Injuries Caused by an Equipment Failure Accident

People hurt in an accident when the equipment fails on a commercial vehicle are generally entitled to compensation.  The next step for the injured party is to show the extent of their damages.  The forms of compensation which may be available include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical bills
  • Past and future lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability (failure to enjoy a normal life)
  • Wrongful death (if there is a loss of life)
  • Scarring
  • Emotional distress/mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage
  • Out of pocket expenses


Wrongful Death Actions

If your loved one died as a result of injuries sustained in a trucking accident caused by equipment failure, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.  Typically, close family members, such as spouses, children, parents, and siblings may pursue a wrongful death action. The compensation you receive will never replace the loss of your loved one, but it will allow you to be compensated for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost financial support, and compensation for your grief and emotional distress.


Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

A trucking accident involving equipment failure can leave you injured, with high medical bills, the inability to work, and pain and suffering.  VanDerGinst law can help you get the compensation you need and deserve.  Call today 800-960-8529 or click here.`

The Importance of Legal Representation

If you are injured in a truck accident, you deserve fair and just compensation. Though money won’t take away your pain, it can help you get the care you need, or assist family for any loss they suffer due to the accident victim’s injuries or death.

Truck accidents are complex and may involve multiple parties subject to different rules and regulations. An experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and make sure that all parties are held responsible. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident involving a drunk driver or a driver under the influence of drug, the truck accident lawyers of VanDerGinst Law can help.  Call 800-960-8529 or click here for a FREE, no obligation consultation.




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