It’s not always immediately clear what caused a truck accident. This is particularly true when the truck accident was caused by a mechanical defect. Mechanical defects can occur just about anywhere on a truck. When they do, they can cause a driver to lose control, or a part can fly off the truck and hit a nearby vehicle.
Truck accidents are some of the worst motor vehicles crashes seen in Oklahoma, and those caused by mechanical defects are no different. Fortunately, accident victims can still file a claim for compensation after a truck accident caused by a defective truck part or mechanical system. However, you need a skilled attorney on your side who has the experience and the resources to handle this type of complex claim.
At the Cain Law Office, our legal team has earned a reputation for taking on large trucking companies and manufacturers who put everyday motorists in danger. Contact our Oklahoma truck accident attorneys now to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.
Common Mechanical Defects in Truck Accidents
Our team will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine whether a defective part or mechanical defect was to blame and who should be held responsible. Below are some of the most common mechanical defects that cause the most serious truck accidents.
- Defective tires: The most common tire defects are tire blowouts. This is when the tire literally blows under the immense weight of the truck. Tire blowouts typically occur because the truck driver, or trucking company, did not rotate the tires of the truck or did not replace worn and balding tires. The tire itself may also be found to be defective.
- Brake failure: Even with good brakes on a truck, it takes much longer for a truck to slow down and come to a stop. When brake pads are not monitored and replaced, brake fluid is not topped up, or another problem occurs with the brakes, trucks may not be able to stop at all, and that can result in a serious collision.
- Head, tail, and sidelight outage: The lights on a truck are very important pieces of equipment. They help the truck driver see and allow other vehicles to see the truck. When any of these lights burn out and are not repaired, regardless of whether it is day or night, a tragic accident can occur.
- Rearguard failure: Rear guards on commercial trucks are located at the back of the truck. They are metal bars or metal sheets installed right below the tailgate. They should line up with another vehicle’s grill, so that in case of an accident, the smaller vehicle doesn’t under-ride, or become trapped underneath the truck. Unfortunately, many rear guards break, leading to catastrophic injuries.
- Steering equipment defects: Steering mechanisms in a truck are intricate and consist of ball joints, wheel alignment, and shock absorbers, to name just a few. When something is wrong with any of these vital components, an accident can result.
- Defective or missing mirrors: Mirrors are important on any vehicle. On a large commercial truck, however, they are crucial. These are often the only way truck drivers can see around their massive vehicle and safely change lanes or make turns. When something is wrong with the mirrors, even if they are simply adjusted incorrectly, a truck driver cannot drive safely.
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the most common defects found on trucks. When these or any other defects are present, the truck is dangerous and could cause a severe accident.
What Do Maintenance Rules Mean for Your Truck Accident Case?
Truck drivers and the companies they work for must adhere to strict maintenance rules. One of the most important is Rule 396.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines.
This rule states that truck drivers must inspect, repair, and maintain all intermodal equipment and all accessories so they are in a safe and proper operating condition at all times. In addition to this rule, trucking companies are responsible for keeping records of maintenance for any vehicle they have owned for longer than 30 days.
When these laws are violated, it indicates that the truck driver, the trucking company, or both are liable for the accident. Failing to follow rules and abide by laws indicates negligence. Even without these rules, operators of commercial motor vehicles are required to ensure their vehicle is properly maintained and safe to be on the roads at all times.
Damages in a Mechanical Malfunction Lawsuit
Oklahoma law states that when an accident victim suffers serious injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent behavior, they are entitled to damages. Damages are financial compensation intended to make the victim whole again and compensate them for expenses and suffering related to the accident.
The first type of damages available in a personal injury claim is known as economic damages. These damages have an actual dollar amount that can be proven with a receipt, bill, and other documentation. A few examples of economic damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy expenses
- Property damages
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are losses that don’t have an actual dollar value. Due to this, these damages are more difficult to prove and calculate. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairment, disfigurement, or scarring
- Mental trauma and emotional distress
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
A seasoned truck accident attorney can help estimate these damages and translate them into concrete terms.
The third type of damages, known as punitive damages, may be awarded in cases in which the defendant has shown gross negligence or extreme carelessness. These damages are rare. However, due to the serious harm that results when a truck driver or trucking company doesn’t take proper care, there is a chance of punitive damages in truck accidents caused by mechanical defects.
How Our Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
When you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by mechanical defects, there are a number of ways one of our attorneys can help. We will file your claim and take on all of the legwork associated with it. As part of this process, we will:
- Determine who was at fault for the accident and identify all potential sources of compensation
- Obtain necessary maintenance records and other evidence to substantiate your claim
- Conduct a thorough assessment of the damages you have suffered and will continue to cope with in the future
- Aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and the at-fault parties
- Manage communication with multiple insurance companies
- Present a strong and compelling case at trial if a satisfactory truck accident settlement cannot be reached
Call Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident caused by mechanical defects, it’s important that you understand that trucking companies, parts manufacturers, and other potentially liable parties have teams of lawyers and insurance adjusters working for them. You need a highly qualified truck accident lawyer in Oklahoma on your side, too.