In most car accidents, it seems obvious who should get the blame: the other driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error causes 94 percent of all serious motor vehicle crashes.
But being in a collision with a semi truck complicates things. There are multiple parties responsible for the safety of a semi truck and the fitness of the driver to operate the vehicle. It might not be the truck driver who caused the accident.
In 2006, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) delivered a report to Congress that estimated that 41,000 trucks crashed due to brake failure or other mechanical issues. Such types of mechanical failure contributed to 29.4 percent of all semi truck crashes investigated by the FMCSA in their report. In comparison, only 2 percent of passenger vehicles involved in semi truck collisions had brake issues.
This type of semi truck accident is fairly common. So who should be held responsible if you’re injured in a semi truck accident due to mechanical failure?
The Truck Driver
Although mechanical failure would imply the driver was not at fault, the truck driver might have some responsibility for his vehicle failing to work properly. If the truck driver did not operate the vehicle correctly, he might have caused a mechanical failure. He might also share some responsibility for maintaining the vehicle. It’s worth looking into the truck driver’s duties in making sure the vehicle operates correctly to see if he might be partially at fault for the accident.
One of the more likely parties responsible for a mechanical failure would be the manufacturer of the vehicle. The manufacturer must make sure the truck is designed properly and that all components work correctly. If the truck isn’t made well from the beginning, mechanical failure is more likely to occur.
If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident due to mechanical failure, you’ll have to determine which component in the semi truck malfunctioned. You’ll then have to determine whether the component was made poorly or incorrectly from the beginning or if it deteriorated later. If the component was originally made well, the manufacturer will likely not be held responsible.
The Company that Maintains the Truck
If the semi truck was manufactured properly, it’s likely that the mechanical failure occurred because it wasn’t maintained properly. In that case, you’ll have to turn to the company that maintains the truck. That might be the same as the company that owns the truck, but that’s not always the case. Typically, trucking companies use a truck mechanic to maintain the vehicle. The truck driver might also have certain responsibilities.
If it turns out the truck wasn’t maintained properly, you’ll likely be able to hold the truck mechanic or company that maintains the truck responsible. However, that might not be your only option for recovery.
The Trucking Company
Even if the mechanical failure occurred because of the negligence of the truck driver, truck manufacturer, or truck mechanic, you may still be able to hold the trucking company responsible. After all, it’s the responsibility of the trucking company to make sure they hire good drivers and use quality manufacturers and maintenance companies. If you can prove that the trucking company was aware that their hiring choices made a mechanical failure more likely, you may be able to hold them responsible for your injuries.
It’s also worth noting that the trucking company may be held responsible if the manufacturer knew of the defect and issued a recall. If the trucking company didn’t adhere to the recall and replace the malfunctioning component, the trucking company would be held responsible, not the manufacturer or maintenance company.
Help from an Indiana Truck Accident Attorney
Regardless of whether mechanical failure caused your truck accident, you likely sustained serious damages due to the sheer size and power of a semi truck compared to your passenger vehicle. If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident, it can be difficult to know who should be held responsible for your injuries. An Indiana truck accident lawyer can investigate what caused your accident and determine from which party you can seek recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a semi truck accident, call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation.