Trailer Detachment Accidents
Common Causes of Big Truck Accidents
Sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be scary. After all, a fully loaded big rig can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These large trucks are typically carrying cargo, such as livestock, produce, or even hazardous materials. When traveling at 65 mph, a detached 60,000-pound trailer full of dangerous materials can cause catastrophic and fatal accidents.
Sadly, trailers can detach from all types of vehicles, including large commercial trucks, big rigs, flatbeds, and pickup trucks. These trailers can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the vehicles around them and can result in significant injuries and fatalities. When a big rig truck is carrying hazardous materials, the injuries can be even more severe and can even affect residents who live in the community.
Truck drivers are responsible for checking their trailer prior to driving. They must ensure that their trailer is secured, safe, and in working condition. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers perform these safety inspections properly. If they fail to perform the necessary and required safety checks on their vehicles, they can be held responsible for any accidents they caused.
If you’ve been injured in a commercial trucking accident because of a detached trailer, we can help. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our truck accident lawyers know how to handle these complex and unique cases. Call us at (800) 767-4815 to learn how we can help you during this difficult time.
Why Do Trailers Detach?
There are numerous reasons why a trailer may get detached from a truck, including:
- Speeding – Truck drivers have a responsibility to obey the rules of the road. Traveling at excessive speeds can cause cargo to shift or become off-balance. Speeding while towing a trailer may also cause the trailer to suddenly detach, especially if the cargo being carried is heavy.
- Sudden turns – When a truck makes a sudden and sharp turn, it can jackknife, resulting in the trailer being separated from the cab. Truck drivers should approach all turns with caution and while traveling at a safe speed to prevent jackknifing.
- Trailer overload – Trucking companies sometimes overload their trucks with cargo in an effort to maximize profits. The heavier the cargo is, the greater the chances of a trailer detachment. In addition, improperly secured cargo can cause the truck to become off-balance, which can also result in a trailer detachment.
- Poor maintenance – Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their trucks and ensuring their safety. When trucking companies cut corners on maintenance and fail to have their vehicles regularly serviced and inspected, serious and catastrophic accidents can occur.
- Steep declines – If the weight of the trailer is greater than the cab towing it, traveling down a steep decline can be disastrous. The weight of the trailer could make it impossible for the truck driver to apply the brakes, resulting in a trailer detachment.
- Improperly secured trailer – Truck drivers have a responsibility to make sure their vehicles are safe and that their cargo is secure. Part of that responsibility means inspecting to make sure the trailer is properly secured. An improperly secured trailer has a greater chance of detachment.
Who is Responsible for Detached Trailers?
With so many causes of trailer detachment, it can be difficult to determine who is to blame after a trucking accident. Trucking accidents are often complex and typically require an extensive investigation in order to clearly establish liability. In many cases, there may be multiple parties responsible for the accident and your injuries, including:
- The truck driver – Truck driver negligence is a common cause of trucking accidents. A truck driver who was speeding, driving recklessly, driving fatigued, or driving under the influence may be to blame after a trailer detachment. In addition, if the truck driver failed to secure the trailer properly or inspect the hitch before driving, they may be found liable for the accident.
- The trucking company – A trucking company can also be liable after a trailer detachment accident. Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that their trucks are safe on the road. This includes performing regular maintenance and inspections, as well as ensuring that their trucks are not overloaded. If they fail to do so, they can be found liable for the accident.
- The hitch manufacturer – Sometimes the hitch itself is manufactured improperly. When a hitch is defective, the results can be catastrophic. However, proving product liability cases can be difficult without an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side.
- The city or state – If the accident was caused by overgrown shrubs, trees, or other road debris, or if the road is defective or improperly maintained, the city or state responsible for that road may be held responsible.
- Other parties – Other parties that could be responsible for your accident and injuries include the shipping company, other drivers on the road, and the truck manufacturer.
What to Do If Involved in a Detached Trailer Accident?
Trucking accident cases are extraordinarily complex. There may be multiple parties involved and numerous insurance companies all pointing fingers and shifting the blame. Trucking companies and manufacturing companies all have large corporate insurance agencies working around the clock to help them reduce their liability. As such, you need an experienced and aggressive trucking accident law firm on your side from the start.
Your attorney will need to work quickly to obtain valuable evidence after a serious trucking accident. This may include collecting black box data, interviewing eyewitnesses, and examining the wreckage closely. In some cases, your trucking accident attorney may need to employ accident reconstruction experts to determine who is to blame for the accident.
Once liability is established, your attorney will need to begin aggressively negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. Insurance adjusters aren’t eager to pay top dollar to accident victims, even when their clients are clearly to blame. As such, they offer trucking accident victims an initial low-ball settlement and then pressure them to sign quickly. Don’t sign anything without first speaking to one of the experienced and skilled Arkansas trucking accident lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton immediately.
We’re There When You Need Us
Trailer detachments can result in catastrophic and life-threatening injuries. In many cases, these accidents even result in fatalities. Insurance companies know this. As such, they work quickly to reduce their own liabilities. Without a lawyer on your side, you may not obtain the money you need to recover. In fact, accident victims without a lawyer on their side receive significantly smaller settlements.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our truck accident attorneys fight aggressively for your future and will negotiate with the large truck insurance companies on your behalf every step of the way. We know that you need money now to pay for medical bills and lost wages. That’s why we work quickly to negotiate a fair settlement for our clients that takes into account all of their injuries and future medical needs.
We’re taking care of you.
No matter where you are injured, our attorneys are ready to assist you. With six offices in Arkansas and Tennessee—Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, and Memphis—our car and truck accident lawyers are easily accessible from the moment you are injured.
Tell us how we can help.
Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Law Blog
Across the United States, there was an increase in the number of trucking accidents in 2016. That year alone more than 119,000 trucking accidents occurred causing injury to numerous passenger occupants. That same year the number of fatal trucking accidents also increased to 4,213. The vast majority of trucking accidents – 62% – involved two… Read more »
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