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Commercial Truck Hitch Failure Accident

The hitch is one of the most important parts of a big rig. It is responsible for keeping the trailer attached to the truck. If something goes wrong here, the consequences could be devastating. Sadly, though, these circumstances have happened, with tragic results. Here’s what you need to know if you have been involved in a commercial truck hitch failure accident.

How Do Truck Hitch Failures Occur?

There are a few reasons why these accidents can happen. In some cases, it will be caused by a defect in the mechanical systems. At other times, it might be the fault of problems with the brakes, failing to slow the vehicle properly. Sometimes, poor maintenance might be the issue. Rust can build up on the hitches, allowing them to break loose under the weight of a heavy load.

At other times, though, these issues might be the fault of human error. For example, the driver might have forgotten to check the hitch before starting the journey. Factors like speeding or driving recklessly can also cause the hitch to disconnect. Sometimes, the load might not have been added to the trailer properly.

In the aftermath of a truck hitch failure, it can be difficult to know what went wrong. However, in the days afterward, your legal team will need to piece together the events that led up to the accident. This will allow them to uncover the cause of the failure.

Who Might be Responsible For a Truck Hitch Failure?

There are a few people who might be held responsible for a truck hitch failure. They can include:

  • Driver
  • Trucking company
  • Manufacturer
  • Mechanics
  • Cargo loader

This is why these cases can become so complicated, as multiple people might be held responsible for the event. Having a good truck accident lawyer is essential. They will be able to determine who you should be suing. They will also be able to negotiate with multiple parties, so you are getting the best results.

Establishing Negligence

If you were injured by a commercial truck hitch failure accident the damage will likely be so serious that your insurance won’t be able to cover it. Because of this, you will need to sue the trucking company. However, to have a successful claim you will need to prove they acted negligently.

There are a few elements of this. First, you will need to show that they acted negligently. Often, this involves proving that the actions they took, or the things they didn’t do, putting other motorists at risk. For example, they might have been driving while under the influence. This is proved by an investigation of the scene. Your truck accident lawyer can also use interviews with witnesses or video footage to prove this point.

The next element to prove is that the negligent action caused damage. This means linking the injuries that you received to the accident. To make this easier, you should visit the doctor as soon after the crash as possible. Remember to keep any medical reports or receipts that you receive.

It should be noted that big rig companies will often be held vicariously liable for the acts perpetrated by their employees. For example, if a truck driver didn’t have enough training to check the hitch was properly attached, the trucking company will be held responsible.

What Damages Can You Get Compensated For?

There are a few types of damages that you can claim. First, you can get economic damages. This includes things like hospital fees and the costs of any medication that you needed to purchase. Ongoing medical costs can be estimated and factored into the claim. This area will also include repairing or replacing car damage. You can also claim for any time you had to take off work during the recovery period.

You can also claim for non-economic damages. The most common example of this is pain and suffering. If you got a disability, you can claim for loss of earning potential. An experienced semi-truck accident lawyer will talk about the costs you experienced so you can maximize the size of your claim.

In these types of accidents, there is the potential for punitive damages. These apply when it is determined that someone acted maliciously or displayed gross negligence. For example, the driver might have taken drugs before getting behind the wheel, causing the accident.

Sometimes, the truck company will contact you and present a settlement offer. While this might appear generous, it will often be a lowball offer, designed to quell any potential of legal action. Consult with your lawyer before you respond. 

Comparative Fault Laws

Sometimes, the 18-wheeler company will claim that you caused the accident. This is usually just bluster to try and dissuade people from sueing them. But sometimes your actions might have accidentally contributed to the severity of the crash. In this case, comparative fault laws will apply.

The judge will need to decide what proportion of the blame can be applied to you. Your payment will be reduced by this amount. For example, if you had a $100,000 judgment, but you contributed 25 percent fault, you will only receive $75,000. If it is deemed that you were more than 51 percent responsible for the accident, you often won’t receive any compensation.


When to Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer

Many people wait too long to get in touch with a lawyer. With multiple parties potentially at fault, these cases are usually anything but straightforward. Because of this, you should get in touch with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. You will be giving them plenty of time to prepare. Plus, all the evidence will still be recent and the witnesses will have a clear recollection of events. This makes proving negligence a lot easier.

Book a Free Consultation Today

If you have been involved in a commercial truck hitch failure accident, you need to have good legal advice. That’s where our experienced team of truck accident attorneys comes in. We will be able to guide you through the legal process, making sure that you are treated fairly.  So, give us a call today and book your free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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