Just driving next to a big truck on the highway can be nerve-wracking, especially when you see the remains of blown-out tires littering the shoulder. Trucks are big and loud and heavy. They probably dwarf your personal vehicle, even if you drive an SUV.
When a truck gets into an accident, the results can be devastating for the trucker and for any other drivers or passengers involved. Because of their size and weight, trucks can cause a lot of damage in a collision. Injuries tend to be severe, or possibly even fatal. Trucks may roll when involved in a crash, which can be dangerous for the truck driver.
All too often, accidents involving trucks are attributed to mechanical problems. The drivers involved may have done nothing wrong, but instead suffered harm because equipment or parts were designed or manufactured with defects.
If you are a truck driver or any other person involved in a truck accident who was injured because of a manufacturing or design defect, you may have a product liability claim. A product liability claim allows you to pursue compensation from the manufacturer of the defective equipment or part that caused your injuries.
If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover payment of your medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, and loss of normal life. In some instances, you may be able to get punitive damages if the defect was caused by reckless or intentional actions, such as if the manufacturer knowingly cut corners and used substandard parts even though it was foreseeable that someone could get hurt.
Common Truck Defects
Trucks are complex pieces of machinery with many interconnected parts that make them work and allow them to haul heavy loads of freight. When a truck part or piece of equipment fails, the consequences may be tragic and include very serious or fatal injuries. Some common defects that can result in accident or injury include:
- Defective Brakes — Because trucks are big and heavy, they require more time and distance to stop than does a car or SUV. When brakes fail, a truck driver may not be able to slow or stop and a collision may result.
- Defective Hydraulics — When hydraulic parts fail, the operation of the truck may be affected and injuries may occur.
- Defective Couplings — When a truck is hauling a trailer and couplings fail, the trailer may become separated from the truck and cause accident or injury.
- Defective Straps or Ties — When a truck uses straps or ties to hold down cargo and those restraints fail, falling cargo could seriously injure or kill other people on the road.
- Defective Steering — When steering mechanisms fail, a truck driver may lose control and jackknife or collide with other vehicles.
- Defective Tires — Tires that blow out can cause a truck to jackknife, which could lead to serious injuries for the driver or other people on the road.
- Defective Engine — When engine parts fail, the driver may lose control of the truck.
- Defective Rear Guards — Rear guards are supposed to prevent other vehicles that collide with the back of a truck from getting pinned underneath of the truck. When rear guards fail, another vehicle that rear-ends the truck may be crushed underneath of it and the other driver seriously hurt or killed.
How a Chicago Injury Lawyer Can Help
Claims involving truck accidents can be complex under any circumstance. Multiple companies and insurance policies may be involved, and litigation may have to cross state lines, which adds to the legal complications involved. When you add into the mix a claim against the designer or manufacturer of a truck or its parts and equipment, cases become even more complex and technical. Product liability cases may involve engineering schematics and questions that require expert analysis and testimony beyond what a layperson is likely to understand.
When you pursue a product liability claim, representation and advice from an experienced Chicago injury lawyer is invaluable. A lawyer with a history of successful product liability cases will understand the complex legal questions involved, including being able to identify just who is liable for your injuries and other damages. A lawyer also will be able to find the right experts to support your claim, and know how to present the evidence in the best manner to get you a fair settlement or jury award.