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Truck Accidents: When Large Trucks with Brake Failures Collide with Passenger Vehicles

Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin injury lawyer,Wisconsin wrongful death attorneyTraffic accidents involving large trucks are unique. The average passenger automobile weighs approximately 3,000 pounds while a large truck weighs upwards of 10,000 pounds. Depending on what the trucks are hauling, they could weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When a large truck collides with passenger vehicles, the results can be catastrophic. In many cases across the United States and Wisconsin, truck accidents involve multiple parties, serious injuries or even death.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), in 2013, large trucks were involved in an estimated 342,000 traffic accidents across the United States. Approximately 95,000 people suffered injuries as a result of these accidents, while 3,964 lost their lives. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation indicated that large trucks were involved in approximately 5,882 traffic accidents in Wisconsin. As a result of these accidents, an estimated 1,800 individuals suffered injuries while 71 individuals lost their lives.

Truck Driver Error Leads to Many Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that nearly 30 percent of trucks involved in traffic accidents had brake problems. When a truck accident occurs due to brake problems, multiple parties could be responsible for your injuries due to a variety of reasons.  These parties could possibly include:
  • The driver;
  • The company that loaded the truck;
  • The owner of the truck;
  • The company leasing the truck;
  • The party responsible for maintaining the brakes; and
  • The manufacturer of the brakes.

Action or Inaction by the Truck Driver

The action, or inaction, of a truck driver can lead the brakes to fail.  Commercial trucking companies are required by federal law to keep maintenance records for each truck. The driver of a commercial truck is also required to perform daily inspections before embarking on a destination to ensure all the mechanical equipment is in proper working order. This requires them to check the brakes to ensure:
  • They are functioning properly;
  • That no components are loose; and
  • That there are no air leaks.

In some instances, the owner or driver of the truck might deliberately depower the front brakes on the truck to only rely on the brakes equipped with the trailer. This is done to minimize expenses.

In other cases, overloading or improperly loading the trailer can cause the brakes to malfunction. If the weight is not properly distributed within the trailer, there is a possibility that the brakes could overheat.

Performing regular inspections and maintenance on large trucks is a critical necessity, especially when these large trucks can cause catastrophic damage while driving on highways across the nation. Most often, companies and drivers that fail to inspect or maintain the braking systems also fail to inspect the tires.

Contact an Attorney

Since these types of accidents are complex, it is essential that that you speak with an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney that is familiar with these types of cases and will advise you of the most effective way to get you the compensation you deserve.
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