Tractor Trailer Negligent in Maintenance, Repairs
Tylka Law attorneys frequently see 18-wheeler legal cases. In many instances, drivers or their families incorrectly think they are at fault during a car accident. This is the story of one of our clients who we’ll call “Dave”.
The Scene of the Accident
Dave was killed while returning home from a trip in north Texas. He was traveling at night, and rear ended the trailer of a tractor truck. Initially, it appeared that Dave was at fault for failing to control his speed. His family was suspicious of the information that indicated Dave was responsible, and they contacted our firm.
Responsibilities of a Semi-Truck Driver & Trucking Company
A lot of drivers consider themselves to be responsible for an accident only if they hit another vehicle. However, there are many factors in determining fault, especially when an 18-wheeler is involved. These include:
- Maintenance: Just like your car, a truck needs to be maintained to work properly. This includes everything from simple oil changes and brake replacements to complex hydraulic and electrical work.
- Repairs: In many cases, semi-truck repairs are surprisingly ignored. Things like critical recalls are often disregarded in favor of keeping a truck on the road, which creates dangerous driving conditions.
- Visibility: While one would think it’s difficult to miss a tractor trailer on the road, there are important visibility standards for semi-trucks. These include simple reflective tape replacements to tail and signal light maintenance.
- Experience: The experience of a trucker and trucking company is key to an accident-free road. On the other hand, long hauls by novice drivers can make driving conditions dangerous, especially at night.
- Fatigue: Trucking companies often keep their truckers on the road at all hours to meet tight deadlines. When a semi-truck driver gets sleepy, the accident risk increases dramatically.
The Investigation by Tylka Law Center
After meeting with Dave’s family, Tylka Law Center began investigating the accident. We collected facts and statements from witnesses and the tow truck driver right away. We discovered that the tractor truck was experiencing mechanical failures. Additionally, the tractor truck was traveling at less than 10 miles per hour, on a dark highway, with defective tail lights and poor reflective cautionary tape.
When we looked at the trucking company, we found that it was brand new and had leased its only truck from another person. We found information that allowed us to show the trucking company failed to maintain the tractor trailer, and had many other safety issues.
Upon further discovery, Tylka Law Center found that the broker who negotiated the shipment with the trucking company failed to exercise due care in selecting the trucking company. The allegation was that the broker’s selection criteria was based upon who could do the job the cheapest without regard to safety or experience. In addition, Tylka Law Center alleged that the shipper loaded the trailer in a manner that exceeded the maximum weight load and that the load extended past the rear of the trailer in a dangerous manner without safety precautions. We found that every part of this shipment had problems that contributed to Dave’s death.
Truck Accident Attorney Mediation
Tylka Law Firm semi-truck accident attorneys resolved this case favorably for Dave’s family after depositions of the investigating police officers, defendants, witnesses and experts. While the settlement is confidential, we can tell you that it was very favorable for our client’s family.
It is important to get as much information as soon as possible following tractor trailer and 18 wheeler accidents. Sometimes information and evidence disappears and it is hard to find as time goes on. It is our hope that through our efforts our client’s obtained satisfaction that we are making a difference in trying to make our roads safer to travel for all of us.
In the event you or someone you love have questions concerning injuries arising from a tractor trailer or eighteen wheeler accident, please contact us.