In April of 2019, a truck driver slammed into vehicles stopped in traffic on a Colorado highway. The incident led to a 28-car pileup that left four people dead. This turned into a criminal investigation, and the driver was eventually found to be responsible for brake malfunction and found guilty on 27 counts, including manslaughter. The driver was sentenced to 110 years in prison, but this led to significant Protests throughout the trucking community in the US, and the governor of Colorado reduced the sentence to 10 years.
The last thing any truck driver wants is to lose control of their vehicle. Commercial trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, even up to 80,000 pounds, when fully loaded. Truck drivers need to be able to count on their brakes to slow down or stop in time to avoid collisions with smaller passenger vehicles. When brake failure occurs, it is much more likely that the truck driver, as well as drivers and passengers in other vehicles on the roadway, will sustain severe injuries or even fatalities.
The federal government has strict regulations when it comes to truck brake systems. Any braking system that does not meet industry standards should not be used. This can include brakes with design or manufacturing defects.
However, one of the main causes of brake failure is the failure of owner-operators to properly inspect and maintain the brakes on a regular basis. The FMCSA requires truck owner operators to inspect these vehicles before every trip and to continually inspect and maintain brakes as needed.
Determining fault in the aftermath of a truck collision caused by brake failure can be challenging, and there could be multiple parties potentially held liable for injuries and property damage. Some of these parties include:
Determining liability is going to require assistance from a skilled Santa Ana truck accident attorney who can enlist assistance from industry experts and accident reconstruction experts. It will be necessary to thoroughly investigate the incident and obtain any evidence that could be used to prove liability. This will include going through the court system to obtain owner-operator inspection and maintenance records.
Additionally, an attorney may speak to those involved with the operation of the vehicle and ask about knowledge of possible faulty braking systems or the overall maintenance procedures. In the event the manufacturer is responsible for providing defective brakes to a trucking company, the attorney will continue their investigation into the supply line and actions of the company involved.
Overall, truck accident victims should be able to recover a range of compensation if their accident was caused by a truck’s faulty brake system. This includes complete coverage of all medical expenses related to the incident, pain and suffering damages, property damage expenses, lost wages, and more. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Santa Ana can help you recover compensation for your injuries.