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Large trucks typically weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger vehicles and take much longer to stop. A big rig traveling 55 miles per hour takes nearly the length of a football field to stop. When a large truck’s brakes fail to slow the truck or an improperly secured load causes a truck to turn over, the resulting collision can cause injury to the occupants of other vehicles. Braking failure and equipment failures are all too common causes of truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Many of these truck accidents are avoidable and are caused by failure to service the trucks properly.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident or 18-wheeler crash, contact a skilled St. Louis truck accident lawyer. At The Cagle Law Firm, we are ready to evaluate your truck accident-free of charge and explain your legal options for recovery. The truck accident attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm are skilled at analyzing truck accidents to determine all contributing causes, such as poorly adjusted brakes, worn tires, lack of safety lights and failure to maintain a big rig in safe operating condition.
Air Brakes and Braking Failure
Large trucks such as tractor-trailers, semis, semi-trailers and flatbeds weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and require 240 feet to stop completely at 55 miles per hour and even longer at 70 miles per hour. Big rigs typically have compressed air brake systems. Air brakes can malfunction if not regularly adjusted and properly maintained. Unfortunately, some trucking companies try to cut corners on vehicle maintenance and servicing. As a result, many big rigs are on the highway with improperly adjusted air brakes.
A widely cited study of the causes of large truck crashes, conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, found that 29 percent of truck crashes involved braking failure, misadjusted brakes and other brake problems. The lack of regular maintenance of a truck’s braking system may cause a braking failure and make a trucking company legally liable for injuries caused in a truck accident. Braking failures also can occur because the truck is overloaded or because of defective brakes.
Brakes are just one kind of equipment failure on a tractor-trailer, semi, semi-trailer or 18-wheeler. We’ve all seen the large pieces of truck tire treads lying beside the highway. Truck tires that are worn or defective can have tread separation. Retreads that are commonly used by trucking companies are more prone to separation or a blowout. Safety lights on a tractor-trailer also may malfunction, causing an equipment failure that can lead to an accident.
If a truck driver fails to secure a load and this load causes an accident, the truck driver and trucking company are liable for damages. Truck drivers have a duty to ensure the loads are secure and the truck equipment is operating correctly before starting a trip.
At The Cagle Law Firm, we work with truck mechanical experts to identify equipment failures such as braking failures that contribute to serious injury truck accidents. Often these types of contributing factors are not identified by the police officer who wrote the initial accident report. Identifying contributing factors, such as braking failures, requires skilled personal injury lawyers who have experience handling truck accidents and are alert to all the potential contributing factors.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a truck accident or a family member has been wrongfully killed, contact an experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyer to answer your questions. We are skilled at identifying braking failure as well as truck driver and trucking company liability in a truck accident. We have handled many types of truck accidents, including accidents caused by aggressive driving, driver fatigue, equipment failures, speeding and texting while driving or distracted driving.
Call a St. Louis truck accident attorney today at (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation or use our online contact form.