The ability of a truck driver to steer their vehicle weighing several tons and potentially carrying hazardous or toxic cargo remains essential to the safety of everyone on the roadways. If a steering failure occurs on a large commercial truck, catastrophic accidents resulting in serious injuries or even death may occur. If you suffered injuries due to a commercial truck losing control of their steering, or due to a failure, learn how a steering failure attorney at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 can help you with your case.
Understanding Steering Systems in Commercial Trucks
Steering systems are highly complex, especially on commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established standards regarding steering wheel systems which clearly indicate that the steering column must attach correctly as well as all joints shall not be “worn, faulty or repaired by welding.” The regulations also indicate that all parts of the power system must be in operational condition and sufficient fluid must exist in the reservoir. Without proper steering systems, truck drivers can easily lose control of their truck leading to serious injuries or even death.
Negligence Regarding Proper Truck Inspection and Maintenance
Unlike some other types of mechanical problems, steering breakdowns or steering failures typically give some warning signs prior to complete failure.
For example, in some cases, the truck driver may notice that he or she has extreme difficulty when attempting to turn the steering wheel. When a truck driver notices that it becomes more and more difficult to turn the steering wheel this is typically referred to as “hard steering.” In these cases, a truck driver can still steer a commercial truck, but it becomes more challenging over time. If a truck driver notices “hard steering” they should immediately have a mechanic check fluid levels in the power steering reservoir. Additionally, truck drivers and trucking companies should also check to see when the last time an official inspection occurred regarding the steering wheel and steering components. It remains critical that a truck driver takes the time to resolve this issue before the steering wheel completely fails and causes a serious accident.
Vibrations in the Steering Mechanism
In other cases, there are vibrations, or a general “looseness” felt by truck drivers regarding steering and the steering wheel. These indications should result in the immediate inspection of the steering wheel and all steering wheel components.
Perform Appropriate Inspections and Maintenance
Even if there are no overt signs of mechanical problems related to the steering wheel or steering wheel mechanisms, the trucking company and truck driver both have a duty and legal responsibility to perform appropriate inspections at specific times (such as before and after trips), and then to maintain, repair, or replace any mechanical or defective issues discovered. If a steering wheel or steering mechanism fails due to lack of inspection or lack of maintenance, the trucking company, truck driver, mechanic or other entity responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the commercial truck may have legal liability if any injuries or damages result from an accident involving steering failure.
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In some cases, the failure of a steering wheel or steering mechanism is not the fault of the trucking company or truck driver. Rather, the steering wheel or mechanism originally had a design flaw or manufacturing defect which directly led to the cause of an accident involving the commercial truck. Victims of accidents involving commercial trucks resulting from manufacturing defects or design flaws can file a legal claim under product liability law.
Product liability law indicates that a manufacturer or retailer has liability (regardless of intention) for any damages or injuries that result from a defective product placed in the stream of commerce. If an investigation into your trucking accident determines that the cause of the accident related in any way to the steering mechanism, you may have the legal right to file a claim against the manufacturer. Learn how a Los Angeles steering failure lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you build a product liability case against a manufacturer for a defective steering wheel.
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Types of Injuries Suffered from Steering Failure Accidents in Trucks
Whether your trucking accident was ultimately caused due to a manufacturing defect, or the failure of a trucking company or truck driver to properly inspect and maintain the steering wheel and steering mechanisms, the end result is the loss of control of the entire commercial truck by the driver when he or she remains unable to properly steer the vehicle. In these cases, as one can imagine, when a truck driver has absolutely no ability to control or direct a large commercial truck, the resulting injuries are catastrophic. Some of the types of injuries suffered from a steering failure accident in a large truck include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) (these can be permanent and life-threatening in nature)
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Severe burns (if the commercial truck has toxic or hazardous material that may ignite or explode)
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Aortic dissection
- Neck and back injuries
- Hypoxic injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
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Learn How a Los Angeles Steering Failure Lawyer Can Help You
If you suffered any injuries due to a steering failure of a commercial truck, consider how a Los Angeles steering failure attorney at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 can help you understand your legal rights and help you pursue justice. In some cases, you may not know what caused your trucking accident. We can help conduct an independent investigation that will make a determination regarding the exact cause or causes of your trucking accident, which will help you understand which parties or entities may have liability and responsibility for your injuries and damages. Contact us today to visit with someone for a free consultation regarding your case.