The Code of Federal Regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration §393.70(c)(4) requires that a commercial truck must have an appropriate tow hitch (also called a tow bar) that protects against the accident separation of the towing vehicle and the cargo towed in the trailer. Unfortunately, even though federal regulations exist that require specific maintenance and inspection of all parts and components of a commercial truck, in some instances a manufacturing defect or design flaw causes a tow hitch to fail to keep the trailer (the back part of the commercial truck containing cargo) connected to the tractor (the front part of the commercial truck where the driver sits). If you suffered injuries due to a commercial truck having tow hitch defects, learn how a tow hitch defects attorney at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 can help you understand your rights under the law.
Causes of Tow Hitch Defects
There are many reasons a tow hitch on a commercial truck is either defective or becomes defective over time. Some of the causes of tow hitch defects include the following:
- Original design defect of the tow hitch
- Manufacturing defect of the tow hitch
- Failure to inspect, repair or maintain a tow hitch resulting in defects
Other causes of tow hitch accidents unrelated to actual defects in a hitch can include overloaded trucks that place too much strain on the tow hitch, improper installation, driver inexperience, driving at excessive speeds, failure of safety chains or locking mechanisms, or the failure to properly attach an emergency trailer brake cable.
Liability in Tow Hitch Defects Cases
If an investigation into a trucking accident determines that a defective tow hitch either caused or contributed to the accident, a victim may have the ability to file a claim against several different parties that may have responsibility and liability for the defective hitch.
A manufacturer of any part or component that places that product in the stream of commerce has a duty and responsibility to ensure that their product is safe and effective. In many cases, a manufacturer will issue a recall notice after the discovery of a defective design or manufacturing defect of a product. However, in most cases, if a tow hitch is defective and an accident results from the failure of that hitch on a commercial truck, a victim will have the legal right to file a claim under product liability law. Product liability law is a strict liability offense, meaning that regardless of intent if a product is in the stream of commerce and is defective, a victim of an accident resulting from that defect has a legal right to compensation for their injuries and damages. Additionally, retailers who sold the defective product can also be liable for the manufacturing defect, even if they did not design or manufacture the product themselves. Simply by selling a defective product into the stream of commerce, a retailer will also remain liable for any injuries resulting from a defective tow hitch.
Failure to Maintain and Inspect
In some cases, the design and manufacturer of a tow hitch remained safe and free from danger. However, the failure of a trucking company to consistently inspect, repair, and maintain a hitch could cause it to develop defects over time, resulting in weaknesses and a lack of overall safety. Trucking companies and truck drivers must maintain and inspect their vehicles as required under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on a regular basis. Before and after every trip, a truck driver must perform an inspection, including inspecting the tow hitch for strength and safety. If a truck driver or the trucking company fails to maintain, inspect, repair, or replace decaying or defective hitches that become worn over time, they will remain liable for any injuries or damages that result from an accident where a trailer becomes detached from a tractor.
For a free legal consultation with a tow hitch defects accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Types of Trucking Accidents Resulting from Tow Hitch Defects
When a tow hitch fails, the tractor and trailer separate causing serious and often catastrophic accidents on the roadways. Some of the types of trucking accidents resulting from tow hitch defects include the following examples:
If a large 18-wheeler truck has its cargo section (trailer) detach from the tractor portion of the truck, a rollover may occur. These types of accidents are often severe and can cause multiple-car pileups and serious injuries to multiple victims.
Jack-knife trucking accidents describe the type of accident where the tractor (front cab section of the truck) stops, however, the trailer section carrying cargo does not stop, causing a jack-knife scenario. If a tow hitch has any kind of a defect, it may not completely break, but rather weaken in such a way that a jack-knifing accident can easily occur.
When a tow hitch fails, and the cargo section of a commercial truck separates from the tractor, the cargo inside often spills on the roadway. If the commercial truck cargo includes any type of hazardous or toxic material or chemical, this can cause serious and catastrophic injuries to victims involved in the accident. Explosions and fires often result, and in some cases, hazmat crews must come in to clean these cargo spills according to specific regulations and standards. If you suffered any kind of injury related to a cargo spill on the highway, your injuries are likely severe and perhaps permanent. Learn about your legal options by speaking to a Los Angeles tow hitch defects lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm.
Los Angeles Tow Hitch Defects Accidents Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Speak to a Tow Hitch Defects Attorney to Learn About Your Legal Options
If you suffered any injuries due to a tow hitch defect on a commercial truck, consider contacting a Los Angeles tow hitch defects lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm by calling (800) 794-0444. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.