Colorado Springs Runaway Trailer Attorneys
Colorado's beautiful scenery makes it a great place to drive. But the steep highway passes also mean our state is a treacherous place for the tractor-trailers that traverse it on a daily basis. Truck wrecks pose a particular challenge for victims. Commercial drivers are typically protected by powerful insurance companies, whose number-one goal is to limit the amount they have to pay out for a claim.
That's why you need a legal team with the experience and resources to take on the most complicated cases. Contact our Colorado Springs truck crash lawyers at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., to learn more about how we can help at (719) 475-2555.
Tractor-trailers are known by many names, including big rigs and semis. But whatever you call them, they are ubiquitous on Colorado highways. As any driver can tell you, their immense size and weight make them dangerous to drive next to. With a full load, these vehicles can weigh as much as 40 tons. That's more than 20 times a regular car's weight. With a light load or empty trailer, high winds can cause a trailer to sway in and out of its lane.
Making matters worse, semis involve a lot of moving parts. Many serious accidents are the result of blown tires. Another weak spot is the trailer hitch that connects the trailer to the cab. When there's a defective hitch, or the trucker fails to properly attach the trailer, the trailer could wind up rolling down a hill, crossing lanes, or flipping over, taking out a lot of other vehicles in the process.
Semi-trucks are complicated machines that need regular tune-ups. If regular maintenance on semis and their trailers is not conducted, they may become dangerous on roadways. While a runaway trailer could be a freak occurrence, normally these accidents happen because of a defective part or human error.
If a trailer hitch breaks, the trailer will be cut loose and likely wreak havoc. But other faulty equipment can also result in a runaway trailer, such as brake failure. Trailers have their own brakes separate from the cab, and when they fail, the trailer could separate. Other critical equipment includes the steering mechanism, the tires, and more. Along the same lines, if the trailer is overloaded, it could put undue pressure on the hitch, leading to it breaking down. Also, if the trailer is loaded improperly, so that the weight is uneven, it might result in the trailer rolling over.
One additional danger in Colorado is the steep inclines. If a truck goes too fast, or the truck is overloaded, the trailer can come loose. In the same way, when a driver is speeding or makes a sudden sharp turn, the whole rig can jackknife. Also, Colorado experiences severe weather in the winter months. Ice, snow, rain, and even extreme winds can cause a trucker to lose control. Truckers and trucking companies should not attempt to travel in unsafe weather.
When a trailer comes loose and causes a wreck, it can be difficult to determine who or what was at fault. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't have an incentive to fully investigate the circumstances, leaving victims in the lurch. Any or all of the following parties could be liable, depending on the actual cause of the accident:
- Truck driver: Commercial driver's license holders are required to stop every set number of miles traveled and inspect their rigs to look for potential dangers. If a trucker failed to do so, or failed to secure a hitch to begin with, or drove so aggressively that the hitch disconnected forcibly, he should be held liable to the victims.
- Trucking company: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets regulations for companies that own commercial trucks, as well as their drivers. The company is responsible for inspecting and maintaining its trucks, making sure they are roadworthy before sending them out on the job. If they fail in this duty, they have violated federal regulations and should pay.
- Maintenance company: Some trucking/shipping companies hire a third party to take care of their fleet. If there was a separate company responsible for inspecting, replacing, and repairing worn-out or defective parts, and they did not do their job, they are responsible for any accidents that result from the part, like a broken hitch.
- Rig or parts manufacturer: It could be that the hitch or attachment was poorly designed or manufactured with a flaw. In that case, the maker of the parts would be to blame.
- Whoever loaded the truck: This may be the trucker, the shipping company, or a for-hire team. Whoever was responsible for stacking the cargo, securing it, and signing off on it before the truck hit the road is also to blame if the trailer detaches and causes a serious accident.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our personal injury lawyers know how to gather evidence and build a strong case for our clients. We believe that every victim should be fully compensated for someone else's negligence. If you or a loved one has been involved in a runaway trailer accident, call us today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free evaluation.