Truck Accidents and Product Defects
Liability for improper maintenance of large commercial trucks, or for negligent driving on the part of the truck driver is usually placed on the motor carrier or owner of the truck, or on the truck driver. However, when a defect in the mechanics or other part of the truck causes an accident, or an accident is made worse due to a defective or faulty part in either the truck or your own vehicle, you may have a products liability claim against the manufacturer, seller, or other person responsible for the defect. Truck and truck part manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that the truck and its components can be safely operated. In California, a manufacturer can be found strictly liable for any injuries or accidents caused by its products. In any serious truck accident, it is important to determine whether the case may involve a products liability claim.
Product Liability Claims
A product liability claim involving a truck can arise from the defective manufacture, design, inspection, and/or testing of truck parts and components. Common examples of these defective truck parts are faulty or defective brakes, blown tires, defective trailer hitches, or even faulty fuel tanks which can cause fires and explosions in the event of an accident.
Manufactures of Truck Parts
Manufacturers of truck parts can be held liable for defective parts in a number of ways. Sometimes the faulty truck part left the manufacturer’s plant in an unsafe state. These defects usually happen because there is some type of flaw in the manufacturing process. Examples of a manufacturing defect are a part that leaves the assembly line without a necessary screw, or a tire where the layers of rubber failed to properly bond together due to an oversight in the assembly line.
Another way a manufacturer may be held liable is if the faulty part has a design defect. This means that every part with the same design that comes out of the plant is dangerous. The faulty part cannot perform the way it is supposed to in a safe manner and thus the design is defective.
Failure to Warn
Sometimes products are dangerous in their own right. The manufacturer may also be found liable if they did not warn about the dangers, either through warning labels or stickers, and the dangerous product causes an injury. For example, if a part on a truck needed to be inspected or changed after a certain number of miles driven or else it might cause a fire, and that part was not inspected or changed because the manufacturer did not provide instructions in the part’s manual or warning stickers, then if that part starts on fire and causes injury, the manufacturer could be liable for the defect due to a failure to warn. Defective or faulty truck parts or mechanics can potentially cause serious accidents that may involve overturned vehicles and explosions. However, even if a truck part itself does not cause an accident, defective parts in the truck or your own vehicle can make your injuries worse in the event you are involved in a truck accident.
If you or a loved one are involved in a truck accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced Trucking Accident Attorney to determine whether you have a viable products liability claim.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident involving a large truck, call me now at (916) 921-6400, or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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Image Attribution: By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada (Big Rigs) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons