Eighteen-wheelers are an indispensable part of Alabama’s transportation industry, carrying goods throughout the state. These big rigs rely on complex braking systems to bring up to 80,000 lbs. to a stop within a reasonable distance. While these systems are often reliable, malfunctions can occur, endangering other motorists on the road.
Accidents caused by 18-wheeler brake issues are often caused by manufacturing defects or poor maintenance. This can be the fault of manufacturers, maintenance personnel, or the trucking company or driver.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by an 18-wheeler brake failure, you can seek compensation from the liable party. An Alabama truck accident attorney from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you determine who is responsible for the crash and seek fair compensation.
What Causes Brake Failures in 18-Wheelers?
There are many causes for 18-wheeler brake failures. Typically, brake system failures are due to problems with poor maintenance, manufacturing defects, or improper adjustments that lead to devastating accidents for those in passenger vehicles:
- Subpar maintenance. Regular inspections and maintenance are essential for an 18-wheeler’s complex braking system. Over time, neglecting these routines allows brake pads to wear down, fluids to degrade, and components to rust or corrode. When these are overlooked, it heightens the risk of brake failures.
- Manufacturing defects. Without stringent quality control measures, oversights during the manufacturing process can produce faulty brake components. These can range from weak materials to components not fitting correctly, leading to premature brake failures.
- Overheating. 18-wheelers carry enormous loads, and when descending hills or stopping frequently, the continuous heavy braking can produce excessive heat. Without adequate cooling, this overheating can cause brake pads to wear down rapidly, brake fluids to boil, or even warped rotors—all compromising the brake’s functionality.
- Incorrect adjustments. Brakes need to be adjusted to ensure an even distribution of braking force. When improperly set, some brakes might work harder than others, leading to uneven wear and tear. This not only reduces their overall efficiency but also makes failures more likely.
- External factors. Wet or icy road conditions can reduce brake effectiveness. Debris on the road can get caught in the brake mechanism. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can affect brake responsiveness and wear. This makes proper maintenance and driver maneuvers essential to preventing braking accidents.
Trucking Accidents and Liable Parties
If you’re hurt in a semi-truck accident, you may be able to seek compensation from multiple liable parties. An Alabama commercial truck accident lawyer from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can investigate the collision to determine if one or more of the following parties are liable for your injuries:
- Truck drivers. The operator of an 18-wheeler is responsible for keeping their vehicle safe and well-maintained to avoid endangering themselves and others. For example, they may be liable if they were aware the brakes had an issue, failed to conduct proper brake inspection and maintenance, or drove recklessly to the point of a brake failure.
- Trucking companies. The company that owns or operates the truck is also responsible for its proper safety, including repairs, maintenance, and upgrades as necessary. They may be liable for damages and injuries if they failed to maintain the truck properly or knowingly allowed a truck driver to operate a vehicle with faulty brakes.
- Truck part manufacturers. An 18-wheeler may experience a brake failure due to a faulty design or a defective part. If an investigation reveals the brake had a design flaw or a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer can be liable for the damages in an accident.
- Truck maintenance providers. Many trucking companies subcontract truck repairs and maintenance to dedicated third-party companies. These parties must ensure trucks receive proper repairs, install parts correctly, and accurately diagnose issues. If a provider knowingly allows a company to regain possession of an improperly maintained truck, it may be responsible for damages and injuries if an accident occurs.
- Government entities. Local and state governments can be held responsible for causing a truck to experience a brake failure. Common factors that could make local governments liable include roads in poor condition, improper or missing signage, or unsafe road designs.
How an Alabama Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Hiring an Alabama trucking accident attorney after a collision with an 18-wheeler is crucial for protecting your rights. These companies often have aggressive insurance adjusters who may try to minimize or deny your compensation claim.
Our trucking crash lawyers at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can represent your interests after a truck accident. We can provide the following legal services to help you win a fair settlement:
- Actionable legal advice. 18-wheeler accidents are often legally complex. A trucking accident lawyer understands all applicable local, state, and federal laws. We can help you understand what happened and review your legal options.
- Gather evidence. Our truck accident lawyers have the resources to investigate the events surrounding the crash and obtain crucial evidence to identify all liable parties. We can help you interview witnesses, obtain accident reports, gather footage of the accident, and analyze the truck’s electronic logs and maintenance records to support your claim.
- Represent your interests. A trucking accident lawyer can negotiate with the other parties’ insurance companies. We can help you receive a reasonable payout for your injuries, damages, and other losses by submitting well-rounded evidence and ensuring the company follows all processing requirements for accident claims.
- Handle legal procedures. Trucking accident lawyers in Alabama can help you determine the best course of action for your case to receive compensation. If we cannot reach a settlement agreement, we are ready to stand up for your rights in court and seek compensation on your behalf.
Contact The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers After an 18-Wheeler Crash
The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers stands with victims of truck accidents and 18-wheeler crashes. Our team has decades of combined experience representing the interests of Alabama residents, and we have secured numerous high-value settlements for victims involved in truck accidents.
Contact us today for a free consultation.