Equipment Failure In Truck Accidents: Who's Liable Under The Theory Of Product Liability?
While it may seem that the trucking company is responsible for all types of equipment failure in trucks, it is not entirely true. Our experienced truck accident attorney in San Francisco explains that it is also the truck driver's responsibility to conduct a visual check of all equipment before embarking on a trip.
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There are more than 5,000 truck accidents in California each year. That means that every day, the state sees nearly 14 truck accidents. Regardless of your status – a motorist, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, or a bystander – you or your family members could end up in one of those.

Semi-trucks are the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, as they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo. Given their size, trucks are not only difficult to operate and maneuver, but also extremely difficult to manufacture and maintain. In fact, equipment failure is one of the most common causes of truck accidents in San Francisco and elsewhere in California.

How to establish liability in the event of an equipment failure?

Establishing liability when a truck accident is caused by an equipment failure is a complicated process. That is because an equipment failure that leads to a truck accident can be caused by the malfunction in the truck itself, the equipment used to connect the truck to the trailer, or the equipment and mechanics in the trailer itself.

Our San Francisco truck accident attorney from the Allegiance Law says that the following systems are often involved in an equipment failure:

  • The braking system;
  • The hardware used to connect the truck to the trailer;
  • Tire blow-outs;
  • Improperly or inadequately secured cargo;
  • Broken mirrors; and
  • Faulty headlights or turn signals.

Who’s responsible for equipment failure in trucks?

While it may seem that the trucking company is responsible for all types of equipment failure in trucks (after all, the trucking company is usually solely responsible for inspection and maintenance of its trucks), it is not entirely true.

Our experienced truck accident attorney in San Francisco explains that it is also the truck driver’s responsibility to conduct a visual check of all equipment before embarking on a trip. Manufacturers of trucks and equipment used in trucks and trailers are also equally responsible for ensuring that the products, parts, and components that they make and sell are in a safe working condition.

In fact, routine maintenance and inspection of trucks and its equipment must be performed by the trucking company, truck driver, and/or other individuals or firms whose duty is to maintain the trucks in a working condition in a manner that is specified by the manufacturer of that truck and its equipment.

Since all routine inspections and maintenance must be documented, your San Francisco truck accident attorney will be able to get access to the reports and logs after an accident involving a truck. Oftentimes, trucking companies refuse to provide any reports and logs to victims who are not represented by lawyers.

Negligence in product liability cases

Under California law, a truck driver and a trucking company can be sued and held liable for the damages caused in a trucking accident only after you have established that the truck driver and/or trucking company was negligent or in any other way failed to exercise a standard of care that was reasonably expected in the circumstances.

However, when a truck accident is caused by an equipment malfunction, and your case falls under the legal theory of product liability, the manufacturer, designer, seller, and the distributor of the defective parts or components, among other parties, may be strictly liable for your injuries even if these parties were not negligent. Meaning: when the legal theory of product liability applies, you do not have to establish someone else’s negligence in order to recover compensation.

Contact the Allegiance Law and speak to our best truck accident lawyers in California in order to establish the at-fault parties in your particular case. Call our offices at 415-404-6395 or fill out this contact form today.

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