What could be more frightening than driving down the highway and seeing an 18-wheeler’s trailer detach right in front of you? Unfortunately, trailer accidents are often catastrophic or even fatal. Trailers can detach from all types of vehicles, including trucks, big rigs, flatbeds, pickup trucks, etc. Thompson Law Injury Lawyers are dedicated to protecting your rights if you have been involved in any form of a trucking accident.
Texas trailer detachment accident examples
These following incidents demonstrate the severity of the trailer detachment accident problem in Texas.
- December 2012 – a Texas man was killed on I-10 after an empty trailer rammed into his car after disconnecting from its truck
- May 2019 – this involved two semis: one that blew a tire and another one whose driver tried to evade. The trailer to the second semi got detached and fell on the cab leading to the death of the passenger
- June 2019 – two people were killed in a crash that happened on West US Highway 70 after a trailer detached from a 2004 Dodge Ram and crashed in oncoming traffic
What causes trailer detachment?
Some of the reasons why a trailer may get detached from the truck include:
- Speeding – a truck driver needs to consider the weight and type of their cargo as well as the condition of the road in order to adjust the speed accordingly. Driving too fast while towing extremely heavy cargo on a rough road may cause the trailer to detach.
- Sudden turns – sudden turns can cause the trailer to jackknife, thus separating from the cab.
- Trailer overload – Texas laws allow a trailer to weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds. However, some trucking companies have a tendency to overload in order to maximize on profits made for each delivery. Truck overload increases the chances of trailer detachment.
- Poor truck maintenance – trucking companies and drivers are obligated to ensure that their vehicles are regularly serviced and inspected.
- Steep declines – if the weight of the trailer exceeds that of the cab towing it in a steep decline, the driver may find it impossible to apply brakes, leading to a trailer separation.
Who is liable in a trailer detachment accident?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, a number of people may be held liable for a trailer detachment accident. These include:
The truck driver
Driver negligence is one of the leading causes of most trucking accidents in Texas. In a trailer detachment accident, the driver can be deemed negligent if he fails to secure the trailer appropriately, defensive driving, failing to follow the laid out safety protocols, or if he over speeds.
The trucking company
The trucking company has a duty to ensure that the truck is inspected and maintained regularly. It also has a responsibility to ensure that the truck is not overloaded. If the trucking company knowingly allows an innocent driver to drive a defective, unmaintained truck, or an overloaded truck, they may be held liable for the accident.
The hitch manufacturer
Hitch failure in the absence of such factors as rust as a result of improper care or poor maintenance, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident. In that case, the manufacturer may not only be forced to compensate each victim as well as the surviving family members.
The state or the city
If the accident is deemed to have been as a result of boulders, trees, and other debris, or if the road is in a state of disrepair, the state or city agency responsible for road maintenance may be held liable.
Common injuries in a trailer detachment accident
Most trailer detachment accidents result in severe injuries if not death. Some of the most common results in such an accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial fractures, scarring, and lacerations
Trailer detachment victims may be eligible for compensation for damages including current and future medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, the inability to earn in the future, pain, and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages. In the event of death, Texas law allows the surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why you should contact Thompson Law
Truck detachment accidents are among the deadliest on Texas roads. If you or someone has been injured or even died as a result of such, the personal injury attorneys at Thompson Law have the necessary experience, knowledge, and dedication to fight for the recovery you deserve. Our robust team of investigators will determine the circumstances in which the accident occurred, and our litigation team will pursue the best outcome for you and your loved ones. We perform free case evaluations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t pay a thing unless we win your case. Contact us today at 844-308-8180.