Grand Junction Trailer Hitch Failure Accident Attorneys
A trailer hitch is a key component in keeping the cab and trailer of a truck connected. Without it, the driver loses all control over the trailer, allowing it to cause havoc and severe damage to the other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, this kind of accident is all too common, and trailer hitches often fail, resulting in a runaway trailer. Accident victims often suffer from intense injuries that can require months, or even years, of treatment. Our legal team at Peters & Nolan, LLC knows that you are probably feeling confused, scared, and hopeless about what the future will bring. But we are here to offer you the legal support you need.
We are experts in our field with years of experience advocating for those injured in truck accidents. Trucking companies and insurance adjusters do not frighten us, and they should not frighten you either. We know how to run a successful investigation and we know what to bring to the table to get our clients the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one have been injured in a trailer hitch accident in Grand Junction, contact our firm by calling (970) 243-4357.
18-wheeler trucks have two main sections: the trailer, which carries the cargo, and the cab, which is where the driver sits. The trailer is attached to the cab with a hitch. The hitch is a vital part of any properly maintained truck, as without it the trailer would become completely unattached to the cab. This puts everyone on the road at extreme risk, as trailers can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, meaning they can easily demolish and run over the average passenger vehicle. A hitch can fail for several reasons, and the most common ones include:
- The driver was speeding or swerving erratically
- Rusted parts and components
- Undersized or improperly installed safety chains
- Overloaded trailers
- Poor road conditions
- Defective or improperly installed hitches
- Brake malfunctions
What is so alarming about hitch failures is that they can often lead to other types of truck accidents. For example, an underride accident may occur as a loose trailer slides into traffic in the next lane over. The failed hitch may also not completely detach, leading to a jackknifing situation, where the trailer forms a 90-degree angle with the cab. These trailers can then slam into other cars around the truck and cross several lanes of traffic. The out-of-control trailer may also rollover, potentially spilling its cargo along the way and crushing any cars near it. If the truck was carrying dangerous materials, the spill could be just as hazardous as the collision itself. Truthfully, trailer hitch accidents are among the most dangerous incidents possible for a truck.
As already mentioned, trailers weigh a lot, with the average 18-wheeler reaching upwards of 80,000 lbs. A majority of that weight comes from the trailer, which will be even heavier if it is carrying a full load. When a trailer becomes unattached, it can speed completely out of control, with no cab or driver to apply the brakes and slow it down. With the combined speed and weight, a trailer can plow through and over the other passenger vehicles on the road. This can lead to catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Broken and crushed bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Amputations or the loss of limbs
These injuries will take a great deal of time to heal, if they heal at all. The recovery process can require extensive surgeries, long hospital stays, and countless physical therapy sessions. That leaves you with medical debt, lost wages as you take time off work, and seemingly endless pain and suffering as you try to heal. Your best chance at recovering the costs of an accident and being able to heal comfortably is through a personal injury claim.
After suffering from a trailer hitch accident, you will likely be left in a lot of pain with no idea how you will pay for the hospital bills that seem to keep getting higher. But if your injuries were not your fault, then you have options. When filing a claim, you can demand specific damages in order to recover proper compensation including economic and non-economic costs.
Economic damages include financial losses, usually having a very clear and easily proven cost. They can include your medical expenses, any lost wages, lost job opportunities, and property damage. You can bring in evidence for these damages, such as your medical bills, past pay stubs, and estimates from experts on how much damage was caused to your vehicle.
Non-economic damages cover all non-financial losses. These damages do not have a clear cost and may be more flexible depending on the severity of the case. They often include things such as pain and suffering, lowered quality of life, and loss of enjoyment. While you may not have physical evidence for these damages, with an experienced attorney by your side, you can still recover compensation for them.
The first step in filing a claim is determining who is liable for your injuries. Liability depends on the details of your case, and it may take a proper truck accident investigation to determine just who the at-fault party is. There are, however, a few parties that are most often at fault when it comes to trailer hitch accidents.
Truck drivers: As the person controlling the truck, the driver is often found to be at fault for most accidents. They may have been speeding, taking a turn too quickly, or loaded their truck with too much cargo. Truck drivers have difficult jobs, but a single mistake could easily result in extreme injuries to those sharing the road with them. As such, a driver should always be held accountable for their negligence.
Trucking company: Trucking companies are legally required to perform proper and regular inspections on their vehicles to ensure they are safe to be on the road. However, inspections take time and money, and trucking companies are often more interested in making a profit. A company may choose to skip these inspections in order to get trucks on the road faster. This can include failing to check if the hitch is in proper working order. When that happens, a trucking company may be considered the liable party.
Manufacture or mechanic: A defective part may also be the cause of a hitch failure. When this is the case, liability may lie with the manufacturer or the mechanic responsible for the truck’s maintenance. However, it can be difficult to determine if a mechanic or manufacturer is responsible for the accident without a skilled attorney who knows where to look for key evidence.
Truck accidents are traumatic events, especially for passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Trailer hitch failures are among the most devastating truck accidents possible while also being difficult to file a claim for without proper legal representation. We at Peters & Nolan, LLC have seen just how debilitating these collisions can be. That is why our Grand Junction truck accident attorneys are determined to help those who have been injured in trailer hitch accidents. If you or a loved one need help recovering compensation after becoming injured in an accident that was not your fault, reach out to us at (970) 243-4357 and find out how we can help you.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.