Fatal Tractor-Trailer Detachment Accident Kills Seven When Coupler Fails
Because our Atlanta tractor-trailer accident attorneys handle a significant number of trucking collisions, we have seen the carnage that is created when commercial carriers and truck drivers do not comply with trucking industry regulations and industry safety practices. (We note that we also do represent a number of accident victims who are truck drivers who are professional and take their jobs and safety seriously.) Regardless of whether you are driving a sedan, pickup, SUV or van, the weight disparity between your vehicle and a semi-truck will frequently mean that occupants in your vehicle suffer severe injuries or even death in a big-rig crash.
A fatal trucking accident in another state provides a grim reminder of these risks. A van that was transporting seven people including several kids was involved in a fatal trucking collision that killed all of the occupants of the van. While the cause of the trucking accident is currently under investigation, the probability that negligence by the trucking company was involved is evidenced by the nature of the collision. The trailer of the truck detached before the trailer crossed the center median and slammed into the van and ripped it apart. Even though the van is heavier and provided more structural protection than a sedan, it did not hold up under the force of impact from the trailer of the big-rig.
While the reason for the trailer detaching has not yet been identified, these types of accidents do not usually happen without negligence. Because the trailer is sent careening out of control, the injuries suffered in a trucking accident because of the trailer decoupling are particularly serious. This type of accident may occur for a range of reasons, including improper maintenance of the coupler, failure to properly engage the coupler, an excessive or unbalanced load that causes a shift in weight or other factors. When this type of unsafe hazard causes devastating injuries or wrongful death both the trucking company and driver may be subject to liability.
The manufacturer of the coupler or tractor-trailer may also be liable for truck detachment accidents if the accident is caused by a design or manufacturing defect in the device. If proper warning are not provided to avoid potential risks that may cause the trailer to detach from the cab of the truck, this also may be a basis for imposing liability on the manufacturer. Product liability claims against the manufacturer of the coupler or rig have the advantage that it is enough to prove the defect existed rather than needing to prove how the defect was created.
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