Living in Arizona means experiencing heavy truck traffic on city streets and highways. If it feels like there are even more trucks on the road these days, you’re not imagining it: there’s been a big spike in commercial vehicle numbers all over the country.
Of course, when there are more trucks on the road, the chances of a crash increase. While most truck accident claims involve a dangerous or negligent driver, not all of them do. In cases where a collision with a big-rig is precipitated by a defective part in their truck, you, as the victim of the crash, may have a product liability claim. This type of claim holds the manufacturers responsible for the faulty truck parts that led to the accident.
What defects can lead to a product liability claim in a truck accident?
Product liability refers to the legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors and retailers for any harm or damage caused by defective products. There are three primary types of product defects that your injury attorney will examine regarding your accident:
- Manufacturing defects: This can occur at any point, on any part, throughout a truck’s production process. If a component related to the malfunction and eventual accident of a truck deviates from the intended design, it can lead to the manufacturer being held liable for an accident
- Design defects: In these forms of defects, the product’s inherent design poses a safety risk. This would be a liability for the designer of the truck rather than the manufacturer. Generally these two parties are part of one company.
- Marketing defects: In this situation, the defect is in the improper instruction or warning regarding a component of the truck.
In pursuing a product liability claim, several key elements must be established. Firstly, you must prove a duty of care between the parties involved. Secondly, it is essential to demonstrate that the truck or its parts were indeed defective. Moreover, a clear link between the defect and the accident must be established.
Arizona’s product liability laws can make claims challenging, so it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as you can. We’ll give you an honest assessment of your case, and help you understand what your options are.
What are the five most common truck malfunctions that lead to accidents on the road?
- Brake system failures: When it comes to stopping a giant truck, a lot of power is needed. These failures, often stemming from faulty components or inadequate maintenance, can lead to devastating accidents due to compromised braking efficiency.
- Tire blowouts: These potentially catastrophic accidents can affect all drivers in the truck’s vicinity when the tire blows. The truck may lose control as one side of its body slows from the friction of the rim on the road. These failures often stem from neglect, where drivers or trucking companies do not complete necessary tire replacements.
- Faulty fuel systems: Issues with the fuel system may lead to fires or sudden engine failures. When these incidents occur, the driver is more prone to a panicked decision, adding to the risk of accidents on the road.
- Defective steering. In 2022, more than 105,000 heavy-duty trucks were recalled because missing parts could have led to loss of steering. Loss of steering can be a life-threatening event in a passenger vehicle; imagine how much worse it would be in a fully-loaded semi-truck.
- Electrical failures. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is like the “brain” of a truck: it controls the function of the engine. Any defects in the ECU or the wiring can lead to a collision.
Note: if there is any type of defect worth “watching,” it is the electrical defect. Electric semi-trucks are the future, and it would not surprise us to see an increase in reports about defects as manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand.
Who is liable for a truck accident caused by defective parts?
In product liability cases like these, the liable parties may include:
Truck manufacturers: These companies hold the primary responsibility for ensuring their products’ safety and reliability. They must adhere to strict quality standards and conduct thorough testing to prevent defects.
Truck distributors and retailers: These parties can also be held liable if they fail to properly inspect or maintain the trucks before selling them to consumers. They have a duty to deliver safe and defect-free products to the market.
Identifying the liable parties in product liability cases can be complex, involving a thorough investigation to determine who in the supply chain may be responsible for the defective truck part that led to the accident.
How can your Phoenix truck accident lawyers prove product liability?
When pursuing product liability claims in truck accidents, we collect critical evidence from the accident scene, including photographs, witness statements and any product-related debris that may help demonstrate the defective part’s involvement. Additionally, obtaining truck maintenance records and inspection reports are crucial in evaluating whether proper upkeep was performed on the faulty parts. We also analyze any data from the electronic logging device (ELD) or other software that may indicate exactly how the collision happened.
Truck accidents are scary and stressful enough on their own. When it comes to fighting for justice, do not face this challenge alone. The experienced Phoenix injury attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C. are skilled in truck accident law as well as the complexities of product liability. Read our testimonials to see how we have protected the rights of your Phoenix and Tempe neighbors and won them the compensation they deserved after an accident.
The trusted team of attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C. will handle the legal side of things as you focus on recovering from your truck accident. With convenient offices in Phoenix and Tempe, we are here to help. Call or contact us today for your free consultation.
Partner Frank Verderame is a seasoned trial attorney, who has dedicated his life to helping victims of serious injuries. He is a Board Certified Specialist in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation, and has been an active part of legal communities and organizations since he started his practice, back in 1983.
Read more about Frank Verderame