Personal Injury

Common Mechanical Failures That Cause Truck Accidents

A blue semi-truck speeds down a highway in Texas.

When a semi-truck isn't properly maintained or inspected, it puts everyone else on the road at risk

A truck accident can have devastating consequences. Whether you call them big rigs, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers, these commercial trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road. That's why a collision between a passenger car and a big truck can leave people with serious injuries and change their lives in just seconds.

In Texas and states across the country, truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes reckless truckers speed or text behind the wheel. Other times, trucking companies hire unqualified drivers or give them unrealistic delivery schedules. But another common cause of truck accidents is mechanical failure.

Here are some common mechanical problems that lead to truck accidents:

Brake failure

A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and truckers often drive at high speeds on the highway. Trucks also need a lot of distance to come to a full stop – as much as the length of two football fields. Undoubtedly, it’s very important that the truck has brakes that are fully functional. Worn brake linings, a torn vacuum hose, or a fluid leak can cause the brakes to become unresponsive. When the brakes fail on an 18-wheeler, rear-end truck accidents, rollovers, and jackknife accidents are often the end result.

Steering system failure

Truckers need to be able to steer their rigs smoothly. The steering systems of trucks are complex and involve a lot of moving parts that all need to be working properly. A faulty or poorly maintained drag link, cross tube, tie rod end or kingpin can cause serious problems, and a driver may find it difficult to control the vehicle.

Transmission failure

Semi-trucks typically have 10 forward gears, though others have as many as 18 gears. Multiple parts have to work in unison to keep the truck operating at an appropriate speed with the right amount of torque. A problem with a clutch, valve, joint, pump, or another part can result in difficulty shifting gears and make the truck harder to handle.

Tire failure

Big trucks have multiple wheels with multiple tires, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. An underinflated tire can lead to a blowout on the highway. A defective tire can lose its tread on the road, causing a hazard. Driving on mismatched tires can increase the risk of mechanical failure. A damaged tire can also develop a slow leak that causes a flat while driving.

Mechanical failure is often the consequence of negligence

Trucking companies have a responsibility to inspect and maintain the vehicles in their fleet regularly. Any mechanical problems need to be reported immediately, and repairs need to be made promptly. When companies fail to meet this responsibility, the risk of an accident goes up, and people can be seriously hurt.

Talk to a truck accident attorney about your legal options

If you were injured or a loved one died in a truck accident caused by mechanical failure, recovering financial compensation can be a long, uphill battle. Trucking companies often deny any responsibility and have teams of attorneys looking out for the company's best interests. Insurance companies will challenge your claim because they know the stakes are high and the costs associated with a truck accident can be significant. They too have lawyers to protect their interests.

That's why you need a truck accident lawyer who will fight for you and even the playing field. At Tracey Fox King & Walters, our attorneys understand the impact that injuries from a truck wreck can have on your life. We can investigate your crash to gather the facts and build a strong case. Our truck accident lawyers are committed to helping you get the best possible outcome – whether that’s through a negotiated settlement or a favorable jury verdict.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

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