As Atlanta grapples with surging truck traffic, the risk of accidents increases every day. While many truck accidents stem from driver negligence, not all incidents can be attributed to human error. When a collision involves a commercial vehicle plagued by a defective component, victims may pursue product liability claims. These claims shift responsibility to manufacturers for the faulty truck parts contributing to the accident.
According to truckinginfo.com and the 2023 International Roadcheck data from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), inspectors in the United States conducted 53,847 inspections on commercial vehicles, revealing alarming statistics. The out-of-service (OOS) rate for these substantial road giants stood at 19.3%, with a total of 15,932 vehicle violations uncovered.
What are the most common truck safety violations?
- Defective brake systems: The most prevalent issue among these violations was related to brake systems. Specifically, brake system violations accounted for the top vehicle out-of-service violation, constituting nearly 25% of OOS violations. Among these were 1,264 power units, 2,428 trailers, and four buses found to have Automatic Braking System (ABS) violations, putting at risk the trucks’ capacity to engage brakes automatically during critical moments.
- Defective service brakes: Defective service brakes contributed to an additional 14% of these out-of-service vehicle violations. When a defect is present in a manufactured item the liability falls on the maker of that item. So trucks with these, somewhat common, defective service brakes are more prone to accidents that would hold the manufacturer primarily at fault rather than the driver or trucking company.
- Defective tires: Accounting for 20% of the total vehicle violations from the 2023 inspections. Improperly affixed, overworn, and structurally compromised tires are an all-too-common issue in commercial trucking.
- In the Chhetri vs. Michelin case, a seven-day trial culminated in a jury verdict of $16,520,000 in favor of the Plaintiff, who was represented by Atlanta’s trusted product liability attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP.. The tragic event occurred on March 22, 2011, when a defective tire caused a 15-passenger van, with 50-year-old Mr. Kharka Chhetri aboard, to lose control, resulting in a fatal crash. This landmark case exposed Michelin’s negligence, leading to $11,500,000 in punitive damages and an additional $5,020,000 for the wrongful death of Mr. Chhetri.
While these are the three most common truck safety violations, these are not the only violations where liable may arise.
How can an Atlanta truck defect attorney help me?
Product liability claims in truck accidents can arise from various defects in the truck or its components. These claims typically fall into three categories:
- Manufacturing Defects: Production defects happen when a component differs from its intended design during the manufacturing process. If such a defect in a truck part causes an accident, the manufacturer could be held accountable for the resulting harm.
- Design Defects: Design defects involve inherent flaws in the truck’s design that pose safety risks. Liability for design defects generally falls on the truck’s designer, although they may be part of the same company as the manufacturer.
- Marketing Defects: Marketing defects relate to improper instructions or warnings regarding truck components. If inadequate guidance leads to an accident, liability may extend to the party responsible for providing instructions or warnings.
To pursue a product liability claim successfully, several elements must be established. First, a duty of care between the parties involved must be proven. Second, it’s essential to demonstrate that the truck or its parts were indeed defective. Furthermore, a clear link between the defect and the accident must be established.
Harris Lowry Manton LLP has plenty of experience in these types of cases and can show a jury how each of these elements applies.
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.
Properly navigating Atlanta’s product liability laws demands experienced product liability attorneys promptly following an accident involving you or a loved one. With well over $200 million in product liability settlements, Harris Lowry and Manton LLP can provide an honest assessment of your case and guide you through your legal options, helping you seek the compensation you deserve.
Who is liable for a truck accident caused by defective parts?
Determining liability for a truck accident resulting from defective parts involves a complex evaluation of potential responsible parties, including:
- Truck Manufacturers: Primary responsibility rests with manufacturers. They are obligated to meet rigorous safety standards and conduct thorough testing to ensure their products are defect-free.
- Truck Distributors and Retailers: These entities may also be accountable if they fail to adequately inspect and maintain trucks before selling them.
Discuss with a trusted Atlanta product liability attorney to identify liable parties in the case of a product defect. These accidents necessitate deep investigation to ascertain responsibility within the supply chain for the defective truck part that caused the accident.
Truck accidents are scary and stressful enough on their own. When it comes to fighting for justice, do not face this challenge alone. The trusted Atlanta truck accident injury and product liability attorneys at Harris Lowry and Manton LLP are skilled in truck accident law as well as the complexities of product liability.
Our experienced team of Georgia attorneys will handle the legal side of things as you focus on recovering from your truck accident. With convenient offices in Atlanta and Savannah, we are here to help. Call or contact us today for your free consultation.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.