Depending on what you are carrying, you need a tow hitch that can withstand the weight and is in working order. If you own a pickup truck, you might have used a tow hitch in the past to move a trailer, mobile home, or jet ski. Commercial vehicles also use these hitches to attach trailers and move products across Kentucky.
If there is a tow hitch defect, it can cause a trailer to come loose and lead to a severe accident. When other drivers see a trailer coming loose or swinging, they will try to avoid an accident, leading to more chaos on the road. The effects of a defective tow hitch are extensive, and someone must take responsibility for these defects.
How Tow Hitch Defects Occur
A tow hitch is a product that should be in working order, without defects, when it leaves the manufacturer. These parts also require maintenance to ensure they can still withstand the weight that is put on them. If the tow hitch has a defect or it fails, then anything you attach to it is in danger of coming loose and wreaking havoc on innocent bystanders.
Tow hitch defects happen in several ways, including:
- Support chains: these chains help secure the trailer if the tow hitch disengages; if they fail, destruction follows.
- Design flaws: can lead to trailer hitch disengagement.
- Failed lights: Trailers can warn others to see if something is wrong so they have time to move and react. Truck drivers cannot communicate with other drivers if the blinkers are not working.
- Substandard component material: design flaws also involve the materials you use to make the product; if the manufacturer does not use sturdy materials, it causes the hitch to break from the pressure.
- Defective trailer tongue
A product defect can happen for several reasons, and it can be due to an incorrect design or manufacturing error. Ultimately, you will need a Kentucky tow hitch defects truck accident lawyer to investigate the defect and file an insurance claim with the company responsible for recovering compensation for your injuries and losses.
Other Reasons Trailers Break
Aside from manufacturers and operator negligence, trailers break for other reasons. Any vehicle with a tow hitch can become unhitched, including semi-trucks, pickup trucks, moving vans, and SUVs. Reasons outside of defenses that can lead to truck accidents include:
- Sudden turns
- Loose cables
- Rusted belts
- Lack of safety harnesses
- Poor lighting
- Abrupt stops
- State code violations
- Overloaded trailers
There are a plethora of reasons why trailers can come unhitched and cause accidents. You cannot assume it is the truck driver or the manufacturer without a proper investigation into the incident.
A tow hitch defects truck accident attorney can investigate what caused the tow hitch to break. Once we determine the cause, we will take the proper legal steps to hold the negligent party liable.
The Commonality of Tow Hitch Truck Accidents
The general public doesn’t think these accidents are common, but over the years, many tow hitch accidents have resulted in severe injuries and death. When a manufacturer states the tow hitch can carry 7,500 pounds, but it breaks when it gets close to that limit, that is a severe problem, and the manufacturer must recall the tow hitches and investigate the cause of these breaks.
Additionally, trucking companies must stay aware of the weight limits for trailers, tow hitches, and more to stay within those limits. Cleaning is also necessary because if you do not clean tow hitches correctly, it can cause the hitch to deteriorate and break with too much weight.
Operator Negligence or Manufacturer Defects
Truck drivers must note the kind of trailer they are hitching and ensure they are using the right hitch for the job. There are two main hitch types; a gooseneck hitch and a weight-bearing hitch. A gooseneck hitch connects the trailer to the vehicle and is in the center of the truck’s rear. A weight-bearing hitch carries the weight of the trailer.
Truck operators must calculate the correct weight before they begin driving to ensure the trailer does not exceed the suggested weight by the manufacturer. When drivers do not mount the hitch, place too much weight on it, or ignore warning signs, they are liable under operator negligence.
If a design defect causes the trailer to disengage, break or sway, then the manufacturer is liable for any accidents and injuries. You will need to show the manufacturer defect was the direct cause of the accident and there was, in fact, something wrong with the hitch that the manufacturer should have known about. If the tow hitch is used as intended, then the manufacturer is the one to blame for an accident.
Liability in a Runaway Trailer Accident
There are other factors to consider regarding a Kentucky truck accident. Liability is complex, and while you know the truck driver was the cause of the accident, that does not mean they are liable. Three possible negligent parties can bear the financial possibility for your injuries in a tow hitch accident.
The vehicle operator is the first party you will name in your insurance claim. However, they have an employer who is also responsible for the actions of their drivers. The truck company and cargo loaders are also responsible for the safety of the driver and cargo. They are responsible for vehicle maintenance and proper cargo loading procedure.
If there is excess weight, the cargo loader must face the legal repercussions of their negligent actions. Lastly, the hitch manufacturer is another liable party in these accidents because they design the hitch and are responsible if there is a design defect.
Call a Tow Hitch Defects Truck Accident Attorney Today
Going against a trucking company is scary, but Isaacs & Isaacs is here to guide you and protect your rights. After a truck accident, you must speak to a tow hitch defects truck accident lawyer in Kentucky, who will investigate the incident and determine what legal remedies you have. Schedule your initial consultation today.