Two people were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained in a crash on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, on U.S. 95. The Idaho State Police said the wreck was caused by a trailer that had come free of a semi-truck and veered into oncoming traffic.
The trailer struck a grey Nissan sedan injuring two of its occupants. The crash temporarily blocked all lanes of U.S. 95 just three miles south of Coeur d’Alene for s short time. The ISP is still investigating the accident and so for, no charges have been filed.
Commercial Truck Equipment Accidents
Big Rigs, tankers, box trucks and other commercial trucks are all over the nation’s highways, freeways and even city streets. We rely on them for our economy and for delivering necessities like food, clothing fuel and other staples to our towns and cities.
However, this comes at a cost. Each year between 4,000 and 5000 people die in large truck accidents, and the vast majority of them are not the truck occupants. The reason for this is the size and weight of the big truck.
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs while the average passenger car is lucky to be 3,500 lbs. This weight and mass disparity usually is bad news for the occupants of the smaller cars and trucks. There are many causes for truck accidents, and in some cases the wreck is caused by an equipment failure.
Types of Equipment Failure
A study by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration finds that around 10 percent, or around 450 fatalities and 5,000 accident are caused by equipment failure. These can be from a tire blow out to a trailer hitch malfunction. When any of these happen, the drivers and passengers nearby are at risk for a serious or deadly accident.
Some of the more common equipment failures that cause injury accidents are:
- Blown Tire (Most common)
- Brake Failure
- Steering Malfunction
- Trailer Hitch Problems
- Goods Flying Off Truck
- Unsecured Load Causing Load Shift
- Suspension Problems
Because of the speed of the trucks and their size and weight, any of these problems can result in a serious or deadly accident.
When a commercial truck hit the roads, it is required to have insurance up to $750,000 for tractor trailers and $1 million for trucks hauling hazardous materials. These requirements come from federal law that governs trucks that take goods state to state. Local states have their own requirements which are usually the same or similar to the federal laws.
When an accident happens, and the equipment is a significant factor in the crash, then the truck driver or trucking company (or both) are liable for any injuries and property damage. In some equipment failure accidents, some of the blame for the accident might also fall on the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident.
The driver in the victim’s car might have been impaired or was speeding or driving aggressively. Idaho is a comparative negligence state which means that if the victim was a certain percentage at fault, then he or she will pay for their share of the damages. This will effectively reduce the victim’s compensation but rarely will eliminate it.
Do I Need an Attorney?
One of the questions many injured victims ask is whether they need an attorney? They often feel that if the accident wasn’t their fault, then why hire an attorney just so they can take a portion of the settlement or award?
This is a valid question. Think of it this way, the insurance company and the trucking companies along with their attorneys, deal with injury accidents all the time. More than likely, this is your first. They are experienced in paying out as little as possible even in the face of obvious fault of their driver.
You need someone to make sure they don’t get away with paying you less than you deserve. You need an attorney who will maximize your compensation which will typically be well worth any fee paid to the attorney.
At Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., we offer a free consultation where you are advised of the law and your right and can have your specific case evaluated. After speaking with us, we feel confident that you will want to have our experienced legal team help you get the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Couer d’Alene and Spokane and surrounding communities.Call us at (509) 926 4900 or send us a message online.