Houston Mechanical Malfunction or Defective Part Truck Accident Attorneys
Were you in an accident caused by a truck’s mechanical malfunction or defective part? Did you sustain injuries and need help recovering? If so, contact Gibson Hill Personal Injury today. We’ll review the details of your case to determine your available legal options. It’s your right to hold the at-fault party liable for their actions.
When a commercial vehicle contains a defective part or a mechanical system malfunction, the driver is unable to maneuver safely. It becomes difficult for them to slow down, steer, or come to a complete stop. Any issue with the way the truck operates can cause a severe accident.
Our Houston truck accident attorneys know how to thoroughly investigate crashes like these to prove fault and develop a solid case for recovering the maximum value of your claim. When you hire our firm, it sends a strong signal to the liable parties that you won’t settle for less than your case is worth.
To find out more about our legal services and your legal rights and options, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000.
Types of Commercial Trucks in Houston
Various trucks travel throughout Houston and the state of Texas daily. Every day, drivers transport consumer products and other goods locally or to other parts of the country. Each commercial vehicle you pass is large, heavy, and contains various parts essential for proper functioning.
Common types of commercial trucks include:
- Heavy hauler
- Tanker truck
- Dump truck
- Delivery truck
- Firetruck and other emergency vehicles
- Garbage truck
- Box truck
Any of these could be involved in a collision with a passenger car. When that happens, the occupants in the smaller vehicle typically end up with severe injuries. Sometimes, these types of accidents can cause fatalities. Truck drivers and their employers should always ensure the parts on their vehicle fleet are in excellent working order and don’t have any damages or defects.
Common Defects That Could Lead to Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks depend on multiple systems to get them to their destination safely and efficiently. They require routine inspection and maintenance, repairs, and complete replacement of parts when there’s a recall or defect. It’s up to the trucking company and their employees to adequately maintain each truck and promptly fix issues they find.
The most common parts and systems that can become defective include:
- Brake system
- Steering system
- Cargo securement devices
There are three main types of defects that could affect how a truck operates: design, manufacturing, and failure to warn.
A design defect occurs when the final design can harm the consumer, and the company could have created a safer design.
A manufacturing defect refers to a mistake made during the manufacturing process that led to the final product not meeting specifications and creating a hazard.
Failure to warn is when the manufacturer is aware of certain dangers but doesn’t provide adequate warning labels for the public.
Liability From a Mechanical Malfunction or Defective Part
One of the most difficult steps in this type of truck accident case is determining who’s liable for your injuries. Although the truck driver was in the accident with you, it’s not necessarily their fault. Multiple parties could be involved, and Gibson Hill Personal Injury has the resources to figure out who should pay for your losses.
Truck driver: When truckers are on duty for a driving shift, they must stop to inspect their vehicle for damage and defects. If they discover a defective part or notice a mechanical issue, they’re supposed to report it to their employer and get it repaired promptly. Failure to do so could lead to an accident, and they would be liable for the resulting injuries.
Trucking company: Although the truck driver is the one who operates the vehicle, their employer should review maintenance and repair logs. It’s ultimately their responsibility to ensure their vehicle fleet is in adequate working condition. They might be liable for an accident victim’s expenses if they don’t require their drivers to follow a specific maintenance schedule or fail to replace parts their employees report as defective.
Parts manufacturer: Sometimes, it’s the manufacturing company that’s liable for malfunctioning systems or parts. It’s their duty to design the parts to specific standards and perform safety testing before leaving the factory. Any error made during the manufacturing process could cause consumers harm. Liability becomes an issue if their design is dangerous, the part wasn’t made correctly, or they didn’t provide warning labels of potential risks.
Third-party: Trucking companies might hire a third-party contractor to perform maintenance and repairs on their commercial trucks. If the third-party failed to find faulty parts or didn’t repair the defects properly, they would be responsible for the injured party’s losses.
Compensation Available in an Insurance Claim
All drivers in Texas must have auto insurance with minimum liability limits. Those limits provide compensation to accident victims. Commercial drivers usually have higher limits than someone who owns a compact car. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires minimum liability coverage of $750,000. That’s because trucks can cause more significant property damage and injuries than a passenger vehicle.
If the truck driver didn’t adequately maintain their vehicle, and it resulted in an accident, you could file a claim with their liability insurance company. The fault system in Texas automatically holds the negligent party financially responsible for the victim’s damages.
The trucking company and parts manufacturer should also have liability insurance. General liability coverage is available to all businesses if someone gets hurt due to their negligent actions. You could file a claim with their insurance company to seek a settlement that covers your expenses.
Damages refer to the expenses (economic damages) and intangible losses (non-economic damages) suffered from an accident. They may include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Car repair or replacement
- Out of pocket costs
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
Depending on the liability coverage listed on the trucker’s insurance policy, you might be able to recover compensation for your total damages. Insurance companies might use some of the factors below to determine a fair settlement amount to offer:
- Type of injury and how severe it is
- The time it takes to recover
- Total hours missed from work
- Impact of the damage on daily routine
- Impairment or disability caused by the accident
- Amount of liability insurance
- Total medical costs
- Relevant evidence proving fault
Gibson Hill Personal Injury will do our best to review your damages and determine the monetary value of your case. We know how insurance companies handle claims. It’s their goal to save as much money as possible. They’ll look for any reason to deny the claim or provide a lowball offer. We’ll use aggressive tactics to negotiate for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Compensation Available in a Lawsuit
Economic and non-economic damages are also available in a lawsuit. If you want to sue the insurance company, truck driver, trucking company, or another at-fault party, you must follow the state’s statute of limitations. It’s a strict deadline, and if it passes, you’ll lose the opportunity to sue. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years. That means you have two years from the accident date to file suit.
In a lawsuit, you also have the option of pursuing punitive damages as an additional monetary award. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, it doesn’t compensate for your losses. Instead, it aims to punish the liable party and deter similar misconduct in the future. Juries rarely award this to accident victims unless there are special circumstances. You must provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party acted with gross negligence, fraud, or malice.
Negligence is the legal theory that someone’s failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care resulted in injury to another. To use negligence in your lawsuit, you must prove the following five elements existed at the time of the crash:
- The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care;
- They breached their duty;
- If it wasn’t for their actions, you wouldn’t have suffered harm;
- Their actions or inaction was the direct cause of your injury; and
- You incurred damages as a result.
Our legal team will obtain crucial evidence that proves the liable party was negligent in causing the accident. Defective parts and mechanical malfunction pose an increased risk of injury to anyone encountering the vehicle. At any moment, the truck driver could lose control and collide with another car. It’s dangerous, and we’ll make sure the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions or inaction.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we believe in providing dependable and affordable legal services to our clients in Houston and throughout Texas. That’s why we take cases on contingency, meaning you don’t need to pay any upfront fees or costs to receive representation in your case. We don’t expect payment of our legal fees unless we win your settlement or lawsuit. If we lose, you won’t owe us anything.
Our attorneys will provide one-on-one attention throughout the legal process. We never pass off our cases to other people. We’ll familiarize ourselves with your situation and create an effective plan to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
If you were the victim of a truck accident caused by a mechanical malfunction or defective part, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at (713) 659-4000 immediately and schedule your free consultation.