Truck-Trailer Disconnect Accidents

Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers Based in Chicago

If a trailer becomes disconnected from the commercial truck that is hauling it, the resulting collisions can be devastating. A runaway trailer going at high speeds on the highway can hit multiple cars that then hit each other like dominos. There may be numerous people killed or catastrophically injured. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a truck-trailer disconnect accident, you should consult an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our tough, aggressive attorneys may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages.

Situations Involving Truck-Trailer Disconnect Accidents

Commercial truckers are supposed to follow federal and state regulations to minimize the possibility of accidents, including runaway trailer accidents. Trailers can disconnect from trucks for many different reasons, including an overloaded trailer, a mechanical defect, improperly secured cargo, lack of vehicle maintenance, corroded components, a faulty hitch, reckless driving, a steep decline, road debris, unstable or slick roads, brake failure, sudden turns, excessive speeding, missing breakaway chains, or improper securing of the trailer to the truck.

These conditions can become dangerous if a trailer hits a pothole, even though it may not have presented a problem on a smoother surface. Any mistake or maintenance problem that causes a trailer to become disconnected creates a situation in which trucks can jackknife, roll over, collide head-on with other vehicles or the trailer, or get involved in other collisions due to unsecured cargo rolling across the road. Trailers can weigh 60,000 or more pounds, and multiple collisions may result from a disconnection.

Many truck-trailer disconnect accidents are due to negligence by the driver or somebody else responsible for attaching a trailer to the truck that is hauling it. Drivers who are towing a trailer must check all of the components of the trailer and rig to make sure that they are safe. The driver is also supposed to follow federal and state regulations in connection with securing the cargo, as well as addressing maintenance issues. A driver who fails to use reasonable care in connection with securing cargo, maintaining the truck, or attaching the trailer to the truck may be held responsible under a theory of negligence.

Often, there are multiple people injured in truck-trailer disconnect accidents. All of these people will be making a claim on the truck driver's insurance policy, which may not have sufficient coverage for catastrophic injuries to multiple people in a single accident. Therefore, it is crucial to retain an attorney who will look at all possible sources of compensation. Sometimes it is possible to hold another party responsible for a truck-trailer disconnect accident. These other potential parties to a lawsuit for damages include the trucking company, the vehicle owner if it is different from the trucking company, cargo loaders, manufacturers of the truck or trailer, maintenance and repair crews, and other third parties.

Different theories may be used to establish liability, depending on the nature of the entity being sued and its role in the accident. For example, a truck component manufacturer may be held strictly liable for a defective component that causes a truck-trailer disconnect accident. A trucking company, on the other hand, may be held liable under a theory of negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent supervision. A truck owner may be liable under a theory of negligent entrustment. The issue in negligent entrustment cases is whether the defendant knew or should have known that the driver intended to use or was likely to use a vehicle in such a way that it would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others.

Consult a Truck Accident Attorney in Chicago or Surrounding Cities

If you were involved in a truck-trailer disconnect accident, you should consult an experienced injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent people in Chicago, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other areas of Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation, or contact us online.