Steering wheel failure does not happen often, but when it does, catastrophic accidents can occur in an instant. This happens in passenger cars as well as big rigs. While losing control over steering is frightening in any vehicle, when it happens in a truck weighing 80,000 pounds, the potential for disaster is multiplied.
Steering Wheel Failure in Truck Accidents
Let’s look at what parts can affect the steering system in large trucks, what causes steering functional loss and and what needs to be done to prevent that from happening. Finally, let’s examine how someone injured by an out-of-control big rig can recover damages.
Truck Accident Lawyer for Crashes Involving Steering Failure
Steering in trucks is dependent on interaction between many parts that allow the driver to maintain control over his or her vehicle. At any point along the way, a part may fail, robbing the trucker of the ability to steer. Routine mechanical issues can impact steering. Something as common as vehicle alignment or bad shock absorbers can play a part, causing problems with steering. Whether it is a defective part or a lack of maintenance, other motorists can be seriously hurt or killed in an accident.
David Azizi has a long and excellent track record in truck accident cases. He has studied the intricacies of trucking systems and their upkeep. He also has fostered a relationship over the years with experts in truck accident forensics. This background allows David to investigate a truck accident using tools that get to the source of the problem. By doing this, he raises the bar in obtaining just compensation for his clients injured in a truck crash due to steering failure.
Reasons Steering Control Is Lost in Big Rigs
Some parts that when faulty can affect steering in a semi truck are:
- A drag link or steering link
- The ball joint connecting the drag link
- Hydraulic fluid reservoir
- Pitman arm connectors
- Steering gear abnormalities
While some of these are unfamiliar to the general public, an expert in truck steering malfunction can determine when and where the problem started.
General Maintenance Left Undone
Truck drivers are responsible for keeping their vehicle well maintained and checking it thoroughly before starting out on a trip. Trucking companies employ mechanics who routinely service trucks to ensure that they are fully operational. Parts that have worn out from use or are faulty can be found and repaired or replaced.
Before the steering mechanism fails on a big truck, a trucker may get warning signs that something is amiss. One such sign is hard steering. This is the term used when the effort to steer the truck in one direction or another is greater than normally required. Steering in this case is still possible but difficult.
Preliminary checks a mechanic should make include the fluid level in the power steering reservoir, whether the fifth wheel is greased or if the tire pressure is adequate. It is important that the trucker check the trucking logs to see if the cargo was heavier than it should be. If steering loss occurs in both directions, a trucker/mechanic might check to see if there is a burnt smell/odor near the oil reservoir. There could be due to a restriction in the oil reservoir, easily fixed with a new hose. If the condition continues, the steering pump may need to be replaced.
Checking the vehicle and fixing the problem is based on the trucker’s observation of hard steering long before the steering fails and causes an accident. Inattention is a negligent and dangerous act. If a mechanic was charged with fixing the problem and did not do it, the mechanic can be held liable for damages when a truck’s steering fails.
A real hazard for truckers and passenger vehicle occupants is the existence of a defective part that controls steering in a big rig. The defect could be the fault of the manufacturer, designer or distributer of the part. For example, a recall of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks was due to a defect in the steer axle that could result in a steering problem. Eighteen thousand trucks were recalled due to this. If the problem is not fixed, loss of steering function in one front tire occurs, leading to a significant reduction in control of the vehicle.
Accidents Due to Defective Parts
If an accident results from a defective truck part that controls steering, the injured party has the right to be compensated for their injuries. Sometimes the defect is due to the manufacturing process itself or is found in the design of the product. Consumers have the right to expect that products are safe to use. If a defect is present and someone is injured by the product, the manufacturer can be held responsible for the financial cost of a person’s injuries. Under California’s doctrine of strict liability, the injured party does not have to prove negligence. Instead, the victim needs to show only that the defect exists, and they were injured due to the defect when using the part in a reasonably expected way.
Truck Accident Law Firm for Loss of Steering
If you or a loved one has been injured by steering failure in a big rig, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer. Turn to the law firm of David Azizi for compassionate advice. It is easy to get in touch with David 24/7 by calling (800) 991-5292. If it is easier for you, contact him online.
For over 23 years, residents of Los Angeles have relied on David when their lives were torn apart by an accident. David’s legal acumen is augmented by compassion for those he serves. His clients know that they can reach him anytime, and he even provides his cell phone number for quick access. David has been called one of the top 20 personal injury lawyers by Expertise.com, and the legal giant Avvo calls his services superb. However, it is the confidence his clients have in him that means the most to David. He works hard to earn that confidence.
As a truck accident lawyer, David uses his experience to find out what caused the accident, and fights to win just compensation. He leaves no stone unturned until his case is won. With a win rate of 98 percent, David reaches his goal of helping clients move on after an accident.