When you get into any motor vehicle accident, one of the most important steps is determining fault, as it affects who can recover damages and how much. Accidents with semitrucks tend to be the fault of the truck driver. However, what if you both claim innocence, and no evidence can point to the trucker acting negligently?
You may have to consider that the accident was the result of something else, such as a defective part. This scenario happens to 18-wheelers just as much as it does to passenger cars.
Examples of recalls
Two recalls occurred in 2016 alone. The first concerned the power module distribution in Freightliner Cascadia trucks. The part is too near the fuel tank, causing a fire hazard if the module shorts out from contaminants and water getting on it. The second was for an aluminum front axle hub that has a lower capacity than the weight limit for the axle, creating the risk of the wheel and axle separating in some Freightliner and Western Star trucks.
Another in 2017 involved a faulty fuel pump in specific Cummins engines installed in certain models of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks. The malfunction could lead to the engine stalling. All of these problems could result in an accident.
Determination of liability
Even if a trucker is not at fault for your accident, you can still pursue compensation from the parties who are. In the case of defective auto parts, the manufacturer of the truck would be accountable first. Some manufacturers choose to make recalls on their own, whereas others wait for the government to force them to. Either way, they are still liable.
Any parties who knew about the defect and did not take the truck off the road for repairs would also be responsible, including the owner of the truck and mechanics who inspect it before trips. It may be harder to prove that these people knew about the issue, though.