Tuesday afternoon in Victorville, California two vehicles crashed on D Street. The collision occurred around 2:10 pm on May 14th at the intersection of the northbound I-15 exit off-ramp and D Street.

Semi-Truck Brakes Go Out in VictorvilleAccording to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) traffic log the two vehicles involved were a Nissan Pathfinder SUV and a semi-truck. According to reports, the semi-truck was using the I-15 off-ramp while pulling mini belly dump trailers when it lost its brakes and went through the intersection. When traveling through the intersection the semi-truck collided with the Nissan SUV and jackknifed.

The Nissan SUV driver was injured in the accident and transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.

CHP did not release additional details at this time, however, they will continue to investigate the incident to determine the cause.

Determining Liability in Semi-Truck Accidents

When semi-trucks are involved in accidents with smaller passenger cars the aftermath can be devastating due to the significant differences in size and weight. “While we are relieved to hear the driver of the SUV survived the crash, we know he and his family have a long road to recovery ahead of them,” says attorney Brett Schreiber, of Singleton Schreiber, “Our hearts go out to the victim and their family. It is important that they and others who’ve been in similar accidents know that they may have legal recourse and could consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to learn more.”

Determining the cause of the accident can depend on the circumstances and can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Driver Error: negligence or recklessness on behalf of the semi-truck driver. This may include factors such as speeding, distracted driving (like texting or eating), fatigue, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Mechanical Failures: tire blowouts or malfunctioning brakes can contribute to or cause an accident.
  • Improper Loading: improperly loaded or overloaded cargo can affect the truck’s stability and handling, leading to accidents. This could include unsecured cargo shifting while in transit.
  • Poor Maintenance: Failure to properly maintain the semi-truck, including neglecting routine inspections, and repairs, or ignoring known mechanical issues.
  • Weather Conditions: adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, fog, snow, or ice can reduce traction and visibility, thus increasing the risk of accidents. However, drivers are expected to adjust their driving accordingly.
  • Road Conditions: poorly maintained roads, construction zones, uneven pavement, or debris on the road can also contribute to accidents involving semi-trucks.

While these factors contribute to the cause of the crash, the parties that may be held responsible for the accident can include:

  • Drivers: The truck driver can be held responsible for accidents if they were behaving negligently or recklessly. This can include violating traffic laws, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and more.
  • Companies: The trucking company employing the driver can also be held liable for accidents. This could be due to negligent hiring practices, inadequate training, failure to enforce safety regulations, or pressure on drivers to meet unrealistic schedules leading to driver fatigue or speeding in an attempt to meet deadlines.
  • Manufacturers: If a defective part or component in the semi-truck contributed to the accident, the manufacturer of that part may be held liable. This could include defective brakes, tires, steering systems, and other critical components.
  • Other Third Parties: Liability may extend to other parties involved in the operation or maintenance of the truck. For example, cargo loaders could be responsible if improperly loaded cargo contributed to the accident. Similarly, maintenance contractors could be liable for accidents caused by poor maintenance or repairs.

Determining liability often involves a thorough investigation to identify all contributing factors and responsible parties. Depending on the specifics of the accident, one or more of the parties listed above may be held responsible.