What Is a “Runaway Truck”?

A runaway truck is a truck that rolls backward or forwards due to a brake malfunction. The larger and heavier the truck, the more susceptible it is because of the sheer amount of stress placed on the brakes. Runaway truck accidents typically happen on steep roads and are caused by improper brake maintenance, manufacturing defects, and/or poor design.

Runaway trucks can pose a serious hazard to traffic, especially when the big rig is moving downhill and gaining momentum. Truckers and occupants of smaller surrounding vehicles can be severely or fatally injured in such accidents.

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What Is a “Runaway Trailer”?

A runaway or detached trailer is one of the most terrifying things that can be witnessed on the road because the driver cannot control a trailer when it escapes. The risk of a runaway trailer increases when a truck and the trailer are moving at different speeds, often on steep or winding roads. Other factors that may cause a hitch to snap include:

  • Shifting cargo in an overloaded trailer
  • Brake failures
  • Sudden shifts in speed
  • Sudden turns

Unfavorable road conditions and driver fatigue can exacerbate the chances of a trailer detachment. The dangers of a runaway trailer are similar to that of a runaway truck and can lead to catastrophic damage if there is a collision.

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Common Injuries Resulting From a Runaway Truck or Trailer Detachment

A typical passenger vehicle weighs about 4000 pounds, while a fully loaded big rig can weigh up to 80000 pounds (or 36 tonnes). Even when unloaded, a truck weighs around 35000 pounds, almost eight times the average passenger vehicle. Therefore, passenger vehicle occupants are often the most severely injured in runaway accidents.

In our experience as NY truck accident attorneys, some of the injuries we have seen from these accidents are:

  • Fractures
  • Whiplash and other soft tissue damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Limb loss, or injuries that lead to amputation
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Burns
  • PTSD

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Legal Matters

Depending on the circumstances, liability for a runaway truck or trailer accident can fall on the trucker, trucking company, manufacturer, or other third parties depending on the circumstances. It is important to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you are a victim because the issue of liability can be complex. Once liability has been determined, the attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve. This might include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and future lost earning capacity
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Assisted living devices (e.g. wheelchairs) and home accessibility costs
  • Costs related to daily living
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

Unfortunately, many of those involved in runaway truck or trailer detachment accidents are killed. If someone you love has died as a result of such an accident, an attorney can help you sue for wrongful death. This type of claim can be pursued if the death was the result of the defendant’s negligence or misconduct.

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Call Us Today For a Free Consultation

Injuries from a runaway truck and trailer detachment accident can be debilitating and life-altering. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, we understand the importance of compensation for victims and families. As New York’s leading personal injury lawyers, you can trust us to take care of your case. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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