Loose Trailer Liability: Who’s to Blame for Your Injuries?

hitchTrailer hitches are almost standard for some SUVs, large trucks, and recreational vehicles. Since these larger vehicles have the weight to anchor trailers and additional cargo containers, many consumers look for towing capacity as a prime feature, and a hitch is an important component. Unfortunately, for all their convenience, hitches can have one overbearing downfall.

Common Causes of Trailer Detachments

The weight of a non-commercial trailer can vary from 500 to 10,000 lbs., and that may not include the weight of the cargo. However, despite the size and weight of the cargo, the hitch placement and strength remains relatively the same, even though different hitches have advantages and disadvantages according.

For a trailer to be attached to another vehicle, it must be secured onto a metal trailer hitch. However, hitches are only effective if they’re built properly and used correctly. Unfortunately, some trailer owners have ineffective hitches as a result of the following:

  • A manufacturing or design defect in the trailer or coupler
  • A malfunctioning or broken locking mechanism
  • A poorly-maintained connector that may be rusted or have pits
  • An motorist's indifference to follow state safety regulations, such as weight restrictions or the use of tow chains
  • A road hazard which causes a trailer to shift and the hitch to break

Determining Fault in Trailer Accidents

The one thing to remember is if you or a loved one was injured in a trailer accident, no matter the reason for the detachment, you shouldn’t be held financially responsible for your injuries.

Depending on the circumstances of the detachment, the following parties can be held legally liable for the accident and your resulting injuries:

  • The driver of the towing vehicle. Driver negligence is a leading cause of most runaway trailer accidents. This error can be a result of defensive driving, improperly-secured cargo, or failing to follow safety protocols.
  • The hitch manufacturer. If the hitch fails without direct intervention from the driver (such as poor maintenance or excessive rust due to improper care), the manufacturer of the hitch may be to blame for the accident. When the defect can be proven to have directly caused the collision, the manufacturer may be not only liable for the trailer detaching, but also held legally responsible for paying financial compensation to every victim and surviving family member of the accident.
  • Who loaded the trailer. If the trailer was professionally loaded and attached to the trailer, any safety errors, including excessively-heavy payloads, can be blamed on the company or person who loaded the trailer.

Where to Turn for Help

Treatment for car accident injuries can not only be painful but also expensive. Call us toll-free at (800) 556-8890 for a free consultation to determine whether you're entitled to damages or compensation for your injuries. We can help you get the money you need and deserve for your treatment. Our vast experience and knowledge of truck and trailer accidents help ensure that you get the respect, compensation, and justice you deserve.