Trailer Hitch Accidents
Trailer hitch accidents occur when the hitch on a vehicle that is towing a trailer or another vehicle, malfunctions or detaches, resulting in a collision. These kinds of accidents present unique challenges when it comes to determining liability and resulting damages. Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help injured parties navigate these complexities and seek compensation for their losses.
The Risks of Trailer Hitch Accidents
Trailer hitch accidents pose a number of risks to other road users. For instance, the weight and size of the trailers and other towed vehicles intensify the impact of any collisions, resulting in substantial vehicle damage and more severe injuries. The sudden detaching of a trailer from the vehicle that is pulling it can also catch drivers off guard, leading them to make abrupt lane changes or brake suddenly, both of which can cause crashes with other vehicles. It is not uncommon for a trailer hitch accident to lead to a multi-vehicle pile-up, which is one of the most dangerous types of car crashes.
There are a lot of different things that can contribute to or cause a trailer hitch accident, including:
- Improper hitch installation, which can result in instability and swaying and the eventual detachment of the trailer itself;
- A lack of trailer hitch maintenance, like inspection, lubrication, and the tightening of bolts and screws, which can result in mechanical failure;
- Overloading or exceeding a trailer’s weight capacity, which can strain the hitch system and result in detachment or a loss of control of the vehicle;
- Making abrupt stops, which can cause the trailer to collide with the towing vehicle or other nearby cars;
- Poor road conditions, like potholes and uneven surfaces, which can put extra strain on the hitch, increasing the chances of instability and detachment; and
- Uneven loading, which occurs when cargo is unevenly distributed, causing instability of the hitch system and increasing the likelihood of trailer hitch failure.
All of these forms of negligence can be prevented through the use of reasonable care in performing hitch maintenance and using proper loading techniques. When drivers fail to take these steps and cause an accident, they can and should be held liable for their carelessness.
There are a lot of steps that drivers can take to help lower the risk of causing a trailer hitch accident, such as:
- Ensuring proper installation of the trailer hitch and adhering to manufacturer guidelines when doing so;
- Conducting routine inspections of the hitch system components, including the wiring, coupler, and safety chains;
- Avoiding overloading by adhering to load capacity specifications;
- Distributing cargo weight properly to maintain balance and stability; and
- Focusing on safe driving practices, like maintaining adequate following distance, considering extended braking distance, and avoiding abrupt stops.
Unfortunately, even those who use the greatest of care could end up involved in a trailer hitch accident. In these cases, accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their accident-related losses.
Contact Our Dedicated Tampa Car Accident Legal Team
Were you or a loved one involved in a car crash? Seek legal help from the experienced Tampa car accident attorneys and dedicated support staff at Anderson & Anderson today.