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Seven killed in truck accident caused by mechanical failure

Large tractor trailers on the freeway can pose a significant risk to other drivers when something goes wrong. As Maryland drivers know, semi-trucks are a frequent sight on the state's highways and interstates, providing a necessary service to the state's and nation's economies. But when something goes wrong due to driver or mechanical error the risk of a serious accident is high and can often result in wrongful death.

Seven people were killed when a semi truck lost its trailer while traveling on a highway. The truck trailer was carrying smashed cars when it broke free of its big rig, cut across a two lane highway and smashed into a minivan travelling the opposite direction. In the crash, the driver and passenger of the big rig and the driver and the passengers of the minivan -- including four children -- were all killed.

Investigators determined that the tractor trailer was released from the big rig due to mechanical failure, when a part that locked the tractor and the trailer together failed. While runaway trailers are very rare -- only one in one thousand fatal crashes are the result of trailers becoming unhinged -- they often cause incredibly serious accidents.

When a mechanical error occurs, perhaps due to poor maintenance of the lock system, the trucking company responsible for operating the truck may be held liable for the accident. Investigators for this accident found mechanical failure, but have not yet determined why the error occurred and whether the facts support the idea that it was something the company should have discovered or repaired. If the company failed to maintain the trailer or failed to properly inspect it in a reasonable fashion, they could be considered responsible to compensate the victims' families for their deaths in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: WBTV, "Equipment failure caused NY crash that killed 7," John Kekis, May 30, 2013

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