It is very common in our area for people to use trailers to transport items such as horses, ATVs, boats, personal watercraft, landscaping equipment, snowmobiles, and racing bikes. Unfortunately, the hitch assemblies on many of these trailers are not properly attached, resulting in runaway trailers and negligent hitch wrecks.
KY towing accident lawyer Billy Johnson believes that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions. This includes paying compensation to accident victims for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. Based in Pikeville, Billy has made it his life’s work to help people throughout Kentucky. He is a proven advocate with over 15 years of experience who has handled litigation in the United States Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, and the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Every year, hundreds of people die in hitch and towing wrecks. Thousands more are injured. When a hitch fails, the trailer separates from the vehicle that is hauling it and, if it breaks free, it becomes a dangerous missile that can crash into anything around it or even into oncoming traffic. A runaway trailer careening out of control can result in serious damage and injuries.
While every trailer hitch accident is unique and must be examined to determine responsibility, the majority of mishaps are due to human error. Serious and avoidable incidents can result from negligent drivers who knew what to do, but chose not to. Other drivers are simply uninformed and never learned how to properly attach a hitch to their vehicle. Consisting of a receiver, draw bar, ball and the truck itself, all hitch assemblies have a maximum towing capacity that should not be exceeded. When a vehicle tows more weight than it is designed to pull, drivers can lose control. The entire assembly is only as strong as its weakest part and should be checked before each use — there’s only so much that steel can take before it starts to fail.
A hitch works by inserting the draw bar into the receiver, closing the latch, and securing the connection by a pin clip. State law requires that safety chains also be used. The chains should be crossed to form a cradle to catch the hitch in the event it comes loose. While it’s theoretically fairly easy to attach a trailer to a vehicle or to hook safety chains, doing them at all and doing them correctly are entirely different matters. For the price of quarter, the pin clip provides the protection needed to prevent the latch from popping open when the trailer hits a bump – yet many drivers fail to use the pin or replace a damaged one. As a backup safety mechanism that is supposed to kick in if the pin fails, safety chains work only if they are used. Many accidents happen because drivers use one chain instead of two or, worse yet, none at all.
If an accident is caused by a faulty hitch, the manufacturer can be held accountable. For example, U-Haul recalled 162,000 trailer hitches earlier this year because of weak steel that could cause the product to break apart. The TS1 and TS2 hitches should have been able to tow trailers weighing up to 7,500 pounds, but they could break when towing an amount close to the maximum load. This defect allegedly occurred because the supplier changed the way it cleaned the steel during the hot-rolling process, which ultimately weakened the steel.
Whether a crash was caused by an uninformed, careless, or negligent party, no excuses can make up for the damage caused when a detached trailer collides with a vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Every victim suffering injuries from a hitch failure accident has a legal right to seek compensation. Although financial recovery cannot heal your physical injuries or bring back a loved one who may have died, it can ease your mind and help allow you to focus on recovering from such a traumatic event.
If a runaway trailer accident caused an injury or death in your family, the Johnson Law Firm can help. Our Pikeville personal injury lawyers handle towing wreck cases in Eastern Kentucky and statewide. We have experience evaluating claims and we know how to identify all potential defendants in order to ensure a thorough recovery. It’s important to contact us as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident, because any delay can cause critical evidence to be lost and make it harder to prove fault. You need your own investigative team working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim. To get the Johnson Law team started immediately on your behalf, contact us today by filling out this evaluation form or calling us at 606-433-0682.