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Truck Trailer Disconnect Accidents

Syracuse Lawyers for Victims of Accidents Involving 18-Wheelers

Commercial truck drivers are legally obliged to follow both federal and state regulations. Among other things, these regulations apply to how the trailer is connected to the truck. When a trailer gets detached from the vehicle that is hauling it, the trailer may crash into other vehicles or pedestrians in its path, causing serious injuries or even death. Often, runaway trailers traveling on the freeway cause domino collisions; many drivers of smaller vehicles may try to avoid the trailer and inadvertently hit other cars. Truck trailer disconnect accidents can be complex. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our seasoned Syracuse truck accident attorneys may be able to represent you if you were injured in a collision of this nature.

Truck Trailer Disconnect Accidents

Why do trailers detach from the vehicles hauling them? These accidents happen for many reasons. Sometimes a disconnection occurs because the trailer is overloaded or improperly loaded. It may happen because a truck hasn’t been maintained. The trailer may detach from the hauling vehicle because of a mechanical defect or missing override or underride guards. Errors or maintenance issues that cause a trailer to disconnect may result in a commercial truck rolling over itself or jackknifing. Sometimes a truck accident involves multiple collisions including head-on collisions or rear-end collisions. Cargo may travel across a busy freeway, hitting drivers in smaller vehicles.


In most truck trailer disconnect accidents, there are multiple accident victims. All the victims may be claiming against the truck driver’s insurance policy, and coverage on that policy will have limits, making it difficult for one or more victims to recover their full damages. It is critical to look closely at a truck trailer disconnect accident to identify all parties potentially at fault. Parties other than the truck driver who may bear responsibility for a disconnect accident include the trucking company, a third party loader, a mechanic, or the manufacturer. A dedicated injury lawyer can help you identify all potentially responsible parties.

A truck trailer disconnect accident may be the result of a truck driver’s negligence. To establish the truck driver’s negligence that causes a truck trailer disconnect accident, you will need to show: (1) the truck driver’s duty to utilize reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty to utilize reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. A truck driver may breach the duty to utilize reasonable care through excessive speed, improper loading of cargo, failing to inspect the vehicle, or failing to maintain the vehicle. A trucking company can be held indirectly liable for a truck driver’s negligence if the truck driver’s negligence occurred in the course and scope of employment.

Sometimes a truck trailer disconnect accident is the result of a trucking company’s direct negligence. A truck driver can be negligent in its hiring, training, or supervising of a truck driver. If, for example, a truck driver fails to train its truck driver in properly hitching the trailer to the truck, it may be held liable for negligent training. A trucking company can also be held liable if it fails to make sure that other employees who might need to hitch the trailer to the vehicle hauling it are properly trained.

Sometimes, a trailer detaches due to a mechanical defect or truck defect. You may be able to hold a truck manufacturer accountable for a part that is defective.

Comparative Negligence

Even if you are catastrophically injured in a truck trailer accident, it’s likely a trucking company and its insurer will try to search for ways in which you were at fault. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, your damages can be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault.

Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

When a trailer is fully loaded and attached to the back of a semi, it can weigh 60,000 pounds. The damage that may be caused when a trailer detaches from the truck can be grievous. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a truck trailer disconnect accident, you can talk to a skillful trial lawyer to evaluate your next steps. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents those harmed by truck trailer disconnect accidents in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including areas such as Ithaca, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, Auburn, Binghamton, Lyons, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, Oneida, Wampsville, Oswego, Watertown, and Lowville. Call our firm at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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