Archive for the ‘Towing’ Category

Negligent Towing – Failure to Control Your Trailer

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Improperly securing a load or trailer can be very dangerous.  When a driver loses control of their trailer or the load they are carrying shift, very serious accidents and injuries can result.  This is more common in the spring and early summer in Minnesota as boating and farming activities increase.  The Minnesota state patrol urges drivers to make sure The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the accident and has urged drivers hauling trailers to make sure hitches are fitted properly on the ball and locking mechanisms are secured.  Fault will generally lie with the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle for failing to operate the vehicle safely.  Fault may also rest  with the person who owns the trailer, or who secured the trailer or load prior to departure.

An example of this type of shared fault is found in a Minnesota Supreme Court case where a trailer with a 2-inch socket was attached by a supplier’s employee to a customer’s car which had a ball 1 7/8 inches in diameter and the employee at no time fastening the safety chains or coupling the brakes, and where the customer subsequently detached the trailer and reattached it to his car in the manner in which he observed the supplier’s employee do it, but also attached the safety chains thereto, it was held that the supplier would be held liable for injuries to persons in an oncoming car which was struck by the trailer after it had become detached from the customer’s car.  The court noted that the safety chains which had been supplied by the employee and which had broken in the accident were far below the tensile strength required by statute, further held that even if the customer was negligent in furnishing his part of the attachment, or in attempting to attach the trailer on his own, this did not relieve the supplier from his negligence in furnishing defective parts which were the proximate cause of the trailer subsequently becoming detached.   Kothe v. Tysdale,  46 N.W.2d 233 (Minn.1951).

Investigation will be very important in a case involving a loose trailer or a improperly secured load.  The claims may very well go beyond simple negligence of the driver and include legitimate claims against those responsible for the load.