On any given day, tens of thousands of tractor-trailers travel the highways of America, delivering all types of goods to consumers and businesses. However, these vehicles can be extremely dangerous for other motorists, particularly when they aren’t properly maintained.
Accidents caused by improper truck maintenance are unfortunately common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that almost 40% of truck accidents involve improper maintenance as a contributing factor.
If you think poor maintenance contributed to your truck accident and injuries, the poor maintenance truck accident lawyers at Nix Patterson would like to speak with you. When liability for the accident is proven, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
The FMCSA knows poor maintenance is a common cause of truck accidents. That is why it has strict standards for operating commercial trucks in the U.S. Every trucking company must regularly inspect, repair, and maintain all commercial vehicles it owns. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents are:
Overall, safety starts with preventative maintenance. If a truck isn’t prosperity serviced, it can become a hazard on the road.
The FMCSA and other regulatory bodies require motor carriers and drivers to maintain minimum maintenance requirements for their commercial vehicles. According to FMCSA regulations, all trucking companies and equipment suppliers must inspect, repair, and maintain commercial vehicles they control. Leased vehicles fall under the same requirements if the carrier controls them for 30 days or more.
Trucking companies should also keep complete truck maintenance records that federal inspectors can request at any time. Truck drivers must make pre-trip inspections of their rigs to find any defects and items that need prompt repair. Drivers should review the vehicle and cargo at least once within the first 50 miles of the trip. They also should do the same inspection after three hours of driving after going 150 miles. The driver must also complete an inspection report at the end of every work day.
Truck accidents often cause debilitating injuries, extensive medical treatment, and months or years of recovery. If a lack of maintenance caused the accident, all relevant evidence must be preserved, so hiring a truck accident attorney early in the case is essential.
Your attorney will collect all critical evidence to build your case, including vehicle maintenance logs, police reports, truck inspection reports, black box data, and eyewitness statements. Trucking companies are required by law to maintain vehicle maintenance records, but it is vital to prevent them from destroying evidence by having your lawyer send a spoliation letter. This puts the company on notice that they must preserve any evidence related to the accident.
Who is liable for poor truck maintenance? If a poorly maintained truck or trailer contributed to your accident injuries, your attorney will work diligently to determine who was responsible. There could be multiple at-fault parties in a maintenance-related truck accident, including:
The driver is usually one of the parties at fault. While the motor carrier usually shares liability for maintenance-related accidents, the truck driver should be aware of problems with the truck. If a driver notices a problem with the truck while on the road, it must be fixed immediately and the employer alerted. But in most cases, the trucker is not the sole liable party for a truck accident.
The truck driver must ensure that their rig performs safely, but the employer can be held liable if the truck is poorly maintained. The trucking company has the following obligations:
If the truck is found to be unsafe for the road for any reason, the carrier must remove it from service immediately. They also must remove it from the fleet if it is unrepairable. In addition to civil liability, the trucking company can be fined and even have its operating license suspended for repeated maintenance violations.
Parties besides the truck driver and carrier may be found responsible for the accident related to lack of maintenance. While the driver and his employer are usually the most responsible for maintaining the truck, any parties that helped with repairs, such as a maintenance company or mechanic, also could be liable.
Also, maintenance problems caused by a defective vehicle or part could lead to a part or vehicle manufacturer being held liable. Other possible responsible parties for a truck accident include safety inspectors, retailers, and manufacturers of vehicles, equipment, or parts.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit for your truck accident injuries, you can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages. These may include:
Accurately determining your damages is a vital part of any truck accident lawsuit. You must understand your economic costs and what your pain and suffering are worth to receive fair compensation. Your attorney can help to determine what the approximate value of your case is. That way, you can demand a fair settlement from the insurance company after accounting for your many losses.
A poor maintenance truck accident claim is complex, and the investigation could bring many challenges and unusual situations. Only a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney can realistically obtain the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Before you consider taking on a big motor carrier in court, it is vital to have a skilled attorney by your side that can get to the bottom of the matter and demand just compensation.
Poor maintenance is a common cause of commercial truck accidents. If you prove that a truck’s poor maintenance caused or contributed to your accident injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. For more information and a free consultation, contact Nix Patterson’s poor maintenance truck accident lawyers for a complimentary consultation. You don’t pay any legal fees unless we win your case.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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