Poor maintenance is a leading cause of accidents with trucks. While many truck accidents are due to driver error, the lack of maintenance and regular inspections cause an increasing number of roadway collisions. Since California supplies the nation with agricultural goods, it is not a stretch to believe that many such accidents occur almost daily.
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to poor truck maintenance, call The Law Offices of David Azizi today at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a free case review. Like so many others, you will not be sorry you did.
When negligent maintenance is the cause of a car/truck accident, the parties responsible for ensuring that the trucks they drive or own are maintained can be held accountable for the cost of the injuries that result. Let’s take a look at what should be done to maintain trucks, the rules that govern such maintenance and how someone injured in a crash can recover damages.
Maintenance Rules for the Trucking Industry
Since poor maintenance is at the root of many truck accidents, the federal government has taken steps to ensure this is done correctly. All truck drivers and owners must follow the rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. These cover the inspection and safety of their vehicles. If the rules are not followed, accidents can be caused by failed truck parts. This results in accidents that can kill others on the road. The following lists some of the rules that govern truck safety:
- Inspections: The results of periodic inspections grade maintenance. The inspections cover many parts, including tires, brakes, windshield wipers, mirrors, steering, fuel tank and system, the frame and suspension.
- Inspections: Every day, a trucker must perform pre- and post-trip inspections. Before beginning, the driver must also review the same inspections done for the previous trip. If the prior inspection noted the need for repairs, the current driver must make sure the repairs were done. Once the inspection is completed, it must be documented and placed on the record.
- Daily report: The daily report is turned into the company that owns the truck. It must note if any repairs were done that day. This includes repairs to brakes, lights, tires and coupling devices, among others. Without this, the trucking company cannot prove they have maintained the vehicle if an accident happens.
- Record keeping: Truckers and owners are required to keep records that deal with inspections and maintenance. They must keep the records for at least one year. If the owner sells the truck or otherwise retires it, the records must be available for at least six months.
Maintenance Issues That Lead to Truck Accidents
Some truckers and owners fail to inspect, maintain and repair their trucks. This lack of responsibility often leads to accidents. Some maintenance problems that are ignored include:
- Brakes: Both defective brakes and those that are depowered can cause accidents. Brakes are depowered to save money by eliminating wear and tear and the need for repairs.
- Lights: Lights that are not working properly are a major cause of accidents at night. In addition, trucks are required to have lights or reflective tape that make the sides and rear of the truck more visible. Without this, other drivers may be unable to see that a truck is there. This leads to underride accidents. Taillights are also important since they tell other drivers when the truck is slowing down or stopping.
- Tires: Tire health is an important part of maintaining truck safety. When they are worn, they are more likely to blow out. This can cause an accident since the truck’s stability is disrupted or flying pieces of rubber may strike another vehicle.
- Trailer disconnect: On occasion, the trailer detaches from the semi. A detached trailer can cause havoc on the highway. Inspecting coupling devices is important to prevent this.
Engine: The truck’s engine must be working correctly. To accomplish this the truck must be checked for leaks or other issues that cause it to fail.
Why Is an Accident With a Truck So Dangerous?
Some of the dangers associated with a truck accident are:
- The weight and size of the truck increases the impact a passenger vehicle sustains. The more significant the impact, the greater the damage and extent of injuries.
- Lack of secured cargo can mean problems for passenger vehicles or motorcycles sharing the highway.
- Dangerous cargo can lead to fires, an explosion, chemical exposure, a gas leak or radiation exposure.
- Long travel distances can lead to distracted and fatigued truck drivers. This is mainly due to the pressure to meet a deadline.
Who Is At Fault? Liability in Maintenance-Related Truck Crashes
If it is determined that a trucker or the truck’s owner violated the inspection and maintenance rules, both can be held responsible for the injuries others suffer in an accident. If it is proven that a violation of the laws occurred, the owner or trucker is considered to be negligent. At this point, the owner or trucker can try to prove that no negligence took place. This takes the burden of proof of negligence off the injured party.
Free Case Review With an Experienced Trucking Lawyer for Maintenance Cases
Truck accidents can be complicated. You need the insight an experienced injury lawyer can provide. Call David Azizi to help you through this ordeal. David will inspect the truck, its logs and other records and determine if the trucker/owner failed to maintain the truck. He will then examine the accident to see if this lack of maintenance and inspection was at the root of the accident.
David will also deal with the insurance company and other aspects of the case. He will negotiate a just settlement; however, if the company fails to agree to this, he will discuss taking the case to civil court with you. Call (800) 991-5292 now and get started.