Many accidents are caused by lack of vehicle maintenance and inspection. A driver who fails to provide upkeep can be considered negligent. If this failure leads to an accident, a lawsuit can be filed to recover damages such as lost income, medical expenses and other financial losses. It is important to investigate the cause of the accident as quickly as possible. This is true for an assortment of reasons such as loss of evidence over time. Also, witnesses may forget many details or relocate to another area or state, and the time you have to file a claim is limited. When this period has passed, the claim will not be viable, and the chance to reclaim damages is lost.
Justice for Truck Accidents Caused by Lack of Maintenance
L.A. truck accident lawyer has spent the past 25 years as a lawyer who provides a mix of compassion and the determination to win that serves his clients well, winning 98 percent of his cases. Because of this, he has been named one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles year after year. If you have been involved in an accident, give David a call at (800) 991-5292 to schedule a free case evaluation. David will be able to review your information, give you an idea what your case is worth and provide options for moving forward. Don’t delay before information and evidence are lost.
Proper Vehicle Inspection is Required for Semi-Trucks
No vehicle should be driven without making sure it is in good driving condition and maintaining it appropriately. This is particularly true of an 80,000-pound truck. The federal government issues regulations that deal with this activity. However, many truck companies and truckers fail to abide by the rules. Some maintenance issues that require attention are:
- Make sure trucking components are in working order through inspection, maintenance and repair or keep the truck off the road.
- Mark the truck as out-of-service if the condition of the truck can result in a breakdown or accident. This is done by applying a sticker, which must remain on the vehicle until it is repaired.
- Do pre-trip inspections daily to make sure operation of the truck will be safe. In addition, the trucker must verify that all repairs cited in the last inspection report were done.
- Do post-trip inspections daily. Indicate if the trucker noticed any problems, and see if they are presented in a written report. Once deficiencies are noted, the truck cannot be driven until the issues are corrected.
Big Rig and Truck Maintenance Checklist
Truckers are obligated to check the following:
- Parking brakes
- Parking lights
- Service brakes
- Steering system
- Emergency equipment
- Rear view mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Coupling equipment
Maintenance Problems That Require Repair on 18-Wheelers
The following, if left unrepaired, cause accidents:
- Cargo that is improperly loaded or is unsecured
- Tires with worn treads that cause a blowout
- Failure to align the wheels leading to tire blowouts
- Lack of or broken headlights
- Non-working turn signals
- Lack of reflective tape or lights
- Problems with the trailer hitch
- Brake failure
- Problems with the steering
- Suspension problems
- Worn brakes that prevent the truck from stopping appropriately
Log-Keeping Requirements for Truckers
Truckers and trucking companies must retain logs if they own, lease or operate a truck. Each log identifies the truck and its owner. A running list of when the truck needs maintenance or when it should be inspected is also found in the log. In addition, all inspections, repair and maintenance are documented in the log. If the truck is being used, the records must be kept for one year. If the truck is no longer in use by the company, the records must be kept for six months.
Maintenance Responsibilities for Passenger Vehicles
Passenger vehicle drivers should make sure their vehicle is ready for the road. Many cars today do a system check when the engine is started. However, it is a good idea to have a routine where you manually check the vehicle. Let’s look at a few things that should be routinely checked:
- Check the tires: It is important to make sure your tires are in good shape. If they are flat, it could affect the driver’s control and lead to a car accident. Alternately, if they are overinflated, a blowout could occur. This results in an accident, especially at high speeds. Finally, if the tires are worn, a blowout and failure to grip the pavement occurs. One way to test if the treads are still deep enough is to use a Lincoln penny. Place the penny upside down in a grove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, then the tire is too old and worn and should be replaced.
- Fluid levels: Check the fluid levels at least monthly. In warmer weather, it is best to check sooner. If fluid is needed, keep some on hand, and fill the compartment appropriately.
- Clean the windshield and mirrors: We all joke about someone whose car has the words clean me written on the windshield. However, it isn’t funny when the dirt obscures your view, particularly on bright days. When you clean the windshield, pay attention to the rear window and the side mirrors.
- Check rearview mirrors: This is especially true if you share the car with another driver or use valet parking. The side mirrors should give you a view of a portion of the back of the vehicle and the lane adjacent to the driver’s seat. The inside mirror should provide a clear view of what is behind you.
- Seat adjustment: Adjust your seat. The headrest helps protect your neck, particularly in rear-end crashes. In fact, passengers can experience fewer injuries to the head and neck if the headrest is doing its job. For that to happen, the headrest must be about two inches from the back of the person’s head or less. When you adjust the seat recline, it will bring it closer if it seems too far away. Also, adjust it so the bulk of the head restraint is behind your head with it almost reaching the top of the head. For other controls such as the incline, height and distance from the dash, it is important to make it comfortable for you.
- Seat belt adjustment: The lower strap should fit across your hips snugly. The upper strap should fit across your chest and over the center of the shoulder. To get the right adjustment, put your seat in the full upright position. A well-positioned seat belt keeps you in the seat.
- Check warning lights: In newer vehicles, the vehicle will perform a system check when starting. Pay attention to the warning lights. The engine light means that you should take the vehicle for repair right away. An oil warning light reminds you if the oil is dirty and needs to be changed, something that should not be ignored.
- Check the brakes: If the brakes do not make the vehicle stop properly, call a mechanic. You may have to have it towed, depending on the severity of the problem.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Use Maintenance Logs
If a client is hurt in a truck accident, an attorney has the right to request the logs. If the logs are unavailable, the trucker or company can be considered negligent for not keeping the logs. Alternately, the attorney can review the logs for proof of inspection, maintenance and repair. In the event that one of these elements was instrumental in causing a crash, this information can be used against the trucker or company.
Free Maintenance Case Review with an L.A. Truck Accident Law Firm
David Azizi has helped clients in Los Angeles and the surrounding area achieve the compensation they deserve. He is by their side every step of the way, answering questions and giving them information as it becomes available. Join the many Angelenos who know that David is the go-to place when they are injured in a car accident or suffer the anguish of the wrongful death of a family member. Call (800) 991-5292 to start with a free, no-obligation case review.