When it comes to the transportation of goods, trucks are an essential component of the supply chain. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies prioritize regular vehicle maintenance. Neglected maintenance can have disastrous consequences on the road, including collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
If you are injured in a truck accident and believe it was caused by negligent truck maintenance, you may be entitled to compensation. The Indiana truck crash lawyers at Wagner Reese can help you determine if negligent maintenance by a trucking company caused your injuries and help you understand your legal options.
Types of Neglected Maintenance
Truck accidents often occur due to neglected maintenance. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 10% of large truck accidents are due to vehicular problems.
Failure to perform regular checks and repairs on brakes, tires and other critical components can result in equipment failures while on the road. Improper maintenance of safety features such as lights and reflectors can also increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly in low visibility conditions.
Common examples of poor maintenance that result in crashes include:
- Bald or Underinflated Tires
Bald or underinflated tires are a common form of neglected maintenance that can cause a semi-truck accident. These conditions can lead to reduced traction, longer stopping distances and increased risk of blowouts. Any of these issues can cause the driver to lose control of the truck, resulting in collisions with other vehicles or objects on the road.
The FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 6% of trucks accidents during the period studied were caused by tire problems (8,000 crashes over 33 months).
- Worn Out or Faulty Brakes
Worn-out or faulty brakes are another form of neglected maintenance that can cause a big rig accident. Most modern semis rely on hydraulic brake systems to stop; if not regularly inspected and maintained, they can fail. This may result in the driver being unable to stop the truck, leading to collisions with other vehicles or objects on the road.
The FMCSA found that 29% of semi-accidents were caused by brake problems (41,000 crashes over 33 months).
- Faulty Trailer Hitches
Truck companies and drivers can also neglect to take care of trailer hitches, which can cause a large truck accident. Federal DOT regulation 393.70(d) requires every full trailer to be properly coupled to the towing vehicle with one or more safety devices to prevent the trailer from breaking loose in the event of a hitch failure or disconnection.
Failing to maintain trailer hitch safety devices, such as safety chains and cables, can result in catastrophic consequences, such as the trailer becoming disconnected and colliding with other vehicles on the road.
How Often Should Trucks Be Serviced?
Trucks are subject to much more wear and tear than the average vehicle. As a result, their parts need to be replaced more frequently. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established maintenance and inspection standards for commercial trucks to ensure their safe operation on public roads.
According to the FMCSA, trucks must be inspected at least once a year. This includes inspections of brakes, tires, steering, and other critical components.
Additionally, trucking companies should have a regular maintenance schedule for their vehicles. The frequency of maintenance depends on factors such as the type of truck, the number of miles it travels, and the type of cargo it carries. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to serious accidents and endanger the lives of other motorists on the road.
On top of regular maintenance, trucks must also receive visual inspections by their drivers before every trip made.
When is a Trucking Company Liable for a Collision?
Under certain circumstances, a trucking company can be held liable for damages sustained during a collision due to neglected maintenance. If the trucking company fails to maintain the truck properly and causes the accident, they may be held responsible for any resulting damages.
To hold a trucking company liable for a collision, you must show that the company was negligent in maintaining its vehicle. This can be difficult to prove and involves dealing with aggressive insurance companies and legal representatives for the trucking company.
A skilled truck accident attorney from Wagner Reese can protect your rights in a truck accident case and handle all communication with the trucking company and their insurer. Your attorney can gather evidence, such as maintenance records and witness statements, to build a strong case and help you receive compensation for your injuries.
Get a Free Consultation to Find Out if You Can Make a Claim
If you have been injured in a collision caused by neglected maintenance by a trucking company, seek legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer. The truck accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have over 150 years of combined legal experience and will fight against trucking company insurers on your behalf.
Contact us for a free consultation to find out if you have a claim after being injured in a truck crash.