Accident Claims from Failure to Maintain Truck Maintenance
With busy highways crossing through Wilmington such as U.S. Route 117, 76, and 74, the city is a major thoroughfare for commercial trucks. Since so many people share the roads with these vehicles that are much bigger and heavier, we’d like to think that these trucks are maintained in the safest way possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always true.
When a truck accident occurs, the truck driver or the trucking company may be held responsible for failing to maintain their equipment if it caused the accident.
Common Mechanical Issues
There are many common mechanical issues that can arise in trucks. It is the responsibility of the truck driver and the trucking company to ensure these issues are never a problem for others on the road.
- Brake issues are the most common mechanical problem in trucks. Even when the problem is natural wear and tear, the trucking company or driver is still responsible for ensuring the brakes are in working order at all times. Many trucking companies require their drivers to test the brakes after each trip and log any problems they may be having. Sometimes the brake issues are caused by outright negligence. Some truck drivers and operators actually depower their front brakes, leaving only the brakes on the back trailer to stop or slow the vehicle. They do this strictly as a cost-saving measure so the front brakes don’t receive as much wear and tear. This is an extremely dangerous practice, and puts everyone on the road at risk.
- Tire blowouts are the next common mechanical issue. This is when a tire simply cannot stay on the truck and blows off, leaving those long black strips along the side of the highway that everyone has seen. An accident caused by tire blowout can sometimes be the responsibility of the tire manufacturer if they sold defective tires, but it can also be the fault of the truck driver. For example, air brakes are commonly used on commercial trucks, but they can only withstand a certain amount of heat. If a driver brakes too quickly, it places far too much heat on the tire and the tire could blow out, causing an accident.
- Load shifting is another mechanical failure, although it has to do with the load rather than the actual truck. Truck drivers are typically responsible for ensuring their load is secure and that it won’t fall into traffic, causing an accident. When it does, the truck driver may be responsible, although it depends on the individual practices of the trucking company.
- Lighting issues are another common mechanical error that can occur within trucks. Just like tire blowouts, these can be the fault of the manufacturer, the truck driver (if he’s responsible for checking and changing lights), or the trucking company. When the lights on a truck aren’t visible to other drivers, those drivers may run into the truck. If the truck’s headlights aren’t working, then the truck may run into other cars because the truck driver cannot see them. This is especially true when there are issues with the lights along the side and back of the truck.
Negligence in Trucking Accidents
When a truck driver or trucking company does not take proper care of their trucks and all of their equipment, they can be considered negligent for failing to do so. When that is the case, a personal injury claim can be filed for any injuries that negligence may have caused. The person or people considered “negligent” will depend on the specific situation, and whether the trucking company is responsible for looking after the underlying issue, or the truck driver is.
In other cases, it may be neither the fault of the truck driver or the trucking company. These individuals may do everything they can to take proper care of their trucks, but may be using defective products to do so. If a defect causes an accident, it’s the manufacturer of the defective part, such as brakes or tires, who is responsible.
Because there are so many different parties involved in a trucking accident, and because the injuries are so severe, filing a personal injury claim can become very complicated.
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