Trucking companies prize profit above all else, and as a result, they’ll often take shortcuts so they can get their vehicles on the road. While it might save time and money, poor vehicle maintenance increases the risk of a potentially tragic truck accident in the process. Truck drivers are also guilty of negligence, failing to perform the pre-trip inspections that federal regulations require. That’s also a recipe for disaster.
The experienced truck accident attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen are standing by to help if you’ve been hurt in a wreck caused by poor truck maintenance. We have a team of true legal experts who are passionate about helping our clients achieve the justice they seek. When we represent a client, we do everything we possibly can to help them obtain maximum compensation – and we’ll do the same for you.
How Does Poorly Truck Maintenance Cause an Accident?
Any kind of vehicle poses a risk on the road when it hasn’t been properly maintained. Even a passenger car is dangerous in this circumstance. If a motorist hasn’t changed their oil or checked their brakes in a long time, their vehicle could easily cause an accident.
Those risks are magnified when the vehicle in question is an 80,000-pound behemoth. When commercial trucks are poorly maintained, and a collision occurs as a result, it doesn’t take much imagination to see just how horrible the consequences can be.
Maintenance Issues that Can Cause Accidents
This is just a small sample of the many things that can go wrong when trucking companies and truck drivers ignore basic maintenance.
Broken Headlight or Brake Light
It’s very simple to fix a malfunctioning light. But, incredibly, trucks are moving up and down our country’s highways at high rates of speed without properly functioning headlights or taillights. Truck drivers can’t see other drivers, and other motorists can’t see them. It goes without saying what can happen when that’s the case.
Fixing a tire that’s low on air is also very easy. But that takes time – and trucking companies and drivers will oftentimes not believe it’s worth it to make sure the truck’s tires are safe. Whether the problem is a lack of air pressure, misalignment, or just general wear and tear, a tire problem on a truck is even worse than when it happens on a passenger car.
The reason is that since a truck weighs so much more, that puts even more pressure on the tires. It won’t take much for a potentially disastrous blowout to occur.
Power Steering Failure
Trying to control the average car without power steering is incredibly difficult. When the power steering on a huge commercial truck fails, controlling the truck will be impossible. Something as simple as failing to check to make sure there’s enough power steering fluid can lead to a complete failure. Other issues, such as faulty shock absorbers or vehicle alignment, can also contribute to steering problems.
The trailer hitch is an incredibly critical component of a semi-truck. It bears the full weight of the trailer, and when the truck is in motion, it’s constantly rubbing up against the trailer pin. This creates an incredible amount of friction, and the hitch can snap if it’s not checked on a regular basis. That could result in the trailer coming loose, leading to a potentially horrible accident.
Faulty Underride Bars
All commercial trucks are required to have functional underride bars. These bars are designed to keep a passenger car from running under the truck during an accident. If the bar either isn’t present or it’s not working correctly, the top of the car could be sheared off.
Types of Truck Accidents Maintenance Issues Cause
If a truck’s tires fail or the brakes malfunction, that could result in the truck slamming into the back of a passenger car, completely destroying it in the process. When the trailer hitch fails, that could cause the back of the truck to swing out, meeting with the cab to form a shape that somewhat resembles a jackknife. That’s where jackknife accidents get their name. These accidents cause the driver to lose control and the truck to plow through anything in its path.
Who’s at Fault for Poor Truck Maintenance?
A truck accident is one of the more complicated kinds of personal injury cases. The reason is that the stakes are typically much higher because the injuries are usually much worse. Truck insurance policies are routinely worth as much as $1 million or even $2 million. So, you can rest assured that the insurer, as well as the trucking company, will do whatever it can to protect that policy and deny you the compensation you deserve.
The other reason behind the complexity, however, is that there can often be multiple parties that are liable when a truck accident takes place. If the trailer jackknifed, for instance, that could be due to a hitch failure. That failure could be due to the truck being overweight. A jackknife accident can also take place because the cargo shifted due to being negligently loaded. In either case, the company responsible for loading the cargo could face liability.
If a component fails due to poor truck maintenance, like the brakes or the tires, then you could potentially take action against both the trucking company and the driver.
How to Prove Poor Truck Maintenance
In order to be able to win your case, however, you’re going to need to produce solid evidence. That’s why you’ll need to hire an experienced attorney as fast as you can so they can investigate the accident. That investigation will uncover the evidence needed to prove that negligent maintenance was the direct cause of the accident.
Contact Penn Kestner and McEwen for a Free Case Evaluation Today
The sooner you contact Penn Kestner & McEwen, the sooner we can start that investigation – and the better the chances you’ll obtain full and fair compensation. Use our online contact form or call (800) 732-3070 for a free case review.