Truck Accidents Due to Negligent Maintenance
Fleet owners, commercial trucking companies, and many more could be held liable for accidents caused when their vehicles malfunction due to poor maintenance. When truck owners and trucking companies fall behind on inspections and repairs, or if they procrastinate on repairs to make more money, and that vehicle is involved in an accident, they could be held liable for the harm they cause.
If you or someone you love has been severely injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, truck, or 18-wheeler, contact the New Jersey truck accident attorneys at Goldstein & Goldstein for a free consultation to discuss your options.
Common Truck Maintenance Issues
The margin for error with big rigs is much smaller due to their large size. One of the most commonly overlooked truck maintenance issues is brake maintenance. Brake failure can be particularly dangerous for a vehicle of that size, and if a truck’s brakes fail, a catastrophic accident may occur.
Other common issues that commercial truck drivers face are:
- Faulty lights
- Fuel line failures
- Oil line failures
- Steering column issues
- Tire blowouts
- Trailer and hitch failures
- Unsecured cargo
If you’ve experienced an injury accident because of these issues, you may be entitled to damages. These damages may be awarded to recover your medical costs or reimburse you for your property damage or time missed from work. Speak with an experienced commercial vehicle lawyer in New Jersey today to discuss your case.
Regular Maintenance Recommendations for Commercial Trucks
All vehicles require regular maintenance to function in the safest and most efficient manner.
State and federal laws mandate when a large commercial vehicle must be inspected and maintained, and if fleeting companies, drivers, and shipping companies ignore these guidelines, they could be responsible for any resulting injuries.
The commercial vehicle’s driver, owner, and the repair and maintenance companies that work on the vehicle share a responsibility in making sure that the truck is functioning properly before it takes to the road.
New Jersey semi-trucks require full inspections annually, and the truck’s owner has to keep detailed records of the truck’s maintenance and repairs. When the owner of the truck fails to do so, they could be found liable for injuries and other damages caused by a truck accident.
Consequences of Poor Truck Maintenance
Some trucking companies manage by doing the minimum amount of maintenance on their vehicles. However, it’s imperative to note that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) makes regulations that trucking companies should abide by to ensure their trucks are safe to drive. The parts they’ve outlined that should undergo regular maintenance include:
- Fuel systems
- Lights and reflectors
- Windshields and wipers
Faulty trucks are almost twice as likely to be in an accident if the brakes are faulty or worn due to lack of maintenance. If you’re injured due to a poorly maintained truck, you may be entitled to compensation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees interstate commercial trucking and has created regulations designed to ensure all commercial vehicles are properly inspected and maintained.
Pre and post-trip inspections were designed to catch possible mechanical issues in the vehicle. Because mechanical failures in vehicles are all too common, the FMCSA also requires commercial truck drivers, leasers, and owners to keep thorough records of all inspections, repairs, and maintenance work. Contact an adept New Jersey semi-truck attorney immediately after your truck accident so that your attorney can inspect these records before they are altered or destroyed.
Suppose the owner of the vehicle fails to preserve the maintenance records. In that case, the owner can be found liable for any injuries or damages caused by the owner’s failure to inspect, maintain, or repair the vehicle. Former owners can also be held liable after the vehicle is sold if it can be proven that the previous owner failed to follow state or federal maintenance laws.
New Jersey Trucking Company Employee Responsibility
Sometimes specific employees are responsible for the maintenance of a truck. The law puts all the onus on a worker’s employer for any scheduled maintenance. The employer, driver, or vehicle maintenance staff could all be responsible for the accident and your injuries, but you are much more likely to recover compensation from the business.
Your Options After a Trucking Accident
If you were injured in a trucking accident, you could recover compensation through a personal injury insurance claim. At Goldstein & Goldstein, we can review your situation and offer support and advice on the best way to proceed.