A variety of factors cause truck accidents, many of which are preventable. One of the most common causes is lack of maintenance. Maintenance remains critical for the safety of everyone on the road, and it’s important to schedule regular checks to avoid any costly or dangerous accidents.
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident, specific maintenance issues may have played a role. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm are here to help you get the justice and compensation you and your loved ones deserve. With a strong track record of winning cases, we’ve collected over $1 billion for our injured clients.
Contact us now at (800) 501-3011 and let’s begin your important claim.
Table of Contents:
- Filing a Truck Accident Injury Lawsuit
- Prevent Traffic Accidents with Truck Maintenance
- Lack of Truck Accident Maintenance Responsible for Truck Collisions
- The Leading Maintenance Issues that Cause Truck Accidents
- How to Approach the Inspection Problem
- Pre-Inspection Must Be Mandated
- Start a Free Case Review
Filing an Injury Lawsuit for Maintenance-Related Truck Accidents
If an injury or the lack of proper maintenance kills a family member, the person or those grieving a loved one can file a personal injury claim. Each accident and its causes differ, but the primary issue is that the trucker or company acted negligently. This negligence allows the manufacturer of a truck part, the trucker, or trucking company to be the focal point of the claim.
Preservation of the faulty part or other evidence is necessary to permit examination. In addition, the following ways to check for liability are:
- Review police reports for mistakes
- Examine trucker logs
- Use inspection reports and maintenance logs to see if defective, worn or damaged parts are repaired
- Black box data shows what happened in the time leading up to the accident
- Interview witnesses
Performing Inspections in a Timely Manner
The investigators should arrive at the truck accident scene as soon as possible to prevent evidence from being lost or altered. Your truck accident lawyer can send a certified note, called a spoliation letter, to put the trucker, outside mechanic, or trucking company on notice not to destroy or change evidence in any way.
Once the evidence is collected, the legal team can build a robust case against the defendant, helping to resolve the matter in the plaintiff’s favor.
Do Not Ignore The Deadline to File a Lawsuit
In California and Nevada, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit within this time frame, you may lose your ability to file a lawsuit altogether. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving minors or cases where the defendant is not located in California.
If you have been injured and are considering filing a lawsuit, it is essential to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to find out if you are still within the statute of limitations.
Truck Maintenance Is a Way to Prevent Traffic Accidents
Lack of truck maintenance is among the leading factors cited in big rig accidents in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Truckers and the companies that hire them must inspect their vehicles by federal mandate and company policy. However, all too often, this does not happen, and the results are catastrophic. Learn about truck maintenance and how insurers and personal injury lawyers grapple with this issue.
Lack of Truck Accident Maintenance Responsible for Collisions
Truck accidents plague America’s highways. Approximately 4,000 people die each year as a result of them. Poor maintenance often occurs because a trucking company favors profits over safety. In the long run, this reasoning harms the business and others who share the road with the vehicles. It not only endangers the driver and others sharing the road but can also lead to large payouts in lawsuits.
This is particularly true for brakes, which are essential for slowing down and stopping a heavy truck. When brakes are not properly maintained, they can fail suddenly and without warning. As a result, the big rig may jackknife or lose control, leading to a severe accident. That’s why it’s so important for trucking companies to ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained. By making maintenance a priority, they can help to prevent accidents and save lives.
Furthermore, if you’re carrying cargo, you must ensure it’s properly secured. An unsecured load can shift during transit, causing the truck to lose balance and overturn. Not only is this dangerous for you, but it can also cause damage to other vehicles and property.
These Top Maintenance Issues Cause Truck Accidents
Sticky calipers, oil contamination, leaky fluid lines and misaligned brake linings can all lead to failure. One key factor is using mechanics who are untrained to handle big rigs and drivers who need to learn how to deal with brake failure on the road. Due to the weight of a truck at highway speeds, a failed braking system can lead to numerous fatalities and injuries when traveling. Trailers have air brake systems that require routine inspection. When the cargo is loaded, the brakes must be able to stop the big rig appropriately.
The truck’s suspension parts wear down and weaken the wheels’ ability to handle the load. The suspension keeps the axles appropriately positioned. Some frequently encountered problems are spring leaf breaks, shock system leakage and issues with the air suspension.
When a headlight is not working properly, it can be challenging for the truck driver to see what is in front of them. This can lead to drivers slamming on their brakes or swerving into other lanes, causing accidents with devastating consequences.
Lack of Inspection or Maintenance
Many tractor-trailer accidents could be prevented if truck drivers and their employers simply inspected their vehicles more carefully. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has identified inspection as one of the four key factors in truck accidents. When truckers ignore inspections or do not complete required maintenance, avoidable crashes with injuries or fatalities occur. The truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm will fight to prove trucker negligence and demand the justice and compensation you deserve.
Experienced truckers know the signs of steering problems. Maintenance is a big part of steering difficulties, and regular inspection is needed. For instance, steering fluid levels can be low and should be checked before beginning a run and afterward. Lubricating the front suspension and the steering are other steps a responsible trucker/trucking company takes. Losing steering capability in an 80,000 big rig can lead to catastrophic crashes.
The two most common causes of a blowout are failure to replace a worn tire or improper inflation. This causes the tire to deflate rapidly and explode. Tread separation frequently happens with large trucks. It is due to the tread separating from the tire’s casing. Most of these tires have undergone retreading to eliminate purchasing a new unit, which is costly. Such retreaded tires save the company money but can result in deadly accidents.
Defective tires are another cause of blowouts. In such cases, examining the tire for defects helps determine liability. A truck accident lawyer will have experts trained to do this as long as the tire is preserved after an accident, something our investigators do routinely.
Tow Hitch Defects
When the trailer is not affixed properly to the cabin, it can loosen while driving and cause accidents. Problems with a tow hitch and coupling cannot be ignored. These must be checked and rechecked throughout the journey.
Truck parts can be defective, whether the tires, steering or electrical system. When this occurs, a product liability lawsuit is possible against the part’s manufacturer, designer or seller. In California, it is not necessary to prove negligence but only to say that injury occurred due to a defect and that the item was used in a manner as intended without modification.
Missing Underride Guards and Reflectors
Replacing worn underride guards is necessary since smaller vehicles can easily slip underneath and lead to severe injuries. Additionally, replacing reflectors for safe nighttime driving is essential. Without reflectors, it is difficult for another motorist to see the truck’s sides and hit them.
How to Approach the Inspection Problem
The federal government requires routine, in-depth inspections of all big trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration obliges every large truck owner to inspect, repair and maintain the vehicle. They suggest the following steps:
- Review inspection criteria: Depending on the types of trucks the company has or if it is a mixed fleet, the trucker must begin the process before and during each trip.
- Train drivers: Drivers need to do a pre-trip inspection and log any problems. From here, the maintenance department must ensure the resolution of any issues they encounter.
- Document resolution of problems: Drivers and mechanics use a checklist to resolve issues. If repairs or replacement occurs, this, too, should be noted.
Pre-Inspection Must Be Mandated
Truck drivers must inspect their vehicles before taking to the road. A Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) documents it. Some trucking companies do not enforce this mandate, and trucks can be without review for varying periods. At the very least, the following are necessary:
- Parking brake
- Service brakes plus trailer brake connections
- Devices for lighting and reflectors
- Mirrors for rear view
- Windshield wipers
- Rims and wheels
- Coupling devices
- Equipment for emergencies such as triangles, fire extinguishers and fuses
Truckers Must Go Beyond the Minimum to Ensure Safety
It is necessary to ensure the truck complies with the requirements. For instance, the trucker must make sure the registration, permits, insurance papers and others are available. The inspection sticker must be current. Also, a manual or electrical logging device must be available. License plates must be in the vehicle’s back and front. The driver should have a truck manual at their disposal.
Free Case Review with a Truck Accident Law Firm for Crashes Caused by Maintenance Issues
Wilshire Law Firm has represented numerous clients injured in trucking accidents. We ensure that truckers follow federal hours of rest and driving hours of service rules, obey maintenance requirements and are certified to drive a big rig. Any trucker who does not abide by such laws can be considered negligent.
Injured parties in California have two years in which to file a claim. Unless this happens, the court will not hear the case. We recognize that an accident with a truck places a passenger vehicle occupant in grave peril. By determining why the accident happened, we can help the client obtain the compensation they deserve.
Contact us now at (800) 501-3011 and let’s begin your essential claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Crashes
What are the most common truck accidents?
Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, including driver error, braking failure, jackknifing and running off the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the most common types of truck accidents are rear-end collisions, lane departure crashes and sideswipes.
What are the three most common accidents?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are three primary types of accidents involving tractor-trailers: jackknifing, rollovers and underride collisions.