Large commercial trucks are extremely complicated pieces of machinery that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and often travel at upwards of 70 miles-per-hour while within feet of other motorists. In addition, commercial trucks often travel tens of thousands of miles each year, which can result in crucial parts simply wearing out. As a result, it is absolutely critical that these trucks are mechanically sound and inspected on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this does not always occur, often resulting in serious, injury-causing accidents that leave victims lives turned upside-down.
Federal Regulations Protect Consumers
Federal regulations require that “every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.” In addition, trucking companies have a common law duty to main their fleet in such a way as to not cause an unreasonable risk of injury to others. As a result of these legal rules, people who are injured in accidents caused by poorly maintained commercial vehicles are typically entitled to compensation for their losses.
Common Mechanical Failures
If a large commercial truck is not properly maintained, many parts can fail, resulting in a significant accident risk. Truck parts that commonly fail and cause accidents include:
- Steering mechanisms
- Vehicle lights (headlights, brake lights, trailer lights)
- Coupling devices
- Trailer doors
- Cargo securement devices
As a victim of a truck accident, it is important to remember that trucking companies and truck drivers are generally not going to be forthcoming about the fact that an accident was the direct result of their negligent maintenance of a vehicle. For this reason, it is important to not simply accept the other side’s version of events and make sure to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney familiar with truck accident litigation.
Conducting an Investigation
If the cause of the accident is not immediately clear, it may become necessary to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident in order for you to recover compensation. A lawyer can use a legal process known as discovery to compel the trucking company to turn over maintenance records that it is required to keep by law. If it does not have records, it could be used as evidence that the required maintenance was not performed. In addition, if maintenance records are not enough to establish liability, a lawyer may use an expert to determine whether poor maintenance caused or contributed to your accident. If he or she determines that it did, that fact can be used as evidence in settlement negotiations or in court.
Call Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Merry Fountain Today for a Free Consultation
Indianapolis personal injury lawyer Merry Fountain is a skilled injury advocate. If you are looking for a truck accident attorney in the greater Indy area—Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Zionsville, Brownsburg, Avon, Kokomo, Lebanon… she’s here to help! Call her anytime at 1-888-242-HURT (4878), or simply click Tell Us About Your Case for a free consultation.