Inadequate Truck Maintenance
The potential causes of a truck wreck are endless, and no two accidents are exactly alike. Although most are preventable, truck accidents still occur due to the improper maintenance and inspection of the truck. Semi-trucks themselves are inherently dangerous vehicles due to their immense size and weight, and if proper maintenance and upkeep procedures are not followed, inadequate truck maintenance can cause irreparable harm. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set forth strict guidelines that commercial carriers must follow in order to keep their trucks on the road. Unfortunately, many trucking companies try to cut corners and place unsafe trucks in use. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Memphis truck accident attorneys have been handling trucking claims for over 25 years. If you or a loved one has been hit by an 18-wheeler, call us today so that we can begin the investigation into whether the accident occurred due to the negligent maintenance, upkeep, or inspection of the truck.Inadequate Maintenance of Semi-Trucks and Tractor-Trailers
Per the FMCSA, every motor carrier must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles subject to its control. Moreover, motor carriers must maintain records for each truck under their control for 30 or more consecutive days. These records, codified in Section 396.3, must include:
- The truck’s make, serial number, year, tire size, and if available, the company number.
- A means to indicate the nature and due date of scheduled inspections and maintenance.
- A record of past inspections, repairs, and maintenance, including the dates and nature of the repairs.
- A record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses.
These records are to be held in safekeeping where the 18-wheeler was either housed or maintained for a period of one year and for six months after the vehicle leaves the truck company’s control. After an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is important to contact a truck accident attorney in the Memphis area right away so that all maintenance and inspection records are properly preserved and any inadequate truck maintenance is exposed.
There is always a chance that the truck company involved will try to destroy or somehow lose any records they may have. Upon representation, a lawyer can immediately send a spoliation letter to the company demanding that they preserve any and all records pertaining to the truck. In addition to the motor carrier’s responsibility to keep maintenance and inspection reports, truck drivers are required to provide the carrier a written report at the completion of each work day on how the vehicle operated. The report covers parts such as:
- Service brakes including trailer brake connections
- Parking brake
- Steering mechanism
- Lighting devices and reflectors
- Windshield wipers
- Rear vision mirrors
- Coupling devices
- Wheels and rims
- Emergency equipment
Although several guidelines are in place to prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring, accidents still occur due to improper maintenance. Many of these accidents leave Memphis residents and other victims with disabling injuries. Injured parties not only could be awarded compensatory damages for their pain and suffering, but they could recover punitive damages designed to punish a driver or truck company for failing comply with maintenance or record-keeping regulations. Punitive damages often apply to rogue trucking companies who willfully violate the rules. To prove that inadequate truck maintenance caused the wreck, it may be necessary to hire trucking experts to inspect the vehicle and analyze previous repair notes.Speak with a Big Rig Accident Attorney in Memphis Today for Free
Accidents caused by inadequate maintenance should be 100% preventable, but they do occur. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our attorneys serve auto accident victims across multiple states, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky. Contact our office toll-free by calling 800-529-4004 or by completing our online form to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to showing you why NST is the way to go.