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Regular maintenance and routine repairs on commercial and semi-trucks are important to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Any equipment malfunction or failure could lead to a serious accident. In fact, truck accidents can cost lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.
An 18-wheeler accident lawyer can assist you if you have been injured in a truck accident which you believe may have been caused by someone’s failure to maintain their semi-truck. A truck accident lawyer who is familiar with these kinds of cases can help you find out who is liable, whether it is the trucking company, the driver, or a maintenance company.
Semi-truck licensing and maintenance requirements
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which establishes regulations for truck weight, regular maintenance, and hours on the road. Trucking companies are regulated by federal laws and can be regulated further by states; this makes handling a truck accident claim more difficult without a truck accident attorney. In order to reduce accidents and abide by these laws, trucking companies usually have strict driving compliance requirements for drivers; each truck driver is expected to know these regulations, but they may not always follow them.
States require that a driver obtain a special commercial driver’s license (CDL) in order to drive a semi-truck, which can be obtained in their home state and used to drive in any state. Holding a license in more than one state is illegal. Some states will require further endorsements on your license if you plan to drive hazardous materials, double or triple trailers, or passenger vehicles.
As part of the licensing exam, most states will require the driver to physically walk around the truck and examine it. Part of the test is an assessment of whether the driver is able to identify specific parts and know what needs to be inspected regularly and what to look out for. This test is required because the driver must perform an inspection before every trip and must create an inspection report, which itself must be reviewed at the end of the day to ensure that any necessary repairs were completed.
common Semi-truck maintenance issues
Trucks travel long distances and experience more wear on their mechanical parts than other cars would. Trucks also carry or pull more weight than regular cars do, so this puts additional strain on parts such as tires and brakes; if these parts are not regularly inspected and repaired promptly, it could cause a serious accident. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer can assist in looking for evidence of worn parts, which can help ensure you a fair recovery for your damages.
Tires experience the most wear on any vehicle, especially on trucks; semi-trucks usually have multiple wheels to help bear the weight of the load. A tire blowout on the road can cause devastating consequences; if the truck driver loses control, other drivers on the road are at risk of experiencing significant damages due to the weight and size of the truck. Even if the truck driver does not lose control, tire debris that flies off the truck or trailer can strike other vehicles or create a hazard by crossing and or lying in the road.
Effective brake maintenance includes inspecting the brake pads, brake lines, brake fluid, and other components of the braking system regularly. Brakes are especially important on trucks because they are relied on to stop a very heavy and large vehicle. A heavy truck traveling at fast speeds down a highway that is unable to stop is extremely dangerous.
Headlights, tail lights, and turn signals all need to be maintained to ensure safety on the road. Trucks should keep their headlights on in order to increase visibility. Inoperable turn signals would make navigating busy highways more difficult and more dangerous.
Power steering is important on semi-trucks because without it, the truck would be impossible to control. Due to the weight of semi-trucks, even a small amount of steering failure can cause an accident and have deadly consequences.
Other Maintenance Issues
Some trucking companies may even require additional maintenance to ensure that trucks are ready for the road. This may include having a working horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, and emergency equipment in the truck such as flares or cones for use during an accident.
Failure to inspect for any of these issues can cause a serious trucking accident. If you were hurt because of a truck driver’s irresponsibility and failure to maintain a truck, contact one of our 18-wheeler accident lawyers at Zinda Law to assess your claim.
Legal recovery after being in a Semi-trucking accident
In order to be successful in your claim for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you need to show that the truck driver or any other responsible party for maintaining the truck was negligent. Negligence is a legal theory that provides that people should take care to act reasonably so as not to harm others. The standard of care varies based on the parties and the situation they are in. It is up to a jury or a judge to decide based on the circumstances if someone acted reasonably or negligently.
Proving that a truck driver failed to maintain his or her semi-truck may be difficult. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer will be an invaluable resource when it comes to analyzing the evidence in your truck accident case because an experienced truck accident attorney will be familiar with how to investigate the accident, obtain the driver’s record, and seek any vehicle maintenance reports. This can make a huge difference in seeking the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Who is Liable for Damages After a Semi-Truck Accident?
Many other parties besides the driver involved in a trucking accident may have contributed to your injuries. Especially if the accident was due to a maintenance issue, there may be several parties who are liable to you for the harm that was caused. These parties may include:
- The maintenance crew or maintenance company
- Truck and part manufacturers
- The truck driver’s employer
- The truck driving company
- The truck driver
What Kind of Recovery is Possible?
Every accident is different, but some of the most common recovery awards for victims of trucking accidents include:
- Hospital bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Physical therapy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Prescription medications
- Property damage to your car or belongings
- Rehabilitation costs
Some of the most common injuries in a truck accident include:
- Herniated discs
- Loss of limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Scrapes, cuts, bruising
- Wrongful death
truck accidents can be more deadly than car accidents
Accidents with larger trucks such as 18-wheelers can cause more damage and are more likely to be deadly than a car accident between cars. Commercial motor vehicles such as semi-trucks are larger and heavier than regular cars and cannot as easily maneuver on the road; trucks need more space to slow, stop, and turn. Failing to maintain the truck’s parts and service regularly can mean disaster on the road.
Is It Worth Getting a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accidents are rarely minor. An 18-wheeler accident lawyer is someone who will be experienced and well equipped to handle your case, no matter how serious. Truck accidents can be very complicated and you may find it difficult to manage it on your own.
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not have to pay anything up front to obtain representation. Hiring a lawyer can help you recover all of your potential damages; a truck accident lawyer will also be able to help you negotiate any potential insurance claim. The trucking company as well as the individual truck driver may both have insurance claims that will need to be filed; no need to worry, though, because no trucking accident is too complex for our team of lawyers.
After experiencing a trucking accident, your main concern should be rest and recovery, but medical bills and missed work might cause you to worry, and insurance companies can sometimes prey on this vulnerable time. Allowing an experienced truck attorney to handle your personal injury claim will help ensure that all of your damages are assessed and that you financially recover for your injuries. If you were in a truck accident and think you have a valid claim against someone for their failure to maintain a semi-truck, contact us today.
Get Help from 18-wheeler accident attorneys
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims of truck accidents. Our 18-wheeler accident lawyers are compassionate and ready to assist you. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.