Texas Attorneys Discuss Truck Maintenance and Defective Parts Accidents
When Company Negligence Leads to Injury or Death
Under federal regulations, trucking companies are required to meet certain standards as to the inspection, repair, and maintenance of their fleets, as stated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are responsible for inspecting, repairing, maintaining, and keeping records for all vehicles under their control, and for ensuring that any defects have been corrected and all vehicles are in a safe operating condition. When they fail to meet these obligations, serious accidents and injuries can result.
Truck accidents are always devastating. They result in incredible property damage, and, if another vehicle is involved, catastrophic injuries. We at Sorey & Hoover, LLP have worked with countless clients that were injured in trucking accidents. Not providing proper maintenance and upkeep to trucks and truck components is an act of negligence that can, and does, get people killed. Those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. We want to be the ones that do just that. If you or someone you love have been injured in a truck accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us at (903) 212-2822 for a free consultation.
Truck Accident Data and Statistics
- 4,136 people were killed in large truck crashes in 2018, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
- 67% of the people who died (2,786) were occupants of passenger vehicles.
- 15% of the fatalities (619) were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
- 16% of the deaths (678) were occupants of large trucks.
- Truck accident fatalities increased by 31% from 2009 to 2018.
- 96% of people killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck were occupants of passenger vehicles.
How Improper Maintenance Can Lead to Truck Accidents
Equipment failure is a leading cause of truck accidents. Brake problems are the number one factor associated with truck accidents assigned to large trucks and their drivers, as stated in the Large Truck Crash Causation Study Analysis Brief published by FMCSA. Trucking companies are required to ensure their vehicles are operating properly and keep inspection and maintenance records. Poor maintenance can lead to deadly accidents due to:
- Brake failure
- Tire blowouts
- Steering system malfunction
- Trailer safety issues, including hitch failure
When a truck is driven overweight or the cargo is not loaded properly, it can cause even more strain on weak or worn parts and lead to equipment failure. Truck brakes are more likely to fail, for example, when an overloaded truck is traveling down a steep incline.
What Are FMCSA Regulations Regarding Truck Maintenance?
The Code of Federal Regulations covers inspection, repair, and maintenance of commercial trucks under Title 49, Section 396.3. The regulations state:
“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.”
Intermodal means involving two or more different modes of transportation in conveying goods. What is meant by “systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance?” It means a regular or scheduled program to keep vehicles in safe operating condition, as stated by FMCSA.
That is to say, trucking companies, or companies that use trucks, have a responsibility to properly maintain their trucks at all times. A malfunctioning truck is the responsibility of the company that owns it. If that malfunction is not fixed, and the truck is still allowed on the road, then the company can be held at fault for the damages that that malfunction causes.
Defective Parts Can Cause Truck Accidents
In some cases, truck accidents occur because of defective parts. For example, defective truck tires can blow out at highway speeds, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Faulty underride bars may fail to prevent deadly underride accidents. When a defective truck or tractor part causes a serious truck accident, the manufacturer of the faulty part may be responsible for resulting injuries.
Why You Need an Attorney
Proving liability in a truck accident caused by poor maintenance or defective parts can be a complicated process. It requires a thorough inspection that may involve visiting the scene of the accident, examining trucking company records and truck black box data and interviewing and deposing witnesses. Fast action must be taken to prevent evidence to support your claim from being destroyed. Insurance companies may try to minimize their payouts by contacting you with a lowball offer.
Our experienced Texas trucking accident lawyer at Sorey & Gilliland, LLP can:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of the accident to determine fault and liability
- Obtain and preserve evidence to support your case
- Assess the full extent of your losses – past, present, and future
- Build a strong claim for compensation based on the facts
- Negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf
- Represent you effectively in court, if necessary
Contact us at (903) 212-2822 to arrange for a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.