Truck accidents tend to be especially severe. Drivers and occupants of smaller passenger cars can sustain serious, disabling or life-threatening injuries. Although driver errors are oftentimes the cause of these accidents, sometimes it stems from truck company negligence. This could be the case if equipment problems are to blame, which may be the result of poor commercial truck maintenance.
Poor Maintenance and Trucking Company Negligence
The trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which enforces rules pertaining to a variety of areas, with one being the upkeep of commercial vehicles. Every truck company is responsible for maintenance of its big rigs.
Although manufacturing defects are sometimes to blame, many times it is a failure in commercial truck maintenance. When this is found to be a contributing factor in an accident or the outright cause of it, a truck company can be considered negligent and liable for damages.
Types of Truck Equipment Problems
Certain types of equipment are more likely to cause a crash or to make the impact of one much worse. One example is brake failure. If a driver cannot stop, there is the potential of running into another vehicle. This can happen when brakes (pads or shoes) are worn and haven’t been replaced.
Trucks can also jackknife when front brakes are depowered or removed. This causes the trailer of the big rig to fold, which can crush or strike other vehicles nearby.
Tires are another common equipment problem. They can blowout, for example, which can not only be dangerous with flying debris but again, the driver could lose control of the vehicle. Worn tire treads, under or overinflated tires are just some of the issues that could cause an accident.
If the lights aren’t functioning adequately, it can make visibility difficult. The same is true with windshield wipers. As a result, if the driver cannot see well, it could cause or contribute to a crash.
Another potential problem could be with the trailer. If it isn’t properly attached to the cab, it may end up swinging out of control or completely detach. This puts others on the road at serious risk.
Damages That May Be Recoverable in a Claim Stemming from a Truck Accident
When the truck company’s negligence is the reason for an accident, compensation could be sought for the financial losses suffered:
- ambulatory services;
- follow-up doctor visits;
- physical therapy; and
- future medical expenses.
Lost income, as a result of the healing and recovery period, may also be compensated. If the injuries are disabling and it prevents the person from returning to work or if the individual must perform job tasks that pay less because of impairment, these financial losses may also be considered in a truck accident claim.
Property damage to the victim’s vehicle would also be addressed. Or if the vehicle is totaled, the replacement value may be factored into the claim value.
Physical losses could include damages for:
- pain and suffering;
- disfigurement; and
- reduced quality of life.
Emotionally, there may be compensation that addresses mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological harm that results from the accident.
Legal Help to Prove Truck Company Negligence
When a truck company is negligent and liable for injuries, it can oftentimes results in significant compensation. But finding them responsible isn’t always easy and will require a thorough investigation. Contact an attorney who handles these types of cases.
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, we can investigate the crash and help victims determine if the truck company is liable for issues such as poor commercial truck maintenance.