Richmond Improper Maintenance Truck Accident Lawyer
Legal advocacy when failure to repair or maintain causes a truck crash in Virginia
Any machine with moving parts, including motor vehicles, require regular maintenance to stay in working order. Without consistent and proper maintenance, vehicles like commercial trucks can fall into various states of disrepair, making them ticking time bombs on the road. Components like worn-out brakes or tires could fail without warning, causing serious traffic crashes and injuries.
When you are injured or harmed in a truck crash in Virginia caused by poor or improper maintenance, the Richmond-based injury attorneys at Phelan Petty are here to help. We understand how to take on big trucking and insurance companies successfully, working to ensure that when you suffer harm due to another’s negligence, you secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
What are the federal standards on commercial truck maintenance?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is part of the Department of Transportation, and its overall mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related accidents and fatalities. It sets standards and regulations on the trucking industry to improve safety nationwide, and one of these standards includes vehicle maintenance. Specifically, the FMCSA requires routine maintenance on big rigs and 18-wheelers:
“Inspection, repair, and maintenance. (a) General. 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.
- Parts and accessories shall be in safe and proper operating condition at all times. These include those specified in part 393 of this subchapter and any additional parts and accessories which may affect the safety of operation, including but not limited to frame and frame assemblies, suspension systems, axles and attaching parts, wheels, and rims, and steering systems.
- Pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights in buses shall be inspected at least every 90 days.”
When trucking companies or independent truckers fail to maintain their rigs, cabs, and trailers, they put themselves and everyone on the road in danger.
What are the dangers of improper truck maintenance?
At the end of the day, a trucking company is a business, and their job is to make a profit. One way to save money is cutting corners on truck maintenance – doing the absolute minimum to keep their rigs “street legal” and out on the road. However, failing to maintain or improperly maintaining commercial vehicles can lead to disastrous wrecks.
Truck parts needing regular inspection and maintenance include:
- Braking systems. 18-wheelers typically work with air brakes, a braking system well-suited to stopping large and heavy vehicles. However, without regular maintenance, air brakes can weaken and suddenly fail. When a trucker cannot stop their vehicle properly when needed, a tragic collision can result.
- Fuel systems. A fuel system must be regularly checked for breakages or leaks, as a malfunction could cause a deadly fire or explosion.
- Lights and reflectors. A truck’s lights makes it easier for others to see the vehicle on the road, from cab to trailer. When these lights are dimmed or burned out, it can decrease both the driver’s range of vision as well as make it more difficult for other drivers to see the vehicle.
- Side and rearview mirrors. Cracked or missing mirrors can cause visibility issues and blind spots that prevent truckers from seeing other vehicles. If a truck driver attempts to pass or change lanes and fails to spot a car or motorcycle, a fatal collision can result.
- Suspension. If a truck’s suspension is not maintained regularly and fails during regular driving, a trucker may lose control of the vehicle and cause a deadly crash.
- Tires. Worn-out tires are especially dangerous on tractor-trailer trucks. Improperly maintained tires are prone to tread separation, failure, and blowouts, which can cause accidents and debris on the highway.
- Windshield and wipers. A windshield that needs replacing or faulty wipers can cause decreased visibility in bad weather, leading to increased chances of a crash.
The Richmond injury attorneys at Phelan Petty investigate the circumstances of your accident and get to the bottom of how and why it occurred.
What causes improper truck maintenance crashes?
Because commercial trucks require a great amount of upkeep and maintenance, there is no room for error. However, there are a number of maintenance issues and negligence that can lead to accidents and collisions. For example, when:
- Drivers skip routine inspections. A trucker should perform a review of their rig every time they get back on the road, and should not drive it unless it is safe to operate. Daily vehicle inspections are required by the FMCSA and drivers should submit a report at the end of each workday.
- Carriers ignore inspection reports. Even if a truck driver does note a maintenance issue on their vehicle and report it as required, if their carrier ignores or dismisses this information, unsafe vehicles can still make it on the road.
- Maintenance fails to complete repairs. Maintenance personnel may be responsible for resulting accidents if they are negligent in completing required repairs or maintenance on vehicles under their care before releasing them back to the trucking company.
- Maintenance makes repairs improperly. In cases like these, maintenance or repair personnel may attempt to perform the required maintenance, but do the job poorly and cause the vehicle to become even more unsafe.
- Drivers and/or carriers fail to inspect. When drivers and carriers fail to inspect the most important parts of their vehicles, like the brakes and tires, disaster can result. Brakes and tires can wear out quickly and must be maintained on a regular basis.
When the attorneys at Phelan Petty take your case, we hold the right people liable for your injuries and hold them accountable for their negligence.
Who is liable in an improper truck maintenance crash?
There can be any number of liable parties or entities responsible for your injuries after a semi-truck crash caused by improper maintenance and repairs. These can include:
- The truck driver, if they failed to make routine inspections and maintenance of their rig
- The trucking company, if they were aware of maintenance or repair issues and failed to take action
- Maintenance and repair personnel, if they failed to make repairs or performed repairs improperly
Our Richmond truck accident lawyers identify the negligent parties and work to secure proper compensation for the harm and injuries they caused.
Richmond improper truck maintenance crash attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a wreck caused by an improperly maintained or repaired truck, the attorneys at Phelan Petty can help. We will investigate your accident and seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses, while you take the time you need to heal from your injuries. Contact us as soon as possible after your accident so our team can start working on your case today.