Big Rig Accidents Caused by Maintenance Issues
Florida Big Rig Accident Lawyers for Collisions Resulting from Faulty or Inadequate Maintenance
Trucking Companies Need to Be Held Responsible for Maintenance Issues. Let Our Florida Law Firm Help
Trucking companies and other commercial entities have a legal obligation to keep their trucks safe on the road. Regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) impose strict maintenance requirements; and, under Florida law, trucking companies and other entities can be held fully liable when maintenance issues cause and contribute to serious collisions. Our Florida big rig accident lawyers have decades of experience helping accident victims recover. If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed due to a truck maintenance issue, we can make sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
There are many different issues that can cause serious and fatal commercial truck accidents. When seeking financial compensation, it is necessary to identify the specific issues involved in your (or your loved one’s) accident. While driver negligence is the leading cause of truck accidents by far, maintenance issues play a role in a significant number of accidents as well.
What are Common Maintenance Issues with Big Rigs?
Maintenance issues can impact virtually all components of a commercial truck. Tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, tanker trucks, and other large commercial vehicles are extraordinarily complex – far more so than ordinary passenger vehicles – and even minor malfunctions have severe consequences. This is why the FMCSA imposes such strict maintenance regulations for trucking companies, and it is why victims and families are entitled to just compensation when accidents occur.
While some maintenance issues pose greater risks than others, all types of maintenance issues have the potential to cause accidents on the road. Some of the more-common examples of truck maintenance issues that tend to lead to accidents include:
- Delaying the replacement or topping off of oil, brake fluid, and other fluids
- Failure to perform routine maintenance on engines and transmission systems
- Failure to repair or replace balding tires
- Failure to repair or replace worn cargo straps, tie downs, and other critical components
- Failure to replace worn brake pads
- Failure to replace burnt-out lights
- Ignoring “Check Engine” lights and other warnings
- Ignoring other signs of potential truck malfunctions and maintenance needs
- Missing manufacturer-recommended or federally-mandated inspections
- Negligent maintenance work
By law, truckers and trucking companies are required to make routine inspections of their trucks, and they must prepare inspection reports each day a truck is in service. If an inspection report reveals that a potential maintenance issue was ignored, or if the evidence suggests that a known maintenance issue was intentionally left off of an inspection report, these are both key facts that could help prove your claim for damages.
From inspecting the truck itself to obtaining testimony from mechanics and other individuals, there are many other ways to prove that a maintenance issue played a role in causing a truck accident as well. When you contact us, our Florida truck accident lawyers will promptly launch an exhaustive investigation in order to determine exactly what happened and who is to blame.
Who is Liable for Negligent Truck Maintenance?
Just as there are many types of maintenance issues that can lead to serious and fatal commercial truck accidents, there are multiple parties that can potentially be liable for accidents resulting from truck maintenance issues. These parties include:
Owner-operators are truck drivers who own their own trucks and perform delivery and transportation services for other companies. As small business owners, owner-operators are subject to the same liability laws as larger companies, and they carry insurance (or they should carry insurance) to cover the costs of accident victims’ injuries. If an owner-operator fails to perform necessary maintenance on his or her truck, then his or her insurance company will generally be liable for any injuries that result.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies can also be held liable for failing to perform necessary maintenance. Unfortunately, trucking companies often delay maintenance and repairs in order to keep their trucks on the road, and in doing so they put others in harm’s way. Some trucking companies also perform their own maintenance in-house; and, if a driver fails to report a maintenance need on a daily inspection report, then the trucking company can be held liable for its driver’s mistake as well. Most trucking companies have substantial insurance policies that cover accident-related injuries and fatalities.
The Maintenance Shop or Dealership
Independent shops and dealerships that perform maintenance work for owner-operators and trucking companies can be held liable when their mechanics make mistakes on the job. From skipping steps while performing service to failing to complete maintenance work according to manufacturers’ specifications, there are numerous issues that can create liability for maintenance shops and dealerships when maintenance-related truck accidents occur.
The Manufacturer of a Defective Component
If a trucking company, maintenance shop or dealership installs a defective component while performing maintenance work, then the component’s manufacturer can be held liable if the defect causes a collision. Brake failures, engine failures, steering failures, tire failures and virtually all other types of failures have the potential to result from design and manufacturing defects. Our Florida big rig accident law firm has extensive experience handling large-scale product liability cases; and, if your (or your loved one’s) accident was caused by a truck defect, we can make sure the manufacturer is held accountable.
A Third-Party Fleet Management Company
Many trucking companies hire third-party fleet management companies to manage their trucks’ maintenance needs. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident involving a truck that was in need of maintenance and a third-party fleet management company was at fault (or even partially at fault) for the maintenance not being performed, then this company could be fully or partially liable for your accident-related losses.
Discuss Your Case with the Legal Team at Searcy Denney for Free
Commercial truck accident cases are complex, and securing just compensation for your losses requires experienced legal representation. To find out if you have a claim for negligent truck maintenance (or any other issue), call us at 800-780-8607 or request a free consultation online today.