On any given day, countless trucks travel the highways, parkways, and roadways throughout New York City and the surrounding suburbs. While there is always a risk of accidents with trucks since they share the roads with much smaller vehicles, there is a greater chance of a wreck when a truck is not adequately maintained. With vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds — and tires alone weighing one hundred pounds — a collision caused by lack of maintenance can have devastating consequences.
How Are Truck Accidents Caused by Poor Maintenance?
Trucks travel hundreds of miles each day while carrying heavy loads of cargo. Just as with cars or any other motor vehicles, trucks must be well-maintained to comply with regulations and remain safe to operate. Unfortunately, trucking companies do not always inspect their vehicles or adhere to the state and federal laws that must be followed.
Specifically, lack of maintenance in trucks can cause the following conditions that increase the chances of an accident:
- Rusty axles
- Hub separations
- Wheel bearing failures
- Steering problems
- Cracked windshields
- Worn brakes or tires
- Defective couplings
- Broken tail lights or mirrors
- Defective trailer hitch
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that every trucking company regularly inspect the vehicles in their fleet — as well as maintain their trucks and make any necessary repairs. A trucker must check a variety of components each day and include them in their daily report, including the parking and service brakes, the tires, horn, steering mechanism, mirrors, windshield wipers, emergency equipment, and wheels. Not only is it negligent to operate a truck that hasn’t been inspected or requires maintenance, but it is also against the law and may constitute negligence per se.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Trucking Accident Due to Lack of Maintenance
A truck accident can result in severe injuries, lasting debilitation, and extensive medical treatment. If you were injured in an accident caused by a poorly maintained truck, you might be entitled to file a personal injury action to recover your damages. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, the truck carrier, manufacturer, maintenance company, or another responsible party may be held liable.
In the event of a truck accident caused by lack of maintenance, it’s crucial to preserve all relevant evidence to establish liability. This can include vehicle maintenance logs, inspection reports, police reports, black box data, and eyewitness testimony. While a trucking company must keep records of any vehicles it owns or operates, it’s critical to prevent them from destroying evidence after an accident by sending a spoliation letter. This puts them on notice that any evidence related to the crash must be preserved in anticipation of litigation.
A plaintiff who is able to prove that a trucking company or other responsible party was negligent may be eligible to recover a wide variety of damages in connection with their injuries. For instance, a plaintiff may recover their unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs incurred due to the accident, in addition to monetary compensation for their pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by lack of maintenance, it’s vital to consult with a personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights and remedies. The personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have more than 30 years of experience assisting clients with their truck accident cases — and obtaining substantial verdicts and settlements.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.