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100 Most Influential Lawyers in America
– the National Law Journal

How truck maintenance plays a role in your personal injury case

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many semi-truck accidents result in devastation and catastrophic injuries, leaving victims and their families struggling to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. It’s nothing short of tragic. In the aftermath of one of these wrecks, those who have been harmed have to find a way to stabilize the chaos and develop a strategy for successfully moving through their recovery. In most instances, a personal injury lawsuit is a key component in getting these victims and their families where they need to be.

To succeed on a truck accident claim, though, you have to prove that the trucker, and probably their employer, too, were responsible for the accident. While the facts surrounding your wreck might give clear indications of that liability, in other instances it’s tougher to determine causation. In those circumstances, you might want to see if the truck’s maintenance, or lack thereof, played a role in your truck accident.

What are the regulations surrounding semi-truck maintenance?

Federal regulations specify how often big rigs have to be inspected. On a basic level, each commercial vehicle, including semi-trucks, must be inspected every 12 months. The person who conducts this inspection must have proper certification or training to conduct those inspections. If defects are identified during this yearly check, then the truck’s owner is responsible for correcting them so that the truck complies with the federal government’s minimal standards.

But that’s not the only type of inspection that semi-trucks have to undergo. Drivers are also required to conduct a post-trip inspection at the end of each day. When issues are spotted, they are to be reported to the truck company, which is then required to remedy the defects so that the truck is rendered safe to drive.

How do you know if poor truck maintenance was an issue in your accident?

Depending on the facts of your case, there may be several options for assessing whether the truck involved in your accident was properly maintained. This includes:

  • Subpoenaing records: By sending a subpoena to the truck company, you can get your hands on maintenance records that show whether the truck company abided by federal regulations. If they didn’t, then you can use that evidence to support your personal injury claim.
  • Deposing the driver: By putting the truck’s driver under oath and questioning them about their post-trip inspections, you can figure out if safety issues went unresolved, thereby contributing to your wreck.
  • Having an expert assess the accident: An expert who analyzes the scene of the accident should be able to identify factors that contributed to the wreck. This is especially true if they’re able to inspect the truck after the accident. At that point, it might become obvious that the truck had defects that should’ve been remedied long ago.

Take a holistic approach to your truck accident case

There are several different ways to approach your truck accident case. You need to find the one that maximizes your chances of imposing liability, securing accountability, and recovering compensation. Only then can you put yourself on a path to the robust recovery that you deserve.

The process can be trying, though, as you’re bound to face aggressive defense arguments and find the legal nuances of the legal process confusing and frustrating. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to stick to your position and diligently fight for what you deserve. That way you can come out of your case with the closure and financial resources you need to secure the future you want.