The injuries sustained during a collision with a semi-truck are often quite serious due to the large size and weight of commercial vehicles. Trucks tend to have increased stopping distances and more blind spots than the typical car. Although many circumstances can contribute to a truck accident, such as distracted driving or poor weather conditions, a lack of truck maintenance can contribute to serious truck accidents. If you have been in a crash involving a truck, it is not uncommon to experience severe physical injuries and emotional pain and suffering, as well as major damage to your vehicle. In these cases, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to determine your options for filing a claim for compensation.
Why Lack of Maintenance Leads to Accidents
Truck drivers, especially those who drive long distances, spend their entire working day driving. This high level of use can lead the many parts of a commercial truck to break down much more quickly than they would in passenger vehicles. Because of this, trucks must have regular inspections to monitor for signs of wear and tear, and routine maintenance should be performed to address these issues before they become a threat to the safety of people on the road.
There are certain truck parts that are more at risk for wear and tear, and problems with these parts can directly lead to a collision on the roads. The truck parts most in need of regular maintenance include:
Because semi-trucks weigh so much, they require more powerful brakes and longer stopping times. Trucks have three sets of brakes:
- Service brakes, which are often air brakes
- Emergency brakes
- Parking brakes
If a truck’s brakes are worn down, this can add precious seconds to the truck’s stopping time. When it takes longer to stop, the risk of a multi-car crash increases.
As with any vehicle, a truck is susceptible to flat tires. Tire blow-outs can be catastrophic for trucks. In addition to causing a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle, blow-outs can send out flying debris (e.g. tread pieces) that can damage nearby vehicles. Trucks have a high risk of tire blow-outs when:
- There is low pressure in the tires
- The treads separate
To reduce the risk of tire blow-outs, the tires must be routinely inspected for satisfactory tread depth as well as appropriate pressure levels.
Steering Wheels and Columns
The steering column is an essential component of a truck, and it is responsible for controlling the direction the truck travels. Truck drivers and trucking companies are responsible for keeping up with recalls and, if needed, receiving repairs. In October 2019, Peterbilt recalled the steering shaft of over 109 trucks. Failure to repair known defects is a form of negligence that can lead to deadly truck collisions.
Are Truck Drivers Liable for Accidents?
Trucking accidents can involve a variety of complex issues, since truck drivers can be independent contractors or employees of a larger company. Failure to maintain a truck is a form of negligence, and in these cases, an experienced attorney can help gather evidence to demonstrate that a truck driver or trucking company was liable for an accident. There are many state and federal rules and regulations concerning maintenance and inspection of trucks traveling interstate. To understand these rules and the potential impact they may have on your personal injury claim, talk to an experienced trucking litigation lawyer.
Contact a Green Bay Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a trucking accident, you may be feeling the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the collision long after the fact. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., our team of Appleton personal injury lawyers can help determine whether you are eligible to receive compensation, and we will provide you with dedicated legal representation when making a claim against a truck driver or trucking company. To schedule your free consultation, call our office at 920-739-7366.