Commercial trucks are complex vehicles that require attention and care to run safely and efficiently. These vehicles are tasked with carrying tens of thousands of pounds anywhere from a few miles to long distances days away. The weight, distance, and stress put on trucks lead to a great deal of wear and tear. It is the responsibility of the trucker, trucking company, and any third-party maintenance providers to look after the truck and keep it in good condition.
When a truck’s physical state is overlooked or intentionally ignored by one or all of these parties, the risk of an accident increases. Systems or pieces of equipment within a truck can break down and fail on the roadway unless they are consistently inspected, cleaned, repaired, and replaced. If you were injured in a crash that you believe was due to negligent truck maintenance, contact our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC right away. Call us at (715) 343-2850 to find out how we can help you.
Federal Truck Maintenance Laws
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the commercial trucking industry. Among their federal trucking regulations, the FMCSA establishes minimum maintenance requirements for commercial trucks.
Under federal law, all trucking companies and any of their equipment suppliers must routinely inspect, repair, and maintain all vehicles and intermodal equipment under their control. This includes leased vehicles if they are under the motor carrier’s control for at least 30 consecutive days. In general, motor carriers should have defined maintenance schedules that are appropriate for their fleets. They also must keep detailed records of truck maintenance that can be reproduced on demand.
Truckers must do their part as well. The truck drivers are required by law to make pre-trip inspections of their vehicles in order to pinpoint any defects and necessary repairs. They must check the vehicle and cargo at least once within the first 50 miles of a trip and then again at either the three-hour mark, after 150 miles driven, or after changing their duty status, whichever comes first. Truckers must also make an inspection report at the end of each day.
Common Truck Maintenance Negligence
Truck drivers, motor carriers, equipment suppliers, and maintenance providers must adhere to all applicable FMCSA maintenance regulations. If you are in an accident and there are signs or documentation that one or more of these parties violated federal law, then this may be evidence of negligence. However, one or more of these parties may also be guilty of negligent truck maintenance even if they followed federal law. The FMCSA regulations are minimum requirements. Depending on the individual truck and the fleet, all of these parties may need to do more to keep their trucks operating in a safe manner. For instance, just because a trucking company has created a consistent vehicle inspection schedule, that does not mean they look over that specific type of truck as often or as thoroughly as they should.
Negligent truck maintenance commonly affects:
- Power steering
- Oil and fuel lines
Who is Liable for Negligent Truck Maintenance?
After you are hurt in a negligent maintenance trucking accident, you will have to determine who is at fault for the accident and who is liable for compensation for your injuries. Also, there may be more than one party legally responsible for your injuries.
You should contact our personal injury lawyers as soon as possible to discuss this issue. Following a truck accident, it is common to file an insurance claim against the motor carrier’s policy. However, it is important not to overlook other potentially responsible parties, particularly if you need to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit. By considering all potentially responsible parties, you may increase your odds of obtaining a fair and reasonable settlement.
How Our Trucking Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our Wisconsin trucking accident lawyers are ready to dive into your case and thoroughly investigate whether the truck involved in the crash was properly maintained. First, we will seek to preserve all potential evidence, including the truck itself so that we can have it inspected by our own experts. This inspection could reveal the specific cause of the accident and other negligent-maintenance-related defects. If necessary, we will then utilize the discovery phase of the litigation process to obtain the other parties’ maintenance and repair records to learn whether they broke the law or neglected to maintain the truck.
Compensation After a Truck Accident
Through a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, you can pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic injuries, including:
- Wrongful death
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of society and companionship
- Property damage, when applicable
Properly calculating your damages is an essential part of any personal injury claim. You need to understand all of your economic costs as well as the value of your pain and suffering to include physical, psychological, and other non-economic injuries. Our truck accident lawyers can help you with this. Through years of experience and keeping a close eye on trucking accident cases in Wisconsin and throughout the country, we can help put a monetary value to your case and fight for the compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Contact Our Trucking Accident Lawyers for Help
After being hurt, you may wonder what to do after a truck accident. If you realize an insurance claim or lawsuit is appropriate, you may not know how to go about the claims process. By contacting Studinski Law, LLC, you can learn about your rights and legal options. We can help you move forward with a personal injury claim, whether that is with an insurer or in court. Our priority is to defend your rights and obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.