How to Prove Negligent Maintenance in an Ohio Trucking Accident Case

How to Prove Negligent Ma…

Large trucks and 18-wheelers, just like any car or piece of machinery, need routine maintenance. Because the stakes are high and the consequences of a truck accident can be catastrophic, trucking companies are required to inspect and maintain tractor-trailers, big-rigs, and other commercial trucks. If the trucking company, maintenance contractor, or driver fails to maintain the truck or tractor-trailer, a serious trucking accident can occur. The results of a trucking accident can be catastrophic and can include:

  • Head and brain injuries. Head trauma can result in traumatic brain injuries that cause vision problems, headache, disorientation, nausea, and slurred speech.
  • Injuries to the back and neck. Injuries can range from minor back and neck pain to dislocated discs that can reduce range of motion, cause severe pain, and negatively impact activities of daily living
  • Broken bones. Because semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are so large, a collision often results in broken bones.
  • Cuts, lacerations, and scars. When a car is struck by a truck, passengers are violently thrown around the passenger compartment and can be struck by glass and other sharp objects, causing cuts, scrapes, and skin lacerations.
  • Spinal injuries and paralysis. The force of an impact with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can be particularly violent and result in spinal injuries and paralysis.
  • Wrongful death. Because trucks are so large, a collision with a truck is more likely to cause fatal injuries to people who were in the smaller car.

Proving that negligent maintenance was the cause of a catastrophic truck accident is not always easy. But a thorough investigation and analysis by an experienced Ohio truck accident lawyer can uncover the true cause of the accident and can help the victim and their family recover the money that they need and deserve to help them regain some sense of normalcy in their lives.

Trucking Companies Place Profits Over People When They Fail to Maintain Their Vehicles

Just like any business, trucking companies want to make a profit. Unfortunately, sometimes their profit motive comes at the expense of maintenance, as trucking companies often do the minimum required to maintain a truck and tractor-trailer. In their efforts to meet delivery schedules, trucking companies may overlook or ignore a maintenance schedule.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) has standards that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow when it comes to maintaining a vehicle. These requirements address:

  • Fuel systems. An improperly functioning fuel system can result in leaks that could cause fires or other hazardous conditions.
  • Lights. Dim lights make it more difficult for the driver to see and for other motorists to see the truck.
  • Suspension. An improperly maintained suspension can make it more difficult for the driver to control the truck and can lead to a crash.
  • Tires. Old tires are prone to fail, make the truck more difficult to control and increase stopping distances.
  • Windshields and wipers. Broken, cracked windshields and old, ineffective wipers make visibility more difficult and increase the likelihood of an accident.
  • Brakes. Large trucks are equipped with air brakes that are designed to stop large heavy vehicles. But without proper maintenance, brakes become less effective and will not stop a truck traveling at high speeds, which can lead to a crash.

The trucking company is responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining vehicles that are under their control. They must keep detailed truck maintenance records that can be reproduced on demand.

Truck drivers have a role in ensuring vehicle, too. Truck drivers must make a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle to identify any problems and make necessary repairs. They must also make an inspection report at the end of each day.

If an injured person can show that performing proper maintenance would have avoided the collision that caused their injuries, the trucking company will be held liable. In many cases, there is more than one party who is legally responsible for injuries caused by negligent truck maintenance.

But don’t expect the trucking company to voluntarily admit that it failed to properly maintain its vehicle. And most police officers will be too busy to focus on a thorough evaluation of the truck and its maintenance record when dealing with the chaos at the scene of a truck crash. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in a truck accident, an Ohio truck accident lawyer can help identify the responsible parties and hold them accountable.

An Attorney Can Prevent Evidence from Being Destroyed

Proving negligent truck maintenance is difficult, and often requires a detailed analysis of truck maintenance records. An experienced Ohio truck accident attorney will contact the trucking company as soon as possible after the accident to request that the trucking company preserve any evidence that might be relevant. If the trucking company destroys relevant evidence, they could be subject to a claim for destruction of evidence. If you do not involve an attorney quickly, the trucking company might destroy important evidence without consequences.

When a truck accident occurs, the trucking company immediately sends people to the scene of the collision to investigate, secure evidence, and minimize the risk that they will be sued. To protect yourself and your family, it is important that you get an experienced Ohio truck accident attorney involved right away. Your lawyer will work to investigate the vehicle itself and to secure the data log, and maintenance records, and any “black box” data. This information must be examined by your lawyer and expert witnesses to prove that the trucking company was negligent in maintaining the truck and that this negligence caused the crash and your injuries.

Robenalt Law Has Been Fighting for People Injured in Truck Accidents for Over 25 Years

If an unsafe truck caused your injuries, the Ohio truck accident lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help. We will investigate the cause of the accident and work to hold the trucking company accountable for the harm it caused.

If you or someone you loved was injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Past and future medical care and treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Temporary and permanent impairment

Learn more about our truck accident practice and why clients choose us, then contact Robenalt Law today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and their families secure compensation for injuries caused by trucking accidents.

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