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Improper Maintenance of Trucks

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Persons Injured by Tractor-Trailers

Many people in New York are injured by the failure to maintain or repair a commercial truck. Commercial trucks are large and complex. There are many different components that could fail due to improper maintenance. When commercial trucks are involved in a collision, the injuries are likely to be devastating or even fatal, and possibly to more than one person in a smaller vehicle. Persons harmed by improper maintenance of trucks should talk to the seasoned Syracuse truck accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Improper Maintenance of Trucks

Truck components, brakes, and tires may wear out and fail without proper maintenance. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, every interstate motor carrier must regularly inspect, repair, and keep the trucks in their fleet in good repair. It is actionable to send a truck out onto roads if improper maintenance could result in an accident. Unfortunately, many trucking companies do not heed these rules. Common maintenance issues that could result in significant truck accidents include tire blowouts, brake failure, unsecured cargo, suspension failure, trailer hitch failure, burnt out headlights or broken turn signals.

FMCSA regulations require motor carriers to systematically maintain, inspect and repair all motor vehicles under its control. Any parts or accessories to a truck need to be in safe and proper condition at all times. Pushout windows, emergency door marking lights, and emergency doors need to be inspected at a minimum of every 90 days under these regulations.

Records

FMCSA regulations require trucking companies and their drivers to keep records of their maintenance efforts as well. Among other evidence that may be used to establish trucking company liability for improper maintenance are its own records or lack thereof. Records that should be kept include records of inspections, repairs and maintenance, record of upcoming inspection due dates and scheduled maintenance, and roadside inspection reports, along with vehicle identification papers.

Liability for Improper Maintenance of Trucks

Under FMCSA regulations, the braking systems, lighting systems, tires, frame and wheels, exhaust systems, and suspension systems of big rigs, tractor-trailers and semis must be inspected. If a truck driver, trucking company, or mechanic’s failure to properly maintain a commercial truck causes you injuries in a truck accident, you may be able to sue for damages.

Truck drivers could be liable for improper maintenance of their truck if they fail to inspect the truck before taking it onto the road for the day. They could also be liable if they noticed an issue with the truck’s suspension or tires but failed to inform the trucking company. In order to hold a truck driver liable for improper maintenance, you will need to show: (1) the truck driver owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) the truck driver’s breach of the reasonable duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Truck drivers may breach their duty with regards to improper maintenance in various ways. For instance, they may breach the duty to use reasonable care to conduct a pre-trip inspection or report an issue with the brakes to the trucking company for which they work.

Trucking companies may also be held accountable for failing to maintain a commercial truck. A truck’s tires, lights, and brakes need to be checked regularly and replaced when it becomes necessary. A trucking company may be liable under a theory of negligence, for instance, if it does not conduct an annual inspection, thereby overlooking and not repairing issues with truck components.

When a third-party contractor or mechanic negligently maintains or repairs a commercial truck, and its improper maintenance is the reason for an accident, it may be held accountable for its negligence as well.

Accident Reconstruction

Sometimes a truck accident results in injuries to multiple victims. If all of them file a claim against the truck driver’s insurance, their combined losses may exceed the truck driver’s insurance coverage. In such an instance, your lawyer may need to retain an accident reconstruction expert to fully identify all the responsible parties. If improper maintenance of a truck contributed to the accident, holding these additional parties responsible may help increase the amount of damages recoverable for the injury victims. In most cases, it is important to get the expert out to the site before time has erased important evidence.

Retain a Seasoned Syracuse Attorney

Truck accident lawsuits can be complex. It’s important to retain a seasoned attorney to handle an injury claim arising out of improper maintenance. If you were injured or a loved one was killed due to improper maintenance of trucks in Syracuse, you should discuss what happened with DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Our firm represents in cities throughout Upstate New York such as Rochester, Syracuse, Lowville, Watertown, Auburn, Oswego, Ithaca, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Elmira, Wampsville, Herkimer, Binghamton, and Utica. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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