Tractor trailers are a necessary part of American life; without them, it would be much harder to fill store shelves and many essential businesses and services would have the supplies they need to serve the public. But the dark side of tractor trailers in our society is they are a major cause of crashes, injuries, and deaths. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports there were 3,986 people killed in commercialtruck crashes in 2016.
Worse, many of these accidents are preventable and due to poor tractor trailer maintenance. Big rigs are on the road for most of the day – much more than the typical passenger vehicle. They suffer substantial wear and tear as the years pass. If the trucker or company does not maintain the vehicle, it can cause terrible accidents.
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For example, if the company fails to monitor the treads on the tires of the rig, this can make it harder for the vehicle to stop in an emergency. Or, the truck could suffer a blowout and injure someone. Our personal injury attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton once represented an injured client who was hurt because a truck had bald tires and suffered a tread separation – the case was settled for $650,000.
Another common reason for truck accidents is when a strap that ties down the load on the back of the trailer is worn or frayed. If these straps are not regularly checked and replaced, it can cause accidents.
Brake problems are also common on tractor trailers. There are 18 tires on a tractor-trailer and several independent braking systems. It only takes one to fail for there to be a reduction in stopping ability. Common problems with truck brakes include worn pads and leaking brake fluid.
Bad pivot joints also lead to serious truck crashes. The pivot joint is what holds the trailer onto the tractor. If the joint is poorly maintained, the trailer can break loose and crash into other vehicles on the road.
Responsibility for Poor Truck Maintenance
When a person is hurt by a tractor-trailer with poor maintenance, the key question is, who is responsible? The answer will depend upon the facts of the particular case. The truck driver is responsible for noting any maintenance problems when driving the rig. He may also be responsible for inspecting the truck on a daily basis and might even need to perform light maintenance.
However, the owner of the truck – whether it is a company or a person – has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that truck maintenance work is done. They also are responsible for ensuring that the rig is 100% in compliance with state and federal laws for maintaining commercial vehicles. If a tractor trailer accident happens because of inadequate maintenance, a Virginia personal injury attorney can help to determine who is to blame. It could be the driver, trucking company or even the mechanic who performed poor work.
Contact a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one suffered injuries due to a tractor-trailer that was improperly maintained, you have legal rights. Please contact a personal injury at Shapiro & Appleton today for a complimentary consultation for your personal injury case.