Improper Maintenance of Trucks
The weight and size of commercial trucks means that a driver or passenger in a smaller vehicle may have devastating injuries in the event of a truck accident, even one that arises while traveling at slow speeds. Sometimes a tragic wrongful death is the outcome of a crash. Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow detailed regulations, which were developed in order to reduce the risk of accidents. Among these regulations are rules about maintenance. Improper maintenance is a common reason for truck accidents in the Dallas area or elsewhere. The lawyers at Feizy Law Office understand the nuances of these cases and can advocate diligently on behalf of a victim or family.Establishing Liability Based on Improper Maintenance
The trucking industry is highly regulated by the Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), and Texas law. State law governs when a truck is solely engaged in commerce within Texas. Failure to comply with the appropriate rules can and should result in a suspension or loss of license. However, sometimes truck drivers disobey the rules, and trucking companies may look the other way.
Among other things, trucking companies must keep maintenance logs and conduct regular inspections. Improper maintenance of a tractor-trailer could result in brake failure, tire failure, trailer problems, and steering equipment malfunction. In some cases, the issue is not maintenance but instead overloading the truck, adding too much weight for the brakes or tires. Although these are fine distinctions, they can make a difference in terms of liability.
If a truck driver is responsible for maintenance, and a failure to maintain the truck causes an accident and your injuries, your first source of recovery may be the truck driver. The issue will be whether the truck driver was negligent. You would have to prove that he or she had a duty to maintain the truck, breached that duty, and caused an accident that resulted in actual damages.
However, if the truck driver was in the course and scope of employment, you may also be able to recover from the trucking company on the basis of respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Alleging vicarious liability may be helpful because in most cases trucking companies have greater coverage than individual drivers. When you suffer catastrophic injuries due to a truck driver's negligence, you may win a significant award from the jury but be unable to collect the full amount unless there is sufficient insurance to cover it. Vicarious liability allows an accident victim a greater likelihood of a full recovery.
If a trucking company knows that a truck driver is falsifying maintenance records, but it fails to properly supervise the driver, or it is itself responsible for maintaining a truck and is negligent in doing so, it may be held directly liable for an accident. That means that you can sue the trucking company directly for its own negligence. You would have to show that the trucking company owed a duty to properly maintain the truck, it breached this duty, the inadequate maintenance led to a crash, and you incurred damages.Discuss Your Truck Accident Case with a Dallas Lawyer
The attorneys for a truck driver or trucking company may try to pin the blame on an accident victim in order to avoid paying significant damages. If you are involved in a truck accident that arises out of improper maintenance, you are likely concerned about how you will pay for hefty medical bills. Our motor vehicle collision attorneys fight for the rights of Dallas residents and other individuals against negligent truckers and their employers. Call Feizy Law Office at (214) 651-8686 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent accident victims throughout other Texas cities, including Fort Worth, Irving, Plano, Garland, and Arlington.