How Negligent Truck Maintenance Contributes To Accidents: What You Need To Know

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Whenever you drive past an 18-wheeler, you may not be aware of the extensive maintenance required for that vehicle to share the road with you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires regular maintenance on trucks to keep truckers and private citizens safe.

But what if that maintenance doesn’t happen?

If a trucking company or a private owner-operator chooses to break federal maintenance requirements, there can be serious consequences. Beyond just getting fined, a poorly maintained truck can cause serious accidents and even fatalities.

In this guide, we’ll examine common maintenance issues that could cause an accident and explain what you can do if you’ve experienced a similar situation. As always, if you’ve experienced a trucking accident in Missouri, we encourage you to call us at (314) 408-5708 or book an appointment with an attorney online today.

Determining Liability In Truck Accident Cases

Before examining the particular circumstances that could result in a maintenance-related lawsuit, it’s critical to understand how liability works in trucking.

You may wonder why a trucker wouldn’t be the third party liable in a trucking case if their truck caused an accident. The reason for this is the federally mandated responsibility that trucking companies have toward truckers.

According to the Federal Code of Regulations (CFR) § 396.3“Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.” 

This includes maintaining and inspecting parts such as:

If operators are leasing their trucks, they aren’t responsible for maintenance. Thus, if a maintenance issue is determined to cause the accident, then the parent truck company (or even a contractor who maintains the trucks on its behalf) could be held liable for the accident.

However, if the trucker in question is an owner-operator (meaning they own their truck outright), then maintenance is their responsibility.

What Are Common Maintenance Issues That Could Cause Truck Accidents?

Considering that trucking companies and owner-operators must maintain their vehicles, here are some of the most common maintenance issues.

If I Suspect Maintenance Is An Issue In My Truck Accident, What Evidence Do I Need?

If you were the victim of a trucking accident in which maintenance could be an issue, here is some of the evidence your Missouri truck accident lawyer could help manage:

Should I Contact A Missouri Truck Accident Lawyer?

Yes, it’s important to contact a Missouri truck accident lawyer, even if you’re unsure if your Missouri truck accident case would qualify you for compensation.

A skilled St. Louis truck accident lawyer, like attorneys at Miller & Hine, can help defend your rights. Get a free consultation by calling (314) 408-5708 or scheduling your appointment online. In a free consult, we’ll give you the legal advice you need to potentially win your truck case.