Improper Maintenance of Trucks
The maintenance of a vehicle is very important. Neglecting the regular inspection and repair of even a car may lead to substantial expense and inconvenience. When it comes to commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, however, the consequences of improper maintenance may be more serious. In fact, it is not uncommon for a serious accident or fatal collision to result from the improper maintenance of a tractor-trailer or big rig. If your family has suffered the consequences of a trucker or trucking company’s failure to properly maintain a vehicle, the diligent Pembroke Pines truck accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith can advise you on your legal right to seek compensation for your injuries or your loved one’s death.Establishing Liability for a Truck Accident Caused by Improper Maintenance
The responsibility to perform routine maintenance on a commercial vehicle may fall on a truck driver, the company that owns the truck or its trailer, a maintenance contractor, or a combination of these parties, depending on the circumstances. When the responsible party fails to perform proper maintenance, catastrophic and even deadly accidents often occur. A failure to maintain brakes may result in a driver being unable to slow down or stop when necessary, endangering motorists in the area around the truck. A lack of tire maintenance sometimes results in blowouts, shredding, and other issues that may cause the driver to lose control of the truck or its trailer. Also, a failure to inspect the position of a big truck’s mirrors may create unexpected blind spots, making passing cars very difficult for the driver to see. In another example, inadequate maintenance of the couplings between the truck and the trailer may cause separation, leaving the trailer partially or completely adrift.
In order to establish the right to compensation from a defendant in a truck accident lawsuit resulting from improper maintenance, the plaintiff must be able to prove each of the four elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. The first of these elements is duty. In many cases, the element of duty may be established by a reference to federal or state rules and regulations pertaining to the trucking industry, or to the “rules of the road” set forth by Florida statutes and case law. The second step in a negligence action is proving that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff. This is often a factual question, the proof of which often depends on a timely and thorough investigation of the accident scene, a detailed inspection of the vehicles involved, and a careful review of the maintenance records kept by the trucker, the trucking company, or the maintenance contractor.
The third step of a negligence case is a causal thread between the defendant’s breach of duty and the damages suffered by the plaintiff. This requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s actions (or inactions) in improperly maintaining the truck were the proximate cause of the crash. Causation involves an inquiry into the foreseeability of the accident. Finally, damages must be identified that are reasonably quantifiable. In a personal injury case, damages may include the costs of past and future medical treatment, pain and suffering, damage to the victim’s vehicle, and lost earnings due to the victim’s inability to return to work after the accident. In a wrongful death case, the relatives or the estate of the victim may be able to recover funeral and burial costs, loss of support and services, and lost net earnings, among other forms of damages.Seek Representation from a Pembroke Pines Attorney After a Truck Accident
It is critical that a truck accident victim contact an attorney as soon as possible after a crash. The Pembroke Pines lawyers at Cohn & Smith will be glad to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online to schedule your appointment. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers assist injured people throughout South Florida, including in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Davie, Coral Springs, Sunrise, Tamarac, and Aventura, as well as many North Dade County communities.