Massachusetts Failure to Maintain Truck Attorneys
Truck accidents are some of the worst that we see on Massachusetts roads. Given the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, when they collide with other vehicles, those vehicle occupants suffer far worse injuries and damages.
People assume that a trucker error, such as a fatigued driver, is to blame for most truck accidents. That is relatively true. But sometimes, it might be the truck itself that caused the crash - though that doesn’t get the trucker off the hook. Both the truck driver and the trucking company may be found at fault in these instances, if they failed to maintain the truck to proper standards. In these cases, victims involved in the truck accident may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Truck failure and defective parts are a big cause of truck accidents throughout the United States. Because of that, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires both truck drivers and trucking companies to ensure that their trucks are in a safe condition before they go out onto the road.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) states that drivers of trucks must inspect the trailer, cab, and all its equipment regularly to ensure that they are in good working order at all times. Title 49, Part 393 goes further to include regulations for maintaining a number of different parts of the truck. These include:
- Brakes on both the tractor and trailer
- Parking brakes
- Steering wheel and its components
- Windshield wipers
Unfortunately, failing to maintain even one part of a truck can cause a major crash in many different ways. Here are some of the more common failures we see in the Boston metro area:
- Tire blowout. All 18 or so tires on a truck have to stand up to very heavy loads, and regularly undergo an immense amount of stress on the road, especially during winter. For this reason, they need to be checked regularly, otherwise any one could cause a blowout, sending the tractor-trailer out of control and endangering both the truck and smaller vehicles around it.
- Defective brakes are one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Defects can typically be found during a thorough inspection, but if the company or the truck driver has failed to maintain or inspect the brakes, the brakes could fail and allow the 80,000-pound big rig to smash into the vehicles ahead of it, causing a serious chain-reaction collision. Failure to maintain brakes can also be caused by a panicked or reckless driver who steps on the brake pedal too hard. For instance, in a Massachusetts winter, a new trucker may hit a patch of ice on the road and not have the experience to know how to properly handle the brakes in that situation.
- Burnt-out lights. There are three main types of lights that need to be regularly maintained: headlights, taillights, and the lights lining the side of a truck. They must all work, and be clean. Not only do they allow the truck driver to see, but they also alert motorists to the fact that there is a truck nearby. That’s very important, particularly when other motorists and the truck are driving at night.
- Overloading or unsecured cargo. Trucks are expected to carry cargo; it’s the foundation of their business. But there’s more to carrying that cargo than just throwing it onto the trailer. Trucks are only allowed to carry a certain amount of weight - the federally mandated maximum is 80,000 pounds total, truck and cargo. This helps make it easier for the driver to control the truck. Drivers must also ensure their loads are tightly secured and will not cause a dangerous spill, or tip the balance of the truck and cause a rollover accident. When they don’t, that’s another failure to maintain that often ends in tragedy.
Wrecks that involve commercial trucks are already complicated. When they involve a failure to maintain on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company, they become even harder to pursue. Issues pertaining to a failure to maintain are not always visible or noticeable to other drivers, particularly in the aftermath of a serious accident.
But an experienced Boston truck accident lawyer will know the signs and what evidence to look for. We know what documentation to demand from the trucking company, and will work hard to get it for accident victims.
If you have been the victim of a truck accident in Massachusetts, call the legal team at DiBella Law Offices, P.C., at (781) 262-3338. Accident victims are entitled to compensation when a trucking company’s negligence is the cause of their injuries and losses. Speak to one of our lawyers today to learn more about how we can help you.