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Reasons Why Poor Maintenance of a Commercial Truck Could Cause an Accident

looking at connection between cab and trailerYou may have heard that pursuing compensation for damages after a truck crash may be more complicated than seeking compensation after a crash with another passenger vehicle. This is true for a variety of reasons, one of which may be that mechanical issues may have contributed to the crash.

Mechanical issues could be caused by product defects, but they could also be caused by a failure of the truck’s owner and/or the trucking company to make sure the vehicle was properly maintained. Sometimes that company or repair shop responsible for fixing problems or performing regular maintenance bears some amount of fault for the crash.

Below, Schmidt Kramer’s experienced attorneys discuss some of the maintenance issues that often contribute to commercial truck crashes. Victims of truck crashes should strongly consider seeking legal representation, as an attorney should know how to validate a claim involving maintenance issues.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

Unsafe Tires

Over or underinflated tires are dangerous no matter what type of vehicle you are talking about. However, these issues can be especially dangerous when the vehicle the tires are attached to is a commercial truck.

Under or overinflated tires could be at higher risk for blowing out, leaving huge chunks of the tire in the road, and in the path of the vehicles behind the truck. Sometimes all it takes is the tire hitting something for it to burst.

Another issue with tires is worn down treads. The treads allow the tire to grip the road as the tire passes over it. This is particularly important in rainy or wet conditions. If the tire cannot grip the road, hitting the brakes may be useless. The truck may simply slide along the road and the driver may not have any control.

Tire pressure and the condition of the treads are two things that need to be monitored on a regular basis. Maintenance of the tires is relatively simple. However, trucking companies sometimes use tires that do not have enough tread depth, or even mismatch tires on their trucks.

Malfunctioning Brakes

Commercial trucks need properly functioning brakes because slowing these vehicles down and bringing them to a stop takes long enough even when things are functioning correctly.

That is why there are strict federal regulations on braking systems in commercial vehicles, like semi-trucks. In fact, trucks need to have a certain braking force, have automatic brake adjustment systems that meet certain criteria and decelerate at a certain rate based on the size of the truck.

There are a variety of issues with the brakes that could contribute to a crash:

  • Brake pads that have been worn down, preventing brakes from being as responsive as they should be
  • Brakes being disconnected on the tractor, forcing the trailer to do all the work of slowing or stopping the truck
  • Mismatched mechanical components on the brakes, resulting in more air pressure being applied to some brakes than others, which could result in brakes locking up
  • Issues with the pneumatic system

Problems with the Transmission

A truck’s transmission could fail because the trailer is overloaded with cargo. At the very least, too much cargo could wear out a transmission much sooner than expected.

Minor issues with a transmission can be addressed quickly to prevent major problems. Unfortunately, these minor issues may be overlooked and eventually turn into serious problems that could contribute to crashes.

If the driver or others noticed signs of transmission issues and did not address them, and those issues contributed to a crash, the victim may have a viable case for compensation. Signs of trouble could include:

  • Leaking transmission fluid
  • Grinding noise when changing gears or when the truck is in high gear
  • Lack of power when accelerating
  • Popping out of gear
  • Problems getting the truck into gear

Steering Issues

Drivers should notice steering problems before they become severe. For example, the wheel may get loose or vibrate when the truck needs maintenance. Steering issues may result from blocked hoses, worn belts or pump malfunctions.

When drivers, trucking companies or others fail to address steering issues, they could be held liable for damages, even if they did not know. Trucks should be getting regular maintenance so the owner, driver or trucking company likely should have known.

Malfunctioning Fifth Wheel Coupling

This is the device that connects the trailer and the cab. If the coupling is broken or not secure enough, the trailer could break off and jackknife. The coupling should be inspected regularly and when problems are identified, they should be fixed before the truck goes back out on the road.

Call Today to Learn More About How an Attorney Can Help You

Truck crashes often result in serious injuries and often deaths. These vehicles are so large that when they collide with much smaller passenger vehicles, severe injuries are difficult to avoid.

Victims and their loved ones are often eligible for compensation for medical expenses and other damages. However, the trucking company and liable insurance company are going to fight hard to try to escape accountability. You need an experienced advocate on your side who knows how to build a strong case and aggressively pursue full compensation.

Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg truck accident lawyers have been helping motor vehicle accident victims for decades and we have a proven track record of recovering favorable compensation.

There are no upfront fees or obligations with our services and no fees while working on your case.

Call today to learn more. Phone: (717) 727-1403.