Over-the-road trucks are in seemingly constant motion. As you might imagine, this constant movement can put a great deal of wear and tear on these vehicles, resulting in mechanical failures. A responsible operator and trucking company owner must make it a point to stay on top of these mechanical failures so that they do not lead to an accident-causing event, with the potential for significant property damage and bodily harm.
Maintaining the safety of a truck is not a task reserved for a single person. If the truck operates under a fleet, the operator must ensure the vehicle is safe for driving before they head out on each route. It is equally essential for the company to schedule periodic inspections and maintenance for the truck.
When either party fails to perform these steps, and a failure with the truck leads to an accident, both parties can be held liable for losses involved with the accident. However, if the driver is an owner-operator, meaning that they own and operate the truck, they would assume total liability for the incident.
Proof of Failure
As with any accident claim, you must be able to prove the allegations of neglect you are suggesting. In this case, you must prove that there was a mechanical failure and that it was, in fact, the cause of the accident.
Having an attorney for this step is a must. Establishing proof involves a thorough inspection of the truck to identify any issues and a recreation of the accident to outline how and why the accident occurred. Based on this information, an attorney can establish proof that the failure led to the accident, so you can show that the parties were negligent.
Mechanical vs. Manufacturer
It is also worth noting that trucking accidents involving failures can sometimes be disguised as a mechanical issue when it is instead a manufacturer defect. Consider a rear bumper guard that failed to prevent a vehicle from sliding beneath the truck, for instance.
If the bumper guard was worn, but its level of extensive wear and tear resulted from a poor manufacturer design, the trucking company, and the manufacturer could be deemed liable. Again, a review by an attorney will highlight these inconsistencies so that you can be certain fault is placed on all the appropriate parties.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a truck where a mechanical failure is suspected, make it a point to speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.