Commercial trucks suffer a lot of wear and tear from constant use. As you might expect, they require regular maintenance and repair in order to remain in safe operating condition. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
Who is liable when maintenance issues lead to truck accidents? In most cases, fault rests with the company that owns the truck. Truck drivers (if they are not also the owners) are responsible for timely reporting of any maintenance issues or mechanical problems they notice. Drivers can also be held liable when their negligent behavior contributed to an accident.
Trucking companies and their drivers are often on the same side of any disputes about accident liability. But it’s important to remember that trucks with mechanical issues can also injure truck drivers. In recent years, one of the nation’s largest trucking companies has been sued at least twice for problems that led to driver injuries.
Recently, a woman who formerly drove for Swift Transportation filed a lawsuit against the company for “significant and permanent [hand] injuries” she suffered in late 2012. She says she was injured by the crank on what’s called “landing gear,” which is used to raise the height of the truck’s trailer.
Late last year, Swift settled a different lawsuit filed by a former employee whose foot was crushed when a loaded trailer rolled over it. Negligent maintenance was alleged to be the cause of the accident.
Although these injuries certainly seem serious, the consequences of improper vehicle maintenance can be a lot worse – especially for drivers who must share the road with these giant trucks. When trucking companies fail to keep their vehicles in safe operating condition, they become an accident waiting to happen.