Columbus Improper Maintenance Lawyers
Because of their massive size and weight, commercial trucks can be incredibly destructive in the event of an accident. Truck drivers should always operate these vehicles with the utmost care and concern for the safety of other motorists. But accidents can also occur for other reasons besides driver error. Like all vehicles, trucks need regular maintenance and working parts to operate smoothly and safely. Unfortunately, whether to save money or maximize time spent on the road, corners get cut and these standards aren’t always met. When drivers, truck companies, or parts manufacturers fail to maintain trucks, the resulting accidents that may occur can be catastrophic causing serious injury or even death.
This potential for serious damage makes maintenance regulations extremely important. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) exhaustive truck guidelines, as well as laws put forth by the state of Ohio, govern how trucks should be maintained.
Before each trip, the FMCSA requires drivers to inspect their vehicles, making sure all parts of the vehicle are in working order, especially the brake, lighting, tire, and load-bearing systems. The functionality of all devices related to these systems are noted, including brake connections, coupling devices or trailering hitches, horns, mirrors, reflectors, and suspension and steering mechanisms.
In the event that any part of the truck is in need of maintenance or replacement, the truck driver records the problem. Additionally, inspection records are passed to the truck company before each trip takes place, and companies are required to hold onto the document for at least three months. The truck company is responsible for ensuring trucks receive any necessary maintenance before commencing a haul.
Truck company representatives are prohibited from forcing or encouraging drivers to begin a trip if they know the truck is in need of maintenance. Sometimes, drivers may not know that the truck company has failed to take necessary precautions, and may unknowingly drive a malfunctioning vehicle.
In the event that the driver fails to record any malfunctioning equipment, the company neglects to fix or replace parts, or the mechanic does a faulty job, a serious accident could occur and innocent lives may be forever altered.
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is brake failure. In fact, brakes do not even need to fail completely to cause a detrimental collision—even worn brakes can be incredibly dangerous.
Trucks are weighted by heavy loads, and drivers are trained to know the maximum distance it will take for their truck to come to a complete stop. When loads are improperly secured due to rigging or trailering issues, the complete stopping distance can be lengthened, and unknowing drivers may collide with other vehicles. Improper brake maintenance can be exacerbated by extreme weather conditions, unsafe securing of loads, or driver negligence.
Truck trailers are designed to comply with federal regulations, which prevent trucks from losing their contents on the road. Poorly maintained trailering hitches, locks, and suspension mechanisms can allow cargo to become unsecured and inside the truck, making turns and stops dangerous as heavy products shift. Even worse, a truck’s load can empty out onto the road, creating obstacles for other drivers hurtling towards them at high speeds. Collisions due to coupling devices can easily be avoided with simple inspections and maintenance.
Another serious issue for trucks is tire maintenance. Like passenger vehicles, trucks can suffer a blowout on the road when tires become too worn. Unlike other vehicles, though, trucks require more tire maintenance because of their heavy loads. They also cause much more damage in the event of a blowout. Many accidents are caused by drivers losing control of their trucks and colliding into other vehicles because of a single tire malfunction.
Why You Need a Lawyer
It is the responsibility of a number of parties to keep the truck inspected and properly maintained. Though individuals injured in truck accidents tend to blame drivers first, it is important to remember that in some cases, drivers can operate vehicles they believe to be mechanically sound that are actually faulty, due to the error of the trucking or parts manufacturing company, or mechanic.
Truck drivers are less insured than truck companies, which have deep pockets allotted for accident settlements. An attorney can help you determine if the truck driver was at fault, or if your accident was due to a truck employer’s negligence.
Because of this complicated liability network, it may be incredibly difficult to determine which party or parties are at fault. When you or your loved one has recently been injured or killed in a truck accident, you should not be the one undertaking this challenging endeavor. An attorney has the investigative resources and legal insight to take on your case and fight the truck and insurance companies that have years of experience in accident litigation.
Even if your accident seems simple, the court system requires legal hurdles and administrative processes that may seem foreign to an untrained eye. Most people receive far more compensation in truck accidents with the representation of an attorney than they do advocating for themselves in court, even after considering lawyer’s fees. Hiring a Columbus improper maintenance attorney to fight for your rights while you heal is both a financially and emotionally wise step following your accident.
Why Choose Us
For years, Rinehardt Law Firm attorneys have been winning personal injury cases in Ohio, building a reputation based on communication, close relationships, and experience. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident regardless of cause, you need a lawyer to ensure that you secure the compensation you deserve for your medical bills and your inability to work.
We don’t want cherished members of our community struggling against large companies whose negligence caused your accident. Our attorneys make sure that you get the time you need to heal while we fight for your rights, and all of our services are free of charge until we win you compensation.
Rinehardt attorneys have a reputation not only for success, but for building client relationships based on trust and compassion. We value open, honest communication, so we can learn your goals and help you make informed legal decisions.
At Rinehardt Law Firm, we are well-versed in all relevant state and federal regulations pertaining to truck laws. We have a detailed understanding of what the inspection process should entail, how drivers should maintain their vehicles and the obligations of insurance and truck companies in the wake of an accident. We are willing to do the intense investigative research needed in truck accident cases, and have the resources to begin working on your case today. Call us at (419) 529-2020 now to schedule your free consultation.
Cases We Handle
Our practice area includes a wide range of trucking accident causes, including improper maintenance, as well as:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Intoxicated driving
- Reckless and negligent driving
- Third-party involvement
- Unsecured loads
In the state of Ohio in 2017 alone, truck crashes directly caused an estimated 116 fatalities, according to the Ohio State Patrol. We take cases with accidents that occured on most major routes, including:
- Interstate 70
- Interstate 71
- Route 13
- Route 30
- Route 97
If you were injured in a truck accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney about your situation. Our consultations are free, and can help you determine what your next course of action should be in the wake of a harrowing accident. Call Rinehardt Law Firm at 614-686-2020 today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I seek compensation even if I was partially at fault?
Yes. The state of Ohio abides by the doctrine of comparative negligence, which states that any party 50 percent or less at fault for an accident may be considered for compensation. This limit is significant, as many people without an attorney cannot convince the court that they were 50 percent or less to blame. An attorney can ensure that your injuries are considered fully and investigate the full negligence of any parties involved in your accident.
If you are partly responsible for your accident, your compensation will be deducted by the percentage of blame determined by the court. For example, if your broken tail light limited a truck driver’s visibility and ability to see your car, then you may be assigned 30 percent of the blame. If you seek $100,000 for your injuries in this case, you would receive $70,000.
Even if you were partially at fault, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney to see what compensation you may be able to receive.
I’m not sure I can afford an attorney. How much will it cost?
Retaining an attorney increases your chances of winning your case exponentially. Attorneys can also help you determine the value of your claim and weigh your legal and financial options.
All of our services are offered on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay nothing unless we win compensation for your injuries. Rinehardt attorneys are dedicated to undertaking the research needed for your case, combining their deep knowledge of insurance policy and trucking regulations with their legal expertise. When the maximum possible settlement is secured to cover your medical bills, leave from work, and other damages, Rinehardt attorneys receive a percentage for their labor.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in a truck accident, Rinehardt Law Firm wants to help you heal. Call us today at (419) 529-2020 so we can begin to get you back on your feet by fighting the negligent people and companies whose actions caused your accident.