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Who’s responsible when equipment failure causes a truck accident?

I-70 is the gateway across the Rockies, so trucks hauling goods are no strange sight. But the difficult climbs are just the beginning of the abuse a truck will take in the mountains, and the risks to you can rise when a vehicle is operating in disrepair.

Researchers have found that defects on trucks lead to the risk of an accident jumping 200%. Carriers and drivers both need to play a part in making sure their vehicles are in working order. When a truck is operating in less-than-legal condition, you may be the one that ends up paying the price.

Carrier concerns

The rules direct the owning entity to perform plenty of inspections of trucks in service. The truck, trailer and other components can all be subject to these reviews. If the regulations list a part, qualified eyes will need to check it before a vehicle gets the green light.

Inspections are usually done annually and in certain additional situations. For instance, if a truck gets a tow from one location to another, a carrier will need to go ahead with an inspection.

While a company can enlist a service to perform the process, or employ their own inspectors, the examiner will need to meet the qualifications under federal rules. Regardless of who the inspector works for, the trucking company will need to take their report and address any concerns they find.

Driving responsibilities

Drivers also have to conduct regular screenings. They need to check that the truck is capable of safe operation before they head out. This may even include checking the report from the last inspection and signing off on the completion of the necessary repairs.

Whatever the reason for the inspection, carriers will need to keep detailed records for defective equipment, ongoing maintenance and repairs. When a large truck causes an accident, it could be crucial for you to look into the truck’s history. Missing records, lacking maintenance or ignoring requirements could all point to fault after a crash.

Make sure you understand the rules in place for trucking companies and their drivers, and you may clear the road ahead for a healthy recovery.

Image of Attorney Chadwick McGrady