Who Is Liable for an Out-of-Service Truck Wreck?

truck accident

Due to their large size, commercial trucks cause severe accidents on Georgia highways. A truck accident usually involves multiple vehicles and results in damage to property, severe injuries, and even fatalities. Some of the common causes of truck accidents include driver error, overspeeding, and driver fatigue. However, out-of-service trucks can also cause severe crashes on Georgia roads.

Yearly, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts International Roadchecks across North America. They have found that brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 38.6 percent of out-of-service vehicle violations in 2020. In addition, lighting, cargo securement, and tires contributed to 45.4 percent of all out-of-service breaches.

This article explores the laws against the operation of out-of-service trucks. It also identifies the liable parties in an accident caused by an out-of-service truck. If you are involved in a truck accident, you should contact a truck accident lawyer to discuss your next steps immediately.

Laws Against the Operation of Out-of-Service Trucks

There are laws in place to guarantee truck safety on Georgia highways. Drivers need adequate training and have valid licenses to operate a truck on Georgia roads. Truck drivers and owners also have to ensure that the trucks are safe enough to ply the roads without causing accidents.

Section 396 of the Code of Federal Regulations dictate the following as regards inspection, repair, and maintenance of motor carriers:

  • Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and equipment subject to its control.
  • Parts and accessories shall be in safe and proper operating condition at all times.

Who Bears the Responsibility for an Accident Caused by an Out-of-Service Truck?

You can hold one or more of the following parties liable for an accident caused by an out-of-service truck:

  • The Truck Driver

If the truck driver knows that their truck is out of service but still uses it, you can hold them liable for the accident. However, the only way the driver can get off the leash is to prove that they were not aware of the truck’s defect. Therefore, drivers need to check their vehicles thoroughly before they embark on any journey.

Professional truck drivers fill a vehicle inspection report at the end of each workday. This covers all essential parts of proper maintenance and repair of the truck. In addition, vehicle inspection reports ensure that all vehicles are safe. They also ensure that the company has records of all truck defects or faults.

If the driver records a defect that could affect the safety of the vehicle’s operation, the trucking company or maintenance company must correct this defect. They must do this before releasing the truck on the highway.

  • The Trucking Company 

Trucking companies can also share the fault in an out-of-service truck accident. These companies are responsible for the day-to-day operations of their equipment. As such, they should take all steps so that the vehicles are in good shape before any trip.

If they fail to do the preceding, you can hold them wholly or partly liable for the accident. In addition, partial liability can be shared with the driver and other parties for a truck accident. Thus, the truck company should regularly inspect every truck for signs of defects.

When they find them, they should mark such vehicles as “out of service.” They use special ‘Out-of-service’ vehicle stickers for this. It is against the law to remove these stickers unless the truck has passed inspection.

  • The Truck Manufacturers

Sometimes truck or truck spare-part manufacturers sell defective trucks or parts that cause accidents. If this happens, you can hold the manufacturers liable for the accident. Of course, you would have to prove that the equipment or part was defective. You would also need to prove that it played a significant role in the accident’s occurrence.

  • The Maintenance Company 

Some trucking companies hire maintenance companies to maintain their vehicles. If a damaged or defective part of a truck caused an accident, one could hold the maintenance company liable. This is because their duty is to fix damaged or faulty parts. They must also ensure that the trucks are in excellent condition. Usually, one can hold them partially liable along with trucking companies.

Speak With a Leading Truck Accident Attorney Today!

If you or any of your loved ones suffer injury in an out-of-service truck accident, contact us immediately. Our experienced truck accident lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will ensure that you get the representation and compensation you deserve. So, schedule a call with us today for a free initial consultation.

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