It is natural to blame the driver when you get injured in a truck accident; however, sometimes, the cause of the accident is negligent maintenance of the vehicle. The driver could be at fault if they were responsible for the maintenance; however, most trucking companies have separate personnel for maintenance. Vehicles, including trucks, need periodic maintenance and occasional repairs to keep them running smoothly and meet minimum safety standards. Suppose you have been involved in a truck accident in or near Augusta, GA. In that case, you should hire an Augusta truck accident lawyer to get you compensated for your economic and noneconomic suffering.
FMCSA Regulations Mandate Maintenance and Repairs
The FMCSA (Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration) has set the following maintenance and repair guidelines for interstate commercial trucks:
- All drivers are required to perform a basic vehicle inspection before proceeding to drive.
- The driver should also perform an inspection after they reach their destination because these daily inspections can help them locate existing mechanical issues.
- Trucking companies and truck owners keep records of all inspections, maintenance, and repairs for each truck they drive or own.
- The truck owners must keep all maintenance records for one year while the vehicle is still in use and for six months after the vehicle has been sold. Discarding maintenance records before this timeframe can let the court hold the truck owner liable for all damages resulting from negligent maintenance.
Determining if the Truck Accident Was Caused by Negligent Maintenance
You will need evidence when finding out if the truck accident was caused by the driver, trucking company, or a third party. It is unlikely that the defendant will admit to negligent maintenance; fortunately, there are ways for you to prove it.
Most trucking companies are required to maintain a record of all the maintenance performed on their fleet. This includes maintenance such as tire changes, inspections, brake pad replacements, and fluid exchange services. In addition, the trucking company should also have a record of the truck mileage, the truck’s load at the time of the accident, and the training history and qualifications of the truck driver. If the defendant destroyed or modified the evidence, they could face additional charges of tampering with evidence.
It might be challenging to obtain some of these records, which is one reason you should have an experienced attorney on your side. They can get documents to reinforce your case and help you gather other types of evidence, such as surveillance footage, police reports, and expert witness testimony. Most importantly, the attorney knows the laws regarding truck maintenance and can identify any irregularities in the truck’s maintenance history.
What to Do If You’re Involved In a Truck Accident
Truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, so you should call an ambulance for immediate medical attention. You should always let the paramedics assist you and take you to the nearest hospital, whether you have severe or mild injuries. Ideally, you want to avoid driving yourself, as you might suffer from trauma after the accident, or your vehicle might not be driveable.
After you are in stable condition, you can start working on building a case to help you get compensated for your damages. You can begin by calling an attorney who can guide you each step of the way, including how to gather evidence, how to communicate with the insurance company, and other measures that will strengthen your case.
Determining Damages After the Truck Accident
Many factors need to be considered to determine the damages. The damages can be divided into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Calculating economic damages is more straightforward than noneconomic damages, as economic damages include all monetary losses you suffered due to your injuries. This includes your medical bills, ambulance costs, hospitalization, medication, future or ongoing medical expenses, and any modifications required to your home or vehicle to accommodate your injuries. Additionally, loss of income or any future loss of income due to a permanent disability is also considered economic damages.
Noneconomic damages are a bit more complex as they do not have a standard monetary value. A person can suffer from pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other types of mental health issues due to the accident. Some of these issues can severely impact the victim’s quality of life.
Get Help From a Truck Accident Attorney
A truck accident attorney is well-versed in laws regarding truck accidents and the damages you deserve. They can help you secure maximum compensation for economic and noneconomic damages.
In addition, an experienced attorney can get ahold of maintenance records, police reports, and medical records to help you build your case and get you a favorable verdict or the maximum settlement. Don’t hesitate to contact our Augusta personal injury lawyer at T. Madden & Associates law firm to schedule a consultation.