While most of us know that drunk driving, distracted driving, and drowsy driving are common causes of truck accidents, how the vehicle was loaded and how well it was maintained are often overlooked. And yet, if truck drivers, cargo loaders, and maintenance personnel aren’t careful, improper loading and inadequate maintenance can cause an accident just as easily as a negligent driver.
If you’ve been severely injured in a truck accident, the team at the Pfeifer Law Firm wants to hear from you as soon as possible. Founding attorney Paul Pfeifer has extensive experience helping truck accident victims in Little Rock and throughout Arkansas after a crash.
Attorney Paul Pfeifer is a Little Rock native, and his strong advocacy on behalf of his clients has earned him an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating the agency gives out. When you hire our firm, you won’t owe any fees until we collect compensation on your behalf.
The longer you wait to begin your personal injury claim after an accident, the greater your danger of running up against the statute of limitations, or deadline for filing your lawsuit. To avoid this issue and get the compensation you need more quickly, call our Little Rock truck accident attorney today at 501-374-4440 or visit our contact page.
How Improper Loading and Maintenance Cause Truck Accidents
Improper loading and maintenance are not the first things that come to mind in association with a semi-truck crash. However, a truck’s additional size and weight are major reasons proper maintenance and loading are so crucial to preventing truck accidents.
As with any vehicle, semi-trucks and other large vehicles require regular maintenance for them to function at their best. Unlike passenger cars and SUVs, though, semi-trucks have specialized components like their trailer hitches. They’re also significantly larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which puts much more wear and tear on small parts.
Regular maintenance can help identify worn parts so they can be repaired or replaced before a problem arises. If maintenance workers aren’t careful, however, or if a truck isn’t serviced as regularly as it should be, then a worn or defective part may not be spotted until it’s too late.
To understand how the placement of cargo can increase the likelihood of a truck accident, it’s helpful to think about how big and long these vehicles really are. A standard trailer for a semi-truck is 53 feet long, and some trucks tow an additional trailer behind the first, increasing their length even further.
It’s difficult to maneuver a vehicle that long, especially if it’s heavily loaded down with cargo. If that cargo isn’t loaded properly, it may shift during transit, altering the truck’s handling or affecting its center of gravity. If this occurs, it’s much harder for a truck driver to control the vehicle, greatly increasing the chance of an accident.
Common Truck Maintenance Issues
To make sure trucking companies don’t cut corners and help ensure a minimum safety standard for large trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has certain maintenance guidelines trucking companies are required to follow. Here are a few of the components and systems that should be regularly inspected and maintained to minimize the chance of a truck accident:
- Lights and reflectors – Damaged or dimmed lights and reflectors make it harder for truck drivers to see in the dark, as well as making it more difficult for other vehicles to see the truck.
- Fuel systems – Fuels systems should be regularly checked for damage or leaks, as a mechanical failure could lead to a fire and other hazardous situations
- Tires – Between their trailers and the truck itself, semi-trucks have many more tires than passenger vehicles. All truck tires should regularly be inspected for wear and damage to minimize the chance of a catastrophic blowout, which could cause an accident.
- Suspension – If a truck’s suspension fails, the driver may be unable to handle the truck safely, especially when trying to slow down
- Brakes – Given how big and heavy trucks are, their brakes are one of their most essential safety components. Regular maintenance checks will help make sure any worn or faulty brakes are quickly replaced, minimizing the chance of a catastrophic high-speed crash.
- Windshields and wipers – Old wiper blades and cracked windshields can make it difficult for truck drivers to fully see the road in front of them, increasing the odds of a crash.
Common Injuries From Improper Loading and Maintenance Accidents
When trucks get into crashes as a result of sloppy maintenance or a cargo loading failure, it’s common for accident victims to suffer extensive injuries. Some of the most common injuries we see include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Spinal cord damage, including paralysis
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Compensation in Truck Accident Cases
Arkansas law allows the victims of truck accidents to seek compensation for their injuries. Among other things, you could potentially be compensated for:
- Your past and future medical bills
- Your lost wages
- Your diminished ability to earn a living
- The value of any damaged property
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Your mental anguish
Contact Our Truck Accident Attorney Today
It’s important to act quickly if you’re thinking about filing a personal injury claim after a truck accident. Arkansas gives accident victims three years from the date of their injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. After that, you may lose your chance to recover any compensation, as the liable party can simply refuse to pay without the threat of a lawsuit to force their hand.
If you’re ready to talk to a lawyer about your truck accident case, we’re ready to listen. You can get a free initial consultation by calling our office at 501-374-4440. You can also visit our contact page.