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Truck inspections and suing trucking companies


When Chicago-area residents think about semi-truck accidents, they might conjure images of sleepy truckers who struggle to maintain their lane or run a stop light. Or they might think of an intoxicated or distracted trucker who fails to obey the speed limit, thus rendering him or her unable to stop before colliding with the vehicle in front of him or her. While these types of wrecks happen far too often in Illinois and across the country, they are not the only reasons for truck accidents. This is critical, as those who have been injured in a truck accident may be able to broaden a lawsuit if it can be found that the negligence of additional parties contributed to the accident.

For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented rules and regulations regarding truck inspection, repair, and maintenance in an attempt to keep truckers and their employers on top of truck safety. Under the regulations, a truck must be inspected annually. This means that specific parts and even accessories must be analyzed for safety compliance. If any of those parts are deemed to have failed the inspection, then the truck owner/truck company is disallowed from operating it.

Though these are typically considered self-inspections, trucks can also be put under the magnifying glass by state officials. If these inspections comply with the requirements of the annual inspection, then the state inspection satisfies the yearly inspection requirement. If it does not meet the requirements, though, it is considered supplementary and the truck must be fully inspected again.

Why is this important for those who have been hurt in a truck accident? It's crucial because if an accident is caused by a trucking company's failure to adequately inspect and repair the truck in question, then the victim may be able to sue the trucking company. Most often, these companies have deeper pockets and are better able to provide compensation for the victim's damages, should the lawsuit succeed.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Part 396 Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance," accessed on May 20, 2016

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