Maintenance Deficiencies Can be Signs of Negligence

In March of 2014 a dump truck crashed into a Pittsburg restaurant, killing the truck driver and causing extensive damage to the restaurant, which fortunately was unoccupied at the time. Brake failure was suspected as the cause. The company that owned that vehicle operates a fleet of commercial trucks and has now failed a third inspection by the California Highway Patrol, after the previous inspections revealed maintenance problems in connection with the vehicles' oil lines, brakes and tires.

According to former employees of the trucking company in question, the deficient maintenance procedures were known to the management of the company, which instructed its drivers to avoid CHP inspections at weigh scales. The most recent failed inspection resulted in more than half of the company's trucks being found to be too dangerous to be serviceable. Yet despite the repeated failed inspections, the truck company remains in operation and the CHP has stated that it may take another six weeks after the most recent inspection to revoke the company's motor carrier permit.

In any accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is not only the driver of the truck who may be subject to claims of negligence. The company that owns the truck also has a duty to maintain its vehicles in asafe operating condition, and evidence of failed CHP inspections can be used by a plaintiff in a property damage, personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to obtain evidence of inadequate maintenance procedures through the pre-trial discovery process, which can then be used to advantage in settlement negotiations or in litigation if necessary.

Source: ABC7 News, "Former drivers for Roby Trucking call company's trucks unsafe," Alan Wang, June 2, 2015

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