A Houston truck driver has sued his employer, US Food Service, over a poorly maintained vehicle. The trucker was involved in an accident and claims the poorly maintained equipment contributed to the incident.
The accident occurred on I-10 in Orange County, TX; according to the driver, the truck started shaking and swerved to the right-hand side of the road, striking a parked vehicle and then flipping over. The truck driver suffered injuries, for which he is claiming compensation and medical expenses, but fortunately no-one else was hurt in the incident, though there was collateral property damage.
The truck driver states he advised US Food Service on multiple occasions of the truck defects and the need for repair, but was ignored. This is a story which is repeated across the country, but it highlights the need for a proper maintenance and repair schedule as well as the owner’s responsibility to ensure that not only the driver is fit to drive but also the equipment is road worthy.
Generally, as many tractor trailer accidents are caused by poorly maintained equipment, as by other road users behaving irresponsibly around big rigs. If a need for repair is identified, it needs to be addressed immediately or if not, the equipment should not be allowed out on the road. If a carrier fails to abide by its duty to maintain and use safe equipment, then it will be held to be negligent.
In this instance, US Food Service is not only facing the cost of the accident with its loss of equipment, but also damages for mental anguish and hefty medical bills. There is also the cost to the reputation of the business itself; whenever there is a trucking accident, it looks bad for the carrier and the driver, as well as the loss of reputation in the eyes of the public and customers.
While the bulk of attorneys looking for business within the lucrative tractor trailer accident niche represent other motorists, there is an increasing legal business growing around suing employers. If a truck driver is injured or suffers as a result of using poorly maintained or defective equipment, there is a right of action against the trucking company. The bottom line: make sure the equipment you are using is in good condition, well maintained on a regular basis and that you document what is done and when – always make sure the equipment being employed is road worthy.
This post on the Whistleblower blog highlights another case involving truck safety rules and every carrier/employer should read it.