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Using Inspection Records in Commercial Vehicle Accident Cases

Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) such as tractor trailers and tanker trucks can cause serious damage when they crash. In some cases, investigators determine that an accident could have been prevented if a CMV owner or operator had performed simple, required maintenance. In other cases, however, figuring out who is at fault for damage in a truck crash can be more difficult.

In order for a CMV to be in compliance with federal regulations, certain components of the vehicle — including brakes, lights, fuel system, exhaust, tires, and steering mechanism — must have passed inspection at least once in the preceding 12 months. The condition of each component is documented in the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR), which can serve as an important reference if mechanical issues or other problems arise. Each driver must complete a DVIR at the end of each work day and submit it to the trucking company that oversees the vehicle. If any defective or missing parts are noted on the DVIR, the company must fix them before allowing the CMV to return to operation.

In West Virginia, the owner of a CMV is responsible for ensuring that inspections are up to date. If a CMV registered in the state does not pass inspection standards and receives a valid inspection sticker, it cannot be driven on West Virginia roads. The vehicle purchaser may be the trucking company that sends out drivers or maybe a separate owner. However, responsibility for ensuring a truck’s safety does not belong to the owner alone. For example, if a driver submits an inaccurate DVIR, the owner cannot be expected to know about or act on unreported malfunctions or conditions of disrepair.

Victims of truck crashes may sustain serious injuries and the destruction of their vehicles. Finding out who to sue is the first step in recovering damages. The experienced West Virginia commercial truck attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson serve as staunch advocates against truck companies and drivers who try to limit or avoid liability. We conduct detailed investigations and work to hold the right parties accountable so that our clients can get the help they deserve. If you or a loved one was hurt in a West Virginia truck accident, call us at 304-842-4300 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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About the Editor

Kevin Kaufman

Kevin Kaufman

Kevin S. Kaufman is a 1977 graduate of Bridgeport High School, where he received a National Merit Scholarship, a Consolidated Natural Gas Company full scholarship, and a West Virginia Achievement scholarship. Mr. Kaufman completed his education at West Virginia University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, an MBA, and his law degree.

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