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Truck Maintenance Accidents in Louisiana

Many commercial truck accidents are caused by a failure of the truck itself, often due to a lack of inspection or maintenance. As dangerous as it is to put a 10,000- to 80,000-pound tractor-trailer on the road that has not been properly maintained, trucking companies too often ignore maintenance needs to save money.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Louisiana truck accident, Babcock Partners will help you determine whether a lack of preventative maintenance caused the truck to crash. If so, we will seek to compel the truck owner, often a corporate “motor carrier,” to pay for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Babcock Partners can represent you in a Louisiana truck accident claim at no financial risk to you. If we cannot recover a monetary settlement or court award for you, there will be no legal fees charged.

In the meantime, our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means that we’ll give you your entire case file within 30 days of hiring us if you are unhappy with our representation with no attorney’s fees or costs owed to us whatsoever.

Commercial truck accidents are often complex and difficult claims. Babcock Partners has the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to develop a successful claim for you.


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Trucking Companies Know They are Responsible for Truck Maintenance Failures

Commercial trucking and interstate passenger buses in the U.S. are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA’s primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, in part through “strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards” and “ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations.”

To that end, the FMCSA has adopted a vast volume of regulations addressing every aspect of the trucking industry, including truck maintenance. The FMCSA makes motor carriers (trucking companies) responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining their vehicles, and keeping suitable records for each vehicle. Carriers are also responsible for ensuring that any third-party company hired for specific maintenance tasks performs according to regulations.

In other words, trucking companies know they are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. And to make it crystal clear, FMCSA Regulation 396.7 states:

Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.

The FMCSA further identifies “Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards,” which says “A vehicle does not pass an inspection if it has one of the following defects or deficiencies,” and in nearly 4,000 words addresses detailed requirements for:

  • Brake System (service brakes, parking brake system, brake drum or rotors, brake hose, brake tubing, low pressure warning device, tractor protection valve, air compressor, electric brakes, hydraulic brakes, vacuum systems)
  • Coupling devices (fifth wheels, pintle hooks, drawbar/towbar eye, drawbar/towbar tongue, safety devices, saddle-mounts)
  • Exhaust system
  • Fuel system
  • Lighting devices
  • Safe loading
  • Steering mechanism (steering wheel play, steering column, front axle beam and all steering components other than steering column, steering gear box, Pittman arm, power steering, ball and socket joints, tie rods and drag links, nuts, steering system)
  • Suspension (U-bolts; spring assembly; torque, radius or tracking components)
  • Frame (frame members, tire and wheel clearance, adjustable axle assemblies (sliding subframes))
  • Tires
  • Wheels and rims
  • Fasteners (spoke and disc wheels)
  • Welds
  • Windshield glazing
  • Windshield wipers

Motor carriers know which systems on their trucks they must maintain for trucks to be safe on the road, and they have safe operation standards for each. Further, they are told in FMCSA rules, Part 396 — Inspection, Repair, And Maintenance, at 396.1(a):

Every motor carrier, its officers, drivers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of commercial motor vehicles must be knowledgeable of and comply with the rules of this part.

There’s no excuse. Motor carriers can and should be held responsible when they fail to maintain their trucks and this leads to accidents. In some cases, equipment was faulty from the start, and the manufacturer may be held accountable for losses in an accident, too.

And we know that failure of commercial truck parts and systems, often due to faulty maintenance, leads to crashes. The most comprehensive study of truck maintenance accidents ever conducted, known as the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), found that of 78,000 truck crashes examined, a failure of the vehicle was identified in 8,000 crashes, 10 percent of all crashes for which a “critical reason” could be determined.

As your truck accident attorneys, Babcock Partners will work to show that a truck’s failure led to your accident and injury, and the failure was due to maintenance that was faulty or not done at all. This requires knowledge of large trucks and their operations, and how to identify their failures after the fact.

Babcock Partners sometimes relies on accident reconstruction specialists whom we regularly work with to assist with the investigative work required to determine how and why your track accident occurred. With a convincing case built on solid evidence, we can obtain compensation for you.

Investigating Maintenance Problems in Truck Accidents

Once engaged to pursue your truck accident claim, Babcock Partners would move to ask a court to secure the truck involved in the accident and certain records held by the motor carrier that owned and/or operated the truck. In particular, we would seek to examine maintenance and operations records pertaining to that truck.

We would then seek statements from the trucker, as well as other of the motor carrier’s officers, agents, representatives, and/or employees directly concerned with inspection or maintenance of vehicles.

In some cases, a standard investigation reveals that a carrier was skirting maintenance requirements, typically to save money. Sometimes carriers hire unqualified employees for maintenance positions or a third-party provider whose personnel are not properly trained, and cannot properly maintain a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

In cases where the cause of a truck accident cannot be determined through usual investigative practices, we may enlist the assistance of a consulting accident reconstruction specialist.

Accident reconstruction experts gather and analyze a variety of technical data to determine what happened in a vehicle crash. They document, model, test and measure factors that include but may not be limited to:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Use or capability of vehicle systems (i.e., brakes, steering, suspension, etc.)
  • Vehicle speed at impact
  • Impact angles
  • Length of pre-impact and post-impact skid marks and yaw (side-to-side) marks
  • Direction of vehicle travel before and after impact
  • Distances moved after crash impact
  • Friction values for traffic surfaces

Accident reconstruction also relies on “black box” Event Data Recorders (EDRs), which are in all CMVs legally on the road today. A commercial truck’s EDR records a wealth of information that includes but is not limited to:

  • Date and time of accident
  • Vehicle speed
  • Engine speed
  • Throttle (gas pedal) position
  • Cruise control status
  • Brake status
  • Clutch status
  • Steering angle
  • Forward collision warnings
  • Lane-departure warnings
  • Last stop
  • Incident Event Report (e.g., sudden deceleration/ acceleration, quick stop, hard brake event, etc.)
  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) snapshots of truck system sensors reporting data outside normal values

The report from an accident reconstruction specialist includes a detailed narrative report that is entered into evidence in a court case, and multi-media graphics and/or animation, which accompany the expert’s testimony. The full effect of a definitive opinion supported by facts of engineering and physics is usually persuasive to a jury and, in negotiations outside of court, can weigh heavily on a motor carrier and their insurance company’s decision to settle.

Call Babcock Partners after a Louisiana Truck Accident

If the failure of a commercial truck has led to an accident that seriously injured you or a loved one, Babcock Partners can provide the resources required to pursue a successful claim on your behalf. We understand FMCSA regulations, the operation of tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, etc., and what goes wrong when motor carriers ignore rules designed to ensure safe commercial trucking operations.

Babcock Partners will work to identify and hold accountable those responsible for the accident and injuries. Based on solid evidence, we will seek all of the compensation you and your loved ones are entitled to for your losses in a commercial truck accident. We do not back down from deep-pocket corporations. We will stand and fight for you.

Don’t fight insurers who only look out for their own bottom lines on your own. Contact Babcock Partners today for a free, no-obligation case review.