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When commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles, the smaller vehicle usually sustains more damage. This is because 18-wheelers, big rigs, and other commercial vehicles have a significantly greater mass than almost any other vehicle on the road.
A semi-trailer or tractor-trailer, when fully loaded, can easily weigh 20 or 30 times more than a passenger car; they are also much higher off the ground, which can result in small passenger vehicles getting pulled under trucks in a crash. Anyone in a car, small truck or SUV, on a motorcycle or bicycle, or in the path of a commercial truck as a pedestrian can be severely injured or killed in a collision.
Unfortunately, getting fair compensation for the losses you suffer in a trucking collision isn’t usually as simple as it should be. It is very common for insurance companies to either deny accident victim claims altogether or make an offer that is well below the actual value of your claim.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a large truck accident, our New Orleans truck accident attorneys can help. Our personal injury lawyers understand the motor vehicle accident laws in our state and how to negotiate with the insurance companies to get you compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC, in Gretna, we represent people throughout Louisiana who have been injured due to the negligence of commercial vehicle drivers and their employers. In court and in negotiations, we fight to get our clients the justice and compensation they deserve following a serious truck or car accident in Louisiana.
Our New Orleans accident lawyers hold negligent truckers and trucking companies accountable. We seek full compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and other damages resulting from truck accidents.
A truck accident is any motor vehicle accident involving a commercial truck or tractor-trailer. These vehicles are exponentially larger and far more dangerous in collisions than smaller passenger vehicles. When a trucking accident occurs, it is also likely to have a very high chance of severe injuries, significant property damage, and multiple drivers with claims for damages.
Determining liability for some trucking accidents is difficult. A truck accident attorney can help you navigate your legal options for recovery after a truck accident and identify the parties responsible for your damages.
The top four types of accidents involving large trucks are:
Even if liability is clear in your case, hiring an attorney means a better chance of success with your claim. Your attorney can gather evidence and represent your interests in court. They can also arrange for a comprehensive investigation of your case and coordinate expert witness testimony to support your position in settlement negotiations or during a trial.
Truck accidents can also involve a substantial amount of economic damages for the parties involved. This is another reason why hiring an attorney is the best option after any truck accident; another party may try to divert liability for the damages to you.
An attorney can help you mitigate potential comparative negligence. An attorney will also know to check for avenues of compensation you may not have considered on your own, further increasing the potential recovery from your claim.
Brake time. The amount of time that it takes for trucks to brake can be a factor in truck crashes. Loaded tractor-trailers take 20-40 percent farther than cars to stop, and it’s even farther on wet and slippery roads or with poorly maintained brakes.
Fatigue. Fatigued truck drivers are at increased risk of being involved in a trucking accident. Federal hours-of-service regulations allow drivers of large trucks to drive up to 11 hours in a single stretch.
Surveys indicate that many drivers violate the regulations and work longer than permitted, increasing the risk of a collision.
Driver error and negligence. The most common factors involved in commercial truck driving accidents are preventable errors and negligent behaviors on the part of drivers. Our law firm has represented clients injured in many of the following common scenarios:
Determining liability for a truck accident requires an examination of the case of the accident. The American Trucking Association recently reported that the majority of motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks and tractor-trailers and passenger vehicle drivers occur due to the actions of car drivers, not truck drivers. In fact, passenger vehicle drivers may be responsible for as much as 80% of all truck accidents.
Since commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are so large, they are capable of damaging multiple vehicles and causing damage across multiple lanes of traffic relatively easily in a serious accident. However, liability may not automatically fall to the truck driver. If a passenger vehicle driver causes a truck accident due to negligence, multiple other drivers could sustain injuries and property damage, and the initial negligent driver would bear responsibility for their resulting damages.
Truck drivers must hold commercial drivers’ licenses and complete all necessary training and safety courses. Truck companies must also ensure their drivers have the necessary amount of experience before sending them on routes.
Negligent driving from any party, improper cargo handling practices, dangerous road conditions, and even severe weather can all cause truck accidents. Anyone involved in a truck accident could sustain serious injuries, but, if possible, they should try and secure as much evidence and information as possible from the accident site before the police and emergency responders clear it away.
Skid marks in the road, the resting positions of the vehicles involved, a snapshot of the current weather conditions, and photos of your injuries immediately after you sustained them are all valuable pieces of evidence for future legal action. Determining the cause of a trucking accident requires a careful examination of the physical evidence available, but liability may still remain unclear even after an intensive investigation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency responsible for the oversight and regulation of the U.S. trucking industry. The FMCSA sets clear rules and regulations for trucking companies, their drivers, and support personnel to ensure safe transportation of goods across the country.
The FMCSA also collates accident data to develop new training methods, refine existing guidelines, and ultimately create safer conditions on U.S. roads.
These statistics from IIHS.org provide some insight into commercial truck accidents in 2018:
The following facts are from 2019 data shared by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):
Liability for a trucking accident could potentially fall to one or more parties depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
Ultimately, one or more parties may bear liability for the damages from a trucking accident. A plaintiff with a truck accident claim must refer to state law to determine how negligence applies, whether they bear any contributory or comparative negligence for the accident, and assess the total extent of his or her damages.
Serious truck accidents can easily lead to expensive medical treatment, significant lost earnings from missed time at work, and tremendous pain and suffering. The right attorney can help an injured driver secure the compensation he or she needs to recover from a serious truck accident.
The laws that affect personal injury lawsuits and claims vary from state to state. If you were injured in an accident in Louisiana, here are some of the laws to understand:
In most states, lawsuits are filed against the negligent driver who caused the accident.
Under the Louisiana Direct Action Statute, a plaintiff is entitled to bring a direct action against a defendant’s insurance carrier, as long as the policy was issued or delivered in Louisiana or the accident or injury occurred in Louisiana, and the policy covered the risk.
The statute also enables a plaintiff to bring an action solely against the insurance company if their customer (the at-fault driver) is bankrupt, insolvent, an uninsured motorist, or deceased; also if the accident happened between children and their parents or between spouses, or service of process cannot be made on the insured.
As the injured party in a truck accident, you have one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury and/or property damage claim in Louisiana. This is why it is so important to contact a New Orleans truck accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
In Louisiana motor vehicle injury cases, fault and liability for an accident can be divided based on each driver’s relative liability or percentage of fault in the accident. In practical terms, this means that if you were injured in a truck accident that you were partly at fault for causing, you will be able to recover damages. However, the compensation you are entitled to will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
If you were partly at fault for an accident, it is especially important to seek help from an experienced accident attorney who can fight to get you fair compensation for your losses.
Some of the most common types of damages that can be recovered in a Louisiana truck accident case are medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, property damage, and disability. If you lost a loved one in the accident, you may also be entitled to wrongful death damages including funeral expenses, etc.
Unlike in many other states, there is generally no cap on the damages you can potentially recover from an automobile accident in Louisiana.
When a settlement is reached in Louisiana, the at-fault party’s insurance provider typically pays the claim up to their customer’s policy limitations. Once that has been exhausted, the injured party’s insurance may cover an additional amount under an underinsured motorist provision, if the circumstances of the accident meet the policy’s criteria.
After that, the plaintiff may choose to file a lawsuit – typically with the help of a truck injury attorney – to recover any remaining damages less the percentage of fault that has been attributed to the plaintiff for causing or contributing to the accident.
It is always best to contact a local accident lawyer for a free consultation if you are in a truck accident. They can assess the cause of the accident to determine fault, the severity of your injuries, and the amount that your claim is worth.
If the insurance company has offered a settlement, it is highly advisable to have it reviewed by an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney before accepting the offer. Insurance companies are known for making low-ball offers that do not even cover all your medical expenses, let alone other damages.
Learn more about the steps you should take after a truck accident or call our legal team for more information about our legal services. In a free consultation, an attorney at our firm can review your case, provide legal advice about your rights, and discuss how the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC can assist you.
There are no upfront costs or fees paid by our injury clients to pursue an injury claim; we provide representation on a contingency fee basis for personal injury cases, which means you pay nothing unless we win you a settlement.
We want to help you get all of the compensation you deserve. For a case evaluation or to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Orleans truck accident attorney, contact us online or by calling (504) 500-5000. We value the attorney-client relationship: John W. Redmann will personally speak with those who wish to call or see him.
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