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New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney

When commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles, the smaller vehicle usually sustains the heavier damage. This is because 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles have a significantly greater mass than almost anything else on the road.

A semi-trailer or tractor-trailer, when fully loaded, can easily weigh 10 or 15 times more than a passenger car. As a result, anyone in a car, on a motorcycle or bicycle, or in the path of a commercial truck can be severely injured or killed in a collision. If you’ve suffered in this kind of accident, our New Orleans truck accident attorneys can help.

Truck Accident Resources: 

18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys in New Orleans 

At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., 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 in cases involving:

    • Overloaded trucks and unsecured loads
    • Truck drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol
    • Inattentive driving due to cellphone use, texting or other distractions
    • Equipment failure due to inadequate maintenance
    • Failure to observe required rest periods and time off the road
    • Defective roads
    • Sleeping at the wheel
    • Wrongful death collisions

semi-truck driving through the desert at sunset

What Are 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, and 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.

Why You Need an Attorney After a Trucking Accident

Even if liability is clear in your case, hiring an attorney means a better chance of success with your claim and more compensation than you expected if you win. Your attorney can not only gather evidence and represent your interests in court, but also arrange for a comprehensive investigation of your case and coordinate expert witness testimony to support your position in settlement negotiations or during 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, and 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.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

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 Driver Liability

Truck drivers must hold commercial drivers’ licenses and complete all necessary training and safety courses. Driver error is a common cause of trucking accidents, and there are several possible examples of this.

  • Falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Using drugs or alcohol while driving.
  • Poor response to changing road conditions, such as over-correcting steering.
  • Improper use of vehicle controls that interferes with nearby drivers.

Trucking companies must 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.

Trucking Accident Statistics

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government agency responsible for 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.

  • Over a three-year period, the FMCSA found car drivers at fault for trucking accidents in nearly 85% of cases.
  • In 2016 alone over 4,400 commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers were involved in fatal accidents. These accidents accounted for a total of 4,564 deaths that year.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the number of truck accident fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled increased by about 2%.
  • From 2009 to 2015 the number of accidents resulting in severe injuries increased by 62%, from about 60,000 in 2009 to 97,000 in 2015.
  • In 2016 about 119,000 truck accidents resulted in injuries.

Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident?

Liability for a trucking accident could potentially fall to one or more parties depending on how it occurred.

  • The truck driver may absorb liability if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, using the vehicle for purposes other than job duties, or otherwise acting outside the scope of employment.
  • The trucking company may be liable for a driver’s actions if the company failed to conduct required background checks, failed to properly train the driver, or assigned work to an unqualified or uncertified driver. Driver error can easily cause a serious trucking accident, and truck drivers have a higher duty of care on the road than other drivers due to the dangerous nature of their vehicles.
  • A product manufacturer would be liable if a faulty vehicle or vehicle part causes an accident. For example, if a truck recently had new brakes installed and they failed during their first use, this could indicate a defect. If the brakes were defective, liability for the damages from the accident would fall to the manufacturer. The manufacturer would also need to take steps to recall other products that share the defect.
  • It is possible for liability for a trucking accident caused by road damage to fall to the local, state, or federal government depending on the location and type of road. However, pursuing a lawsuit against any government entity entails unique restrictions, and the responsible government entity may have sovereign immunity against civil claims.
  • A third party such as another passenger vehicle driver could bear responsibility for your truck accident damages. If another driver lingered in a truck’s blind spot, drove aggressively, or otherwise caused an accident with a commercial vehicle that also damaged your vehicle and injured you, that driver is liable for your damages.
  • A distributor or shipping service provider may face liability if the company improperly packed a truck and let it depart with an imbalanced load. Tractor-trailers have higher centers of gravity than smaller vehicles and are therefore more vulnerable to tip-overs during sharp turns.
  • The party responsible for the truck’s maintenance could face liability if a foreseeable and preventable mechanical issue caused the accident or if the maintenance personnel failed to conduct appropriate vehicle maintenance in accordance with applicable regulations.

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.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Learn more about the steps you should take after a truck accident or call us for more information. In a free consultation, an attorney at our firm can review your case and discuss how the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., can assist you. We want to help you get all of the compensation you deserve.

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Orleans truck accident attorney, contact us online or by calling (504) 500-5000. John W. Redmann will personally speak with those who wish to call or see him.

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