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What Makes Truck Accidents More Complicated than Other Crashes?

Posted in Truck Accidents on January 31, 2020

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2017. Of those, one percent or 4,237 involved at least one fatality, and 77 percent or 344,000 were injury crashes. What makes these statistics even harder to swallow is that many of these accidents occurred because of the negligence of another party.

The safety of commercial trucks on American roadways is dependent upon many different people and entities. If anyone of them makes a mistake or skips a step, the health and well-being of other drivers on the road are at stake. The involvement and liability of so many different people and parties can make these accidents more complicated than other types of accidents.

Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents

Sometimes liability in a truck accident is directly linked to the cause of the accident. To determine liability in a big rig accident, it is crucial to understand the causes of these accidents, which include:

  • Driver fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driver distraction such as texting or eating
  • Driver drug or alcohol use
  • Speeding or overtaking
  • Lack of adequate driver training and education
  • Poor truck maintenance or skipping inspections
  • Improperly loaded trucks
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Unrealistic driver expectations or schedules

No matter the cause of your truck accident and subsequent injuries, a well-versed New Orleans truck accident attorney can help you as you seek to recover compensation for your damages. After determining the factors that led to your accident, one of the first steps your attorney will take is to determine liability.

Who is Liable for Big Rig Crashes?

Semi-truck accidents are typically more complex than other vehicle accidents. One of the reasons for this is because it can be difficult to determine liability, and multiple parties can be liable, more so than other types of accidents.  For this reason and many others, injured individuals can benefit significantly from hiring a New Orleans truck accident lawyer to settle or litigate their case.

The following parties may be solely or jointly liable for your damages in a truck accident:

  • Government entities – State and local governments are charged with maintaining safe road conditions in Louisiana. If your accident was caused in whole or in part by a large pothole, an abrupt or poorly made shoulder drop off, other road maintenance problems, or even areas that frequently have accidents that they refuse to do anything about, the government could be liable in your truck accident.
  • The trucking company – Drivers working as independent contractors will likely carry most if not all of the liability in an accident. However, if the driver is working for a trucking company when the accident occurs, the company will likely be left with partial responsibility for the accident. To make this determination, your knowledgeable truck accident attorney in New Orleans will examine the maintenance and safety records of the big rig, the training documents of the driver, and other pertinent documents and records.
  • The truck driver – truck drivers must adhere to federal and local laws when it comes to the maintenance and safety of their vehicles, the hours they drive, and the rest they get. When they stray away from these standards, accidents are more likely to happen, and they could be solely liable.
  • Private companies – if the truck was incorrectly loaded, which led to the accident, the employer, employees, or contractors will be held liable by your truck accident lawyer in New Orleans.
  • Other drivers – in some truck accidents, other drivers on the road play a role in causing the accident. They may be the only party liable, or they may share their liability with any of the previously mentioned parties.

Shared Liability in Trucking Accidents

Your truck accident lawyer in New Orleans can potentially maximize your compensation by ensuring that all the liable parties are named as defendants in your lawsuit. During settlement negotiations or jury deliberations, each liable party will be assigned a percentage of fault in the accident. As per the Louisiana Civil Code §2324, they will then compensate you for your damages in accordance with their percentage of fault. For example, if your damages total $500,000 and one party is 10 percent liable and the other 90 percent, the former will pay $50,000 of your damages, and the latter will pay the remainder.

Proving Negligence with the Help of an Experienced New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney

Once your New Orleans truck accident lawyer has determined which parties are liable in your accident, their next task is to build a case that will prove their negligence and recover compensation for your damages. Proving negligence in a personal injury case usually involves being able to establish these four essential points:

  • The defendant(s) owed you a duty of care – for example, to drive safely, not overload the vehicle or adhere to local and state laws
  • The defendant(s) breached the duty that was owed to you
  • That breach caused your injuries
  • Your injuries caused your damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in New Orleans for Help

Dealing with insurance claims after truck accidents can be burdensome and overwhelming as well as risky. Saying or doing the wrong thing can lessen your claim. In addition to the potential for multiple parties to have liability in your semi-truck accident, there can be numerous insurance companies and insurance adjustors involved in your case. The bottom line for the insurance company is getting away with paying you as little as possible for your claim. If you decide not to hire an attorney, they will undoubtedly try to do so. However, if you are represented by an attorney, studies show that you will most likely recover more for your damages than truck injury victims who are not represented by one.

Schedule your consultation today and begin protecting your rights. Call (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., or use our convenient online contact form.