All traffic accidents have serious consequences for everyone involved. However, when one of the vehicles is a large truck, the results can be horrific. Many New Orleans truck accident victims suffer catastrophic injuries, while many lose their lives. The sheer difference in size between a commercial vehicle transporting goods and the average passenger car explains why there are so many fatal crashes involving trucks.
If you were involved in such a terrible accident, you need to contact an experienced New Orleans truck accident attorney at Wright & Gray Law Firm. Filing a claim or a personal injury lawsuit in the aftermath of accidents involving commercial trucks is complicated. The truck driver may be the person who directly caused your bodily injury and property damage, but not the only person liable to pay your financial compensation.
Worrying Statistics Concerning Truck Accidents
Trucking companies are doing a lot of business, shipping goods across the US. There is a constantly increasing demand for consumer goods and other products and the most convenient way of transporting them at long distances is by large 18-wheelers. This means that heavy trucks are a constant presence on US highways and roads. And, in many cases, they are involved in serious and fatal crashes.
According to data collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), in 2018:
- 4,862 commercial vehicles were involved in fatal trucking accidents, an 1% increase from the previous year
- 112,000 trucks were involved in injury crashes, a 5% increase from 2017
- 414,000 trucking accidents involved property damage, a 14% increase from the previous year.
In the state of Louisiana, there were 1,052 vehicles involved in trucking accidents, representing 9.6% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, the majority of victims of commercial trucking accidents were drivers or passengers in other cars. Out of all 102 fatal accident victims, 67 were occupants in other vehicles (passenger vehicle drivers and their families or friends).
The Most Common Causes for a New Orleans Truck Accident
Commercial truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons, mostly due to driver error or breach of traffic laws. Any experienced truck accident lawyer has handled many cases in which people involved in a major car accident with a truck were hurt due to:
Commercial vehicle drivers should be aware of their responsibility. The vehicle they drive is about 10 times larger and heavier than the average passenger car. In theory, the trucking company should train their drivers and perform background checks looking for patterns of distracted driving or aggressive driving.
In reality, a commercial truck driver can pass under the radar for years, getting away with texting and driving and other instances of driver distraction. This goes on until one day when they cause an 18-wheeler accident while using their cell phone and leave innocent people dead or with catastrophic injuries.
Drunk driving accidents are generally very messy – contorted vehicles and multiple victims with severe injuries. When the drunk driver is at the steering wheel of a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler, the accident can involve multiple vehicles and a large number of victims, including children.
The national average indicates that over 7% of all truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of the legal threshold – 0.08%. The issue of commercial truck drivers on the job under influence of alcohol is ongoing and more needs to be done to raise awareness that drinking and driving costs lives.
Unfortunately, most trucking companies give their drivers unreasonable delivery schedules. This means that many truck drivers are not complying with the legal regulations concerning the hours of service and skip the compulsory rest periods.
A fatigued driver is no longer fully capable of controlling their vehicle. Their reactions are slower, and they may even fall asleep at the wheel.
Reckless drivers act as if they were alone on the road. They speed and change lanes unexpectedly. They do not reduce their driving speed in bad weather conditions. A rollover accident caused by a reckless truck driver can have devastating consequences for several nearby passenger cars and smaller vans.
A New Orleans truck accident may happen because the driver could not control the vehicle due to a malfunctioning part, especially the brakes or the tires. Unfortunately, trucking companies are not always keeping their vehicles in good working condition – they want to keep them on the road for as long as possible, without taking them for maintenance and repairs.
This means that they are knowingly creating unsafe driving conditions for their commercial drivers and for everyone else on the road.
Who Is the Fault Party in a Truck Accident?
When victims are ready to file a claim or a truck accident lawsuit, in most cases they expect to get their damages from the truck driver. In reality, an automobile accident with a commercial truck is not as simple as suing the responsible driver.
When a person commits an act of negligence while doing their job, their employer is equally responsible. The legal principle is called vicarious responsibility and means that an employer should be able to control their employee’s actions and limit or prevent the harm of the latter.
Moreover, if the cause of the accident is found to be a trailer loaded above its maximum capacity, or unevenly loaded (causing the trailer to start swinging sideways), the company whose goods are being transported when the accident occurs may also be liable for a semi-truck accident.
Last but not least, experienced personal injury lawyers can win a client’s case by invoking product liability and holding the manufacturer of a defective truck part liable for an accident where the truck driver was unable to control their vehicle.
As you can see, truck accidents have many legal implications, which experienced legal professionals can analyze and use in your favor, to maximize your final compensation amount.
What to Do After a New Orleans Truck Accident
When you are involved in a New Orleans truck accident, the trucking company will know that they are about to get sued. And they want to prevent that at all costs. To this end, the insurance adjusters working for companies that insure big truck firms will scrutinize every single thing you did or said after the accident. Their purpose is to find any excuse to dismiss your claim or persuade the court that you do not have a valid case.
Here is what you should do in order to protect your chances of getting a fair settlement:
As soon as possible after a truck accident, call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance and the police. Unless you need emergency medical care, stay at the accident scene until the police arrive to prepare the accident report.
Give a truthful account of the events, but do not claim responsibility, do not apologize, and do not make any statement regarding how you feel.
Refuse to Talk to the Insurance Adjuster
Insurers working with big truck companies can send an insurance adjuster while you are still at the accident scene. They will be asking a lot of questions – mostly about your role in the accident and how badly hurt you are.
Do not say anything except for the fact that you are waiting for the ambulance to take you to the hospital. Any word you say, such as “I’m in pain a little” may be construed to mean that you are not hurt badly.
Last but not least, do not sign any agreement or settlement offer. It is a low-ball offer that will cover only a small part of your actual damages.
Hire a New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident lawyers know how to negotiate in the most complex situations. Truck companies afford the best lawyers and insurance adjusters, so you need an experienced professional on your side to pinpoint all the liable parties, not only the negligent driver.
Experienced lawyers will collect all the relevant evidence, calculate your medical expenses, lost wages and other economic and non-economic damages accurately, and use advanced negotiation skills to win your case.
Wright & Gray Offers the Legal Representation You Need in Complex Personal Injury Cases
At Wright & Gray Personal Injury Attorneys, we are not afraid to go into negotiations or take to court the biggest truck companies in the US. We believe in justice and in the fact that everyone should be held accountable for their actions. Our experienced attorneys are always ready to analyze your case, treat you like a real person, not a case number, and win your fair compensation.
We work on a contingency fee basis – this means that you do not have to pay any upfront fees. We get paid only after we win your case, and this is your best guarantee that we will never settle for less than the maximum compensation you deserve.
We are ready to get justice served for you, so call us now: 888-912-4944!