Getting run off the road by any vehicle can be a frightening experience. You’re driving down the highway, listening to the radio, and everything seems fine. Then, out of nowhere, a vehicle swerves into your lane forcing you off the road. Now imagine if that vehicle that swerved into you weighed over 800,000 pounds and towered over your SUV.
In the U.S. there are approximately 500,000 accidents per year involving semi-trucks. And when a truck that large causes an accident, it can be devastating for any drivers or passengers involved. Of these half-a-million accidents, about 98% percent of them are the result of semi-trucks running cars off the road. Unfortunately, many of them result in death.
So what if you are forced off the road by an 18-wheeler in New Orleans Louisiana?
This article will help explain your legal options if you find yourself in an accident with a semi-truck in Louisiana. However, from the outset it’s important to recognize that everybody’s case is different, and consulting an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after the crash is crucial.
Steps to Take Immediately Afterward
As we noted above, getting run off the road by an enormous semi-truck can be one of the most sudden and terrifying experiences one can endure on the road. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important to collect yourself as soon as possible after the incident and start to document everything you see around you. This will not only help you with any potential legal matters down the road, but it will also help with any insurance claims that are sure to come.
If possible, take a photograph of the truck driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL). Also, get the name of the company that they drive for, and swap any insurance information you and the trucker may have available.
In addition to gathering information on the driver themselves, you should begin documenting the scene of the accident. Try to photograph any road marks or debris you see on the road, as well as any damage to your vehicle or the semi-truck. These will help with your insurance company and will help the police develop a full and accurate formal report.
Damages that May be Available to You
Unfortunately, many people will assume that because semi-trucks are so large, and it can be difficult for drivers to see cars behind them, that they don’t have many legal options if they’re run off the road. This isn’t the case. However, in order to pursue these legal options, you must be able to provide proof that you weren’t at fault.
After you’ve followed many of the suggestions in the section above, you should consult an accident attorney that will help you navigate the legal system, and if necessary, to sue not only the trucking company, but perhaps the driver personally.
Unlike car accidents, it can often be difficult to determine who is liable for the accident. Many times the driver is negligent in his or her driving, and they will be liable to you for any damage. However, if there was any negligence on the part of the trucking company (for example, they didn’t have proper maintenance performed), then you may be able to sue to company as well.
Depending on the damage resulting from the accident, and how much evidence you are able to produce, you may be able to recover various types of damages.
Some of the most common types of damages that you can sue for after being run off the road by an 18-wheeler include:
- Property damage resulting from the crash
- Any medical bills from you or your passengers
- Emotional or physical distress that was caused by the accident
- Lost wages from having to miss work
- Rental car costs if your vehicle is damaged
Although any type of automotive accident is freighting, it can be much worse when a semi-truck is involved. If you or a loved one has been run off the road by a semi-truck, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Once you’ve confirmed that you and your passengers are safe, collect as much information as possible, and contact an experienced and qualified attorney that will ensure your rights are protected and are compensated fairly.