Lawsuits that involve trucks are generally far more complex than traditional car accidents. Crashes with trucks feature entirely different dynamics, stemming primarily from the size difference between trucks and other vehicles. Trucks may weigh 25 times more than a sedan, which automatically makes them more of a hazard on the road. Truck insurance, regulations, and driving styles are also completely different from car accident cases in Lafayette. If you are ever involved in a trucking accident and need legal help, contact an experienced Lafayette truck accident lawyer at Brandt & Sherman, LLP.
Truck accidents usually involve more than 2 parties. If a truck driver is employed by a transportation agency, the employer may be found partially liable for the accident. Many laws and regulations for the trucking industry require knowledge at both the federal and state level. These cases are often time sensitive, and securing the representation of a law firm you can trust to protect your rights is essential to securing a successful outcome.
Brandt & Sherman, LLP has 50 years of combined experience with truck-related accident cases. We work quickly to ensure that our clients’ accidents are investigated fully and efficiently so that a case settlement can be reached in the shortest amount of time possible. Many of our clients face injury recovery during the course of a case and we work diligently to ensure that they are able to focus on recovery and get back to their lives as quickly as possible.
Whether you are involved in a crash with an 18-wheeler or another large commercial vehicle, you’ll need the support of a reliable and knowledgeable legal team. Our Lafayette truck accident attorneys understand the courts and laws in Louisiana as they pertain to truck accidents, and we have a successful track record for providing our clients with fair compensation.
Allow our injury lawyers at Brandt & Sherman to provide you with a free initial consultation, and we know you’ll be pleased with the sympathetic and experienced legal counsel we provide.
Causes of Truck Accidents in Lafayette
Smaller vehicles that fail to use caution driving around larger trucks often pose a safety threat and lead to truck-related accidents. Trucks cannot adjust as quickly to the traffic conditions around them, and drivers of smaller vehicles who aren’t paying attention may make it difficult for a truck to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents: Car Driver Negligence
Some truck accidents in Lafayette are actually caused my negligent drivers in cars. Below are a few examples of negligent behaviors that truck drivers should look out for on the road:
- Driving in truck blind spots. These are called “no zones” in the industry, and a truck will often feature a sign on it warning other drivers that if they cannot see a truck’s side mirrors then it is likely that the truck driver can’t see them.
- Failing to leave enough room between the vehicle and truck when quickly changing lanes.
- Miscalculating trucking speeds and turning in front of them.
- Improperly merging into traffic.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents: Truck Driver Negligence
Other times, it is the truck drivers negligence that cause major accidents on the road. Here are instances where the truck driver is at fault:
- Inadequate training by a trucking company.
- Fatigue when operating a truck. The regulations on driving for long, interrupted periods of time are becoming stricter, but drivers are still allowed to drive for up to 8 hours without taking a break.
- Trucking industry incentives for speed of delivery, leading to speeding on the roads and other reckless truck driving behaviors.
- Failure to adequately brake. Because of their momentum, trucks need to take special care when coming to a stop at intersections and in traffic. Failing to leave adequate space may result in an injurious rear-ending case.
- This occurs when a driver is forced to slam on brakes due to traffic or weather conditions, and the trailer swings around to form a 90 degree angle with the cab. These accidents may not be the driver’s fault and present a complex situation in personal injury cases.
- Accidents while turning. Trucks often need the space of two turning lanes, and if truck drivers fail to use caution when turning, they may find themselves liable for any accident injuries.
Truck Accident Facts and Statistics
These recent facts and figures are meant to acquaint you with the threat of trucking accidents on the roadways. Driving with caution around large trucks is extremely important for your safety and wellbeing.
- There were 104,000 people injured in truck related crashes nationally in 2012. About 25,000 accidents were in the truck, 76,000 were in other vehicles at the time, and 3,000 were pedestrians or other non-vehicle persons.
- There are almost 3.5 million truck drivers employed in the US.
- Truck driving is considered one of the deadliest industries in the country.
- 80% of trucking accidents are not the truck driver’s fault. The accidents may be caused by a truck defect, hazardous conditions, or other extenuating circumstances.
- Most of the problems that truck drivers encounter on the road are due to tire issues.
- Almost all accidents with 18-wheelers involve at least one death.
- There are over 2,000 fire truck accidents every year.
- Large trucks and buses were involved in 63 injurious crashes in Lafayette in 2014. There were 114 injurious crashes in East Baton Rouge. New Orleans had the highest number, with 185 injurious crashes.
What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident
Knowing what to do if you are ever involved in an accident with a truck will help you prepare for the aftermath. Having information ready when you contact your Lafayette truck accident lawyer will make the process of building a case easier and you will be able to move more quickly to file a lawsuit.
- Answer the police officer’s questions, but only report the facts. Never discuss fault or actions that could be misinterpreted in court.
- Turn on hazard lights if possible. The truck will likely have cones. Do whatever you can to secure the accident site and preserve your safety on the road until help arrives.
- If you are able, check the medical conditions of all other parties involved. Call 911 if there are injuries, and then call the police to report the accident. If you do not notify the police, there will not be an official record that can be used in court to prove that there was an accident.
- Don’t leave the scene. If possible, try to stay at the scene of the accident until all other parties have left.
- Try to obtain the following information:
- Contact information for all parties involved including witnesses and officer names.
- License plate number and any other identifying information about the truck involved.
- Insurance information of the other parties.
- Pictures of the scene, if possible.
- Do not talk to insurance adjustors who may be present at the scene.
- Do notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Always seek medical attention. Even in a minor accident, you may experience head, back, or neck trauma that may not be immediately visible. Medical records will be an important part of your personal injury case.
- Contact a Lafayette truck accident lawyer who understanding the laws and regulations governing the trucking industry. You will need the support of someone who understands the nuances of the laws so that your chances of recovering damages are high.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
Injuries associated with truck accidents will likely be similar to what is experienced in any other type of car accident. The difference is that your injuries may be magnified due to the larger size of a truck. Many truck injuries leave victims disabled or with severe injuries. Most truck accidents involve fatalities.
- Head and neck injuries. The type of impact will largely determine whether or not you suffer a head injury. Even mild accidents can produce a concussion or whiplash. Severe accidents may cause serious brain trauma or permanent brain injuries.
- Neck and back injuries. The spinal cord may be damaged in a trucking accident. On the minor side, an accident victim may suffer from chronic pain associated with injury. Spinal cord injuries can also leave individuals paralyzed or in debilitating pain.
- Broken bones. Some broken bones are straightforward and will heal normally with proper setting and a cast. Others, however, can lead to multiple surgeries, intense pain, and limited use in the future.
- Open wounds. It is very common in serious accidents for flesh to be exposed in lacerations, cuts, or gouges. Depending on the level of damage, repairing severe wounds may leave a victim permanently disfigured or with excessive scar tissue.
- Wrongful death. Since the rate of death in truck-related accidents is high, fatalities are common. If the accident was caused by truck driver negligence, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death suit and receive financial compensation for their loss.
Damages in a Truck Accident Case
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the average cost of a truck accident that results in injury is $342,000. In cases in which a victim dies, the cost may be up to $8 million. Without compensation from a lawsuit, families may be torn apart trying to cover the cost of injury or death.
To receive damages, your case must prove that either the truck driver or another party was liable or responsible for the accident. The trucking company may be found liable through vicarious liability, meaning that because they employed the truck driver, they automatically assume responsibility for his or her actions.
Damages from a lawsuit may be available to cover much more than the cost of the injury. You may be entitled to coverage for the following.
- All medical expenses associated with the accident, retroactively and into the future.
- Lost quality of life.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Lost wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Lost companionship, for spouses of injured or deceased victims.
- Special damages, for financial loss.
Speaking with qualified attorneys who understand the court system in Louisiana and who specialize in truck accident cases will help you understand your opportunities in your case. For more information about how we can help you in your truck accident case, please contact us today for a free consultation.
Brandt & Sherman, LLP, attorneys regularly represent truck accident victims across the state of Louisiana. We understand the complexities in truck regulations at a federal and state level. Contact us as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your pain and suffering in a truck related accident.