Louisiana Truck Accident Lawyers
When a semi tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle causes a wreck, the consequences are often devastating. Those hit by the commercial vehicle are often killed or suffer catastrophic injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents happen nearly 11 times every single day in this country, killing nearly 4,000 people each year.
“There is no such thing as a “fender bender” when 40 tons of steel is involved.” – Peyton Murphy, founder of Murphy Law Firm
More than 100,000 people are injured every year in truck accidents. According to the trucking industry, independent lawyers and trucking victims, some of the causes for these accidents are driver fatigue, companies not screening for problem drivers and a government that is slow to force new safety technologies on to American roads.
It comes down to basic physics. When an 80,000 lb. tractor trailer collides with a 4,000 lb. car, it creates a devastating impact. An estimated 5,000 people lose their lives in accidents involving commercial trucking each year in the U.S. Thousands of victims who were fortunate enough to survive these catastrophic accidents experience brain and spinal injuries, and many more go undetected and undiagnosed.
Laws Controlling Truck Industry Standards of Care
All drivers owe special duties of car to others on the roadway. When you decide to control a vehicle, you accept the duty not to negligently or intentionally cause harm to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Truck drivers also have these general duties, but that isn’t where their responsibilities end. As workers in the trucking industry, they are also under the jurisdiction of federal trucking laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a host of rules and regulations to enhance the safety of America’s truckers. These rules include:
- Hours of service regulations
- Electronic data logging device requirements
- Daily vehicle inspections
- Regular fleet maintenance and repairs
- Truck driver hiring and training requirements
- Cargo loading rules and best practices
- Rules for transporting hazardous materials
There are virtually hundreds of federal rules trucking companies, truck drivers, and truck manufacturers must obey to keep operations up to par with industry standards. Any act that falls outside of these standards, resulting in a truck accident, is negligence.
Due to their size and weight, 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, there are strict state and federal laws and highway regulations regarding:
- Truck driver fatigue
- Excessive speeding
- Record keeping and log books
- Weight limits and methods of securing loads
- Drug and alcohol use
- Failure to maintain control
- Failure to keep look out
- Driving recklessly
- Lack of reasonable care to keep proper distance from the driver in front
- Failure to stop
- Failure to yield
- Failure to pay attention to other vehicles and traffic conditions
- Violating traffic laws and traffic signals
- Leaving the scene of an accident
For the victims of trucking accidents, the time following the wreck is spent either planning funerals or lying in a hospital bed with their loved ones around them. Naturally, the families are more concerned with the well-being of those they love than investigating a wreck or preserving evidence. While a family grieves and suffers, the insurance company that insures the commercial vehicle is diligently working to protect the trucking company and its driver. The trucking company or its insurance company immediately begin to implement plans to protect their profits. It is not unusual for the trucking company to have a claims person, an investigator, or even an attorney at the scene of the wreck. They will often have a public relations person try to spin the news account in favor of the commercial vehicle. Do not underestimate the damage that the trucking/commercial vehicle company can do within a very short period of time after the accident. Do not trust or assume the trucking company will treat you fairly. Get an attorney that has been handling truck accidents for decades. Victims of trucking accidents in Louisiana do not have to stand for trucking companies and drivers who break the rules. The experienced trucking attorneys at Murphy Law Firm can seek justice from negligent parties.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Despite the name, most truck accidents are not accidental at all. They are culminations of preventable mistakes, errors, and lapses in judgment. In most cases, truck companies and their drivers have it in their power to prevent serious roadway accidents. They fail when they do not maintain a safe fleet, drive distracted, or drive drowsy. In other situations, third parties like roadway maintenance crews and manufacturing companies contribute to wrecks. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver error. Improper driving techniques, following too closely, texting and driving, driving under the influence, driving longer than the law allows, and carelessness all greatly contribute to the number of truck accidents on Louisiana roads each year.
- Part failure. Big trucks operate using different systems than smaller vehicles. They require special care and maintenance. Truck company negligence can lead to trucks that break down, experience tire blowouts, or have dangerous brake failures.
- Dangerous roadway conditions. Potholes, debris in the road, unmarked construction zones, malfunctioning traffic lights, and other dangerous road conditions can make a truck driver lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident. The city might be liable for crashes relating to road defects.
The First Steps After a Trucking Accident
A truck accident is similar to a truck accident in terms of your first response. Before you do anything else:
- Seek medical attention: Of course, your health is the most important thing. Make sure you work with a competent professional doctor and maintain good communication with your doctor. To aid you in this, we have compiled a list of Louisiana physicians and local physicians.
- Talk with a lawyer: After taking care of your health, make sure you are fully aware of your right for compensation. Sit down with one of our lawyers for a free initial consultation to learn more about the options available to you. Maintain good communication with your lawyer.
- Do not talk with the insurance company agents: The insurance company agents will be very friendly and will seem to be on your side. This is not the case, however. In fact, they are experts at getting injury victims to say things that they can use to minimize or deny victims’ compensation. Don’t be a victim twice. Do not say anything or give them a sworn statement of any kind. Talk with a lawyer first.
- Understand your personal injury case: Use our Injury Accident Guide, and, in particular, our do’s and don’ts guideline, to better understand what you should and should not do after an accident.
Truck accidents are different from car accidents in that the stakes are higher, the insurance companies have more to lose and the litigation is much more aggressive.
“I opened Murphy Law Firm, LLC in Baton Rouge because I wanted to help injured Louisiana clients get the compensation they truly deserve after suffering personal injuries or wrongful death of those they love. I have a family too, so I understand how important it is to you to not lose your ability to provide for your family even if you are seriously hurt and can no longer work. Let me help you make sure to get the full and fair amount for your injuries. Call me.” ∙ Attorney Peyton Murphy ∙ Contact Murphy Law Firm, LLC.
Nobody should suffer in silence after a collision with a big rig. Stand up for your rights with help from a personal injury lawyer. Odds are high that you can sue the truck company for its own actions or those of the driver that caused your crash, and take home compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation appointment.