18-Wheeler Truck Accident Lawyer in Shreveport, LA
Lawyers Experienced in Handling Tractor-Trailer and Semi-Truck Accidents
A Shreveport 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer can provide legal support and guidance when you've been injured in a commercial truck accident. Our law firm of experienced personal injury lawyers is dedicated to providing the best representation possible for those suffering serious injuries due to negligence. Our truck accident lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our clients who have suffered serious injuries in trucking accidents. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients are justly compensated for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
We understand that no amount of money can replace what was lost when an injury occurs, but our goal is to make the entire process as smooth as possible. We handle all aspects of the case, investigate, gather evidence, determine liable parties, deal with insurance adjusters, negotiate a fair settlement, and represent you in court if necessary.
We work hard to ensure you receive fair compensation for your truck accident case. Morris & Dewett is available to provide free legal consultation regarding your case.
What Is A Commercial Vehicle
Commercial vehicles are large, multi-axle vehicles used to transport goods and materials long distances. Common examples of commercial vehicles include semi-trucks (also known as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, or big rigs), dump trucks, flatbeds, box trucks, delivery vans, and tankers. These vehicles typically have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 10,000 pounds and are used for hauling heavy loads across the US. Commercial vehicle operators must be trained and certified to operate these specific types of vehicles in order to ensure the safety of both drivers and other motorists on the road.
Why Truck Accidents Often Have Devastating Impacts
Truck accidents are often devastating due to commercial trucks' sheer size and weight. When loaded, these large trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds, 20-30 times heavier than a typical passenger car. This means they can cause much more severe damage when an accident occurs. In addition, due to their height and length, they have greater blind spots and require much longer stopping distances than other smaller vehicles. Moreover, the negligent driving of commercial truck drivers can also be a factor in catastrophic truck accidents. Trucking regulations are designed to keep drivers, passengers, and others safe, but these regulations are often ignored or not properly followed.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
In an 18-wheeler truck accident, the negligent driver and/or their employer may be liable for any damages incurred. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, other parties, such as a manufacturer of a defective truck part or cargo loading/unloading companies, may also share some fault. The party at fault will likely have to compensate those involved in the accident through the truck's insurance company or civil lawsuits.
Unlike car accidents, where liability is generally straightforward, determining liability in truck accident cases can be complex. The liability of an 18-wheeler accident will depend upon whether it is proven that the driver or the company was negligent. Negligent driving could include speeding, failing to follow traffic signals, distracted driving (such as texting), and violating state or federal trucking regulations which may lead to driver fatigue. Additionally, suppose a trucking company has failed to maintain proper maintenance records or has hired an unqualified driver. In that case, they may be liable for any resulting harm from an accident caused by their negligence.
The Commercial Truck Driver
Truck drivers are generally liable if they are the company's independent contractors. Or if they were driving with negligence. Typically, a driver is an independent contractor if they operate and maintain their own truck and follow their own schedule.
The Trucking Company
Since employers are responsible for their employees while at work, a company can be held accountable if they should have reasonably known of a driver's negligent behavior, in this situation, the company may have committed negligent entrustment.
Negligent entrustment is a type of negligence where an individual or entity entrusts dangerous equipment, such as a commercial truck, to someone unfit for the task. When this occurs, an accident happens due to the driverâ€™s incompetence. The individual or entity that entrusted them with the vehicle may be held liable for any resulting damages. Negligent entrustment can occur when a company hires an unqualified driver, fails to train their drivers properly, or fails to maintain proper vehicle maintenance records. Additionally, if they ignore state and federal regulations regarding safety measures while driving these commercial vehicles, they can also be found guilty of negligent entrustment.
Commercial vehicles are subject to rules and regulations designed to keep the roads safe. These regulations include speed limits, proper cargo loading and unloading, driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance requirements, and more. When these regulations are not adequately followed or ignored, it can easily lead to serious injury or wrongful death of innocent victims. In such cases, companies may be liable for any damages due to their negligence in hiring unqualified drivers or failing to adhere to safety measures.
In some cases, a commercial vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for an accident involving one of their vehicles if it did not perform certain safety precautions or properly communicate truck functionality. In addition, manufacturers may also be liable if they have produced defective parts that caused or exacerbated any personal injury from commercial vehicle accidents. For example, if brake failure occurs because of a defect in the brake system, then the manufacturer could be held responsible for any damages incurred due to this failure.
Louisiana Law for Reporting Truck Accidents
According to Louisiana Code Â§ 32:398, if a crash or collision involves property damage of at least $500, injuries, or death, the driver must contact emergency services and provide information for a report. Following any accident, especially trucking accidents, you should contact the police promptly to get assistance and document the incident as mandated by law.
A truck crash can have severe legal consequences if no police report is filed. It's not uncommon for truck accident victims to be taken away from the accident scene by emergency medical personnel, making it difficult to file a report. However, regardless of whether you were able to talk with law enforcement officials or not, it's essential that an official account documenting your incident must be completed within days and weeks after the event occurred.
If you believe a report has not been made after a truck accident, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Morris & Dewett. We will contact law enforcement about your accident and discuss any issues regarding your accident report.
Insurance Requirements for Trucks and Truck Accidents in Louisiana
The insurance requirements for commercial vehicles are greater than for passenger vehicles because of the greater risk of damage and injury. According to Louisiana Code Â§ 32:1503, carriers of hazardous materials, waste, or vehicles carrying freight weighing at least 24,000 pounds must carry minimum insurance coverage of $300,000 in public liability and $200,000 in property damage insurance.
Louisiana is an At-Fault State Regarding Vehicle Insurance
Simply, this means that a driver injured in a truck accident must prove the other driver was at fault to pursue a claim against the trucking company's insurance carrier for compensation. A Morris & Dewett truck accident lawyer can help you prove damages and demonstrate at-fault liability for the accident.
Types of Injuries Caused by 18 Wheeler Accidents
An 18-wheeler truck accident can cause various serious injuries, ranging from broken bones and lacerations to traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and even death. These collisions often result from driver negligence or mechanical failure, leaving victims with extensive medical bills and emotional trauma.
The most common types of injuries experienced in truck accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Head trauma, brain damage
- Spinal cord damage
- PTSD and other psychological trauma
- Internal or bleeding injuries
- Loss of limbs
Spinal injuries are one of the most serious and can result from a commercial vehicle accident. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment, such as surgery, physical therapy, and other specialized care. In some cases, spinal cord damage can cause permanent paralysis or even death. Victims may also suffer emotional distress due to the trauma associated with these accidents and the resulting may face. If you have suffered a spinal injury in a commercial vehicle accident, seeking legal help immediately for your losses is vital.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most serious and devastating consequences of a truck accident. These types of injuries occur when an individual experiences a sudden, violent blow to the head or body that causes their brain to be jostled within their skull, resulting in damage. Traumatic brain injuries can cause long-term physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments, significantly impacting an individual's quality of life. Victims may experience memory loss, difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, headaches and fatigue, depression or anxiety, personality changes, and more.
Amputation/Loss of Limb
Loss of limb or amputation is a serious injury that can occur from a truck accident. These injuries are caused by crushing, severing, or burning to an extremity and can have lasting physical and emotional consequences. Amputation often requires multiple surgeries and long-term rehabilitation to help the victim adjust to life after their injury. In addition to physical pain, victims may experience psychological trauma due to the sudden lifestyle change they must now adapt to.
A wrongful death case is one of the most tragic consequences of an accident. Especially when someone loses their life due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver, it can be devastating for those left behind. In Louisiana, families may seek compensation from an at-fault party through wrongful death claims. This type of claim allows them to recover damages related to pain and suffering experienced by the victim before passing away, loss of companionship or consortium with their loved one who has passed away, and other losses incurred due to the untimely death.
Why You Need Morris & Dewett For Your Truck Accident Claim
At Morris & Dewett, we understand the devastating impact 18-wheeler accidents can have on victims and their families. Trucking companies will fight every insurance claim, especially a wrongful death claim. The insurance adjuster works for the company, ultimately paying the claim. It would be best if you had your own advocates who would go through the process of gathering evidence, measuring your economic damages, making sure you get proper medical attention, and pursuing a successful claim.
Our experienced truck accident lawyers will provide you with decades of knowledge and experience to support you. Accidents happen, but if negligence is involved, our law office will help you hold negligent parties to account. Personal injury cases are about persistence and dedication to seeing the process through. We are committed to fighting tirelessly on your behalf and will strive to ensure justice is served.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the options available to recover compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by a tractor-trailer or semi-truck accident. You must act quickly, as there may be filing deadlines to comply with to preserve your legal rights.