Louisiana Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers
When you hit the road in Louisiana, you’re at a higher risk of an accident than almost anywhere else in the United States. The state of Louisiana has a much higher rate of car and truck accidents than the national average, especially when it comes to severe and fatal accidents.
Semi-truck accidents are a persistent problem and bring more severe injuries than other types of accidents. More than a million trucks pass through Louisiana’s roads every year, including private, commercial, and semi-trucks.
If you’ve been in a semi-truck accident, it’s important to seek qualified legal representation as soon as possible. To learn more about your legal options, please read the truck accident information below and contact an experienced Louisiana truck accident lawyer for a free case evaluation.
At Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, we have decades of combined experience representing clients in Louisiana truck accident claims. Start your free truck accident consultation now by calling 504-302-4131.
What You Should Do After a Semi-Truck Accident
After your truck accident, your next steps are important. Below are some helpful tips for making smart moves that preserve your legal rights.
Step 1: Take Safe Precautions at the Scene
Move to a safe spot after the semi-truck accident and call for assistance. Request medical attention for yourself and anyone else who is also injured. Remain at the scene of the accident, exchange contact information, and interact with the police with a calm demeanor.
Step 2: Accept Medical Treatment
Accept the medical treatment you’re offered at the scene of the accident or failure to do so could harm your accident claim later. Many injuries aren’t apparent to the average person and need an evaluation by a trained medical professional.
Step 3: Access the Police Report
Ask for a copy of the police report from the police department. Read it over and don’t be too concerned if it doesn’t seem helpful to your case. There could be plenty of other evidence that backs up your version of the semi-truck accident.
Step 4: Start Gathering Evidence
Next, gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident and the surrounding area. Photos and videos capture excellent information about what the conditions were like at the accident scene. Note any relevant skid marks, truck debris, damaged barriers, loose gravel, road signs, and other crash damage. Write down any witness contact information.
Step 5: Contact a Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
Don’t give a taped statement to anyone about your truck accident, including the insurance company, until you speak to a truck accident lawyer. Your statements could be used against you later, so it’s important to be prepared and know your legal rights.
Step 6: Continue Appropriate Care
Follow the doctor’s orders for your ongoing care. Document your journey by writing it down in a journal or making a video about your experience. This shows the impact of the accident on your life.
Step 7: Manage the Claims Process
Make a claim with the commercial trucking insurance company, working with your lawyer to handle this process. Your lawyer can help you negotiate with the other side, arrange a settlement, or go to court if necessary. Most truck accident claims can be settled out of court with the help of an experienced lawyer.
How Semi-Truck and Car Accidents are Different
Semi-truck accidents are usually much more severe and complicated than car accidents for several reasons. In terms of why they’re more severe, weight matters. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while a regular passenger car usually only weighs about 3,500 pounds.
A crash brings a massive semi-trailer into destructive contact with anything it hits. A small car or even an SUV will likely be crumpled in the crash.
After the accident, a semi-truck accident is typically more complex than a car accident because it involves more individuals and companies. In addition to the two drivers, your accident likely involves the police, a trucking supervisor, the truck company, a mechanic, your insurance company, and a trucking insurance carrier. Plus, there could be state or federal agencies involved with the crash investigation due to the heavy regulation of the industry.
Common Types of Louisiana Semi-Truck Accidents
Here at Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, we commonly encounter certain types of semi-truck accidents where injured victims need compensation. Below is a list of common big rig truck accidents and a short explanation of each type.
Bicycle/Pedestrian vs. Semi-Truck Accident
These are some of the worst accidents that can happen because a bicycle or pedestrian is no match for a big rig and will be lucky to survive the accident. More than 6,000 pedestrians die every year in road accidents. There are many pedestrian and bicycle laws all riders and drivers are supposed to follow, including truck drivers, so make sure you educate yourself before an accident like this happens.
Bus vs. Semi-Truck Accident
Have you ever noticed how many buses we have on the road here in Louisiana? You’ll see school buses, city buses, tour buses, shuttle buses, and more. In a bus vs. vehicle accident, you’ll need to track down who owns the bus line and who insures it. Your lawyer can help you navigate this process.
Chain Reaction Semi-Truck Collision
A chain reaction semi-truck collision is a complex traffic accident that involves numerous vehicles including at least one truck. It can be difficult to establish who set off the accident and who you should pursue for compensation. On a positive note, however, trucking companies are required to keep extensive logs and video footage that could help your case.
Commercial Semi-Truck Accident
Commercial vehicles are owned and operated by businesses and are everywhere on Louisiana’s roads. You should know that commercial truck drivers are generally held to a higher standard of safe driving than other drivers on the road, which could be good for your accident claim. They may owe you a certain duty of care.
Drunk or Distracted Driving Semi-Truck Accident
Distracted driving and drunk driving are huge problems here in Louisiana. Almost one-third of all Louisiana road accidents involve alcohol, and more than 200 deaths every year in the state occur due to drunk driving. You may have a strong case against a drunk or distracted driver who failed to operate their vehicle safely and harmed you.
Head-on Semi-Truck Collision
When two vehicles’ front ends collide, the outcome is a major crash – especially when a truck is involved. These accidents are most common on rural highways without center dividers/medians, but they can happen anywhere.
Hit-and-Run Semi-Truck Accident
Louisiana has one of the nation’s highest rates of hit-and-run accidents. If the other driver flees the scene of the accident, don’t give up on your accident claim. Your lawyer might be able to track down the hit-and-run driver and hold them accountable or find other paths to compensation.
Motorcycle vs. Semi-Truck Accident
Motorcycle vs. truck crashes represent less than 1% of all accidents in Louisiana, but they’re more likely to involve fatalities and severe injuries. If your crash involves both a truck and a motorcycle, there’s a high likelihood that you have serious injuries and high medical bills that call for accident compensation.
The rear driver isn’t automatically at fault in a rear-end truck crash, although rear drivers are often found to be at fault. It depends on what happened, so please talk to your lawyer about the circumstances of your crash and learn more about your options.
The powerful destructive forces of crashes can cause big rig truck rollovers. There’s a high rate of fatalities and severe injuries in crashes that involve rollovers, especially those that occur at high speeds on Louisiana’s highways.
Common causes of semi-truck-involved sideswipes include tailgating, riding in a truck’s blind spot, distracted driving, drunk driving, poorly-marked roadways and construction zones, merging failures, and weather-related low visibility.
T-bones happen when two vehicles collide at 90-degree angles. Semi-trucks can burst open or rollover when t-bones happen, causing them to lose their loads and potentially cause even more destruction on the road.
Common Injuries Sustained from a Semi-Truck Accident
Common semi-truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries including whiplash
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Limb injuries and injuries to the feet and hands
- Permanent or temporary paralysis
- Crushing injuries
- Chronic pain, numbness, and tingling
- Emotional damage
Reasons Semi-Truck Accidents Happen in Louisiana
Some of Louisiana’s most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Inexperienced/underqualified truck drivers
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Reckless driving
- Road rage
- Driving without a license
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Drowsy driving due to long hours on the road
- Truck maintenance/equipment failures
- Truckers’ driving devices and navigation technology
- Bad weather/visibility
- Poor road surfaces
Determining Liability in Semi-Truck Accidents
Generally speaking, Louisiana law requires drivers to take reasonable and prudent caution while driving. As professional drivers, truck drivers are held to an even higher standard of keeping others safe on the road.
After the accident, it will be important to establish the sequence of events in the crash and how the truck driver was involved. Federal and state agencies track truck accidents and their causes. If the trucking company failed to maintain the vehicle and this contributed to the accident, the company and its insurance provider could be held responsible for paying the costs.
In some cases, there’s more than one cause of a truck accident. Two different drivers could have made mistakes at the same time or multiple truck drivers could have been involved. You might not even know what happened because you simply woke up in the hospital, severely injured in the accident.
A Louisiana truck accident lawyer can help you investigate what happened and determine who might be liable. They can help you organize vital evidence, like your medical records, the police report, witness statements, and video footage from nearby businesses. This strengthens your case for valuable compensation.
Compensation for Louisiana Semi-Truck Accident Victims
Louisiana has a higher rate of fatal crashes than the national average, plus a higher average cost of insured truck accident losses than the rest of the U.S. That means if you’re ever in a truck accident in Louisiana, you’re more likely to be dealing with a severe accident that brings extremely high costs.
After a truck accident, you could be facing months of recovery time, plus expensive medical bills, lost paychecks, and deep emotional trauma from the stress of the accident. You deserve to be compensated for your losses.
Louisiana semi-truck accident compensation may include:
- Lost wages from time off work to recover
- Diminished earning capacity due to the accident
- Existing medical bills
- Medical bills for ongoing treatment and physical therapy
- The cost of your medications, ointments, wraps, and crutches
- Household accommodations when you’re permanently or temporarily disabled
- Vehicle repairs or vehicle replacement if it’s totaled
- Emotional injuries, including pain and suffering
- In some cases, punitive damages
- Wrongful death damages
Put a proper and full value on your damages and don’t underestimate the wide-ranging impact on your life. Pain and suffering damages often comprise a significant part of high-value claims, yet most people can’t calculate this aspect without the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Federal and State Trucking Rules You Should Know
Below is an overview of some of the most common laws that impact truck accident cases.
DOT and FMCSA
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has rules for truckers that promote truck driving safety and the safety of others on the road. For example, truckers are required to stop at DOT inspection sites to have their loads weighed and examined.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all interstate trucking with stringent rules and regulations truckers must follow. This includes rules about the weights of trucks, proper equipment, driving rules, driving hours, and much more.
- Limits on total hours of service to prevent drowsy driving
- Rules about taking periodic breaks to rest and recharge
- Special rules that apply to adverse driving conditions
- Regulations for short hauls vs. long hauls
- Weight limits for trucks and loads
- Proper loading rules
- Equipment/maintenance rules
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Hazmat (hazardous material) rules
- Vehicle design, lights, and markings
- Pre-employment testing and post-accident testing
- Retention of driving and performance records
- Commercial drivers’ licenses, endorsements, and restrictions
Louisiana Comparative Fault Rule
You might be surprised to learn about Louisiana’s comparative fault rule that applies to all accidents including truck accidents. It means fault will be assigned to each driver/party as a percentage of 100% and you can still recover money even if you hold part of the blame. Your award is reduced by your share of responsibility and the other party could be ordered to pay the remaining damages.
Louisiana Fault-Based Insurance
Louisiana uses fault-based insurance laws that rely on determining who was at fault or how fault should be divided. This includes truck company insurance and all trucking companies must hold a minimum level of insurance that will be used to pay claims. This is why trucking companies hold huge insurance policies that can pay upwards of $100,000 or even up to $1 million.
Louisiana Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations sets a limited timeframe to file a lawsuit over a Louisiana truck accident. Generally speaking, this deadline is within one year from the date of the accident. Don’t wait too long, or you could lose your chance to claim accident compensation under the law.
How a Louisiana Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
When you have a truck accident lawyer on your side, it comes as a huge relief at a stressful time. Your lawyer can assess your accident, help you understand the laws that apply to your case, and guide you through the process to compensation.
This prevents you from making mistakes and wasting your time on options that are unlikely to be successful. Plus, your lawyer gives you the best possible chance of making a full recovery from the wide-ranging impact of a truck accident and the damage to you physically, emotionally, and financially.
At Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, we offer services like:
- Calculating your truck accident claim’s total value
- Explaining your options and the best routes to compensation
- Establishing who was at fault in your accident
- Reviewing the existing evidence and locating more compelling evidence
- Documenting your claims, organizing your case, and keeping things moving
- Making sure you don’t miss vital legal deadlines
- Negotiating with difficult people and insurance representatives
- Protecting your legal rights after a truck accident
Be careful as you interact with the insurance company because they’re not your friend after a truck accident. Their goal is to completely deny your claim or pay a minimal amount. It takes the help of an experienced lawyer to show them you deserve much more than the minimum. We’ll look out for your best interests while maximizing your compensation.
We have a strong track history of securing high-value compensation for our injured truck accident clients. To discuss your Louisiana truck accident claim, contact Lunsford, Baskin, & Priebe, PLLC online for a free consultation or call 504-302-4131.