A semi-truck is composed of a truck and a trailer. These massive commercial vehicles are also referred to as tractor-trailers, big rigs, and 18-wheelers. Semis can carry a large amount of freight and are extremely dangerous when they collide with other vehicles.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a devastating collision involving a semi, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. Don’t rely on the other party’s insurance company for fair compensation.
Call our attorneys today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Lafayette semi-truck lawyer.
Semi-Trucks Can Have a Devastating Effect
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) outlines the regulations for semi-truck weight limits, setting the maximum vehicle weight for freight trucks at 80,000 pounds. In comparison, the average passenger car weighs 4,000 pounds.
Reasons Commercial Trucks Are So Dangerous
The massive weight and size difference between large semi-trucks and small passenger vehicles presents multiple dangers to those sharing Louisiana roadways for several reasons:
- Freight truck drivers often travel long distances spanning many hours and are more susceptible to drowsy driving.
- The sheer weight and mass of semi-trucks, which can weigh tens of thousands of pounds, make them more difficult to stop.
- These large trucks can be more difficult to maneuver at high speeds, especially on winding roads with poor visibility.
- The weight of a semi allows it to inflict more damage than a lighter vehicle.
- Issues with overloading, poorly secured cargo, or improperly positioned cargo can lead to rollovers, lost loads, and other concerns.
- Truck drivers may take risks to meet tight deadlines under pressure from their employers.
A Semi-Truck Driver’s Responsibility
These risk factors mean that semi-truck drivers must be vigilant to ensure they do not put other motorists and passengers at risk of injury or death.
Unfortunately, truck drivers aren’t always as careful as they should be. According to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 87% of crashes involving large trucks were due to driver error or inattentiveness.
For a free legal consultation with a semi-truck accident lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 777-7777
Commercial Truck Drivers Are Often Negligent
Semi-truck drivers drive for a living, yet despite their experience, they are susceptible to distraction, carelessness, and negligence. Like all drivers, truck drivers can fall into the trap of distracted driving. Common forms of distracted driving that may qualify as negligence include the following:
- Engaging in a phone-related activity, such as checking social media or looking too long at a navigation app
- Making a phone call or texting
- Adjusting the truck’s entertainment system
- Averting attention from the road to deal with freight-related communications or activities
- Tending to children, pets, or other co-occupants of the truck
- Taking their hands off the wheel or losing focus on driving for any reason
All drivers should refrain from succumbing to distracted driving practices. When they fail to do so, they could be on the hook for any injuries, damage, or death resulting from an accident.
Other Negligent Practices
Other factors that contribute to commercial truck accidents in Lafayette include:
- Drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs, whether illicit, prescription, or over the counter
- Speeding or other reckless behavior
- Operating a commercial vehicle without adequate training for the type of truck, route, or cargo
Lafayette Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me (337) 777-7777
Truck Accident Injuries
Head injuries are the most common injuries sustained in car and truck accidents. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about half of all fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes involve a head injury.
When a victim’s head hits hard objects such as the windshield, doors, windows, or steering wheel, there is a risk of sustaining a brain injury. These injuries range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, also called traumatic brain injury (TBI). Spinal cord injuries can be equally devastating.
The Trucking Company Is Often Liable for Semi-Truck Collisions
Louisiana recognizes “respondeat superior” under Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2320. This law can significantly affect a semi-truck accident claim because it generally makes the truck driver’s employer vicariously liable for any negligent actions drivers commit in the course of their employment.
In other words, as long as the driver was on the clock and working within the scope of their job, the trucking company is legally responsible for any accident injuries.
To this end, our truck accident attorneys often file claims based on trucking companies’ insurance policies. We can hold the truck driver and their employer accountable in almost every case where the trucker’s negligence caused the accident and injuries.
Ways Truck Companies Can Be Negligent
We can build an even stronger case against a trucking company if there is evidence to show they acted negligently in another way. This could include:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Wrongful retention of an unqualified driver
- Inadequate truck maintenance or repair
- Improper loading
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A Lawyer Can Help You Obtain Justice
If you are recovering from an accident-induced injury or have lost a loved one to a fatal crash, allow one of our lawyers to pursue compensation on your behalf. Our team handles truck accident claims and lawsuits in Lafayette regularly.
We work based on contingency fees, asking our clients to pay us a percentage of the financial recovery we get for them. We never ask for payment upfront or charge hourly fees for our services. Some responsibilities that our personal injury lawyers can handle include the following:
- Ensuring that your case starts immediately by filing the appropriate paperwork with the courts
- Collecting evidence of the circumstances leading up to the accident or the accident itself, such as video footage, photos, witness accounts, and accident reports
- Consulting your doctor to obtain relevant medical records
- Fulfilling all necessary legal responsibilities in your case, from the initial meeting to the completion of a settlement or verdict
- Representing your interests throughout the litigation process
- Updating you as your case progresses
- Fighting for compensation in court (if we cannot reach an agreement)
Your attorney will also set out to prove that the defendant in your case acted negligently in causing or contributing to the accident. This step is critical in every traffic accident case. Proving negligence is vital because it is the only way to pursue damages and recover compensation.
Time Limit for Taking Legal Action in Louisiana
Most personal injury and wrongful death claims are governed by a statute of limitations, a period in which you must take legal action.
In Louisiana, the time limit for filing personal injury claims is generally one year from the accident date. This deadline is outlined in Art. 3492 of the Louisiana Civil Code. In wrongful death cases, you have one year from the decedent’s death under Art. 2315.2.
There are exceptions to these deadlines, so contact a lawyer regardless of how much time has passed since the accident. That said, we need to get to work as soon as possible after a crash to ensure we can preserve any evidence the trucking company has in its possession.
Possible Compensation in a Semi-Truck Accident Claim
When a semi-truck is involved in an accident, more than one party may owe you compensation, such as the driver and trucking company. Your Lafayette semi-truck lawyer will help you decide which defendants to name in your compensation claim.
Please understand that every claim is different, and compensation varies accordingly. That said, recoverable damages could include the following:
- Medical expenses for accident-related injuries
- Future care and treatment for your injuries
- Lost wages or diminished earning capacity resulting from your injuries
- Property damages, such as car repairs
- Pain and suffering
Wrongful Death Cases
We would extend our deepest condolences if your loved one died in a truck crash. While nothing can ever make up for your loss, a wrongful death claim may cover the following damages:
- Loss of family income resulting from your loved one’s death
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of guidance for the children of the deceased
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
In some situations, we may pursue other forms of compensation, including punitive damages.
Call Our Lafayette Truck Accident Lawyers Today
You’ve been through enough hardship after an accident with a semi-truck. Allow a lawyer from Laborde Earles to remove the burden of pursuing compensation from your shoulders. Our semi-truck accident lawyers will review your options in our initial consultation, which is always free.
Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation with one of our Lafayette semi-truck lawyers.