18-WHEELER TRUCK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Shreveport 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
The damages are catastrophic in a collision involving an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle. That’s because an 18-wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds fully loaded, while the average passenger vehicle weighs about 3,000 pounds. Occupants in passenger cars often receive severe and life-threatening injuries in Louisiana 18-wheeler accidents, and recovery for victims is a long process.
These accidents are complex and challenging for all involved for many reasons, including the comprehensive insurance policies, high amounts of damages, and multiple parties that may be included in the claim. As a result, it’s vital that you get guidance from a seasoned Louisiana 18-wheeler truck accident attorney familiar with all the factors and elements of tractor-trailer wrecks.
The Greenwald Law Firm offers free consultations for our potential clients, so please contact our Shreveport-based law office right away if you’ve been involved in a wreck with a big rig. As soon as you establish your attorney-client relationship with us, our skilled legal team will get straight to work on a successful outcome in your case.
Common Truck and 18-Wheeler Accidents
Nearly 13% of motor vehicle traffic on U.S. roads are large commercial trucks. This includes 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks. Due to their sheer size, these vehicles pose a serious hazard to other motorists, and most crashes involve devastating consequences.
The most common types of truck accident cases include:
18-Wheeler Jackknife Accidents
When a trailer slides around in the opposite direction of the cab, this is what is known as a jackknife accident. There isn’t much a trucker can do to control their rig when this happens. The sliding trailer is particularly dangerous in these accidents because the momentum pulls it into the path of other vehicles, structures, and even pedestrians.
Truck Rollover Accidents
Semi-trucks have a high center of gravity, so it’s common to roll over in a wreck. A commercial truck weighs 40 times more than the average passenger car, so the occupants are more likely to be badly hurt or killed if the truck rolls on their vehicle. This type of accident is likely caused by a truck driver failing to slow at a curve, cargo being improperly loaded or unbalanced, or the rig’s brakes being poorly maintained. Fatigued, distracted, or inattentive drivers are also contributing factors to rollover accidents in Louisiana.
When a tire blows out, it may force a big rig into the path of other vehicles. Other motorists may lose control of their cars and be hurt or killed trying to avoid colliding with the tractor-trailer or swerving around flying pieces of shredded tire. Tire blowouts are usually the result of neglected tire maintenance. Trucking companies must regularly inspect and maintain their vehicles and tires per federal safety regulations.
Nearly one-third of all 18-wheeler crashes with smaller cars happen because the car gets in the truck’s blind spot, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Big rigs have bigger blind spots because of their long trailers. They may hit, crush, or run other vehicles off the road when making turns or changing lanes if they can’t see nearby cars.
An 18-wheeler needs 20 to 40% more space to come to a complete stop than smaller passenger vehicles. Rear-end crashes frequently happen when truck drivers follow too closely, are tired or distracted, don’t ensure brakes work properly, or break the speed limit. This type of accident also happens in work zones with stop-and-go traffic or when trucks can’t slow down quickly enough to avoid another car accident on the road.
Underride Truck Accidents
Big rigs sit up much higher than most vehicles traveling near them. If a truck stops suddenly, smaller autos may slide under the rig and become stuck. Because of this hazard, federal trucking regulations require all trucks to have reflective red and white patterned tape on the backs and sides to ensure visibility. They must also have rear guards. Most underride accidents happen when a truck lacks or has outdated rear guards. Missing or defective taillights or reflective tape is another contributing factor.
T-bone truck crashes occur when a truck runs a stop sign or a red light and hits the side of another vehicle. T-bone accidents can also happen if a trucker drives while impaired, doesn’t make sure it’s safe to turn, or doesn’t yield the right of way. People inside vehicles T-boned by big trucks typically suffer severe or deadly injuries.
What Are the Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents?
18-wheeler drivers follow rules and regulations that are specifically for commercial vehicles in addition to the rules and laws that all other drivers follow. The FMCSA reports the following as the most common traffic law violations leading to big rig wrecks:
Fatigued Truck Drivers
Federal regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers may spend driving. If a driver spends too many hours behind the wheel and becomes fatigued, serious injuries and even devastating and fatal mistakes may occur.
Talking, browsing the internet, and texting while driving are all common distracted driving hazards for all vehicles. However, add to that an 18-wheeler loaded with cargo, and it is a disaster waiting to happen.
Many truck drivers get paid for their speedy deliveries, so they may engage in risky road behaviors to shorten their delivery times. This includes speeding, erratic driving in poor weather conditions, frequent lane changes, and tailgating.
Driving While Impaired
Although driving under the influence is highly illegal, drunk driving is still a common cause of many car accidents. Truck drivers using drugs or alcohol while driving are more likely to cause fatal large truck accidents.
Trucking Company Negligence
When trucking companies don’t keep their vehicles and equipment properly maintained, it may cause the large commercial truck to break down and cause an accident. Bad brakes, worn tires, and poorly serviced commercial trucks lead to accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
It should go without saying, but a massive truck like an 18-wheeler is much more complicated to drive than the average car. Poor weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, and ice make it even harder. These weather conditions may lower visibility or even cause a truck to slide and potentially cause a jackknife accident.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
If cargo is improperly loaded, it may shift and force the driver to lose control of the truck. Shipping companies must ensure that all cargo is adequately secured when loaded onto a tractor-trailer.
What Are Common 18 Wheeler Injuries?
Injuries of truck accident victims are similar to those in other automobile crashes. However, the size and weight of commercial motor vehicles increase the severity of injuries and potential fatalities. As such, many semi-truck accidents lead to serious and catastrophic injuries that can change the course of the victim’s life forever.
Liability in Louisiana 18-Wheeler Accidents
Multiple parties are typically involved in truck crash cases, including commercial truck drivers, employers, the trucking company, cargo loading companies, maintenance companies, and even other drivers on the road.
If truck drivers engage in unsafe driving practices, such as texting and driving, for example, they may be solely liable. Truck companies or other third parties, such as manufacturers, may hold liability when poor maintenance or a manufacturing defect causes or contributes to these truck collisions. In other cases, multiple parties may share liability. For example, if the truck company makes a truck driver operate their vehicle for more hours in one day than allowed by the FMCSA, both the company and the driver may be responsible.
The Shreveport truck accident lawyers at Greenwald Law Firm have extensive knowledge about Louisiana motor vehicle safety laws and regulations as well as a proven track record representing truck accident lawsuits. Our personal injury lawyers will thoroughly assess the potential liability of all involved parties using evidence and various legal resources to obtain the best possible outcome for your Louisiana 18-wheeler accident claim.
What Is Needed to Prove Negligence in a Shreveport Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident attorneys generally assess liability in a semi-truck accident (or any motor vehicle accident) using the standard of negligence. This is used to determine which driver is liable in an accident that caused the personal injury.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can be a benefit when the insurance company of large trucking companies disputes liability.
The court typically uses four factors when determining negligence, including:
- Duty of Care – Operating the truck safely and reasonably was the truck driver’s duty to the accident victim.
- Breach of Duty – When the truck driver did not conduct themselves safely and reasonably, they breached that duty.
- Causation – The victim’s injuries were directly caused by the driver’s breach of duty.
- Damages – The victim’s injuries caused damages such as lost wages or medical costs.
What Is the Average Truck Accident Settlement Amount?
Louisiana’s law allows a truck accident victim to seek damages after suffering severe injuries in motor vehicle accidents. However, estimating an average settlement amount on any case is difficult because each case is unique with different factors and circumstances influencing it. The combination of economic and non-economic damages and the severity of injuries impact settlements and court awards significantly.
Since catastrophic injuries are common in a large truck crash, settlements and awards for truck accidents are generally greater than those for wrecks between passenger vehicles. There is generally no “average” settlement amount or even an average truck case, as 18-wheeler accident payouts can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars or more.
The costs of these crashes are so high that the FMCSA requires that most trucking companies or owners carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage. Even then, many severe trucking accidents exceed the average settlement amount. In these cases, the accident damages might meet or exceed the policy limits of the trucker’s insurance company. This can leave the victim severely under-compensated, which makes it even more important to seek help from an experienced and dedicated 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Shreveport. Legal professionals who are well-versed in the nuances of a personal injury lawsuit, like those at Greenwald Law Firm, know how to properly investigate the accident and determine who can be held liable for the crash, as well as what damages are appropriate for the victim.
Common 18-wheeler accident damages include:
- Current medical treatment costs
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Disfigurement, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages
Free Consultation With an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Shreveport, LA
After a wreck with an 18-wheeler, you need the legal assistance of someone with an extensive background in Louisiana personal injury law as well as a vast knowledge of the trucking industry and large truck accident claims. Fortunately, the 18-wheeler accident lawyers at the Greenwald Law Firm are here to help. Attorney Greenwald represents your truck accident case while you heal from your terrifying experience.
We know that many accident victims need solid legal representation when batting with large insurance companies over truck accident claims. That’s why we work hard to get you the financial compensation you deserve for your severe injuries.
Call for a free case review with our Shreveport 18-wheeler accident lawyer at (318) 219-7867 and more information about your claim. We will gladly sit down with you and discuss your legal options, as well as answer any questions like how long does it take to get a settlement from a car accident, for example.
In addition to 18-wheeler accident cases, our firm also handles a range of other legal issues. These include Shreveport criminal defense, Shreveport oil field accidents, Shreveport dog bites/animal attacks, Shreveport slips and falls, and more. Call or complete our online intake form today to schedule your free consultation.