Helping Victims of Semi-Truck Accidents in Baton Rouge
According to the most current statistics from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there are nearly 500,000 large truck accidents each year. More than 5000 cause fatalities, and more than 100,000 cause serious and life altering injuries. If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck accident, an experienced Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer will help you obtain justice and recover the compensation you will need to cover your medical expenses, make up for lost wages and income, and for your pain and suffering.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Baton Rouge
Truck drivers are human, just like all of us that drive vehicles every day. However, the consequences become more dangerous when they put themselves behind the wheel of a large truck or 18-wheeler. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Improper loading or overloading
- Driver errors
- Hazardous road conditions; and
Equipment problems can also cause a truck accident, whether it’s a failure of the vehicle’s parts or poor maintenance. Experience level and training also influence a truck driver’s reaction to situations which can also cause serious accidents.
Federal and State Trucking Laws
What makes a truck accident different from a car accident is that the trucking industry is heavily regulated at the federal and state levels. Through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal government has enacted several regulations that apply to commercial motor vehicles that operate in interstate commerce.
These regulations cover a variety of things, from driver qualification requirements to hours-of-service limitations that limit how long drivers can drive. There are also regulations on the maintenance and inspection of vehicles, drug and alcohol testing, and many other safety-related topics.
Anytime somebody is involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it’s very important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who:
- Has handled many truck accident cases before
- Knows federal and state trucking regulations
- Can evaluate whether any trucking industry regulations apply
- Can determine if any regulations have been violated
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Injuries commonly sustained in truck accidents are as follows:
- Amputation and loss of limb
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Whiplash and soft tissue injuries
- Scarring and abrasions
- Wrongful death
Some injuries don’t manifest until well after the accident. However, if the injured party waits too long to seek medical attention for an injury, they may be unable to pursue legal compensation for the medical care needed to treat the injury. That is why truck accident victims need to get checked out by a doctor even if they feel fine, then retain the services of a truck accident lawyer who can help preserve their right to compensation for their injuries.
What To Do After a Truck Accident in Baton Rouge
After an accident with a large truck or commercial vehicle, victims should keep these steps in mind to protect themselves physically and legally:
- Remain at the scene of the accident – Leaving the scene for any reason before authorities arrive could jeopardize the evidence for your case or even be viewed as a hit-and-run.
- Call Emergency Services – Dialing 911 is the safest choice whenever a serious accident with another vehicle occurs, especially with large trucks and commercial vehicles.
- Call the police – Police are typically dispatched with a 911 call. But even if emergency services are not required, the police should still be called to create a police report and assist with gathering accounts from witnesses.
- Take photos, videos, and audio recordings – If you can, record images and video of the damage to all vehicles, the location, and the skid marks or damage on the road. Every detail captured could help prove liability in the case.
- Exchange information – Be sure to gather important details of the other drivers involved and any witnesses. Be sure to collect names, contact information, vehicle registration information, insurance coverage details, and physical descriptions of the vehicles involved.
- Avoid making statements of any kind before seeking legal advice – It is essential to wait to give a formal written or spoken statement until after consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Baton Rouge.
- Seek medical attention, attend all medical appointments, and follow the doctor’s advice – A failure to seek prompt medical attention or attend doctor appointments could give the appearance that the victim is not as badly injured as they claim.
- Consult with a Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer – An attorney who specializes in truck accident cases can:
- Help collect evidence
- Advance all the financial costs for the case
- Attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the opposing insurance companies
- File a lawsuit if necessary; and
- Assist with recovering the compensation for a truck accident victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
Who Can Be Liable for a Truck Accident?
When a person is negligently injured or killed in a truck accident, the obvious parties that may be liable for the accident are:
- The driver; and
- The trucking company.
However, if the analysis of liability ends there, key players in the arrangement that led to that truck being on the road may be overlooked. Other parties that may be held liable for a truck accident include:
- The shipper and loader
- The truck or parts manufacturer
- The government agency or contractor (responsible for the road’s design, construction, maintenance, etc.)
The most effective way to determine who is liable for a truck accident is to hire a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of the case law involving truck accidents. The right lawyer will then hire transportation experts, accident investigators, and other experts who can help establish liability for the accident.
Evidence Needed for a Baton Rouge Truck Accident Lawsuit
Preserving evidence after a truck accident is critical. The required evidence may include something as simple as the telephone numbers of witnesses or photographs of the vehicles. Or it can be as complex as downloaded data from the truck’s electronic control module or black box.
Photographs or videos of injuries is evidence. In addition, dashboard cameras, audio recordings, and blood or breath test results must all be gathered. Furthermore, in cases involving a defective product claim against an automobile manufacturer, the vehicle itself needs to be preserved so that it might be reviewed by an engineer.
Federal regulations require truck drivers and companies that employ them to maintain many different types of records:
- Driver logs
- Driver qualification files
- Driver employment applications
- Maintenance records
- Electronic control module (black box) data
Many of these records are only required to be maintained for specific periods of time, after which they may be destroyed. Therefore, a thorough investigation of the accident must be performed before any crucial evidence is lost, tampered with, or destroyed.
Damages Recoverable After a Baton Rouge Truck Accident
The types of compensation recoverable after a truck accident are divided into three categories:
Economic damages are compensation for medical bills, likely future medical expenses, any income the victim lost while healing from their accident-related injuries, and vehicle repair/replacement costs. The victim may also be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity if their injuries will impact their ability to earn money in the future.
Non-economic damages are compensation for harms and losses, like loss of full function of the body or mind, physical or mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, and scarring and disfigurement.
Punitive damages are meant to punish wrongdoers for wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others. Punitive damages are only awarded in Louisiana in very limited situations, such as in cases where the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Moreover, punitive damages are typically only possible if the case goes to trial and a verdict is won in the plaintiff’s favor.
Why Hire a Baton Rouge Truck Accident Lawyer?
The truck accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier are well-versed in how to handle truck accident cases from start to finish. We have the resources to battle trucking companies, and we consult with experts, use specialized investigators, analyze the truck’s black box data recorder, and review driving logs so that liability can be established.
Our lawyers are familiar with the federal and state regulations that truck drivers and the companies that employ them must follow. Furthermore, we understand how important it is to consult with qualified experts to document the totality of loss, including future medical bills and future lost income.
Call Dudley DeBosier Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident, call Dudley DeBosier to consult with an experienced truck accident lawyer, Baton Rouge residents trust. We begin by evaluating your case at no charge and if we choose to move forward, we will investigate your truck accident case and assist you and your family with recovering the compensation you deserve.
At Dudley DeBosier, every prospective plaintiff gets a free case assessment. We treat our clients as if they are family – with respect and compassion. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.