How a New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney from Bloom Legal Can Help You
Accidents involving large trucks and tractor-trailers are some of the most catastrophic that occur on the roads and highways of Louisiana. It is not hard to understand why. Trucks are much taller and heavier than passenger cars. While most vehicles weigh an average of 3,000 to 5,000 pounds, the law allows trucks and tractor trailers to weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Trucks have more momentum and strike with more force, leaving victims of truck collisions with serious and often fatal injuries. Without the help of a New Orleans truck accident attorney, it may be impossible to recover all of the compensation you need to survive and recover.
But the enormous size of trucks and the extent of the devastation they cause are not the only things that distinguish truck accidents from accidents only involving passenger vehicles. Truck accident lawsuits are often much more complex than car accident suits. They involve a web of detailed federal and state regulations, multiple parties who may be liable and who may be located in far-flung jurisdictions, and trucking companies who may try to cover-up their negligent or illegal acts.
To make matters even worse, many of the deaths and injuries from trucking accidents aren’t the result of unforeseeable or random occurrences. Rather, these tragic incidents are often caused by simple greed and the economic pressures of the trucking industry, which can and do tempt companies and their drivers to ignore safety rules and cut corners to save a few pennies at the expense of our safety.
At Bloom Legal, we understand how difficult every day can be after an accident involving a tractor-trailer. We work closely with those who have suffered because of negligent truckers and trucking companies to get them the compensation they need and the justice they deserve. You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress or wrongful death compensation. Your experienced and compassionate New Orleans truck accident attorney from Bloom Legal can evaluate your case and help you to get the money you need.
Causes and Types of Truck Accidents in Louisiana
Trucks get into accidents in New Orleans and elsewhere for many of the same reasons passenger vehicles do. However, many tractor-trailer accidents involve failures – often intentional – to comply with federal safety regulations put in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of such accidents.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Overloaded tractor-trailers
- Hours of service violations
- Driver distraction
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Defective equipment, such as brakes and tires
- Unlicensed and untrained drivers
- Falsified log records
- Failure to inspect and maintain
- Road rage
Many of the foregoing causes of truck accidents involve acts or omissions by the truck driver. But a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that approximately 10% of all crashes involving large trucks were caused primarily by problems with the trucks themselves. Many of those problems and the accidents they cause could have been avoided if the trucks had been properly inspected, maintained, and repaired.
As set forth in the study, the most common mechanical and vehicle problems found in big-rig crashes included:
- Tire/wheel failure
- Brake failure
- Steering failure
- Cargo shift
- Trailer attachment failure
- Suspension failure
- Body, door, or hood failure
- Degraded braking capability
- Transmission/engine failure
When a driver loses control of their enormous vehicle – often full of tons of cargo and large amounts of flammable fuel – there are multiple ways that vehicle can cause havoc on the highway and destroy the cars and people near them, including:
- Rollover accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Underride accidents
- Explosions of flammable cargo or fuel
Truck Accident Injuries and Losses
Our New Orleans truck accident lawyers know that the seconds after a truck accident are often the beginning of years or decades of recovery from catastrophic injuries. Rare is the truck accident that leaves drivers and passengers of nearby vehicles with just a few bruises or scrapes. Death and serious injuries are more likely to follow in the wake of an 18-wheeler accident, including such life-changing injuries as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Organ damage
Serious big-rig accident injuries may never fully heal and life may never return to what it once was. Multiple surgeries, long-term hospitalization and treatments, and years of physical or occupational rehabilitation can cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and strain the emotional and psychological capacity of even the strongest families. Add lost income, mounting expenses, and the challenges of adapting to a changed life and you have families which need all the help and support they can get to make it through such an overwhelming ordeal.
Our New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney Explains Your Rights After an Accident
After a truck accident, you can pursue a claim for compensation if you can prove that the trucker was negligent or violated safety laws. Particular rules established by the FMCSA apply only to truckers. For example, the law imposes limits on how many hours a trucker can drive per day and per week in order to prevent drowsy driving collisions. If the trucker has violated any FMCSA regulations, you can use these violations to create the presumption he was negligent, making it easier for you to make a successful car accident claim.
You have the option to sue the driver and you may also pursue a claim against a defendant with deeper pockets such as the driver’s employer. Trucking companies can be liable if the company is negligent in any way, such as failing to properly screen drivers. Truckers also act on behalf of their employers, which means a trucking company can be held responsible for the negligent or careless actions of its employee on the job.
Our New Orleans Truck Accident Lawyers Don’t Let Trucking Companies Run Away from The Consequences of Their Negligence
As noted, many truck accident injuries or deaths are directly attributable to violations of important and life-saving safety regulations. When truckers and trucking companies are caught violating these rules, even if no one has been hurt or killed as a result, they can be hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and other sanctions that cut into their profits and could ultimately destroy their business.
When accidents do happen, those safety violations can also be key evidence of negligence in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits which could lead to millions of dollars in judgments. Given the enormous financial downside of getting caught violating federal regulations, drivers and trucking companies can engage in unscrupulous and fraudulent efforts to cover up these transgressions and hide the true extent of their negligent or illegal conduct.
As experienced New Orleans truck accident attorneys, we know the tricks carriers and drivers use to avoid responsibility for their actions. At Bloom Legal, we are relentless in our efforts to uncover the truth and expose the dangerous conduct which has led to unimaginable pain and tragedy for our clients.
We have the insight and tenacity to reveal such underhanded efforts at dodging responsibility as:
- Falsifying Records
Drivers make more money the longer they stay behind the wheel. Their employers make more money when their drivers make as many deliveries as possible as quickly as possible. When those trucks are in the shop instead of on the road, that costs trucking companies dollars as well. As a result, drivers, encouraged by their bosses, may stay on the road for dangerously long times or tucks may skip required inspection or maintenance in violation of FMCSA regulations.
Federal law requires drivers and trucking companies in New Orleans and elsewhere in the U.S. to keep and maintain log books and other documents which reflect, among other things:
- Driver qualifications
- Driver training
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Driver work hours
- Truck inspection, maintenance, and repairs
But these records can be easily altered, forged, or falsified to hide violations and make it appear that that the driver and carrier is compliant. Ypur New Orleans truck accident attorney will dig deep to find the reality behind such falsified records so that companies are held accountable for both the crime and the cover-up.
- “Chameleon” Trucking Companies
Chameleons are known for their ability to hide from those seeking to find them and cause them harm. Similarly, so-called “chameleon” companies are a way carriers try to avoid responsibility for their negligence.
If a trucking company gets into too much trouble with FMCSA regulators because of repeated safety violations or a large number of accidents, the federal government can shut them down. Huge personal injury or wrongful death judgments can bankrupt these companies as well.
Unfortunately, trucking company executives know that they can often avoid or recover from such sanctions through something as simple as changing their company name, getting a new FMCSA license number, or even keeping their trucks on the road despite what the regulators say.
Unsurprisingly, these “chameleon” companies are some of the most dangerous on the road. According to one study, they are three times more likely to be involved in serious collisions, and during one five-year period, these shell companies were involved in accidents that injured 3,500 people and killed 217.
Why You Need a New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney
All of these ways to falsify evidence and hide behind bogus corporate structures are designed to thwart efforts to hold negligent trucking companies and drivers responsible for the injuries and deaths they cause. That is why it is so important to have a truck accident lawyer who understands these tactics and can reveal the truth.
At Bloom Legal, our New Orleans truck accident lawyers know that justice often doesn’t come easy and that trucking companies and their insurers will not go down without a fight. That is why we fight so hard for our clients. That is why our efforts will not stop until we have obtained the maximum amount of compensation available for individuals and families living in the aftermath of a truck accident.
Truck accident claims may settle outside of court if the driver and trucking company accept fault and make a reasonable settlement offer. Do not sign any settlement documents or paperwork until you have spoken to a New Orleans truck accident attorney about whether the settlement is fair and reasonable under the circumstances.
If your case does not settle, you must convince a jury that the trucker and/or trucking company was at fault for your losses and damages. Your accident may have occurred in a different state than where they trucking company is headquartered. This can complicate your case, as you and your attorney must determine which court to pursue your claim in. Your attorney can advise you and help you file suit by persuading a judge or jury that you are entitled to full monetary compensation for losses the collision caused.
Our New Orleans Truck Accident Law Firm Answers Some Commonly-Asked Questions
After a truck accident, it’s not uncommon to have several questions for your New Orleans truck accident lawyer. It’s normal to be concerned about the costs of representation, insurance requirements and issues, and whether you’re entitled to recover damages after being involved in such an accident. Below, we answer some of the most common questions we receive from our clients.
What regulations do truck drivers need to follow?
Truck drivers and the trucking companies they work for must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, which are designed to keep everyone – including truckers – safe while on the road. These rules offer guidance regarding hours of service, truck weight limits, inspections and truck maintenance. In a nutshell, truck drivers cannot exceed a maximum number of hours driving, must make sure their cargo isn’t too heavy and must get routine inspections and maintenance.
If you were involved in a truck accident, the first thing your New Orleans truck accident lawyer will do is review the facts of your case to ensure that the driver was not in violation of these regulations; if they were, then you likely have a strong case.
I don’t have insurance. Will that be an issue in my truck accident claim?
Louisiana is a “no pay, no play” state. That means that those who are uninsured will not be able to receive the first $15,000 of their personal injury claim nor the first $25,000 of a property damage claim. However, you would still be able to receive compensation if your personal injury damages exceed that amount. So, for example, if a court awards you $100,000 in property and personal injury damages, you would only be able to recover $60,000 as a penalty for not having insurance.
Since trucking accidents are usually costly accidents that carry hefty personal injury damages, it’s likely that your case will still be worth pursuing, even if you don’t have insurance.
Should I speak with the truck driver’s insurance company?
You are not required to speak with the truck driver’s insurance company, nor would your New Orleans truck accident lawyer advise you to do so. However, an insurance adjuster may call and request more information and make a recorded statement, positioning their intent as friendly when in reality, they’re trying to trip you up or trick you. Remember, anything you say on a recorded line can and will be used against you in court. And while you might feel that the truth is on your side, you’d be amazed what lawyers can do to twist the facts to prove their case.
What will I gain from working with a New Orleans truck accident lawyer?
While there are a variety of attorneys who handle personal injury claims, you want to work with someone who has specific experience in navigating claims related to trucking accidents. With a specific set of rules that must be followed, hiring an experienced New Orleans truck accident lawyer at Bloom Legal is your best approach for getting what you want.
Call Bloom Legal Today to Discuss Your Case
At Bloom Legal, we have extensive experience with truck accident claims and are ready to put our legal knowledge and tireless work ethic up against truck drivers and companies determined to avoid responsibility for their negligence or wrongful conduct.
Please call the New Orleans truck accident lawyers at Bloom Legal today at 504-599-9997 or through our contact form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss the details of your case. We look forward to the privilege of serving you.
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Posted By: Sarah Perrie