Truck Accident Lawyers
Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers in Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield, Louisiana
Helping those who have been injured due to the fault of another in a commercial truck accident.
Commercial vehicles are usually much larger than private vehicles and can cause very serious accidents. A typical, fully loaded commercial truck (such as an 18-wheeler, big rig, or dump truck) can weigh 25 times as much as a typical car. Due to the basic laws of physics, big rig accidents often result in serious, or even fatal, injuries. These accidents can be worsened by hazardous or flammable freight that is sometimes carried by these commercial vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, it is critical that you obtain the help of experienced legal counsel. Truck drivers’ insurance policies are frequently equipped with millions of dollars, and several parties can be held vicariously liable for the accident at once. Having a Louisiana truck accident attorney—like those at Gordon & Gordon—on your side from the beginning can help ensure that your case is handled efficiently, professionally, and in a way that suits your best interest.
Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a commercial truck driver and you want to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve, you’ll need to prove that the driver, as well as any other parties involved, were negligent. It is your lawyer’s job to define the boundaries of the truck driver’s duty of care and further, to demonstrate that there was a breach of that duty. They must also prove that this breach of duty is what resulted in your injuries and related losses.
Because of the money that’s at stake in one of these trucking accidents, commercial haulers and their insurance companies hire professional investigators, expert witnesses, and attorneys who will work to strengthen their case and weaken a victim’s chance of recovery. With this in mind, it is essential for victims to seek their own personal injury attorney with the appropriate knowledge, experience, and resources to combat these large companies.
How Truck Accidents are Different from Car Accidents
There are a number of things that make a truck accident different from your average car accident. First and foremost, commercial freight trucks, sometimes known as big rigs, often weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. That makes them twenty times heavier than the typical passenger vehicle. That difference in size and weight can make truck wrecks, such as a Shreveport 18-wheeler accident, significantly more dangerous than a car accident in Shreveport. This results in increased property damage and much more severe, often life-altering injuries. It also markedly increases the risk of fatalities.
With more extensive injuries also comes more expensive medical bills. The time spent in a hospital after a truck accident is typically a lot longer than the time spent recovering from car accident injuries. Truck accident victims are often unable to return to work for an extended period of time, if at all.
Another thing that separates truck accidents from smaller vehicle accidents is the amount of coverage involved. Insurance coverage for commercial truck drivers is generally up to fifty times higher than those for regular drivers. As such, the average semi-truck accident settlement is typically very high. Because the total value of insurance often reaches the millions, you can guarantee that the providers mentioned in a case will do everything possible to minimize liability and the amount of payout. For example, providers often use devious techniques, like offering what appears to be a very large settlement so that you’re quick to agree and resolve the case, when in actuality, your case is worth much more. This is one of the many reasons why having an attorney present is so important when bringing a truck accident claim.
What Should I Do After a Truck Collision?
- Check for injuries.
Commercial truck accidents can be devastating. If you’ve been involved in one of these accidents, the first thing you need to do is assess yourself and other passengers with you, if any. If anyone has life-threatening or otherwise serious injuries, your next few steps can be critical. Unless you or another passenger are in a compromising position that remaining in might result in further injuries, it’s important that you stay put until medical help arrives. Attempting to move yourself or another person might actually worsen the injury. If you are able to, call for medical help immediately. Even a seemingly minor symptom like dizziness or slight pain should be checked out by a health care professional to make sure there is no internal injury. If, however, no one in your vehicle has sustained obvious injuries, move on to step #2.
- Move to a safe area.
Move your car out of the way of oncoming traffic. If relocating your car isn't an option, turn on your hazards to alert other vehicles that you're not moving. Take a deep breath and pause for a moment. It’s normal to be stressed during this time, but it’s imperative that you keep a clear head so that you can effectively follow the next few steps. Before getting out of your automobile, be sure to double-check that it's safe to do so.
- Check on others involved in the accident.
Next, check on all other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at the scene. Make sure that nobody else is seriously injured. If there are visible injuries, call 911 immediately if you haven’t already and wait with the injured party until help arrives.
- Wait for the police to arrive at the scene.
A police accident report can prove invaluable when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers, especially when big rigs are involved. Cooperate fully with the officers, but avoid admitting your own fault as well as blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively judge events and determine who, if anyone, is at fault in the crash.
- Gather information.
While still at the scene, you’ll need to gather as much information from the other driver(s) as possible. This includes:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact information of any witness to the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
If you can, you should also try to take photographs of the scene of the wreck. This will be useful to your case later.
- File your insurance claim.
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident. If you aren’t sure who to call, check your insurance ID card for your insurer’s contact information.
- Call 716-HELP.
Once you have called your insurance provider and alerted them of the accident, contact the Shreveport personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon right away. The sooner you can get them working on your case, the better.
What are the Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
Despite rules requiring truck drivers to drive no more than 10 hours per day, they are sometimes offered financial incentives to travel long distances faster. They frequently drive in a fatigued state in order to meet mileage objectives established by their employers. This is one of the leading causes of commercial trucking accidents, and as you can expect, these factors can seriously endanger other drivers on the road.
Similarly, when driving long distances, drivers might take dangerous measures to cure their boredom and operate their vehicles while inebriated or otherwise preoccupied. Other common causes of collisions in Shreveport include equipment failure, overloaded or improperly loaded cargo, and poorly maintained trucks.
Who is Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident?
Just as there are numerous causes of these accidents, there are several parties who may be responsible for the losses incurred after a commercial truck accident. In addition to the driver who often (but not always) holds liability, outside parties such as employers or manufacturers may also be held accountable. Someone must be responsible for the poor maintenance of the truck or the improper loading of it, after all.
Liable parties may include (but are not limited to) any of the following:
- Truck driver
- Employer/trucking company
- Owner of the truck
- Manufacturer of the truck, trailer, or parts
- Company leasing the truck
- Company leasing the trailer
In trucking accidents, identifying all of the numerous lines of insurance may be challenging. For starters, the truck and trailer are frequently covered by different firms, with either or both of them potentially liable for negligence. That is not to mention the other parties involved who may hold some responsibility. However, though there are often a number of liable parties that contributed to the accident and your injuries, it is very likely that most, if not all, of these parties will deny responsibility. This is yet another reason why having a commercial truck accident attorney is so important to the outcome of your case.
How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
Louisiana, like all other states, has a “statute of limitations”—or time limit—that governs how long victims have to file personal injury claims. In most accident and injury claims in Louisiana, the statute of limitations is one year. This means that claimants have exactly one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim and initiate a truck accident lawsuit.
How Can a Shreveport Truck Accident Lawyer Help You?
Our truck accident attorneys at Gordon & Gordon are not only familiar with the techniques used by insurance companies to limit the amount of compensation you receive, but we also have a large network of expert witnesses and investigators who can examine every element of your accident. Following a collision, the trucking company and its insurer will conduct their own investigation into the crash to determine the extent of their driver's culpability. Our attorneys will do the same, but on YOUR behalf. We may gather witness testimonies, photograph the accident site, and analyze the cars to assess the amount of the crash's damage. We will investigate every possible avenue to ensure the other party does not try to deny or shift the blame onto you.
In addition to investigating the case, our Shreveport personal injury lawyers will also handle all necessary documentation, negotiation, and litigation involved in the case. Our experience and industry saturation means that insurance adjusters take us seriously – knowing that when we make a claim, we’re prepared to go to great lengths to achieve the compensation our clients are entitled to.