Lafayette Truck Accident Lawyers

A common misconception about truck drivers is that because they complete driving courses, follow strict guidelines and drive as a profession, that they are the safest drivers on the road. The truth of the matter is that, just like the people at any job, some are good and some are downright awful at what they do. While the accident rate for heavy trucks is lower than that for passenger cars, trucks inflict much more damage and cause more injuries and fatalities than cars do.

Drivers who survive crashes with commercial trucks can be considered lucky, but even those who do live are often left with crippling disabilities and experience a variety of losses, including their vehicles, personal property, and income.

Most people involved in devastating 18-wheeler accidents need all the help they can get putting their lives back together, and the most effective and efficient help comes from experienced trucking accident lawyers, such as those at Broussard & Hart, LLC in Lafayette, LA.

Contact Us at 337-439-2450 or fill out the form below.

What Is a Truck Accident?

While the definition of a truck accident may seem like common sense, federal and state laws and legal terms come into play that makes this category of traffic accident distinct from those involving automobiles. Commercial truckers and trucking companies are regulated by federal authorities, but they must also follow regulations for each state in which they operate.

On the federal level, truck safety standards are set, regulated and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both of which are divisions of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). These agencies define large trucks as commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds as single units or tractor-trailer combinations, and they are further categorized by weight in classes ranging from Class 3 to Class 8.

Truck Crash Statistics
Every year, the data concerning truck crashes is compiled, analyzed and published by the FMCSA, and the agency’s latest report is Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014. According to this report and an analysis conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,978 commercial trucks were involved in fatal accidents resulting in the deaths of 3,660 people. Sixteen percent of these fatalities were occupants of the truck while 68 percent were the occupants of ordinary passenger vehicles. Considering only fatal, two-vehicle crashes where one was a large truck and the other a passenger vehicle, 97 percent of the people who died were in the passenger cars.

Truck accidents also result in tens of thousands of injuries each year. In 2014, more than 88,000 trucks were involved in accidents that caused a total of 130,000 injuries, which is an increase of 21 percent over the previous year and an increase of 55 percent compared to 2009. Also, the number of trucks involved in accidents that resulted only in property damage increased 31 percent from 265,000 to 346,000. The average amount of damage caused in an accident involving a commercial truck is estimated at more than $51,000.

When it comes to tractor-trailers, also known as semi trucks, big rigs and 18-wheelers, 98 percent of accidents are fatal to at least one person involved, and the total of all damages averages to more than $20 billion per year.

Causes of Truck Accidents

A wide range of factors and circumstances have been found to contribute to the occurrence of truck accidents, including all of the following:

  • Driver Fatigue – Truckers stay behind the wheel for most of the working day, and studies show that after eight hours, truck drivers are twice as likely to be involved in accidents. However, federal law allows truckers to drive for up to 11 hours with only one 30-minute break. Also, drivers are often caught driving more hours than are permitted in one day and taking sleep breaks less than the minimum allowed by law.
  • Inexperienced Drivers – Nearly every trucking company in the U.S. is understaffed, and this high demand means that greater numbers of young and inexperienced drivers are on the road. Studies in several countries show that drivers in their 20s are involved in more crashes than older drivers are.
  • Impaired Driving – The drivers of passenger cars are more likely to be under the influence of alcohol than truck drivers, but at least one study shows that the drivers of heavy trucks are more inclined to be under the influence of illicit drugs.
  • Equipment Failure – Large trucks are complex machines that run nearly every day. Because of this, truck components wear out quickly. If inspections and servicing are not performed at regular intervals, these parts may fail while the truck is operating, which may pose a safety hazard or cause the driver to lose control.

Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?

One of the most complex issues about a truck accident is determining whose fault it is and who is liable for any damages. In many cases, these investigations require someone who is both knowledgeable and experienced with trucking accidents. Once the causes of the crash are determined, one or more parties can be held responsible. Some of the most common people and entities liable for accidents are as follows:

  • Truck Driver – Human error is attributed to 90 percent of all truck accidents, and mistakes or negligence on the part of the truck driver can be costly and deadly.
  • Trucking Company – It is also fairly common for trucking companies to be found liable for accidents involving its drivers. For instance, if the driver they hired had a history of accidents or negligence, the trucking company could be at fault for this oversight.
  • Truck Mechanics – In some cases where accidents are caused by mechanical failure, the mechanics who repaired, replaced or installed the parts may not have done the work according to recognized standards.
  • Government Agencies – Federal, state and local agencies may be held responsible if they have not placed signs or other notices alerting drivers of hazardous road conditions.
  • Truck Manufacturers – Truck manufacturers often sell trucks with faulty parts before the danger has been recognized and a recall is issued.
  • Other Drivers – In multi-vehicle collisions, other drivers may be operating their vehicles reckless, creating direct or indirect hazards.

Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney

When you or someone close to you is involved in an accident that resulted in injuries, death or property damage, a reliable truck accident attorney can help protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. An attorney experienced in truck accident law will be able to investigate the causes of accidents and determine who is at fault. If it is found that the accident occurred because of the total or partial fault of another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation that includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Income from missed work
  • Loss of future income
  • Pain and suffering

For further information about how a truck accident attorney can help you, contact Broussard & Hart, LLC today. We have the experience, knowledge, and skill to ensure your rights are protected with no upfront costs from you. We will provide you with a free consultation and answer all of your questions over the phone or in person.

We Also Help Victims of Trucking Accidents in these Areas of Louisiana
Alexandria | Baton RougeLake Charles | New OrleansShreveport

Contact Us at 337-439-2450 or fill out the form below.

24 Hour Response

Our attorneys will review your case and represent you throughout your trucking accident claim. Contact Broussard & Hart L.L.C. today for help pursuing a trucking accident settlement. Your first consultation is free and we won’t charge fees unless money is recovered.

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