Commercial truck accidents place people at a greater risk of suffering from catastrophic injuries or being killed. When commercial trucks are involved in accidents, the accidents can be much more devastating because of the large size and substantial weight of the trucks. Injured victims and the families of people who are killed in accidents that are caused by large trucks may want to talk to an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer in Monroe, Louisiana at Broussard & Hart. Our attorneys can help people to navigate through the complex legal system to try to secure maximum compensation for their losses.
Negligence in a commercial truck accident
Most truck accident claims rely on the legal theory of negligence. In a truck collision, several parties may be negligent and liable to pay damages to the victims. Some of the potentially liable parties in a commercial truck collision include the following:
- The truck driver
- The trucking carrier that employed the driver
- Wholesaler or distributor that loaded the truck
- Company that owns the trucks
- Manufacturers of defective parts
- Entities responsible for maintaining and repairing the roadways
- The driver of the other involved vehicle
Negligence occurs when a person or entity fails in the duty to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to someone else. Plaintiffs are required to show each of the following elements to prevail on a negligence claim:
- The defendant or defendants owed a duty to the plaintiff.
- The defendant or defendants breached the duty.
- The breach of the duty was the direct or proximate cause of the accident and injuries.
- The plaintiff suffered harm as a result.
There are many examples of negligence that can contribute to an accident, including the following:
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Failing to slow down for traffic that has stopped or slowed ahead
- Running traffic control devices
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Failing to see motorists in the adjacent lane when changing lanes
- Inadequate maintenance and repair of the truck
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Failing to secure loads
- Defective truck parts that cause the accident
- Poorly maintained roads
- Driving too fast for conditions
Several parties may share fault in a truck accident, making it important to determine liability. Louisiana has a comparative fault law at LA Civ Code 2323. Under this law, the fault for an accident will be divided between the tortfeasors who contributed to its cause by percentages. Each party that is determined to be partially liable will be responsible to pay its share of the damages. If the plaintiff shares fault, his or her damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to him or her. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $1 million but is found to be 30% at fault, his or her net verdict will be $700,000.
Eligibility to file a lawsuit
People who are injured and certain family members of people who are killed in truck accidents because of the negligence of the driver or other parties may file lawsuits to recover damages. If the driver is employed by a trucking company, the company may be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its driver during the course and scope of performing his or her job. Trucking carriers may also be directly liable for the actions of independent contractors that they negligently hired, trained, or supervised. The companies may also be liable if an accident was caused by poor maintenance. For example, if an accident is caused because of a brake failure, the company may be liable for failing to repair and maintain the brakes.
An experienced lawyer can evaluate a claim and investigate it to identify all of the potentially liable parties and the merits of the claim. Identifying all of the potential sources of recovery for clients is important for obtaining maximum damages.
Potential damages in a truck accident claim
Plaintiffs who prevail in their truck accident claims may recover economic and noneconomic damages for their losses. Some of the types of damages that may be recoverable include the following:
- Past medical bills
- Future expected medical costs
- Past losses of income
- Future anticipated income losses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Property losses
- Mental anguish
- Reasonable funeral and burial costs in wrongful death claims
- Loss of consortium for spouses
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death claims
In situations in which the defendant’s actions were outrageous, punitive damages might be awarded.
Why you should contact an attorney
Truck accidents are very complex. Trucking carriers and insurance companies often aggressively fight against injury and wrongful death claims because of the high damages amount that may be at issue. Getting help from an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer in Monroe at Broussard & Hart may make it more likely that you will recover fair compensation for your losses. Contact us today by calling 866.281.4774.
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