Drivers in the Alexandria area are accustomed to seeing large tractor-trailers for Coca-Cola, P&G, and other local distribution facilities. These commercial vehicles are a vital part of the economy, since trucking is the largest mode of transportation for goods in the United States. However, shipments typically travel at least 600 miles to their destination—which provides plenty of opportunity for serious accidents. In Louisiana alone, it’s estimated that over 3,000 people are injured and over 100 people lose their lives each year in collisions with large commercial tractor-trailers.
Personal injury cases involving tractor-trailer accidents are significantly more complicated than cases involving passenger vehicles only. In addition to being more likely to involve severe injuries, these cases often present unique liability issues. Having an attorney who can fight for your interests is vital to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
Injuries Associated With Tractor-Trailer Accidents
When a car collides with a large tractor-trailer, the driver and any passengers in the vehicle are likely to suffer severe injuries. Common injuries associated with this type of accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal bleeding and/or organ damage
- Disfiguring cuts
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of vision
Victims of these types of accidents can expect to face a long road to recovery. They may need extensive surgery and physical therapy, as well as counseling to deal with the mental health effects associated with the accident. In some cases, they may not be able to return to work or continue to live independently due to an accident-related disability. Without full compensation, their injuries can make it impossible to maintain financial stability for themselves and their families.
Potentially Liable Parties
The trucking industry is tightly regulated by federal government agencies such as the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with specific requirements for vehicle maintenance and safety. Truck drivers are often independent contractors who may or may not own the vehicles they are driving. Companies are often short-staffed and aggressively recruit new drivers for long haul routes—including older drivers who face age-related impairments. Because of these factors, it’s not always obvious who is at fault when an accident occurs.
In a tractor-trailer accident, potentially liable parties include:
- Owner of the tractor-trailer
- Owner of the freight
- The driver’s employer
- An owner’s parent company
- Manufacturer of the truck
- Manufacturer of a defective truck part
- A maintenance company that worked on the truck
- The driver of a third vehicle involved in the accident (if the crash took place on a busy highway or interstate)
Often, a case will involve two or more parties who share liability for the accident. This makes it harder to negotiate a settlement, since both parties are likely to try to assign blame in an attempt to minimize their own financial losses.
When you hire an attorney to handle your case, he will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine who can be held legally liable. This includes looking for evidence of driver fatigue, driving while under the influence, and distracted driving, as well as whether the company hired unqualified drivers or pushed drivers to maintain unsafe working conditions.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Trucking companies must maintain large insurance policies to cover accident-related damages. The minimum liability limit varies according to the type of vehicle and the cargo being carried, but policies range from $300,000 to $5,000,000. However, insurance companies do not want to fully compensate you for your damages. To keep their profits high, they will use many tricks and strategies to deny or minimize the value of your claim.
Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a truck accident you need to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.