Because federal and state laws govern the trucking industry, it is critical that you hire a law firm with experience in handling semi-truck accident cases when you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler. These trucking companies and their insurers have highly experienced attorneys on their side fighting to limit their liability; you will need someone on your side equally experienced at proving their fault.
How does a commercial truck accident case differ from an auto accident case?
Truck accident cases are generally much more complicated than other types of auto accident cases. Below are just some of the issues unique to truck accidents:
The size and weight of a commercial truck usually result in devastating injury and damage when it strikes a passenger car. Often these accidents end in a fatality or catastrophic injury.
Governed by Federal Regulations
FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) creates the rules and regulations carriers and drivers must act in accordance with. When carriers or truck drivers disregard these regulations, it endangers drivers with whom they share the road. When commercial vehicles cause accidents, they can and should be held liable for the injuries and damage they inflict. Your attorney should be knowledgeable in state and federal motor carrier law.
Regularly Disputed Cases
Because big rig accident cases so frequently result in significant injury, their insurance companies often challenge, dispute, or try to discredit their victims’ claims to avoid large settlements or awards. Their team of attorneys’ sole purpose is to dispute accident cases and limit their liability; a victim can rarely recover the compensation they deserve without the assistance of an experienced 18-wheeler truck accident attorney.
Establishing Liability Can Be Challenging
Establishing fault in a truck accident is not as clear as the truck crossed into your lane, or the driver lost its load. Attorneys for the defendant can and will argue that the truck manufacturer or parts used on the commercial vehicle were defective, trying to establish liability on a third party. A defendant’s attorney will regularly argue the accident was due to improper loading and securing by the manufacturer they were contracted by to deliver. Investigating these facts and determining the party or parties responsible can prove challenging to a layperson.
Do I have a legitimate 18-wheeler accident case?
When a trucking company or driver causes or contributes to an accident, the victims and their families have legal grounds to pursue compensation for their injuries, damages, or loss. Your 18-wheel or commercial truck accident attorney must prove the following:
The commercial trucking company or their driver was negligent.
The trucking company or driver’s negligence caused the accident and injuries.
Your injuries were the result of the big rig accident.
Establishing negligence can happen in many ways. A driver was not adhering to FMCSA hours of service regulations, the driver distraction (using a cellphone, GPS, or CB radio), or the truck driver was speeding at the time of the accident.
In addition to establishing liability, you should be aware that victims who are determined to be partly at fault in the accident can still recover compensation. Louisiana’s pure comparative fault rule provides that your degree of responsibility can reduce your award by that amount, not exempt you from an award. You may still be able to obtain compensation for catastrophic injury and damages.
A strong understanding of the trucking industry and the regulations governing it will often determine the outcome of your cases. Trucking accident cases can depend on whether the carrier or driver violated the federal laws governing their industry. Lundy Lundy Soileau & South has the experience and resources to uncover the details that your case requires. Call our office to speak with one of our 18-wheeler accident attorneys (337) 439-0707.