Need a Truck Accident Attorney in New Orleans?
As careful as you might be behind the wheel as a truck driver, accidents involving trucks and/or other vehicles happen everyday. These types of accidents can cause moderate to severe damage to property, other vehicles or the people involved. Whether you drive a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, dump truck or another type of large commercial truck, you’re susceptible to experiencing a truck accident at some point during your time on the road.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a truck accident in New Orleans? If so, Allan Berger & Associates is here to help. Below, you’ll learn what you need to know about protecting yourself following a truck accident, and why our law firm is a trustworthy choice to see you through.
Table of Contents
- After a truck accident, what are my first steps?
- What are the most common injuries related to truck accidents?
- What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
- Important info regarding Louisiana law and truck accidents
- How to prove liability in a New Orleans truck accident
- How a truck accident attorney can help you after your truck accident in New Orleans
- Why choose a truck accident attorney from Allan Berger & Associates to handle my case?
After a Truck Accident, What are My First Steps?
If you’ve ever been involved in a truck accident, there are several steps that you should keep in mind. Remembering these will be beneficial for you in the long run, and place your lawyer in the best position possible to help you. That said, please remember:
- Do NOT under any circumstance admit fault at any time. Even if you suspect that you were the one who may or may not have caused the accident, remember that you are unable to see all the angles of the accident itself. You may or may not have noticed another driver or factor that provoked the truck you crashed with to swerve. Let your lawyer handle this. They will be able to investigate and discover all the details pertaining to your specific accident and give you instructions on how to proceed from there.
- Call 911 and seek medical assistance. If you are able, call 911 or the local police department to report the accident. This will allow emergency vehicles to be dispatched quickly to come to your aid, and a police officer to help direct traffic or witness any communication between you and the other driver. Because emotions are heightened in traumatic situations, it’s better for a trained professional to be present to moderate or accurately determine who is at fault.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can void your insurance coverage. It can also label the incident as a “hit and run,” which can result in some serious criminal charges. So, unless it’s a minor bump where both you and the other driver agree that there’s not enough harm done, stay where you are following a truck accident. Wait for medical professionals and law enforcement to arrive and clear you for a safe departure.
- Collect insurance and contact information from the other driver and any witnesses. Before you leave the scene of the accident, be sure that you get the other drivers’ contact and insurance information. If there is anyone else in the area who witnessed the crash, collect their contact information as well. This can help you if the other driver decides to take you to court or tries to immediately blame you for everything. Remember, though. Use extreme caution when speaking to the other driver or insurance companies regarding the accident. The same goes for telling your social media followers you were in a crash. Talk to a lawyer first.
- Take pictures of the scene and damage. Unless you are unable to do so, take out your phone and capture the damage suffered in the accident. Take pictures of your truck and the other truck. This helps accurately document the truck accident and provides evidence for you to show should you go to court. However, if you are injured and need medical assistance, call a friend and have them come and take pictures for you.
- Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. We cannot stress this enough. To best protect yourself, talk to a lawyer as soon as you can following your truck accident. We are available to take your call and discuss the details of your potential case in a free and confidential interview.
What are the Most Common Injuries Related to Truck Accidents in New Orleans?
Injuries from truck accidents can range in severity. Whether the accident itself is major or minor, it’s important to keep in mind that the human body can only withstand so much impact. Truck accident injuries are notorious for negatively affecting almost every sensitive part and system the human body has.
The most common injuries that truck accidents can cause in New Orleans include (but are not limited to):
- Spinal cord injuries. Despite the protection that seatbelts and airbags are supposed to give you, the impact of two vehicles colliding can cause back and neck injuries. Spinal cord injuries can be mild and temporary or more permanent, depending on the severity of the car accident and injury.
- Head injuries. Concussions are another common injury suffered in a truck accident — especially in the case of extreme whiplash or you hitting your head on something during the impact. If you develop a concussion, it’s important to be carefully monitored to ensure a safe recovery, the best treatment and to rule out the potential of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
- Chest injuries. This type of injury is more common than not in truck accidents in New Orleans. Drivers, especially, experience this when behind the wheel of the car. The limited range of movement exposes your chest area to a high level of force from your shoulder harness, seat belt, dashboard or steering wheel. This can cause severe bruising, broken ribs or worse.
- Limb injuries. Not surprisingly, limb injuries — also known as broken bones or fractured bones — can occur in car accidents. The severity of these injuries largely varies, depending on the speed and force in which the car accident happened. Many can be surgically fixed or reset by medical professionals. However, sometimes, limb injuries can require amputation.
- Burn injuries. When two vehicles are involved in a crash, often burns and lacerations result in the accident aftermath. Unfortunately, these injuries typically leave permanent damage and scarring — particularly when the burn injury itself is severe.
Additional truck accident injuries can include: disfigurement, permanent disability, internal bleeding, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and untimely/wrongful death.
What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents in New Orleans?
While each and every truck accident is unique in its way and how it was caused, there are several commonalities that we’ve seen in and around the New Orleans area. We cannot fit all of them here, but we wanted to highlight several of the top six most common causes of truck accidents in New Orleans that we’ve handled:
- Drunk Driving – Even though driving under the influence is illegal, New Orleans sees hundreds of drunk drivers on a yearly basis. This is especially true around the time of Mardi Gras. People, both young and old, out celebrating the festival and having a good time, get intoxicated and drive with impaired judgment. If you have ever been in a truck accident caused by a drunk driver, you understand more than most how important common sense and having all your mental capacities is behind the wheel.
- Fatigued/Drowsy Driving – One of the many essential things that our driver’s manuals teach us is not only the rules of the road, but also not to drive when we are feeling drowsy or fatigued. To pull over and rest if we start to drift off or get sleepy when we are driving. This rule is there for a reason. It’s to keep you and everyone else driving around you safe. Sadly, fatigued driving is very common, especially among truck drivers. Long hours on the road and little rest can cause us to have a slower reaction behind the wheel, and not be able to correct ourselves in time before a truck accident becomes inevitable. This is why drivers who work overnight shifts or suffer from insomnia need to take greater care and ensure that they aren’t a threat to anyone else on the New Orleans roadways.
- Unfamiliarity with Road – If you have recently started truck driving, or you’re been assigned to a new route, being unfamiliar with your route and the road conditions that go with it can lead to many issues, including getting yourself into a wreck. In fact, statistics show that being unfamiliar with the road creates up to 22% of all truck crashes.That’s why it’s important to learn as much as you can about the route, and have a map or GoogleMaps available before you hit the road.
- Reckless Driving – In Louisiana law, there is a specific law that speaks to reckless drivers. It states: “Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation.” This, however, does not prevent all instances of road rage, speeding or other careless driving behavior. Statistics show that traveling too fast for the current road conditions — or driving too fast in general — contribute to 23% of all truck crashes. Driving above the speed limit can slow your reaction time and make you less attentive to the other drivers around you. This is why speeding behind the wheel can be very dangerous, and can lead to a preventable truck accident if you’re not careful.
- Inclement Weather – From flash floods to excessive rainfall, New Orleans is no stranger to unpredictable weather conditions. One day, we could have beautiful sunny weather, and the next a severe storm can wreak havoc and create slippery, unsafe road conditions. Yet, despite all the warnings to hold off until the storm passes or to drive with more caution if caught in it, drivers will refuse to drive safely per the inclement weather and cause a truck accident.
- Distracted Driving – No matter how good you think you might text while sitting at home, it’s never a good idea to type out a message when you’re behind the wheel of your truck. The same goes for multitasking on too many things when driving. Whether this is stopping an argument between your children in the backseat, updating your social media pages or channel surfing on your radio, every instant you’re not fully focused on the road and surrounding traffic, you’re putting yourself and everyone in and out of the car around you in danger. Louisiana has a strict hands-free law for this reason, and updated cars come equipped with hands-free instruments to increase the safety on the roads and reduce the risk of distracted driving.
This is, of course, a non-exhaustive list of what can cause a truck accident in New Orleans or in the state of Louisiana. However, statistics show that these are the ones that are the most frequent. If you’d like to learn more about what factors contribute to truck accidents in your area, or have questions pertaining to the specifics of your case, please consult with your truck accident attorney.
Important Info Regarding Louisiana Law and Truck Accidents
Now that you know a bit more about the damage truck accidents in New Orleans can cause, and the types of injuries you can sustain from them, it’s time to discuss the more legal aspect and how you can protect yourself. Here are several facets of Louisiana law regarding truck accident victims that is essential to be aware of:
Louisiana Law For Truck Driver Employees
All employers in Louisiana are held responsible for wrongful acts, including reckless or negligent driving. This holds true even if the act was committed by an employee while performing his or her typical job duties. Louisiana state can also hold each party involved with the crash liable for the misconduct of the other. In other words, if an employee runs a red light and hits a second car while driving their company truck during work hours, the employer could be held liable for the damages that the employee causes.
Louisiana Law and Truck Fleet Owners and Operators
Oftentimes, truck drivers are classified as independent contracts with the companies they work for. This permits the employing company to avoid federal labor standards, like overtime and worker’s comp, and shift what they pay the contractors themselves. However, this does not, in any way, nullify the employer’s responsibility when an employee injures a driver in a truck accident — especially when they are a truck fleet owner or operator.
Federal regulations require that truck driving companies have a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. This is because damages suffered by the truck accident victims can easily exceed a truck driver’s insurance limits.
Damages and Liability Under Louisiana Law
Truck drivers have an enormous duty to operate their vehicles carefully and appropriately to ensure the safety of other motorists on the roads. This is what’s known as using “reasonable care” when truck drivers are behind the wheel.
Whenever a truck driver causes the accident — independent contractor or employee, the injured victims can file a claim, saying that the truck driver failed to use the correct amount of care while behind the wheel. They can also hold the driver responsible and seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and costs of future treatment and rehabilitation.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?
In the state of Louisiana, the driver is typically held liable for the damages caused in an accident; however, in the case of a commercial truck driver, there can be exceptions to this. Thus, it’s important to understand, as a trucker, your rights if you’ve the one injured in a crash. An experienced truck accident attorney — like the ones with Allan Berger & Associates — can help you navigate the legal process of your accident to ensure the best compensation for your injuries and success overall.
Statute of Limitations Under Louisiana Law
If you need to file a claim for any reason, the state of Louisiana only allows you to do so up to one year after the date of your accident. This is why you’ll want to take care of anything related to claims as soon as possible.
How to Prove Liability in a New Orleans Truck Accident
In some truck accident cases, there are multiple parties who are found liable for any injuries suffered by the victim. When this happens, the case must then include the third-party defendants, like the contractor, the driver’s employers or the manufacturers of the truck itself. To prove that the defendant is liable in the truck accident, you must provide the proper evidence for your claim. Evidence for truck accidents can include, but are not limited to:
- Documentation of skid marks
- Documentation of the victim’s injuries
- Photos or video of the accident
- Eyewitness accounts
To help prove liability in your New Orleans crash case, your truck accident attorney may use a theory of negligence. There are a couple things that are needed for your attorney to do this successfully. First, you must demonstrate that the other driver you injured breached the legal duty of care. Second, you need to show that this breach was what caused your injuries.
If you wait too long to document your injuries, or provide evidence to help with your case, the victim or insurance company may attempt to claim your injuries happened after the accident. This is why you should really consult with a truck accident attorney about the steps you should take as soon as possible following the incident.
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me After a Truck Accident in New Orleans?
Many times, truck accidents can leave a lot of evidence behind for the trucking company. Any piece of this evidence, in turn, can make a difference in your case. So, you’ll want to make sure to quickly preserve all evidence following your accident. This will be your truck accident attorney in the best position to help you and ensure success in your case.
Potential pieces of evidence can include:
- Information from the truck’s data recorders
- Dashcam video of the accident
- The driver’s rest logs
- Post-accident drug and alcohol testing results
- The driver’s employment records
Why Should I Choose a Truck Accident Attorney from Allan Berger & Associates to Handle My Case?
Allan Berger and Associates is a personal injury law firm that has represented the people of New Orleans for over 40 years. Our founder, Allan Berger, has worked diligently since 1974 to establish himself as one of the region’s preeminent personal injury law attorneys. He and our other experienced attorneys are supported by specialized staff members, who work to ensure the best outcomes possible for car and truck accident victims.
To learn more about our law firm and how our skilled, experienced attorneys can best help you, contact our office for a free, confidential legal consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!
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