INFORMATION AND WHAT TO DO
When a semi tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle causes a wreck, the consequences are often devastating. Those hit by the commercial vehicle are often killed or suffer catastrophic injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents happen nearly 11 times every single day in this country, killing nearly 4,000 people each year.
You must take immediate steps after a truck accident in order to protect your health and your legal rights. At Murphy Law Firm, we suggest that you do the following:
- Seek medical attention. You should go to the emergency room or see your regular doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can check you for injuries and start your treatment.
- Meet with a lawyer. After you address your injuries, you should meet with a lawyer without delay. If your crash involved a commercial truck, the lawyer will need to begin an investigation right away.
- Do not talk with the insurance company. Within a few days after a truck crash – maybe even within hours – the trucking company’s insurer may contact you. You should avoid giving a recorded statement or accepting any settlement offer until you talk with a lawyer first.
For more information, we encourage you to read our Injury Accident Guide, which provides many helpful tips about what you should do and not do after an accident of any kind.
Truck accidents in Louisiana can cause devastating injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, fractures and burns. In most cases, the victims are those in the passenger cars involved in the crash.
If you suffered injuries in a collision with a tractor-trailer, Murphy Law Firm will aggressively seek full and fair compensation for you. The damages we seek on your behalf may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of society and consortium
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death damages (if you lost a loved one in a crash).
Although many cases end with truck accident settlements, our skilled personal injury litigators have extensive experience successfully arguing cases before a judge and jury. We will not back down from a fight.
Louisiana Truck Accident Results
- $3,800,000 for a family who lost a husband and father in an 18-wheeler accident in Crowley, Louisiana
- $2,267,879 for a truck driver who suffered serious injuries in a rear-end crash with another truck driver in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana
- $1,800,000 for a family who lost a loved one in a tragic crash with an 18-wheeler
More than 100,000 people are injured every year in truck accidents. According to the trucking industry, independent lawyers and trucking victims, some of the causes for these accidents are driver fatigue, companies not screening for problem drivers and a government that is slow to force new safety technologies on to American roads.
It comes down to basic physics. When an 80,000 lb. tractor trailer collides with a 4,000 lb. car, it creates a devastating impact. An estimated 5,000 people lose their lives in accidents involving commercial trucking each year in the U.S. Thousands of victims who were fortunate enough to survive these catastrophic accidents experience brain and spinal injuries, and many more go undetected and undiagnosed.
Simply put: The stakes are much higher when a crash in Louisiana involves a large commercial truck. Trucking companies – and their insurers – have much to lose in a truck accident case. As a result, the litigation can be highly aggressive. For this reason, you should get help from an attorney who has a deep background in handling these types of accidents.
An experienced truck accident lawyer will understand the many unique aspects of an 18-wheeler accident. Those aspects include:
- The need to conduct an immediate investigation in order to preserve and gather important evidence before it gets lost or destroyed.
- The involvement of multiple parties who could be liable for your losses, including out-of-state and foreign corporations.
- Potential violations of state and federal trucking regulations, which could play an important role in establishing liability.
- The involvement of many different types of insurance policies, which can lead to complex legal issues.
When you work with Murphy Law Firm, you can count on our legal team to carefully manage every aspect of your case and pursue maximum compensation for you. Meanwhile, you can focus on your health and your recovery.
§866. Compulsory motor vehicle liability security; failure to comply; limitation of damages
A.(1) There shall be no recovery for the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and no recovery for the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damage based on any cause or right of action arising out of a motor vehicle accident, for such injury or damages occasioned by an owner or operator of a motor vehicle involved in such accident who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security.
(2) For purposes of this Section, the meaning of “bodily injury” and “property damage” is governed by the applicable motor vehicle liability insurance policy or, in the event of security other than an insurance policy, the meaning of such terms is that which is commonly ascribed thereto.
(3)(a) The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if the driver of the other vehicle:
(i) Is cited for a violation of R.S. 14:98 as a result of the accident and is subsequently convicted of or pleads nolo contendere to such offense.
(ii) Intentionally causes the accident.
(iii) Flees from the scene of the accident.
(iv) At the time of the accident, is in furtherance of the commission of a felony offense under the law.
(b) The limitation of recovery provisions of this Subsection do not apply if at the time of the accident, the other vehicle is not being operated and the vehicle is not in violation of the provisions of Chapter 1 of this Title.
B. Each person who is involved in an accident in which the other motor vehicle was not covered by compulsory motor vehicle liability security and who is found to be liable for damages to the owner or operator of the other motor vehicle may assert as an affirmative defense the limitation of recovery provisions of Subsection A of this Section.
C. If the owner of a motor vehicle, who fails to own or maintain compulsory motor vehicle liability security, institutes an action to recover damages in any amount, regardless of whether such owner or operator is at fault, and is awarded an amount equal to or less than the minimum amount of compulsory motor vehicle liability security, then such owner or operator shall be assessed and held liable for all court costs incurred by all parties to the action.
D. Each person who applies for a driver’s license, registers a motor vehicle, or operates or owns a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given his consent to be subject to and governed by the provisions of this Section. All persons who apply for the issuance or renewal of a driver’s license, motor vehicle title, or motor vehicle registration shall sign a declaration on a form developed by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections pursuant to rule and regulation that the person acknowledges and gives consent to the requirements and provisions of this Section and that the person will comply with all provisions of this Section and the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Law. Proof of whether the person obtained or signed such declaration is irrelevant to the application of this Section.
E. Nothing in this Section shall preclude a passenger in a vehicle from asserting a claim to recover damages for injury, death, or loss which he occasioned, in whole or in part, by the negligence of another person arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle. This Subsection shall not apply to a passenger who is also the owner of the uninsured motor vehicle involved in the accident.
F.(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no insurer shall lose any rights of subrogation for claims paid under the applicable insurance policy for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.
(2) In claims where no suit is filed, the claimant’s insurer shall have all rights to recover any amount paid by the claimant’s insurer on behalf of the insured for the recovery of any sum in excess of the first fifteen thousand dollars of bodily injury and the first twenty-five thousand dollars of property damages.
G.(1) Except for newly acquired vehicles added to a policy subject to the policy terms, the issuance, change, or adjustment of any motor vehicle liability security or insurance policy subsequent to a motor vehicle accident, without proof of coverage having been bound prior to such motor vehicle accident, shall not effectuate any of the following:
(a) The recovery for injury or damages that are otherwise prohibited under this Section.
(b) The defeat of any affirmative defense otherwise allowed under this Section.
(c) The avoidance of liability for court costs otherwise required under this Section.
(2) Reinstatement provisions of a policy during the premium payment grace period specified in the policy shall not be invalidated by the provisions of this Section.
H. The provisions of this Part shall not apply to any vehicle which is legally parked at the time of the accident.
Acts 1997, No. 1476, §4, eff. Sept. 6, 1998; Acts 1999, No. 1085, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000; Acts 2003, No. 532, §1; Acts 2008, No. 921, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2010; Acts 2014, No. 149, §1.
NOTE: See Acts 1997, No. 1476, §5(D)(2). The rate reduction day was the date on which the judgment in the lawsuit became final, May 8, 1998. Sections 2 through 4 became effective 120 days thereafter, Sept. 6, 1998.
IF I WAS PARTIALLY AT FAULT, AND THE TRUCK DRIVER WAS PARTIALLY AT FAULT, WILL IT AFFECT MY TRUCK ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Under Louisiana’s comparative fault law, you will not be barred from a financial recovery if you were partially at fault for a collision with an 18-wheeler. However, your recovery would be reduced according to the percentage of fault assigned to you.
For example, let’s say that you suffered $1 million in total damages. If you were 40 percent at fault, your recovery would be reduced by 40 percent. So, the maximum you could receive in a truck accident lawsuit would be $600,000.
Because Louisiana is a comparative fault state, insurance companies often try to pin blame on accident victims and minimize their payouts. At Murphy Law Firm, we won’t let insurance companies get away with making you a victim twice. You can count on us to aggressively fight any insurance company efforts to wrongfully assign fault to you.
Art. 2323. Comparative fault
A. In any action for damages where a person suffers injury, death, or loss, the degree or percentage of fault of all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss shall be determined, regardless of whether the person is a party to the action or a nonparty, and regardless of the person’s insolvency, ability to pay, immunity by statute, including but not limited to the provisions of R.S. 23:1032, or that the other person’s identity is not known or reasonably ascertainable. If a person suffers injury, death, or loss as the result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of another person or persons, the amount of damages recoverable shall be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the person suffering the injury, death, or loss.
B. The provisions of Paragraph A shall apply to any claim for recovery of damages for injury, death, or loss asserted under any law or legal doctrine or theory of liability, regardless of the basis of liability.
C. Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraphs A and B, if a person suffers injury, death, or loss as a result partly of his own negligence and partly as a result of the fault of an intentional tortfeasor, his claim for recovery of damages shall not be reduced.
Amended by Acts 1979, No. 431, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 3, §1, eff. April 16, 1996.
Laws Controlling Truck Industry Standards of Care
All drivers owe special duties of car to others on the roadway. When you decide to control a vehicle, you accept the duty not to negligently or intentionally cause harm to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Truck drivers also have these general duties, but that isn’t where their responsibilities end. As workers in the trucking industry, they are also under the jurisdiction of federal trucking laws.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a host of rules and regulations to enhance the safety of America’s truckers. These rules include:
There are hundreds of federal rules trucking companies, truck drivers, and truck manufacturers must obey to keep operations up to par with industry standards. Any act that falls outside of these standards, resulting in a truck accident, is negligence.
Due to their size and weight, 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, there are strict state and federal laws and highway regulations regarding:
For the victims of trucking accidents, the time following the wreck is spent either planning funerals or lying in a hospital bed with their loved ones around them. Naturally, the families are more concerned with the well-being of those they love than investigating a wreck or preserving evidence. While a family grieves and suffers, the insurance company that insures the commercial vehicle is diligently working to protect the trucking company and its driver. The trucking company or its insurance company immediately begin to implement plans to protect their profits. It is not unusual for the trucking company to have a claims person, an investigator, or even an attorney at the scene of the wreck. They will often have a public relations person try to spin the news account in favor of the commercial vehicle. Do not underestimate the damage that the trucking/commercial vehicle company can do within a very short period of time after the accident. Do not trust or assume the trucking company will treat you fairly. Get an attorney that has been handling truck accidents for decades. Victims of trucking accidents in Louisiana do not have to stand for trucking companies and drivers who break the rules. The experienced trucking attorneys at Murphy Law Firm can seek justice from negligent parties.
The First Steps After a Trucking Accident
What Causes Most Truck Accidents?
Despite the name, most truck accidents are accidental at all. They are culminations of preventable mistakes, errors, and lapses in judgment. In most cases, truck companies and their drivers have it in their power to prevent serious roadway accidents. They fail when they do not maintain a safe fleet, drive distracted, or drive drowsy. In other situations, third parties like roadway maintenance crew and manufacturing companies contribute to wrecks. Common causes of truck accidents includes:
Truck accidents are different from car accidents in that the stakes are higher, the insurance companies have more to lose and the litigation is much more aggressive. Nobody should suffer in silence after a collision with a big rig. Stand up for your rights with help from a personal injury lawyer. Odds are high that you can sue the truck company for its own actions or those of the driver that caused your crash, and take home compensation for your losses. Contact us to schedule a free consultation appointment.
A large percentage of trucking accidents in Louisiana involve in-state trucking companies. In fact, the Louisiana Motor Transport Association estimates that nearly 5,500 trucking companies operate in our state.
However, several out-of-state and foreign trucking companies use our roads as well while transporting goods throughout the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast, including using major interstate routes such as I-12 and I-10. These companies often hail from Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and Mexico.
As long as your accident happened in the state of Louisiana, it should not matter that the defendant is an out-of-state business. You can still file a truck accident lawsuit against an out-of-state or foreign defendant in a state or federal court located within our state.