Injured in a Truck Accident? How Truck Accident Personal Injury Law Works
Louisiana trucking accidents tragically cause many deaths and injuries each year.
Because of the size and weight of these commercial vehicles, trucking accidents often cause serious injuries. The heavy loads these trucks carry make it difficult for truckers to stop, which presents a hazard to other drivers. Also, truckers spend many hours on the road, so exhaustion may lead to driving errors.
Truck accidents caused by negligent drivers can impact anyone on Louisiana roadways. If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit. However, trucking injury lawsuits can be complicated. So you need an experienced Louisiana trucking accident attorney to advocate for you.
Louisiana Trucking Accident Attorneys
Our Louisiana trucking accident attorneys help people who were injured by negligent truck drivers. We fight to get these victims maximum insurance settlements.
If you’re looking for an experienced Louisiana trucking law firm, here are more points you should know about us:
- We’re a group of lawyers interested in helping accident victims in their time of need.
- We’ve represented hundreds of hurt people, helping them fight big business and insurance to get the money they’re owed.
- As former defense attorneys, we know how insurance companies work and how to beat them in court.
- We have offices in New Orleans, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Miami, Florida. We’re also licensed in Connecticut and consider cases nationwide.
- We offer free case reviews. If you have a trucking accident injury or wrongful death case, contact us for a free consultation.
If you’d like more information before calling us, keep reading for our take on the following truck accident injury topics:
- Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
- What to Do if You’re Injured in a Truck Accident
- Steps in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
- Proving the Trucker Was Negligent
- Truck Accident Damages
After reading about truck accident injury lawsuits, you may think you have a case. We’re ready to talk anytime you want to get started on legal options for your trucking accident injury claim.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
When a massive semi-truck slams into your vehicle, it can cause significant harm. People who experience truck accidents may suffer these injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
The violent force from a truck collision may cause your neck to snap forward and your body to thrust into your seatbelt or steering wheel. Such impact leads to soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, lacerations, and muscle strains. Soft tissue injuries can cause permanent muscle loss if you don’t seek adequate medical treatment.
Internal Organ Damage
The force that propels your body into your seatbelt, dash, or windshield can damage internal organs. Broken ribs can puncture your lungs, making it painful to breathe. Internal injuries could cause internal bleeding, which might not be easy to detect at the scene of the accident.
If your spine or neck experience rapid movement, it could lead to nerve damage. You might feel this nerve damage as sharp pain or numbness at different points on your body. Nerve damage can be temporary and subside as your inflammation goes away. However, nerve damage could also become a permanent, debilitating condition.
Traumatic Brain Injury
When your head hits your steering wheel, dash, or headrest, it could cause traumatic brain injury. Though concussions often heal on their own, some brain injuries cause more severe consequences. Brain injuries may cause dizziness, headache, light sensitivity, memory loss, and speech and mobility problems. Severe or repeated brain injuries may lead to chronic neurological conditions.
A truck accident is an unexpected, catastrophic experience that may have long-term effects on your emotional health. Emotional injuries resulting from your truck accident could include insomnia, fear of driving, or depression. An emotional injury that relates to physical injuries sustained in your truck accident counts for personal injury damages.
Sadly, many truck accidents result in the death of one or more innocent drivers or passengers. In 2016, there were at least 4,000 fatal crashes on US roadways that involved a large truck or bus. These crashes account for more than 10% of all fatal crashes involving US drivers. If a negligent truck driver caused the death of someone you love, you can sue for wrongful death.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a Truck Accident
Semi-trucks play a significant role in the American economy. They transport goods across the country, using the interstate highway system. At any given time, there are around two million semi-trucks on US roadways. Louisiana roadways host significant numbers of semi-trucks due to the Port of South Louisiana ranking as the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere. All that ship cargo transfers to rail lines and roadways, meaning lots of semi-trucks make their way to South Louisiana.
However, substantial truck traffic comes at a cost. Perhaps you encountered a negligent truck driver and were seriously injured in a truck accident. If you were involved in a truck accident, you should take these steps.
Seek Medical Attention
Often, truck accidents seriously injure people in other vehicles. After experiencing a truck accident, your first priority should be to seek medical attention. If you are unable to dial 911, ask the trucker or a witness to call 911. Seek treatment for your injuries, and keep copies of all medical records.
Call the Police
The 911 call for medical help likely dispatched the police as well. You should file a police report and give the police any requested statements about your perspective on the accident. A police report detailing the accident helps your personal injury case.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should request their names and contact information. Witnesses should give their statements to the police. However, you want any witnesses’ contact information in case you or your trucking accident law firm have questions for witnesses later.
If you are physically able, take photographs of the scene of the accident. You should photograph the surroundings, visible damage on all vehicles, and your injuries. If you are injured and need immediate medical attention, ask someone to take photos for you.
Avoid Saying Too Much
Try to keep as quiet as possible after an accident. While you may be in shock, police officers and insurance agents may try to question you. It helps your case if you avoid making unneeded statements without your Louisiana trucking accident attorney present. You may not think clearly after an accident, and your confused statements could impact your personal injury case.
Call an 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney
It’s best to touch base with a Louisiana trucking accident attorney soon after an accident. You may be hospitalized or in shock, so it can be difficult for you to take steps to preserve essential evidence. The truck company will probably send an investigator to the scene of the accident, so you should have someone working on your behalf. Contacting an 18-wheeler accident attorney allows you to focus on recovery while your attorney focuses on your personal injury lawsuit.
Steps in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
After you experience a truck accident, you may not know where to turn for help. While recovering from the accident, you could have insurance companies harassing you and medical bills piling up. Truck companies have big insurance companies and skilled attorneys. You don’t want to face those intimidating professionals on your own.
Hire a Louisiana Truck Accident Lawyer
You should hire an experienced 18 wheeler accident attorney who can take over communications with the truck insurance company and attorneys. Truck accident law firms usually work on contingency, meaning that you won’t owe anything upfront. A Louisiana truck accident attorney should offer a free consultation so that you can get to know the attorney before signing a contract.
Investigate the Accident
Perhaps you obtained initial evidence from the accident scene in the form of photos and witness statements. If not, your truck accident law firm can help you investigate the accident to find evidence that proves the trucker’s negligence. Your attorney can research the truck’s maintenance records and the driver’s license to determine if those factors were relevant.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Once you hire an experienced 18 wheeler accident attorney, your lawyer can take over negotiations with the trucker’s insurance company. Your attorney sends an initial demand letter to the trucker’s insurance company, and then the settlement negotiation process begins. Usually, 18 wheeler accident lawyers can settle truck accident cases out of court. However, your attorney should be prepared to go to a jury trial in case the trucker’s insurance company won’t cooperate. Your Louisiana trucking accident attorney will get your approval for a settlement before agreeing to the offer.
Proving the Trucker Was Negligent
For a successful personal injury case, you must prove that the trucker’s negligence caused the accident. This means that the trucker was at least partly responsible for the accident.
Even if you contributed to the accident, you can still get some compensation under Louisiana’s comparative fault law. Comparative fault allows you to recover damages according to the trucker’s percentage of responsibility. Let’s say the trucker was 60% responsible for the accident and you were 40% responsible. This means you could recover up to 60% of your damages from the trucker’s insurance.
To get that damages award, you’ll need to prove these elements of negligence.
Duty of Care
The trucker owed you a duty of care. This means that the trucker had a responsibility to drive safely and not endanger other drivers.
Breach of Duty
The trucker breached the duty of care. In other words, the trucker did something dangerous. Maybe the trucker did not use a blinker when changing lanes. Perhaps the trucker was texting while driving and not watching the road. There are many ways a trucker can breach a duty of responsible driving.
Existence of Harm
You suffered harm, called damages. Truck accidents usually result in serious injuries or death. These damages are apparent. However, some types of harm are so minor that they may not equal litigation-worthy damages. For instance, maybe you had a headache after the truck accident, but it went away the next day. If the headache was your only harm from the accident, that wouldn’t be worth much money in court. Damages include property damage like car repairs, physical injuries, and emotional effects from your injuries.
Breach of Duty Caused Harm
The trucker’s irresponsible driving caused your harm. The accident must be the cause of your injury for your damages to qualify for a negligence lawsuit. For instance, maybe you already had a broken leg at the time of the accident. In that case, you couldn’t sue the trucker over the broken leg unless the accident made your injury worse.
Truck Accident Damages
Your 18-wheeler accident lawyer will attempt to win maximum damages for your truck accident injury. Your case may qualify for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include expenses that you can count, like medical bills and lost wages. Save all bills and receipts to calculate economic damages. Economic damages include many different medical expenses:
- Ambulance ride;
- Hospital stay;
- Doctor visits;
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs;
- Wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches;
- Physical therapy;
- Rehabilitation facility; and
- Mental health counseling.
Non-economic damages include emotional damages suffered as a result of your injury. These damages often take the form of “pain and suffering.” For instance, if you sustained a neck injury that makes it difficult to sleep, your pain and insomnia would be an emotional damage. Similarly, if you can’t enjoy relationships like you did before your injury, this is non-economic damage that should be compensated.
Contact a Louisiana Trucking Accident Attorney
If you have experienced a truck accident injury, you need an attorney to fight for your access to compensation. Our trucking accident law firm, Johns Law Group, has helped hundreds of clients in lawsuits against the biggest businesses and insurance companies. We step alongside hurt clients in their time of greatest need and help them recover financially. Contact us for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your truck accident experience and let you know if we can take your case. Start the path to financial recovery from your truck accident by contacting us today.