If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a Baton Rouge 18-wheeler accident, you may be entitled to compensation for costs resulting from the accident, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost wages. You may also be entitled to compensation for intangible losses, like pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
For help filing a claim, contact the Morris Bart law firm today at (225) 341-5694 for a free consultation.
Why Choose Morris Bart for Your 18-Wheeler Accident Claim
- Our Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys have over 40 years of experience representing injured clients. In that time, we have collected over $1 billion in case results.
- We are aggressive trial attorneys who do not back down from a fight. We can go up against powerful adversaries, including trucking companies and their insurance providers.
- We accept truck accident cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will pay us nothing unless we collect financial compensation on your behalf.
For a free legal consultation with a 18-Wheeler Accident lawyer serving Baton Rouge, call 800-537-8185
Can You Sue for an Accident Involving an 18-Wheeler?
If you’re wondering whether you can sue for an accident with an 18-wheeler, the answer is: absolutely. You are more likely to have significant damage and severe injuries after a collision with an 18-wheeler than if you were in an accident with, say, a pickup truck.
You deserve compensation for your losses, and so, if you decide to sue, your best option is a Baton Rouge personal injury lawsuit.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Car accident cases involving large trucks, or common carriers, can be complicated. Big rig accidents are not the same as standard passenger vehicle accidents. There are many unique elements and legal issues involved in an 18-wheeler accident case, including the vicarious liability of a trucking company. Vicarious liability is a law that holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees – including truck companies for their truck drivers.
Hiring a lawyer can allow you to balance the scales when filing a truck accident claim in Baton Rouge. A law firm will have the resources to stand up against a major trucking company and its insurance corporation, including connections to experts who are at the top of their fields (e.g., medical experts and crash reconstructionists). You can trust your attorney to take over insurance negotiations for you and pursue maximum compensation while you concentrate on healing.
Your lawyer can take many steps and actions to help you during this difficult time. For example, an attorney can investigate your truck accident, return to the scene of the crash, interview witnesses, obtain data from the truck’s black box, subpoena a trucking company’s employment and truck maintenance records, hire experts, and perform many other tasks to seek justice on your behalf.
Can I Afford a Baton Rouge Truck Accident Lawyer?
At Morris Bart, LLC, the answer is yes – you can afford to hire a Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer to represent you because we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never have to pay our fees out of pocket, win or lose.
If we win your truck accident case and secure financial compensation for your losses, we will charge our fee as a percentage of the settlement or jury verdict won. If we do not win your case, we will not charge you a cent in attorney’s fees.
To retain our 18-wheeler accident lawyer, you will pay us $0 upfront. We front all of the costs of litigation for our clients to protect them from financial risk. We only charge attorney’s fees if we collect compensation for the client, such as for medical bills, vehicle repairs, or pain and suffering.
Contingency fees are structured using a payment percentage. We will discuss the percentage of our fee with you ahead of time based on the facts of your case. With this arrangement, any truck accident victim in Baton Rouge can afford the legal representation that they need to combat trucking companies and insurance providers without financial strain.
The Statute of Limitations on 18-Wheeler Accidents in Louisiana
The statute of limitations for truck accident injury or death claims is only one year in Louisiana, according to CC §3492. You must file your claim within one year of the accident to ensure the court will hear your case.
Therefore, it’s important not to delay. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so you can ensure you have a comprehensive claim that is filed on time.
How do You Seek Compensation in an 18-Wheeler Accident?
Louisiana law allows individuals injured by another party’s negligent or wrongful actions to pursue compensation for costs incurred for injuries. Because of the number of parties who could be at fault for the accident, you have a few options when it comes to who to include in your lawsuit.
The Truck Driver
Some of the most common forms of truck driver negligence include:
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to follow traffic laws, including running a red light
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Reckless driving
The Trucking Company
The truck driver may not be the only liable party in your accident claim. In fact, s/he may not be at fault at all. The trucking company may be the party responsible if they failed to properly maintain the truck.
Negligence on behalf of the trucking company can include:
- A failure to properly maintain the truck when it needs servicing
- Skipped inspections
- Incorrectly loading freight or overloading the truck
- Encouraging drivers to violate their service hour regulations
- Hiring truck drivers who were inadequately trained, not properly licensed, or had a known history of drug or alcohol addiction
The Party Responsible for Loading the Truck
Truck freight must be properly secured to prevent the cargo from shifting during transport. Improperly loaded freight may tip over or move around in the trailer during transit.
This shifting weight can cause the truck to become unbalanced and hard to control. Freight may even spill out of the truck, causing deadly obstacles on the roadway.
The Manufacturer of Faulty Truck Parts
Defective brakes, tires, electrical systems, steering, hydraulic system, cargo securement equipment, or other truck components may be to blame for an 18-wheeler accident.
If a malfunctioning truck part caused your truck accident, liability for the accident might fall to the company that designed or manufactured the defective truck part.
Commercial Trucks and Federal Laws
One of the unique issues involved in a truck accident claim in Louisiana is that as common carriers, commercial trucks are subject to special regulations under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All trucking companies and their workers must abide by FMCSA laws. Federal law violations are often behind 18-wheeler accidents in Baton Rouge.
Examples of federal trucking laws are:
- Hours-of-service (HOS) restrictions: no truck driver may legally drive past a 14-hour driving limit after coming on-duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. There are also rules for meal and rest breaks. HOS restrictions are in place to prevent truck driver fatigue.
- Drug and alcohol testing: commercial truck drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing prior to employment, at random intervals and after truck accidents. If a truck company detects drugs or alcohol in a driver’s system, action must be taken to suspend or terminate the truck driver.
- Cargo securement: there are many rules for how commercial truck cargo must be loaded, balanced and secured in a flatbed or trailer. Violating these rules can result in cargo shifting in transit or lost cargo loads. There are also special rules for transporting hazardous materials.
- Fleet inspection and maintenance requirements: truck owners are legally responsible for ensuring the proper upkeep of their fleets. This involves regular truck inspections, professional repairs and maintenance, and the removal of any trucks from the fleet that are not roadworthy.
These laws are in place to make the trucking industry safer for everyone involved and the public as a whole. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and truck owners/operators cut corners and violate federal safety regulations in an effort to save money. Proof of a violated federal law could allow a victim to hold a truck company liable for a related truck accident in Baton Rouge.
Losses You Can Claim in an 18-Wheeler Accident Lawsuit
If you were hurt in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you can seek compensation for the costs you have incurred as a result, such as:
- Medical bills:past and future health care costs, including surgeries, therapies, rehabilitation, medications and future medical care related to your injuries.
- Lost income: wages and earnings lost due to missed shifts at work from the date the truck accident occurred to the date the claim was filed.
- Reduced income-earning capacity caused by a disability: estimated futurelost wages due to a short-term or long-term disability that interferes with the victim’s ability to earn a living
- Property damage: damage to your vehicle and other personal property caused by the truck accident, including the total pre-crash value of a totaled vehicle.
- Non-economic losses: intangible harm suffered, including pain and suffering, mental anguish,emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages: an additional amount that is only awarded in Louisiana in certain personal injury cases involving drunk drivers. Punitive damages aim to penalize a defendant.
Call the Morris Bart law firm at (225) 341-5694 today for a free case assessment.
Fatal 18-Wheeler Accidents
18-wheeler accidents are more likely to result in serious injury and even death. If you have lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the liable party for the pain they caused you and your family.
You may be entitled to pursue compensation for:
- The loss of your loved one’s income and employment benefits
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the accident up until your loved one’s untimely death
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering
- The loss of your loved one’s emotional support and companionship
- Funeral and burial costs
- Vehicle damage
According to Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §2315.2, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the deceased’s surviving spouse or children. Speak with a Morris Bart lawyer to learn more.
How do You Hold the Negligent Party Accountable for the Accident?
Determining why a truck accident occurred and who is to blame can be difficult when attempting to recover compensation for an accident. Once the liable party(ies) have been identified, the next step is to prove their negligence led to your injuries or to your loved one’s death.
There are four main elements that we must be able to prove when pursuing compensation on your behalf:
- The liable party has a legal duty of care.
- The liable party breached this duty by acting negligently or carelessly.
- Your injuries or your loved one’s death was caused by the defendant’s negligent actions.
- You sustained losses as a direct result of your injuries or your loved one’s death.
These are the four elements of negligence, which is the legal term for the failure to exercise ordinary care. An attorney can help you establish that these elements are more likely to be true than not true in your truck accident case using clear and convincing evidence.
Evidence We Can Use to Strengthen Your Case
A lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm can help you obtain evidence to support your claim and strengthen your case. Some examples include:
- The location of skid marks and vehicle debris
- Truck maintenance records
- The truck driver’s logbook, employment history, driving record, and drug test results
- The truck company’s policies and procedures
- Video footage from red-light cameras, dash cams, and traffic cameras
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Police reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony from highway safety specialists, engineers, or accident reconstructionists
We can act quickly to preserve evidence and subpoena records before a trucking company’s rapid response team can remove or alter any evidence.
You Can Recover Damages Even if You Were Partially At Fault
Do not hesitate to contact a truck accident attorney even if you believe you may have been partially at fault for a collision. Louisiana uses a comparative fault law on personal injury cases, which means you may still qualify for partial compensation even if you are somewhat to blame for the truck accident.
Comparative fault or negligence refers to an injured victim’s role or participation in causing an accident. It is not unusual for multiple parties to contribute to a truck accident. If this occurs, a jury will assign a percentage of fault to each party. Under Louisiana’s comparative fault law (CC §2323), any percentage of liability assigned to a victim will reduce his or her financial award by an equivalent amount.
For example, if the total value of your truck accident case is $1 million but you are attributed 10 percent of fault for the accident, your financial recovery would be reduced by a matching 10 percent ($100,000) for a total of $900,000 that would still be available. This rule applies to all claims filed for the recovery of damages for injury, death or loss in Louisiana, regardless of the basis of liability.
Louisiana uses a pure comparative negligence law, meaning an accident victim can still recover compensation with any percentage of fault (short of 100 percent). In states that have modified comparative fault laws, on the other hand, a victim is barred from making a financial recovery after a certain fault threshold, such as 50 percent or the majority share of fault.
How Much Is a Baton Rouge 18-Wheeler Accident Worth?
After being involved in a truck accident in Baton Rouge, it is important to understand the potential value of your personal injury or wrongful death claim. This means your specific case, not an “average” settlement value, which will not accurately represent your particular circumstances. Settlements and verdicts in truck accident cases vary widely, from $100,000 or less to several million.
While each case is unique, case values can be estimated by a lawyer after a careful review of the facts, including the victim’s diagnosis, injury severity, the number of liable parties, insurance coverage available and other relevant factors. Truck accident cases in Louisiana that involve catastrophic injuries, permanent disability or death are generally worth the most, although this varies. It is critical to hire an attorney for serious and high-stakes cases.
If you do not know your case’s estimated value, you could be at risk of accepting considerably less than you deserve from an insurance company during the truck accident settlement process. An insurance company may devalue your losses in an effort to protect its own profits. Consulting with a truck accident attorney can give you an accurate idea of how much your case might be worth.
Contact Morris Bart Today to Discuss Your Claim
We can help make you whole again and hold the responsible 18-wheeler driver and/or their company responsible for the misery they have caused. Call our office at (225) 341-5694 today for your free, no-obligation consultation. We work on contingency, so you pay nothing unless we win. You have nothing to lose, so call now.
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