Truck Accidents

Baton Rouge Truck Accident Lawyers

Skilled Legal Counsel for Victims of Commercial Trucking Accidents

Every vehicle accident is a serious situation, but truck accidents tend to be even more serious due to the size and weight of large commercial vehicles. When you get legal counsel to file your injury claim after a truck accident, make sure your attorney acknowledges just how serious the situation is.

At Chris Corzo Injury Attorneys, appreciate the gravity of the situation you’ve found yourself in and genuinely want to help you get through it. We help people injured in truck accidents pursue the compensation they deserve after a tired, reckless, or otherwise negligent truck driver caused a catastrophic collision. Our Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers have dedicated their careers to assisting our neighbors across the region in their time of need by offering reliable legal counsel and emotional support. Our work is driven by our Christian faith and our personal commitment to our clients, so we insist on handling every case as if we were representing a close friend—as we see it, we are.

Schedule your free initial consultation by calling us at (225) 230-3110 or contact us online today. We are ready to begin building your truck accident case to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Why Do 18-Wheeler Crashes Happen in Louisiana?

Louisiana is a major corridor for long-distance trucking. Two major interstates, including the I-10 and I-12, allow for bigger trucks like 18-wheelers and semi-trucks to carry freight on fast schedules. With so many large vehicles sharing the road with smaller passenger vehicles, the risk of a serious truck accident is constant.

Trucking accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including some of the same reasons often at the root of car accidents. Truck operator error, drowsy or distracted driving, and drug or alcohol usage can be to blame for big rig accidents, as can mechanical defects and inadequate maintenance.

The negligence of the trucking company that owns or hires a commercial truck involved in an accident can also directly contribute to why that accident happened. For example, if a trucking company doesn’t properly inspect or maintain its fleet of semi-trucks, it could be partially liable for a truck accident that occurs due to a truck part failure.

What Are Common Truck Maintenance & Repair Problems?

Common problems caused by insufficient truck maintenance and repair include:

  • Brake failure: Runaway trucks are a disaster waiting to happen. When brakes fail, big rigs are likely to collide with other vehicles at high speeds.
  • Blown tires: When tires fail, trucks present a serious threat to nearby traffic. Blowouts, often the result of failing to replace and maintain tires, commonly happen with little warning to other motorists and at high speeds.
  • Defective headlights: Trucks often hit the road overnight and in difficult weather, making it harder for truckers to see traffic. Malfunctioning headlights simply make matters worse.
  • Powertrain failure: Powertrain failures and other mechanical failures risk the safe operation of the truck, significantly increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Suspension issues: Although technology has greatly enhanced suspension quality and durability, regular inspection and maintenance are crucial to spotting and addressing signs before they show up on the road.
  • Steering failure: Steering failure often leads to accidents because it leaves truckers with little ability to avoid collisions and often not enough time to brake fully.
  • Trailer hitch defects: A trailer hitch that becomes loose or unattached creates an unexpected obstacle for other drivers.
  • Poorly secured loads: Cargo on a flatbed that is not properly secured can also wind up scattered on the road, giving other vehicles little or no time to react.
  • Wheel runoffs: Loose tires and wheels can come completely off a big rig. As the wheel rolls down the road on its own, it can strike motorists.

Commercial truck owners and their drivers have the responsibility to make sure that their vehicles are adequately inspected and properly maintained. Otherwise, they could be directly liable for any accidents that happen as a result of inadequate maintenance.

Truck Driver Fatigue Causes Truck Accidents

Driver error contributes to many truck crashes, specifically errors on behalf of the truck driver. Trucks cannot brake, swerve, or change lanes nearly as quickly to traffic as smaller vehicles, so truck drivers need to always pay sharp attention to the road and traffic conditions. The margin for error is small, and when truckers make mistakes, they can have devastating consequences.

Many mistakes happen when truckers are tired. According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 13% of large truck drivers are found to have been fatigued at the time of their crashes.

Truck driver fatigue is caused by several factors, including:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Medication side effects
  • Long work hours
  • Multiple shifts with no days off

Most drivers know that exhaustion starts to set in after about 6 or 8 hours behind the wheel. However, most commercial truck operators can legally be scheduled for 14-hour shifts, 5 days a week. The risk of getting fatigued while operating a semi-truck is high.

Other Causes of Truck Accidents in Louisiana

Truck accidents can also be caused by these common mistakes and issues:

  • Speeding
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
  • Texting or making phone calls while driving
  • Road rage
  • Road construction and hazards
  • Insufficient trucker training

Tanker Truck & Dump Truck Accidents

Tanker trucks and dump trucks are two massive types of big rigs. Dump trucks are used to transport loose materials like rocks, stone, sand, and waste, and tanker trucks transport liquid or gas materials like oil, water, and fuel. Due to their size and weight – often weighing up to the federal limit of 80,000 pounds – these two types of commercial vehicles can pose a greater-than-average risk to other motorists if an accident occurs.

A significant safety hazard can be created in an accident with a tanker truck or dump truck because of the types of material they haul. Chemicals, gases, and other materials may be toxic if they spill out onto the road and into the air, so the injuries suffered by anyone involved may be worse or different than what is usually seen in a truck accident.

Were you hit by a dump truck or tanker truck on one of Louisiana’s highways? Call our Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys at (225) 230-3110 now.

Trucking Regulations in Louisiana

Federal regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are designed to help reduce the risk of truck accidents. When these regulations are followed closely, that risk does drop significantly. When the regulations are intentionally ignored or inadvertently violated, the risk of a truck accident goes up, and the liability of the truck driver or trucking company may go up with it.

Important trucking regulations in Louisiana include the following and more:

  • Rest requirements: Truck drivers must take a break for at least 30 minutes for every 8 hours they spend behind the wheel.
  • Drivetime restrictions: Truckers are limited to no more than 11 hours of driving during a single shift after at least 10 hours off the road, in most cases. In a 14-hour shift, at least 3 of those hours must not be spent behind the wheel.
  • Work period caps: Commercial truck operators must not work more than 60 or 70 hours on duty over 7 or 8 days, depending on certain circumstances. A trucker’s work period (what might be called a workweek in other industries) restarts after they spend at least 34 consecutive hours off the road.
  • Speed limits: On many roads and highways, commercial vehicles have lower speed limits than passenger vehicles. For example, many highways in Louisiana have a 55-mph speed limit for commercial trucks and 18-wheelers.
  • Truck routes: Where possible, truck drivers are expected to use lanes and routes specifically designed for commercial trucks. Such routes allow smaller vehicles to remain separate from big rigs, reducing the risk of a devastating accident.
  • Weight limits: 18-wheelers cannot exceed 80,000 pounds. The weight distribution of a big rig also depends on how many axles it has and the positioning of those axles.

When a transportation company or truck driver tries to cut corners, important FMCSA regulations are often ignored. For example, a trucking company might instruct a load crew to place cargo into a trailer beyond the federal weight limit, which will increase the truck’s braking distance and put everyone on the road at an unfair risk of a collision.

Proving Liability for a Truck Accident

Finding evidence to determine the cause of a truck accident is a task that can be both delicate and complicated. The complexity arises from numerous factors involved, such as road conditions, driver behavior, and vehicle maintenance, among others. An experienced Baton Rouge truck accident attorney from our firm can look for evidence and determine the best way to use it. While we get to work on the difficulties of your case, you can focus on recovery.

Evidence that a truck accident lawyer may utilize to prove liability includes:

  • Dashcam footage: Video recordings from your dashcam or that of the truck driver can provide clear evidence of what happened just before, during, and after the accident. It may show the behavior of the truck driver or other drivers on the road, traffic signals, and road conditions.
  • Electric onboard recorder (EOBR): Many commercial trucks are equipped with EOBRs that record data about the truck’s operation. This information can be crucial in determining whether the truck was being operated safely and according to regulations at the time of the accident.
  • Police reports: A police report of the crash should contain information about the accident scene, statements from all parties involved, and sometimes even the officer’s opinion on who was at fault.
  • Eyewitness testimonies: Other drivers who witnessed the accident can provide valuable information that may not be included in police reports or captured on video. Their testimonies can help corroborate other evidence or provide new insights into the big rig wreck.
  • Trucking company records: If the trucking company has a history of safety violations or failed inspections, this could indicate a pattern of negligence that contributed to the accident.
  • Trucker's driving history: A history of traffic violations or accidents could suggest that the truck driver's actions may have contributed to the accident or that they were not fit to operate the commercial vehicle in the first place.

Steps to Take After a Truck Accident

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, it’s important to follow these steps:

  1. Call 911: Your immediate priority should be safety. Call 911 to report the accident and get medical help if needed. The police will control the scene, direct traffic away from the wreck, and create an accident report which can be crucial for your insurance claim or a potential lawsuit.
  2. Take photographs: If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene from different angles. Include photographs of your injuries, any damage to your vehicle, the truck involved, the road conditions, traffic signs, etc.
  3. Collect identifying information: Gather as much information as you can about the truck driver, including their name, contact information, insurance details, trucking company name, and trailer ID. Also, obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
  4. See a doctor: Even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the accident, it’s important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be apparent right away. A medical report will also serve as an official record of any injuries caused by the accident.
  5. Call an attorney: Consult with a truck accident attorney from our firm as soon as possible. We can guide you through the process of filing an injury claim or lawsuit, and help ensure that your rights are protected.

Common Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accidents often result in far more severe injuries than those caused by car accidents due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks. When a truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the impact can be devastating. The occupants of the smaller vehicle are at a higher risk of suffering serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, even if safety precautions like seat belts and airbags are used.

Serious injuries commonly caused by truck accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage. TBIs can cause long-term cognitive issues, difficulty with speech and motor functions, and emotional regulation problems.
  • Spinal cord injuriesSpine damage can cause partial or complete paralysis, depending on the severity and location of the injury. Victims may require long-term care and rehabilitation and may face significant changes to their quality of life.
  • Broken bones: The force of a truck collision can easily break bones. Severe fractures may require surgery and extensive physical therapy to heal. In some cases, victims may suffer from long-term mobility issues.
  • Internal injuries: The impact of a truck accident can cause damage to internal organs and blood vessels, resulting in severe injuries and internal bleeding.

Money Damages for Louisiana Truck Accident Injuries

Anyone who is injured in a truck accident in Louisiana has the legal right to seek compensation for those injuries. Our Baton Rouge 18-wheeler accident lawyers can help you calculate the money damages owed to you. The compensation usually available in a truck accident is meant to make the injured person “financially whole” again. In other words, it is designed to put the claimant or plaintiff back in the financial position that they were in before the accident happened.

Money damages to demand in a truck accident claim can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and income
  • Vehicle and property damage
  • Complications caused by new disabilities
  • Physical pain and hardship
  • Emotional trauma and mental suffering

Punitive damages may also be awarded in rare cases to punish wrongdoers for reckless behavior. If a truck accident resulted in the death of your loved one, you have the right to seek compensation for their wrongful death. The damages in a wrongful death claim can include compensation for medical and burial costs, missed income, pain and suffering, and more. Nothing can be done to bring your loved one back, but the money damages in these cases may offer some much-needed financial security after losing a family member, which in turn, may help you find a sense of closure.

Statute of Limitations for Baton Rouge Truck Accidents

Louisiana uses a brief one-year statute of limitations for most injury claims, including truck accidents. If you don’t file a claim against the liable party or parties within one year of the collision, you most likely can’t file one later. Don’t risk missing this important legal deadline. Learn more about your legal options today with our help.

Speak with Our Baton Rouge Truck Accident Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, our Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers at our firm can help you understand your rights and explore your options for seeking compensation. Our office is conveniently located in Baton Rouge, so scheduling a consultation with our team is simple. We are pleased to serve clients throughout the region, including St. Gabriel, Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Gramercy, Lutcher, Plaquemine, Baker, Port Allen, Addis, Sunshine, Darrow, Convent, St. James, and Belle Rose.

Talk to our team about your 18-wheeler accident. Dial (225) 230-3110 and ask for a free consultation.

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  • Truck Wreck

    Rear-end: Chris’ client suffered head, neck, elbow, arm, wrist, rib, back, and leg injuries in a truck wreck in Pointe Coupee Parish.

  • Car Wreck

    Side-Swiped: Chris’ client suffered head, neck, and back injuries in a car wreck in East Baton Rouge Parish.

  • Truck Wreck

    Rear-end: Chris’ client suffered headaches, neck, back, and various soft-tissue injuries in a truck wreck in Pointe Coupee Parish.