Truck Accidents

AATA-Certified Truck Accident Attorneys in New Orleans

Did you know there are special laws set up by the federal government that apply only to 18-Wheelers and big trucks? The attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm are members of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. We are specifically trained to represent those injured by 18-Wheelers and big box trucks. We know that we may need to recover black box data from the truck and obtain evidence from the scene of the wreck, which is why it’s so important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible after an 18-Wheeler accident. 

Louisiana Truck Accident Statistics

Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of Louisiana commerce. They transport everything from the food and clothing we buy to construction equipment for our road and crude oil to Louisiana refineries. Sadly, motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks occur every day in Louisiana. These crashes can be very dangerous and often deadly.

On average, 100 people are killed and 3,0000 people are injured each year in Louisiana in large truck and bus accidents, according to data compiled by the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation at Louisiana State University. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017. Four out of five people killed in a crash involving a large truck are the drivers or occupants of the other vehicles involved, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Facts About Large Truck Crashes

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • A third of all fatal crashes that involve a large truck are head-on collisions.
  • Another 30 percent involve the front of the truck hitting the back or side of another vehicle.
  • More than one in four fatal large-truck crashes occurred on interstate highways.
  • Nearly 60 percent of truck accidents occurred in rural areas.
  • Deadly crashes involving large trucks typically happen on weekdays during daylight hours.
  • More than 21 percent of all large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding conviction, roughly the same as drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes.

A comprehensive study of the causes of large-truck crashes that involved injury or death by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that in 55 percent of crashes the large truck was the “critical reason” or the cause of the accident event. Nine out of ten of these critical reasons involved driver error on the part of the large truck operator.

The most common factors involved in truck driver error that led to a crash were:

  1. Traveling too fast for conditions (23% of crashes)
  2. Unfamiliar with the roadway (22% of crashes)
  3. Over-the-counter drug use (17% of crashes)
  4. Inadequate surveillance (14% of crashes)
  5. Driver Fatigue (13% of crashes)

An average semi-truck weighs 40 tons, compared to 1.5 tons for a typical compact car. This weight difference makes semi-trucks the most hazardous vehicles on the road. Semi-trucks require more stopping and merging distance, and they have large blind spots at their front and sides. They often carry massive loads long distances across a variety of road types and conditions.

Louisiana Truck Accident Law

Liability Under Louisiana Law

Because of the inherent risks of large trucks, especially to other motor vehicle operators, truck drivers have a duty to other drivers to use “reasonable care” in operating vehicles. Essentially, an injured party seeks damages based on a truck driver’s negligence that caused the accident.

Damages under Louisiana Law

When a trucker causes an accident, that duty is breached and injured parties hold him or her liable for failing to use such care. Injured parties may seek compensation for medical expenses incident to the accident, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as future treatment and rehabilitation expenses.

Comparative Negligence

Louisiana car accident judgments are subject to comparative negligence law. This means that a court can find you, the victim, partially at fault for your car accident. You can not recover damages for your case. But the court will reduce your award by the percentage that it decides you were at fault. So, if you would have received a $100,000 award and you are found to be 20% at fault for the car accident, your award would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. An insurance claims adjuster will use the same logic in determining what it will offer as a settlement.

Obviously, there is no empirical measure of fault, so any assignment of liability is really a judgment call that is subject to your ability to negotiate with insurers or persuade a judge or jury. A skilled, experienced attorney with knowledge of past awards and how “fault” is determined can be invaluable in helping you through this process.

Statute of Limitations Under Louisiana Law

The statute of limitations to bring a civil suit for damages in Louisiana is one year from the date of the accident.

Commercial Truckers Insurance Requirements

Under current state and federal laws, commercial large truck drivers are required to have minimum liability coverage from $300,000 (up to 10,000 lbs) and $750,000 (over 10,000 lbs), rising to $5 million for certain hazardous cargoes.

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident?

While typically the driver of a vehicle is liable for the damages they cause in an auto accident in Louisiana, there can be special circumstances when a commercial truck is involved. It is important to understand your rights if you’ve been injured in a crash with a large truck. A skilled attorney with experience winning Louisiana truck accident cases can help you navigate the process to ensure the best possible compensation for your injuries.

Louisiana Law When The Truck Driver Is An Employee 

Louisiana law holds employers responsible for wrongful acts, including negligent driving, when they are committed by an employee while the employee is performing job duties. When two parties have a certain relationship with one another, the law can hold one party liable for the misconduct of another. For example, if an employee runs a red light and hits another car while driving a company truck during work hours, the employer could be responsible for the damages caused by the employee.

Louisiana Law and Truck Fleet Owners and Operators

Truck drivers are often classified (and sometimes misclassified) as independent contractors by the companies that employ them. This allows a company to shift costs onto truck drivers and avoid federal labor standards like overtime pay and workers’ compensation. This does not nullify the company’s responsibility as a fleet owner or operator when a victim is injured by a driver under their employ.

Damages suffered by victims of a truck accident can quickly exceed a truck driver’s insurance policy limits. Because of this, federal regulations require that trucking companies carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance.

Call the Charbonnet Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck-involved crash in Louisiana, you owe it to yourself to find a strong legal advocate. Insurance and trucking companies will always work to protect their bottom line. That can mean pressuring accident victims to settle quickly for less than the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries.

Call today for a free consultation. Let our team of experienced, trusted attorneys at the Charbonnet Law Firm evaluate your case and help you decide the best possible course of action to take. If you decide to work with our firm, we collect nothing unless we prevail, and we will fight tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome of your case, so you can focus on healing.


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    Uber and Lyft Accidents

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    Experienced Lyft & Uber Accident Lawyers in New Orleans

    We represent Uber and Lyft drivers.
    We represent Uber and Lyft passengers.
    We represent people in a crash with an Uber or Lyft car.

    Uber and Lyft arrived in New Orleans shortly after a city ordinance permitting those companies to operate in 2015. Charbonnet Law Firm got its first Uber accident case the following week! Since then, the popularity of rideshares has exploded with the number of trips taken using rideshare apps quickly overtaking traditional taxi trips.

    Our experienced Lyft and Uber accident lawyers have represented hundreds of drivers, passengers, and bystanders in rideshare accidents. We know the attorneys who represent these companies and we have good working relationships with them.

    New Orleans Ridesharing Accident Statistics

    Rideshare apps have changed the way many of us get around. We use Uber or Lyft because of their convenience. Whether we are on vacation, heading to the airport or The Big Game, or making the responsible transit choice after a few too many drinks, many New Orleans residents rely on ride-sharing services to get us where we need to go safely. In fact, a 2018 Arizona State University study found that New Orleans had the second-highest rideshare use per capita of any major U.S. metropolitan area (beat only by San Francisco). A whopping 30% of New Orleans residents reported using one of the rideshare apps in the last 30 days.

    According to a 2018 survey, 36% of Americans say they have used a ridesharing app. Another 61% say they have heard of Uber or Lyft but hadn’t taken a ride yet, and just 3% of Americans said they hadn’t heard of them at all. The same survey taken in 2015 found that just 15% had used the apps and 33% had never heard of Uber or Lyft. Founded in 2009 and 2012, respectively, Uber and Lyft now account for 5.5 billion vehicle trips worldwide each year.

    This enormous growth comes with new dangers on the road and new legal complications when an accident occurs. In 2018 Uber released a U.S. Safety Report that found that there were 107 total traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018 involving Uber. The company estimated its fatality rate to be roughly half the average for U.S. drivers. Analysts, however, point out that the company doesn’t report any data on non-fatal traffic accidents involving its drivers. A new study by the University of Chicago and Rice University suggests that ridesharing services may actually increase traffic accidents and fatalities, especially in larger cities, by putting more cars on the road and creating more stop-start traffic.

    Lyft & Uber Accident Claims

    While the laws that govern car crash liability and personal injury liability in Louisiana generally apply to cases involving Uber or Lyft drivers, there are added complications. If you or someone you love is injured in an auto accident involving a rideshare vehicle whether as a passenger, pedestrian, or other drivers, it is important to know your legal rights.

    Determining who is the responsible party in an accident involving Uber or Lyft isn’t always straightforward. If you are injured in an accident, it might seem like the driver’s auto insurance company or the multibillion-dollar rideshare company involved will protect your interests as a rider, pedestrian, or driver. Don’t count on it. Both want the fastest possible resolution and will work to protect their bottom line first and foremost.

    In general, if the rideshare driver is at fault, his or her insurance will cover damages up to the maximum amount of that policy. If this policy is exhausted, then the ridesharing app’s third-party liability insurance should kick in up to $1,000,000. But, of course, the devil is in the details. Both corporations will use complicating factors in Louisiana law, like comparative negligence and personal injury caps, to protect their interests and keep their costs to a minimum. Furthermore, Uber and Lyft both require users to agree to “terms of service.” The amount of insurance coverage a rideshare vehicle has can vary minute by minute depending on whether there are passengers in the vehicle

    It can be a very complex process to sort out who is responsible for paying out compensation and in what amounts when an accident involves a ridesharing app driver. You owe it to yourself and your family to speak with a skilled and dedicated legal team with a strong track record of winning for clients who have been victims of Uber or Lyft accidents.

    What to do if you are in an Uber or Lyft accident in New Orleans

    Even if an accident seems relatively minor, following these steps will protect your interests and give you peace of mind down the road. In the event of a traffic accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

    • 1. Make sure you and others involved are physically okay. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if anyone is injured. Make sure you and others are not at immediate risk from oncoming traffic or other roadway hazards.
    • 2. Make sure the accident is reported immediately. Call 911 and explain the situation. If the emergency is non-life threatening, the operator may advise you to call 311 or another local service. Under Louisiana law, a driver must immediately report any traffic accident that results in an injury to any person, a death, or damage to property over $500. Drivers must further provide detailed information to a member of law enforcement who investigates the crash. Crash reports are available at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety website.
    • 3. Gather information and evidence at the scene. Use your cellphone to take photos at the scene that show the angle of impact, damage to vehicles and other property. Get the contact information for all witnesses at the scene. Take photos of insurance cards from any drivers involved. This step may prove invaluable later on as your legal team prepares evidence to build the strongest possible case.
    • 4. If you are a driver or a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, report the crash through the Uber or Lyft app within 24 hours. You may have to go take a drug test within 24 hours of the crash. REMEMBER: Being in an accident can be confusing and scary. Do not admit fault or make other statements about your injuries or those of others to anyone until you have gained a full picture of what happened.
    • 5. If you are injured, contact an attorney with a strong track record of winning for clients in Uber and Lyft crash injury cases in Louisiana.

    Car accidents are complicated enough, but when a rideshare app is involved, things can get even more complex. You can find yourself dealing with hospitals, doctors’ offices, your own insurance, the rideshare driver, his or her auto insurance, the ridesharing app, its third-party liability insurance, and any other involved parties and their insurance. It can feel like trying to find your way out of a maze. Let an experienced Uber car accident attorney at Charbonnet Law Firm help you sort through this tangled web and get the compensation you deserve.

    Contact Charbonnet Law Firm About Your Rideshare Accident

    If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle in Louisiana, call the dedicated team of attorneys at Charbonnet Law Firm right away. We have been winning for our personal injury clients in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes for more than five decades. You deserve the peace of mind of knowing a skilled, trustworthy law firm is on your side.

    At Charbonnet Law Firm, we will help you understand your case and your options for compensation. If you choose to pursue your case, we will be there with you every step of the way, protecting your interests and fighting for the best possible outcome. Call today for a free consultation.

    More Related Info: Uber & Lyft Insurance and Settlements

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