Highway Fatalities Involving Trucks.

The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year, of which 81% occur in multi-vehicle crash situations. Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident.  Most of the time the truck accident is caused by a passenger vehicle and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck.

Classes of Trucks.

Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds placing them in the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) category.  This impacts state laws and damages to be sought after in personal injury and wrongful death claims.  The size of a truck causes more damage than that of a passenger-sized vehicle and is accounted for in formal settlements between parties.  Due to the increased load and weight on trucks, the braking ability is also compromised under emergent braking conditions.

CMV Restrictions.

CMV drivers have restrictions imposed on them to reduce danger to passenger cars on highways due to trucks size, braking distance, and types of load they carry.  The driver restrictions for trucks carrying property cargo are limited to maximum hours driven; minimum hours off duty; required rest breaks – may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes and does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]; a 60/70 hour driving limit meaning a driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. CMV drivers that are carrying people have more stringent restrictions.

Law. 

Louisiana laws follow federal guidelines for all commercial motor vehicles subject to regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, subpart A, shall be insured in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility as set forth in such regulations.”

Fault in Louisiana.

“Fault” as it pertains to injuries and damages is when an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of someone in a similar situation, and it results in an injury of some sort, it is called “negligence” which is the basis for most civil lawsuits and negligence laws are established at the state level. If you file a legal claim against a truck driver in Louisiana, the state will be the guide  toward statute of limitations and fault assessment.  Louisiana’s comparative fault law is found at Louisiana Civil Code 2323. It has the effect of reducing a claimant or plaintiff’s claim in proportion to the percentage of his or her fault. This means, for example, that if you were 75% at fault, you could still recover 25% of your damages.  The rule affects any type of personal injury claim.

Court Awards.

Compensation will be based up a review of psychological injuries, bodily injury, liability insurance including uninsured motorist coverage, lost wages, loss of income, medical bills, physical damages to the vehicle, and the percentage of fault assigned to drivers.

Contact an Attorney.

Tractor trailer truck accidents involve multiple complex factors that require specific knowledge of the commercial trucking industry, extensive experience in civil injury laws, and sophisticated investigative capabilities to collect evidence and analyze it to most strongly support a negligence claim.  Contact a truck accident lawyer in Louisiana as soon as possible if you have been in an accident that cause injuries and/or damages to your livelihood.

Sources:

https://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm

http://www.ldi.la.gov/industry/laws-and-bulletins/insurance-law-(title-22)