A truck’s heavy weight and length can compromise maneuverability and braking distances leading to crash, jackknife and rollover scenarios where multi-vehicle involvement may occur. Extreme weather is often a factor when a jackknife situation occurs, as was the case where wind conditions caused a truck to jackknife near Lake Charles closing Interstate 10 East and Westbound near Enterprise Boulevard for several hours. Contact an attorney who can resolve insurance disputes, taking into consideration all accident factors including effects of extreme weather in the determination of fault.

Highway fatalities.

In the United States truck-related highway fatalities have decreased, but thousands of lives are still taken, or devastatingly impacted every day from accidents involving big trucks. The size and weight of a large truck may result in extensive damage and serious injury compared to an accident with a passenger vehicle. Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck for: 1) improper maintenance, 2) scheduled time constraints, 3) driver fatigue, 4) driver distractions, 5) commercial company negligence, 6) unsecured loads and 7) driving in extreme weather conditions. A tractor-trailer is approximately 65 feet in length and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, causing any type of crash between it and another moving vehicle, stationary object, or person to be more catastrophic and/or fatal in terms of injuries which is why federal and state regulations require tractor-trailer trucks to carry higher levels of insurance coverage, based on truck size and the type of transported cargo.

Cargo shift and overload.

Weight load distribution in tractor trailers can cause or impact roadway accidents. Cargo is an important safety consideration for trucking companies, and is often dependent solely on the people who load and/or drive these large trucks that already have limited maneuverability in certain traffic patterns. Even skilled drivers who experience shifting cargo loads that are not secured properly can end up in rollover or jackknife situations especially when high wind or other weather conditions occur that affect braking ability or the ability to stabilize the movement of a truck’s ride.  Overloading cargo is when a truck is carrying more than the specific maximum weight designed for the truck and dangers occur because: 1) the added weight requires longer stopping distances; 2) tires may not be able to support the extra weight and cause blowout situations; 3) mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds and decreasing uphill speed of a truck, and most importantly a shift in cargo weight could cause an overturn or jackknife situation.

Damages and insurance.

An accident victim may receive both compensatory damages, which are those damages that caused economic loss (loss of wages, medical bills, legal fees and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering).  Insurance and legal settlements will be based on the information obtained by the victims, witnesses and professionals who arrive at the scene. Multiple factors will assist in the determination of fault. Louisiana Civil Code 2323 regarding comparative fault addresses limitations in insurance and damages claims. The rule affects personal injury claims to the effect of reducing an accident victim’s claim in proportion to the percentage of his or her fault.

Consult a truck accident lawyer.

An attorney at the Colonna Law Firm will be able to assist you with your claim for damages resulting from a tractor trailer accident. These types of accidents involve more complex legal interaction requiring specific knowledge of the trucking industry, insurance law and civil injury law.

Colonna Law Firm
900 Ryan Street, Suite 402
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Tel: 337-656-3212
Fax: 337-385-5858
Email: [email protected]

Sources:
http://web01.dps.louisiana.gov/Omv1.nsf/$print/47F371A94524B74A862564B40052E5DA
https://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm
http://www.ldi.la.gov/industry/laws-and-bulletins/insurance-law-(title-22)

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/b/5/3/list

https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Vehicles/VehiclesAllVehicles.aspx

https://www.kplctv.com/2019/10/17/high-winds-early-morning-storm-cause-damage-across-parts-southwest-louisiana/