Proving Fault in a Louisiana Truck Accident Case
Recent statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety underscore the alarming frequency of truck accidents in Louisiana and across the nation, which cause thousands of deaths each year. According to 2015 statistics, 69 percent of all truck accident fatalities were occupants of passenger vehicles.
Commercial trucks weigh up to 30 times more than passenger vehicles when fully loaded with cargo. 18-wheelers and tractor trailers take 40 percent longer to stop compared to cars and are harder to brake on wet or slippery surfaces. Due to the discrepancy in size and weight between big trucks and cars, passenger vehicle drivers and occupants are incredibly vulnerable to traumatic and life-threatening injuries.
Like all personal injury claims arising from traffic collisions, victims of trucking accidents must prove that the operator of the truck or another party was negligent and that this negligence caused or contributed to the crash.
Why you need a truck accident attorney
Liable parties may include any individual or entity that caused the crash including: the commercial truck operator, the company that employed the driver, or a manufacturer in the case of a defective tire or vehicle component.
In order to recover compensation in a Louisiana truck accident case, your lawyer must gather and present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that wrongdoing occurred. This evidence may show that the truck’s cargo was improperly loaded, the driver was traveling too fast for road or weather conditions or failed to take a mandatory rest period as required by law.
Keep in mind that trucking companies will begin their own investigation into who was to blame. In some cases, vital evidence – like log books—can disappear, putting victims at a distinct disadvantage. For this reason, it’s imperative to enlist the aid of an experienced truck accident attorney who can begin investigations and gather important evidence necessary to demonstrate fault and win your case.
Evidence needed to prove fault in truck crashes
The following are some examples of the types of evidence needed to help prove fault in a commercial vehicle accident case:
- Black box recordings – Most commercial vehicles have a data recorder installed that monitors how the vehicle is operated. This black box can show the speed at the time of the accident and whether the brakes were applied before the crash.
- In-truck camera footage – If the tractor trailer had cameras installed, this video footage can be reviewed to see if the driver was tail gaiting or engaging in other dangerous behavior
- Log books – Whether written or digital, log books contain valuable insight into the driver’s hours logged on the road, rest periods, pre-trip inspections and other work activities. These log books may show evidence of FMSCA trucking industry violations.
- Drug and alcohol tests – Truck drivers are required by law to undergo drug/alcohol screening after any accident that results in serious personal injury or death.
- Eyewitness accounts – Individuals who saw the accident unfold and are willing to provide a written statement or testimony can bolster your claims and corroborate allegations that a truck driver was negligent.
- Expert testimony from crash reconstructionists – Many law firms utilize expert accident reconstructionists, who use photographs and evidence from the scene, in addition to data recordings to help establish the sequence of events, and which party is to blame in the accident.
Protect your rights to fair compensation
Bart Bernard is a dedicated truck accident lawyer Louisiana trusts to recover fair compensation for personal injury, medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage and pain and suffering caused by another party’s negligence. Over the past decade, he has secured millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients throughout Lafayette, Baton Rouge and surrounding communities.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a trucking accident, you want an attorney who is renowned for his integrity, professionalism and commitment to getting results. Put experience to work for you by scheduling a free case evaluation with attorney Bart Bernard. Don’t delay in seeking legal counsel. Louisiana allows just one year from the date of the injury to bring a lawsuit.
Additional Truck Accident Lawsuit Resources:
- FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Large Truck Fatality Facts http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks