Posts in Truck Accidents

Truck Accidents

How Much Is My Truck Accident Case Worth?

September 21, 2018 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Wooden gavel laying on American dollars

Truck accidents can be among the most serious types of motor vehicle accidents, causing thousands of severe injuries and deaths every year. If you’ve been harmed by a commercial truck driver, you have the right to seek legal advocacy services to maximize your chances of securing compensation. One of the first questions you may have for your attorney is, “How much is my case worth?”

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Every case involves unique factors and damages. Before your truck accident attorney can do a thorough assessment of the compensation you could receive, he’ll need access to all of the relevant records, including your medical records.

Types of compensation for truck accident cases

You may hear your attorney refer to “compensatory damages,” “pain and suffering damages,” or “punitive damages.” These are all types of compensation that may be available to you in a truck accident case. Some damages are called economic compensatory damages. These are easy to calculate, since they are losses that already have a fixed monetary value. They include:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses: These damages pay for all of your accident-related medical costs, including hospitalization, surgery, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and durable medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: You can receive compensation for the wages you lost because you couldn’t work while recovering from your injuries.
  • Loss of earning capacity: If you’re disabled and unable to work, you can receive compensation for the money you would have expected to earn.
  • Property loss: You can receive compensation for the damage or total loss of your vehicle, as well as personal possessions inside the vehicle.

Other types of damages stemming from a truck accident case are non-economic in nature. That is, they don’t have a set monetary value assigned to them. Non-economic damages include:

  • Past, present, and future pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Punitive damages are different. They are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior.

Calculating the value of your truck accident case

It can be tricky to calculate the value of non-economic damages like pain and suffering. When deciding how much to seek in a lawsuit, the personal injury lawyer may consider the extent to which the accident and its resultant injuries affect your daily activities and quality of life. An attorney can consider the following factors:

  • Has the accident resulted in permanent disability?
  • Has the accident resulted in psychological injuries?
  • Will you require ongoing medical treatment or additional surgeries?
  • Have you been permanently scarred or disfigured?
  • How has the accident affected your family?
  • Have you been unable to care for your children?
  • Are you experiencing severe or chronic pain?

The more severe the consequences of the accident are, the higher the compensatory damages.

Seek damages for your truck accident case in Louisiana

A serious truck accident can turn your life upside down. But you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. Louisiana truck accident attorney Bart Bernard is known for effective legal advocacy services that can help you maximize your chances of securing compensation for your losses. Bart Bernard is accepting new clients in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and throughout Louisiana. Call today to request your complimentary case consultation.

Additional resources about truck accident cases

  1. Center for Justice and Democracy, Fact Sheet: Understanding Non-Economic Damages, https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-understanding-non-economic-damages
  2. American Bar Association, Personal Injury, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/negligence.html

Why 18-Wheelers Are So Dangerous

March 29, 2018 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Driving down the freeway near an 18-wheeler can make anyone feel a little nervous and the uneasy feeling is not unfounded. There are more than a quarter of a million crashes involving semi trucks and passenger vehicles annually and it is the occupants of the smaller vehicles that typically bear the brunt of the collision — sometimes suffering catastrophic injuries.

Passenger cars outnumber semi trucks on the road but more than one out of every ten traffic fatalities involves a commercial truck. Given the size difference between commercial trucks like semi tractor-trailers and passenger cars and trucks, it is no surprise that the smaller vehicles are at a disadvantage in a crash.

Here are some of the factors that make 18-wheelers a danger on the roads.

Factors that make 18-wheelers dangerous

It is hard to overlook the size disparity between semi trucks and passenger vehicles. It is this size differential that plays a major role in the typical semi accident.

The maximum-weight 18 wheeler weighs more than four times the average passenger car and can easily be three times as long with a single trailer or much longer with a double trailer. This affects:

  • Stopping distance: A semi truck requires more time and distance to accelerate or stop. It can take an 18-wheeler up to 600 feet to stop completely.
  • Length: The longer length of 18 wheelers compared to small cars presents issues when cars attempt to pass because no matter how many mirrors the truck has, its driver will have blind spots. Blind spots lead to many of the accidents involving large trucks.
  • Center of gravity: The high center of gravity on the tractor-trailers makes them less stable and more difficult to maneuver.

These characteristics are related to some of the more prevalent causes of semi truck accidents. They can lead to:

  • Jackknife accidents: The swivel point connecting the tractor to the trailer can lead to a jackknife due to the braking pattern, load distribution, or some other factor where the driver loses control.
  • Rollovers: Rollovers can have several causes, including when the front wheels turn more quickly than the rear containing the cargo. They are more common when the load is full and the truck is speeding.

Many 18-wheeler crashes can be prevented through careful actions. By avoiding improper loading of cargo, staying up-to-date on truck maintenance, diligently taking care of mechanical issues, and preventing driver fatigue, the effects of the truck size can minimized.

Legal advocacy in Baton Rouge and Lafayette

Lawsuits involving commercial truck accidents can be very specialized, calling into question scientific theories over how the accident occurred; liability of individuals and businesses who owned, leased, or loaded the truck; and even the scope and extend of injuries suffered. It is crucial to have a lawyer like Bart Bernard, who has already helped many victims of serious accidents secure the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a crash with a semi truck, be sure to speak with an 18 wheeler accident lawyer in Louisiana. Bart Bernard has offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana; call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Additional 18-wheeler accident resources:

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Large Truck and Bus Crush Facts, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
  2. Nationwide, How to Share the Road with Semi Trucks, https://blog.nationwide.com/driving-near-trucks-highway/

 


5 Things You Should Never Do When Driving Near Trucks

January 24, 2018 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayLarge semi tractor-trailer trucks make up almost 5% of all vehicle traffic on the nation’s highways. That density increases in large metropolitan areas and congested corridors, where almost every fourth vehicle may be a truck. A fully loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, as opposed to 4,000 pounds for a car. At that weight, a truck traveling at 55 miles per hour can require up to 100 yards, or the entire length of a football field, to come to a full stop. Given these facts, a car will be at a severe disadvantage in a collision with a truck or other large vehicle.

Defensive driving should be a priority when you are driving anywhere near a truck, a bus, or any other long, heavy commercial vehicle. You can improve your safety by practicing these five cautions when driving near trucks:

Don’t ignore a truck’s blind spots and no-drive zones

Even with dashboard cameras, proximity sensors, and large rearview mirrors, commercial drivers are not immediately able to see everything on the road around them. Stay at least 30 feet behind a truck or bus, and be careful while driving in the one lane on the driver’s side of the truck and in the two lanes on the passenger side, particularly if you are behind the truck’s cab. The 20 feet of roadway in front of a truck or bus is also a high-risk zone. When you pass a truck, drive well beyond the front of the cab before shifting back into the lane in front of the truck.

Don’t forget to exercise extra caution when passing a truck

If you cannot see the truck or bus driver’s mirrors, the driver will not be able to see you. Make sure you can see the mirrors before you shift into a passing lane. Use your turn signals to indicate that you are passing. Accelerate smoothly and evenly while in the passing lane and do not linger in the driver’s blind spot immediately behind the cab. Confirm that you see the entire front of the truck in your own rearview mirror before you shift back into the truck’s lane. Understand also that you will require more roadway to pass a long truck or bus. Never begin a pass on a two-lane or a curving road if you have any doubts about how clear the passing lane is in front of you.

Never cut off or brake-check a truck or bus

Remember that a fully loaded truck may need 100 yards to come to a complete stop. When you cut off a truck, you are taking an extreme risk that the truck will not be able to stop in time behind you if you suddenly slow down. Further, drivers that have road rage issues might be tempted to “brake check” a truck, where the driver pulls in front of a truck and suddenly slows down or brakes to force the truck to do the same. Brake checking can cause a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and to cause disastrous accidents.

Do not tailgate or draft off of a truck or bus

Again, if you cannot see the truck’s mirrors, the driver cannot see you. You might be tempted to improve your highway mileage by riding in a truck’s draft, but if the truck slows suddenly you can easily crash into the trailer’s rear impact guard. Federal regulations require trailers to have a guard that is no more than 22 inches above the surface of a roadway. Depending on the height of your vehicle, a collision with that guard can cause serious damage or injury.

Do not fail to heed wide turns from trucks and buses

Give trucks and buses enough room to maneuver through wide turns. A truck or bus might need to start a right turn, for example, from a middle lane. When you are pulling up to an intersection and a truck is turning from another road into your roadway, anticipate that the truck may need to come into your lane while it executes the turn.

Accident? Call Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard

If you have suffered property damages or injuries in an accident with a truck or bus in Baton Rouge, or anywhere else in Louisiana, Bart Bernard can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call our offices as soon as possible after the accident to give our legal team an opportunity to investigate and preserve the evidence.

Contact Baton Rouge and Lafayette truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard today to schedule a free consultation about your accident. Bart charges no fees unless he is able to get you fair and just compensation.

Additional Resources on “What Never To Do When Driving Around Trucks”:

  1. FMCSA.gov: Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks or Buses. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ourroads/tips-driving-safely-around-large-trucks-or-buses
  2. Jalopnik.com: Why You Never, Ever Brake Check Another Driver. https://jalopnik.com/why-you-never-ever-brake-check-another-driver-1764147377

How Tesla’s Semi Truck Will Change the Trucking Industry

December 5, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayIn mid-November, Elon Musk’s innovative company Tesla announced a self-driving semi truck, slated to roll out in 2019. Although much of the publicity about self-driving vehicles has focused on cars, a self-driving truck has enormous potential to disrupt the transportation industry.

Electric Self-Driving Trucks Forecast to Save Fuel, Increase Productivity

Currently, many goods throughout the U.S. are distributed via long-haul trucking. Tesla’s self-driving truck, which is forecast to have a 500-mile range, is an electric vehicle as well as a self-driving one.

For starters, the fact that it’s electric means savings on fuel estimated at $200,000, according to Forbes.

But it may transform the trucking industry more than that. An economist quoted in Forbes says that self-driving trucks could be “the most powerful thing to hit us since the building of the superhighways in the 1950s.”

Why? Because trucks today are productive only about one-third to one-half of the day. Human truckers must sleep. The trucks also spend nonproductive time sitting, being serviced, and waiting to be loaded.

Some observers believe that the trucking industry could increase its productivity by 100% and cut travel times in half. Autonomous trucks can, theoretically, drive 24/7, which means they keep going for long distances when human drivers couldn’t. Goods could be delivered much faster than they are now as a result.

Safety Behind the Wheel?

Will self-driving semi trucks be safe on the road? Many observers say yes. Like the self-driving car, the autonomous trucks would be programmed to avoid other vehicles and to obey the rules of the road. Potentially, this could improve safety and reduce accidents that stem from driver or other preventable human error.

Some people feel that autonomous trucks could result in an 80% drop in rear-end collisions, for example, as the trucks are programmed to stop when an object — person or thing — is too close to the back end.

But the fact of the matter is, the only self-driving vehicles on the road to date have been prototype vehicles, designed to test the functioning, viability, and safety of the vehicles in real-world conditions.

Because the technology is so new, it comes with a host of questions about real-world applications. Can the sophisticated computer systems be hacked, for example? Might malicious hackers cause accidents? Will they be built with an override for human drivers, as self-driving cars to date have been? Can they identify all road hazards and conditions, such as fog or bridges — areas self-driving cars have had trouble with?

Stay tuned. Potentially, these trucks are big business. They are also vehicles that could affect everyone who drives.

Do You Need an Attorney Experienced in Trucking Accidents?

Have you or a loved one been in a trucking accident? These cases can be complicated, as the party liable could be the company that packed the cargo, maintained the truck, set the schedules, or the driver.

You need a lawyer experienced in trucking law.

Lafayette truck accident attorney Bart Bernard will assess and review your case with the utmost care and concern. The initial consultation on your case is free. We have two offices in Louisiana, in Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Call today to see how much your case is worth!

Additional “Self-Driving Truck” Resources:

  1. Alsin, Arnie. “Beyond Tesla’s Semi Truck: The Future of Trucking and Transportation.” Forbes. November 18, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/aalsin/2017/11/28/beyond-teslas-semi-truck-the-future-of-trucking-and-transportation/#2fe745aa416f
  2. Johnson, Eric. “Will Tesla Disrupt the Trucking Industry?” Recode. November 25, 2017. https://www.recode.net/2017/11/25/16699128/tesla-semi-trucks-elon-musk-tamara-warren-kara-swisher-lauren-goode-too-embarrassed-podcast

The 3 Most Common Drugs Truckers Use Behind the Wheel

November 14, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Big rig semi truckLast year, drug use among commercial truck drivers hit the highest level since 2009, as measured by United States Department of Transportation (DOT) data.

While the percentage of drivers who failed drug tests was still low, at 1.98% versus 1.85% in the previous year, the increases are still worrisome. Drug use can cause lapses in driver attention and ability to focus, as well as impairing reflexes and reaction time.

Of more concern still is that even small percentages out of the 5.4 million truckers tested represent a large number of drivers. The percentage of truck drivers who failed the test due to marijuana alone, for example, was 0.81%.

That may seem small, but it represents 44,388 drivers on the road who are under the influence of a drug that can impair their driving.

3 most common drugs used by truck drivers

By far the most common drug that truckers use while driving is marijuana. DOT officials noted that the increasing legalization of the drug in many states may make it more available and accessible. Marijuana can cause symptoms similar to alcohol, decreasing concentration and spurring a feeling of sleepiness.

The second most common drug is amphetamines, commonly called “speed.” The percentage of drivers who failed a drug test due to amphetamine in their system was 0.65%, or 35,421 drivers.

The third most common drug is cocaine, which caused 14,939 drivers to flunk drug tests.

Both amphetamines and cocaine work as stimulants. They change perceptions and reaction time, and can cause hallucinations. Truck drivers may be taking them to keeping working long shifts and complete their long-haul assignments.

If so, lack of sleep with drugs on top of it may cause drivers to be inattentive to traffic conditions, impair reaction time and responses, and cause drivers to misjudge distances, among other errors.

While neither opiates such as heroin or phencyclidine (PCP) made the top 3, they did cause a number of drivers to fail drug tests.

Observers also note that there is a widespread opioid crisis in many parts of the U.S. Currently, the DOT doesn’t test for opioid use.

Drivers can be tested at random or before their employment begins. They are also tested after an accident, if there is reasonable suspicion that they might be using drugs, and after they return to duty.

Drivers who test positive for drugs are immediately banned from driving commercially. They have to undergo drug rehabilitation treatment before they can be considered for rehiring.

Louisiana truck accident attorney

Drug use behind the wheel is a danger to other motorists and pedestrians because it raises the risk of accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a truck driver who was abusing drugs, you may be eligible for compensation.

The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has vast experience in truck accident law. We have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. We assist people who are long-time residents of our communities and out-of-state visitors who need expert legal guidance.

For a free case review with Lafayette truck accident lawyer Bart Bernard, call 337-989-BART today!

Additional Resources on Drug Use among Truck Drivers:

1. Doyle, Kathryn. “Drug Use High Among Commercial Truck Drivers: Study.” Reuters. October 25, 2013. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-drug-truckdrivers/drug-use-high-among-commercial-truck-drivers-study-idUSBRE99O0T520131025


7 Longest Trucking Routes in America

November 13, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

It’s not uncommon for long-haul truckers in the U.S. to log more than 600 miles a day, or more than 12,000 miles a month. Many of these truckers brave treacherous road conditions and extreme weather during these grueling commutes as they crisscross the country.

Truck drivers are no strangers to long shifts behind the wheel, in which they get to know some of the nation’s most impressive highways and roads. From Florida to California and from New York to Washington, here are seven of the longest trucking routes in America.

7 Longest Highways in U.S.

On any given day, long-haul truckers are covering huge distances on seemingly endless stretches of highway, as they transport cargo and consumer goods from points A to B.

Here are seven of the longest highways in America:

  1. US Route 20: the longest route in the United States, this coast-to-coast route spans a whopping 3,365 miles, stretching from Newport, Oregon all the way to Boston, Massachusetts.
  2. US Route 6: Also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, US 6 is another coastal route that runs from California east to Provincetown, Massachusetts, totaling some 3,207 miles.
  3. Interstate 90: I-90 has the distinction as the longest interstate freeway in the United States, clocking in 3,020 miles. This transcontinental highway runs from Seattle, Washington to Boston, Massachusetts. Interstate 90 includes two of the world’s largest floating bridges: the Homer Hadley Memorial Bridge and the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge.
  4. S. Route 30: This east-west interstate is the third longest U.S. route, traveling through the northern tier of the country from Astoria, Oregon to Atlantic City. US 30 covers 3,072 miles.
  5. Interstate 80: The I-80 is the second longest freeway within the U.S. interstate system, and is nearly 2,900 miles from end to end. It runs from San Francisco, CA to Teaneck, New Jersey.
  6. US Route 50: Created in 1926, Route 50 spans over 3,010 miles and connects Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, Maryland. US Route 50 passes through remote, desolated areas in Wyoming and Nevada with few inhabitants, and this stretch has been labeled “the loneliest road in America.”
  7. US Route 60: Venturing more than 2,670 miles (or 4,300 km), US Route 60 travels from southwestern Arizona east to Virginia Beach, Virginia. From start to finish, US Route 60 would take almost 50 hours to drive, non-stop.

Truck Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue is one of the primary causes of commercial truck accidents in the United States. Overworked truckers – who are paid by the mile — are often pushed to violate hours of regulation in an effort to meet tight deadlines. Many of these big rig crashes result in life-threatening injuries and fatalities.

If you or someone you love were injured because of a drowsy or negligent driver, protect your rights by speaking to Bart Bernard, an experienced Louisiana truck accident lawyer. Call our Baton Rouge or Lafayette law offices to schedule a free, no-obligation case review today.

Additional U.S. Trucking Route Resources:

  1. com, The 10 Longest Highways in the USA https://ezfreightfactoring.com/blog/the-ten-longest-highways-in-the-united-states
  2. Softwareadvice, The Most Loved (and Hated) U.S. Trucking Routes IndustryView https://www.softwareadvice.com/scm/industryview/trucking-routes-report-2014/
  3. Keep Truckin,  Connection Between Commercial Truck Accidents and Fatigued Drivers https://keeptruckin.com/blog/accidents-fatigued-drivers/

 

 


Louisiana Truck Accidents – 3 Most Common Causes

September 2, 2017 Truck Accidents 0 Comments

Truck on freewayFatal commercial vehicles accidents are on the rise across the nation. According to cumulative data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 10 percent of all highway deaths in the United States involve large trucks.

Recent statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) underscore the prevalence of big rig collisions and some of the most common reasons why heavily-loaded tractor trailers are involved in accidents.

  • 22 percent more Americans were killed in large truck accidents in 2015 compared to 2009
  • 3,852 people died in accidents involving big rigs, 18 wheelers or large commercial vehicles in 2015
  • 69 percent of 2015 truck fatalities were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, while 15 percent were motorcyclists, pedestrians or bicyclists
  • In 2015, 64 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents in Louisiana involved tractor trailers

The average semi truck weighs nearly 30 times as much as passenger vehicle, making smaller cars and their occupants particularly vulnerable to catastrophic harm in the event of a collision. In order to identify risk factors and reduce highway deaths, the FMCSA conducted a Large Truck Crash Causation Study, which shed light on some of the leading causes of these life-altering accidents.

3 common causes of truck accidents

Traffic safety officials looked at data from 967 commercial vehicle accidents, finding that poor driver decisions and reckless behavior was a contributing factor in the majority of crashes.

  1. Substance abuse – According to the data, use of prescription medications was a contributing factor in 26.3 percent of the truck accidents. By contrast, only 17.3 percent of crashes were attributed to over-the-counter drug use.
  2. Aggressive behavior/driving too fast for conditions – In almost 23 percent of the large truck accidents, truck operators were driving at unsafe speeds. Reckless and aggressive driving behaviors such as tail gaiting caused more than 6 percent of accidents.
  3. Driver fatigue or distraction – 13 percent of the accidents were caused by fatigue or drowsiness. Surveys indicate that many truck drivers violate FMCSA “hours of service” ( the number of consecutive driving hours allowed between rest periods)in order to meet tight deadlines. Distracted driving or truck driver inattention played a role in 8.5 percent of the crashes studied.

The causation study found that more than a quarter of all large truck accidents involved vehicle problems, including equipment malfunction or brake failure. In some of these scenarios, liability could be attributed to poor maintenance, defective vehicle parts, improper loading or even unsafe driving behaviors.

Legal assistance after a truck accident in Louisiana

These statistics and findings suggest that many commercial vehicle accidents are caused by poor decisions or wrongdoing, and completely preventable. When truck drivers or their employers are negligent in their duties and serious personal injury results, victims have a right to seek compensation. If you or someone you love were harmed in a truck accident in Louisiana, attorney Bart Bernard has the experience, resources and skill to demand justice from liable parties. Plaintiffs can seek monetary damages to account for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, rehabilitation and ongoing care costs.

To learn more about your legal remedies and rights, speak to a Louisiana truck accident lawyer with a proven track record. There is no fee unless we win or settle your claim! Call today to schedule a free consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge.

Additional Louisiana Truck Accident Resources:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Large Trucks Fatality Facts http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
  2. FMCSA, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
  3. FMCSA, Truck Hours of Service https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service