When accidents happen, they can be — and, in fact, are — devastating. But when truck wrecks happen, they can be especially devastating — and even fatal.
Many Louisiana residents are unaware that trucking companies — and their drivers — are bound by very specific rules and regulations, and failure to follow these rules can lead to harmful and fatal accidents. What’s more, truck wrecks that happen as a result of a driver’s negligence can mean increased culpability on the part of the trucking company.
You may be wondering if, in fact, you should initiate a lawsuit against a trucking company — and its driver — if you’ve been involved in a truck wreck that is partially your fault.
The answer to your question, in short, is yes.
Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2323 is called the comparative negligence law. What this means is that the total amount of damages is calculated, and monetary awards are increased — or decreased — based on each party’s culpability. There is no negligence limit to the Plaintiff’s recovery.
For example, let’s say you didn’t turn your blinker on when changing lanes on the highway, and as a result, an 18-wheeler rear-ended you. Upon review by law enforcement, it was determined that you were 10% at fault for the accident, and the truck driver was 90% at fault. If the total award for the accident is $100,000, your final award exclusive of attorney’s fees and court costs would be $90,000 (since you were only found 10% at fault).
It’s important to note that, in actual lawsuits, “fault” is not as easily determined as you may think. Factors such as speed limit, faulty equipment on either your car or the truck, cargo load, and physical condition of the truck driver are all taken into account when determining fault in an accident.
An experienced truck wreck attorney — like the ones you’ll find at Smiley Law Firm — will be able to review your case and walk you through the admittedly difficult process of suing the truck driver and the trucking company for your injuries.
If you’ve been involved in a truck wreck, you may think that you only need to sue the truck driver who hit you, and the trucking company that employed the truck driver.
But the truth of the matter is, there are many other people and companies that may be culpable — however partially — for your accident. Some of the many people you can sue for damages, include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
Without having an experienced truck wreck attorney — like the ones you will find at Smiley Injury Law — you won’t know if you’ve exhausted all of your legal options.
When you’ve been injured in a truck wreck accident, you only have a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company, and any other responsible party. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
While some cases go all the way to trial. Either 1) a bench trial, whose outcome is determined solely by a judge; or 2) a jury trial, whose outcome is determined by a jury of your peers.
Some cases are settled in mediation or rarely an arbitration.
These two terms are used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Both arbitration and mediation employ a neutral third party.
Mediation is a process where both sides come to work out a deal in a voluntary manner. You can leave at any time and all offers are available in order to make a deal.
Arbitration is a binding process whereby you employ an independent arbitrator to preside over your case just as a trial judge would do. Instead in arbitration, there is no opportunity for appeal and you have to pay the hourly fee of the arbitrator.
Additionally, there are some cases that settle out of court. When that happens, the attorneys for both sides of the dispute engage in a back-and-forth until a mutually beneficial agreement is reached. This is often done without the aid of a judge or other impartial third party.
Because you only have a limited amount of time to file your lawsuit, it’s important to act as quickly as possible and hire an attorney to handle your case.
An experienced truck wreck attorney like the ones you’ll find at Smiley Injury Law will let you know if it’s advisable to go to arbitration, mediation, or trial, or to merely settle with the opposition.
No two cases are the same, but there are a number of reasons why you should hire a personal injury attorney like the ones you’ll find at Smiley Law Firm to handle your truck wreck case.
For example, you may be experiencing a series of debilitating injuries whose effects are either long-term and/or have left you permanently disabled. In this case, you’d be asking for what is called “future damages.” These are damages that you won’t be incurring now, but will definitely be incurring in the future, depending on the nature of your injury.
Examples of future damages include long-term care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, prescribed medications, and in-home care. But only an experienced personal injury lawyer can determine how much your injuries are worth, and will pursue all possible avenues to get you the money you deserve.
Or, you may have incurred an accident where there are either multiple parties involved (such as in a multi-vehicle accident) and/or the culpability, partial or otherwise, for the accident is unclear.
What if the truck driver fell asleep behind the wheel, but you were partially at fault because you tried to speed up to pass him?
Or, what if your car’s brakes suddenly failed, and it’s only after the accident that you’d discovered that the brakes had been recalled?
Complicated accidents with multiple parties and unclear culpability leave insurance companies feeling frustrated, and many will delay disbursing some much-needed funds until the complete picture is painted. That’s why it’s imperative to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case.
Finally, you need to hire an experienced personal injury attorney if your insurance company either refuses to pay you for your injuries or engages in bad faith tactics to sideline you.
Regardless of the circumstances, your insurance company should make what is called a “fair settlement offer” to you. If the insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer — or, in an extreme case, refuses to make an offer at all — you’ll need to engage the services of a personal injury attorney to represent your best interests.
While past outcomes do not guarantee future results, the lawyers at Smiley Law Firm believe that the client comes first. We want you to come to our office and have the best experience possible — we appreciate our clients, & we really appreciate the challenges they face every day as a result of their injuries.
But most of all, we believe in fighting for you, the injured, against the insurance companies. Since the insurance companies — and other culpable parties — have experienced lawyers working hard for their best interests, we believe that you, too, should be afforded that same right. And because we strive to get the maximum result and recovery for truck wreck victims, we have emerged as a leader in injury law for Louisiana for having amassed a large volume of compensation for injury victims.
We take pride in being there for our clients — tirelessly answering their questions, helping them avoid legal missteps, and advising them to the best legal strategy available — and we want to be there for you, too.
So if you’ve been injured in a truck wreck, contact us today and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with Smiley Law Firm.