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Lake Charles is a thriving industrial city that falls right in between Houston and New Orleans. With such size and continued growth comes plenty of vehicles regularly on the road, all of which can get into accidents. Truck accidents can cause particularly horrible trauma, and they regularly result in hefty physical, emotional, and financial costs for their victims. If a truck accident has left you or a loved one injured, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by the aftermath and unsure of how to move forward.
You don’t have to face this difficult task alone—the dedicated legal team at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers serving Lake Charles, Louisiana, has the experience, commitment, and compassion to help guide your claim toward the fair and just compensation to which you are entitled. Our skilled team of truck accident attorneys and legal professionals are here to help. Our intake department is available for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now by CLICKING HERE
National Trucking Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike <“E412”>Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
Truck Accidents are a Growing Problem
Because of the massive size differential between semis and cars on the road, truck accidents are often catastrophic. As terrifying and dangerous as truck accidents can be, it’s important to recognize that truck accidents happen more often than you may think—nd can happen to you anytime you’re out on the road. As our consumer-driven economy continues to grow, the demand for more and more commercial trucks to transport those goods continuesto flood our highways. With more trucks, come more truck accidents.
Giant tractor-trailers are integral to our economy, and they’re everywhere. The FMCSA forwards important statistics related to commercial truck accidents:
- There were 29 percent more fatal truck accidents in 2016 than there were in 2009.
- There were 6 percent more fatal truck accidents in 2016 than there were in 2015.
- Based on 2015 data, injury-causing truck accidents have increased by 62 percent since 2009.
These stats show that serious truck accidents are on the rise. If you’ve been victimized by a truck accident, don hesitate to contact us at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers s soon as possible to discuss your injuries and your options.
Serious Injuries from Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are typically very violent accidents that often lead to extremely serious injuries, including injuries that require surgeries, extensive ongoing medical treatment, and protracted recovery periods:
- Broken or fractured bones- Broken and fractured bones are extremely painful injuries that are slow to heal. Further, they can develop complications and develop into long-termr even permanent—isabilities.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries are caused by damage anywhere on the spinal cord. Together, the spinal cord and the brain make up the central nervous system, which controls all bodily movement and physical sensation. A serious spinal cord injury diminishes the body’s ability to process messages sent from the brain, which can lead to sensory dysfunction and to either partial or complete paralysis below the site of the injury.
- Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by trauma to the head— usually caused by a blow to the head or by the violent shaking of the head. Because the brain is the body’s command central, TBIs are highly unpredictable injuries that can lead to irreparable physical and emotional damages.
Enhanced Trucking Regulations
Because truck accidents are so treacherous and often deadly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on commercial truck drivers and their rigs to help keep our roads safer for everyone. Truck drivers and trucking companies are expected to comply with all of these regulations in addition to all local and state traffic laws. These regulations cover daily and weekly limits for hours of service, requisite work breaks, medical restrictions, strict restrictions related to impairment, and required truck maintenance schedules. When truck drivers and trucking companies fail to carefully adhere to these rules and regulations, they endanger everyone on the road.
Often, proving that a truck driver or company violated an FMCSA regulation or traffic law can help your truck accident claim. Our team of truck accident attorneys and legal professionals has the thorough knowledge of the trucking industry requirements, regulations, and standards needed to best represent truck accident victims.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the associated damages are likely to be immense. The medical expenses alone are often extensive:
- Emergency transportation and care
- Surgery and aftercare
- Treatment from your doctor, specialists, and therapists
- Prescription medications
- Ongoing care
- Physical therapy
- Adaptive physical devises
- Adaptations to the home
- Home health care
In addition to medical expenses, however, a serious injury will very likely cause you to lose hours and wages at work and may lead to a diminished earning potential for your future. Finally, such injuries often have a serious emotional component that can be the most difficult hurdle of all.
Liability in a Truck Accident Claim
Every truck accident is unique to its own set of circumstances, but every truck accident claim is complicated. A truck accident is more likely than a car accident to have been caused by the negligence of several sources. In fact, the truck driver, the trucking company, the truck manufacturer, and the truck mechanics can all shoulder and/or share fault in a truck accident.
Truck driver error – When truck drivers get behind the wheel of their rigs, they take on an immense responsibility to maneuver that massive vehicle safely through traffic. As such, these drivers are held to far more restrictive rules and regulations. Truck drivers are charged with safely adhering to the rules of the road, with following the strict hours-behind-the-wheel regulations, with refraining from impairment of any kind, with eschewing driving distractions, and with much more. Ultimately, truck drivers are responsible for attending to regular maintenance checks to ensure that their rigs are roadworthy and to operating that rig safely. Truck drivers are often directly responsible for truck accidents on our roadways.
Truck drivers who are tired and/or distracted pose such a significant hazard on our roads, that these are common acts of negligence at issue in truck accident claims.
Tired truck drivers – Truck drivers’ livelihoods depend upon the number of miles they cover. As the trucking industry continues to grow exponentially, the scheduling demands on truck drivers continue to ratchet tighter and tighter. Truck drivers must balance meeting their deadlines, maneuvering through restrictive safety regulations, and making a living. Sometimes, truck drivers make the dangerous decision to forego strictly following the regulations in favor of getting the job done.
Eschewing the safety regulations that limit hours behind the wheel of the rig leaves truck drivers tired, and tired truck drivers—just like other drivers—are dangerous truck drivers. In fact, fatigued drivers are less alert, take longer to react to traffic situations, have shortened attention spans, and are more inclined to make unsafe driving decisions. Fatigued truck drivers pose a significant threat on our roadways.
Distracted truck drivers – Distracted driving is dangerous driving, and when the distracted driver happens to be manning a massive semi-truck that’s loaded with cargo, it becomes more dangerous still. Smartphone usage has become so much a part of our lives that distracted driving is on the rise—truck drivers are no different. Distracted driving has become so prevalent that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) devotes significant attention to the subject.
NHTSA defines distracted driving as any driving in which the drive’s attention is diverted from the paramount task of driving safely. Further, distractions are classified into three distinct categories that include visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Such distractions can include any number of activities, but smartphone interaction like texting, which incorporates all three distraction classifications, is the most dangerous. Writing or reading a text takes an average of 5 seconds, and this means that when a truck driver is barreling down the highway at 55 mph while engaged in texting, that truck driver drives blind for the length of a football field. Nobody wants that. In fact, the FMCSA strictly prohibits truck drivers from texting while driving.
Smartphone use—though it is the pinnacle of distractions—is far from the only distraction that truck drivers may be tempted to engage in. When truck drivers get behind the wheels of their rigs, they’re not only driving—they’re also working, and that work involves detailed recordkeeping and communications. As such, many truck drivers are distracted by other elements of their job while they’re behind the wheel of their rigs:
- Calculating trip times and distances
- Interacting with a dispatch device
- Reading a map—or anything else
- Reading, compiling, or attending to the trucking logbook
- Contending with complex tasks like keeping the cab’s safety mirrors clean
- Fielding work-related calls
Truck drivers are charged with carrying out exhausting tasks within strict timelines, but their primary responsibility is to drive safely. Driving under the influence of distractions makes truck drivers more prone to causing dangerous accidents.
Trucking company liability. The trucking company also shoulders a heavy burden. The trucking company is responsible for hiring safe, experienced, and reliable drivers in the first place. When these companies don’t perform the due diligence necessary to employ safe truck drivers, they share the responsibility for any accidents those truck drivers may cause. Further, the trucking company is responsible for maintaining a safe fleet of semis and for hiring experienced, skilled, and dependable mechanics to keep the rigs safe. The trucking company is also charged with keeping its truck drivers’ driving schedules within the realm of imposed restrictions. When trucking companies push their drivers past these limits, they share the responsibility for what ensues.
Truck mechanics. The trucking company is responsible for keeping a safe fleet of trucks and for hiring well-qualified mechanics to accomplish this goal. The mechanics themselves, however, are responsible for faithfully carrying out maintenance and repairs within the safety standards of the industry. Truck mechanics can be found to have contributed to or even caused truck accidents.
Truck manufacturers. Trucks are massive machines comprised of complicated webs of moving parts. When these parts are faulty in design, function, or manufacture, the truck manufacturer can be implicated in the truck accident claim.
Truck accident claims often demand careful investigation into what caused or contributed to the crash, among numerous other issues. If you’ve been injured in such accident, your job is to attend to recovering your health—your team of experienced truck accident lawyers and legal professionals will attend to the important task of investigating the accident’s cause and to effectively and efficiently represent your claim.
Staying Safe out There
When you head out on the roads of Lake Charles, remember that you share those roads with commercial trucks and always make arriving alive your top priority. Trucks are mammoths of the roadway, and their size, weight, and bulk make them more difficult to maneuver and, therefore, more dangerous. Keep in mind that truck drivers experience wide swaths of blind spots or “no zones” all the way around their vehicles and that, when you drive near a tractor-trailer, there’s a good chance the truck driver doesn’t see you. Always steer clear of semis whenever possible and avoid these trucks’ largest blind spot, which is on the truck driver’s right-hand side—which makes passing a big rig on the right extremely dangerous.
Further, a fully loaded 18-wheeler is so extremely heavy that the vehicle’s stopping times are greatly increased. Allow trucks with which you share the road ample room to stop safely. Because traffic is always unpredictable, the best policy is to allow these behemoths of the road as much space as you possibly can.
If You Were Injured in a Truck Accident, Consult an Experienced Lake Charles, Louisiana, Truck Accident Law Firm Today
Truck accidents are often deadly accidents. If you or your loved one has been injured—or worse—in a truck accident, you need experienced legal counsel. The injuries associated with such claims are often catastrophic, and you need to focus on regaining your health. The dedicated team of truck accident attorneys and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has the skill, knowledge, and commitment to aggressively advocate for your claim’s best possible resolution.
We take all of our truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, so you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.