Office Location: 400 Poydras Tower, Poydras St Suite 1975, New Orleans, LA 70130
Anyone in New Orleans who has driven near a large 18-wheeler knows they are intimidating for a good reason—they can leave devastation in their wake if they crash. Truck accidents can result in chaotic scenes, and it’s only natural that you’re not sure what to do next. First, make sure you go to the emergency room so a doctor can diagnose any possible injuries and you can start treatment right away. Then, call the New Orleans truck accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers for a FREE case evaluation.
We know New Orleans truck accident claims inside and out, and we can advise you of your legal rights. Someone is ready to hear your story 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, so don’t wait to call 800-898-4877 or CLICK HERE to contact us online TODAY!
New Orleans Truck Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
Why Choose Our New Orleans Truck Accident Lawyers?
At Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our truck accident attorneys have represented injured New Orleans accident victims for over 20 years. We know the local New Orleans streets, highways, and interstates where your accident likely occurred. We also know the local insurers and trucking companies that you will need to fight against. From catastrophic semi-truck accidents on the I-10 to collisions with Amazon delivery trucks on West Esplanade in Kenner, we have seen it all.
We also know that injured trucking accident victims in New Orleans are often fighting an uphill battle when it comes to collecting the compensation they need – and deserve. Insurance companies and trucking companies will fight aggressively to pay you as little as possible. We won’t let them. We fight back every step of the way to ensure that you have what you need to fully recover.
Our offices is conveniently located at 400 Poydras Tower, Poydras St Suite 1975 in the heart of the central business district. We are located just a few blocks from Lafayette Square and Harrah’s casino. We offer FREE initial consultations so that you can get the answers you need after a serious New Orleans truck accident. Call us today to learn how we can help you!
Someone is ready to hear your story 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, so don’t wait to call 800-898-4877 or CLICK HERE to contact us online TODAY!
Standing up for New Orleans Truck Accident Victims!
We know that life after a New Orleans truck accident can be stressful. You may be dealing with intensive medical treatment, pain, emotional trauma, financial losses, and more. The LAST thing you need is the extra stress of an insurance claim that’s not going your way. You shouldn’t have to worry about what you say to adjusters or with their requests for documents upon documents. You don’t need them to challenge, delay, or deny your claim. You certainly don’t need to worry whether a settlement offer is enough to cover your losses. This is where our truck accident law firm comes in!
We handle every step of your claim from the very beginning. WE communicate with adjusters. WE review your settlement offers. WE provide additional evidence to support your claim when necessary. Furthermore, our law firm will determine when an insurance company is not going to make a fair offer, and we can put more pressure on them by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. We have dealt with trucking companies and their insurers time and time again, and the tactics meant to wear you down will NOT intimidate our attorneys.
Who is to Blame After a New Orleans Truck Accident?
People have to attend special training and pass both a written exam and a driving skills test to become a commercial driver. You might expect this would ensure that only the safest and most capable drivers would be behind the wheels of semi-trucks, right? In reality, 18-wheeler truck drivers make many mistakes and poor decisions on the road, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that many truck crashes happen due to truck driver errors.
Statistics show that about 104,000 commercial truck crashes caused injuries in the United States in one year—nearly 4,000 of which proved fatal.
Truck drivers often spend long hours on the highway, which can cause them to get restless AND feel overly confident behind the wheel, which can be a highly dangerous combination. Truckers may get careless or may fail to follow all traffic laws and federal trucking regulations.
Some common examples of truck driver negligence include:
- Distracted driving, including texting, eating or drinking, grooming, reading, paying attention to passengers, or any other distracting activities
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is more common than you may think among the trucking community
- Fatigued driving, which may or may not involve violations of the FMCSA hours of service restrictions
- Failing to perform necessary inspections before each leg of a trip
- Speeding, including driving too fast for poor weather or traffic conditions
- Tailgating, offensive gesturing, excessive honking or flashing lights, or other aggressive driving behaviors that intimidate or threaten drivers
- Dangerous lane changes, which may involve not properly checking blind spots
- Any other violation of the law
When a truck driver causes a crash and you suffer serious injuries, you may not realize that you won’t only be dealing with the individual driver. In most cases, trucking companies are responsible for any harm caused by their drivers. Big trucking companies can also be negligent in many ways, including:
- Negligent hiring of drivers with a history of drunk driving, substance abuse, or dangerous driving violations
- Allowing unqualified or unlicensed drivers to operate their trucks
- Not performing drug and alcohol tests as required by the FMCSA
- Not taking disciplinary action when a driver fails a drug or alcohol test or violates another law
- Failing to adequately inspect and maintain 18-wheelers
- Encouraging drivers to violate hours of service restrictions or engage in other dangerous behaviors
Liability on the part of trucking companies can be good, as these companies must carry substantial insurance policies by law, which means there is a better chance the insurance policy will cover your medical bills and other losses, even if your injuries are severe. However, seeking compensation from trucking companies and their insurers is no simple feat. You need a big rig accident law firm on your side that understands the often complicated nature of these claims and who will NOT back down to insurance companies.
In addition to trucking companies and truck drivers, there may be other parties to blame for your New Orleans truck accident. Other liable parties include the city or government responsible for maintaining the road, other drivers, the shipping or loading company, and the truck manufacturer.
How Much is My New Orleans Truck Accident Case Worth?
Trucking accidents are almost always catastrophic in nature. This is because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles. When you suffer injuries in a truck accident, you may need a considerable amount of compensation to pay for the damages you suffered.
Our New Orleans truck accident lawyers can help you level the playing field when fighting insurance companies. We work tirelessly to seek maximum compensation for our clients that will pay for all their damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Long-term care
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damages
From the moment you call our office, we will begin building your case. To do this, we will need to collect evidence, meet with medical experts, and talk with eyewitnesses. Our investigations will help us to understand who is to blame, and how much your injuries have affected your life and overall future. We use this information to seek the highest amount of compensation for our clients. You can then rest assured knowing you have a team of experienced New Orleans injury attorneys fighting for you at every turn.
New Orleans Truck Accident FAQ
Tractor-trailers, big rigs, semi-trucks, or simply trucks are integral to our American way of life, no matter what you call them. Without them, we wouldn’t have access to nearly as many consumer goods as we do today. However, these rather large and cumbersome vehicles pose a serious threat to everyone with whom they share the road.
Consider these Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) figures from two recent years:
- Fatal large truck crashes increased two percent, from 4,909 to 5,005
- The large truck involvement rate (large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled) rose four percent, from 1.61 to 1.67
- Large trucks involved in injury crashes increased six percent, from 112,000 to 119,000
There is no excuse for nearly all big rig accidents that happen on Louisiana roads. If you or someone you love was recently involved in an injury accident in this state, you might have several unanswered questions. Here, our attorneys answer some FAQS to help you take the next steps in seeking justice for your losses.
What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents?
Semi-truck accidents can be the result of many factors.
The same factors that cause other motor vehicle accidents also cause semi-truck crashes, such as:
- Distracted driving – truck drivers are often distracted due to boredom or using their cell phones.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – drug and alcohol use is far too common amongst truck drivers.
- Speeding – truck drivers often hurry to meet deadlines and deliver loads quickly.
- Fatigued driving – it’s common for truck drivers to drive many hours each day to deliver loads on time, so they often skip the federally required rest breaks to meet their deadlines.
The following factors in semi-truck crashes are highly specific to big rigs:
#1. Improperly Secured Loads
Whatever load the large truck carries, the crew needs to cautiously pack and evenly distribute its cargo. Failure to properly secure the load and distribute the weight can increase the semi-truck’s chances of getting into a crash, especially when turning or attempting to stop.
When nobody properly ties down, secures, or stores transported goods, they can fly off the trailer, onto the road, and into another vehicle, causing a motor vehicle accident.
#2. Low Liquid Loads
Many large trucks transport liquids like oil and gas. They should contain a set amount of liquid. However, partially filling the tank can create danger, as the liquids can splash around. The force of the moving liquids can cause the truck to sway back and forth during turns and speed changes. What’s even more concerning is that if a liquid makes a sudden movement, the truck driver can lose control, causing an accident.
#3. Lack of Training
Of course, all drivers need training but driving a tractor-trailer requires more skill and practice than ordinary passenger vehicles. There’s currently a high demand for truck drivers, and sometimes, the trucking companies don’t do enough to train or prepare their drivers for the demands of the road. Dangerous and severe accidents often result, especially since big rigs are so large and heavy.
Before truckers can drive huge commercial vehicles on public roads, they must put in the minimum required training hours and meet other requirements.
However, not all truck drivers adhere to these guidelines. As such, many trucking companies might end up with poorly trained truck drivers with little experience behind the wheel. This puts everyone on the road at risk.
#4. Lack of Maintenance
The law requires trucking companies to maintain their vehicles and keep them in conditions that ensure safety. However, because there are time and costs involved in maintaining semi-trucks, it cuts into making deliveries and, therefore, their profits. By law, truck owners and drivers must keep their trucks in good working condition.
However, drivers often skip these crucial steps due to the costs and the time it takes. It’s time they can make their deliveries. Unfortunately, poorly maintained trucks driven by poorly trained drivers are the primary factors in too many truck accidents.
Since big rigs are often the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road, stopping or slowing them is no small feat. It takes hefty intact brakes to bring them to a stop when and where the driver commands. These brakes also wear out quickly but must be in good repair anytime the truck is on the road.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 29 percent of truck accidents are related to brake failure, possibly due to:
- Faulty inspection
- Lack of maintenance
- Condensation or overheating
Federal law requires truck companies and drivers to stay on top of their brake conditions at all times. Even still, you can hold multiple parties liable for brake failure, including semi-truck manufacturers and designers.
Another common factor in large truck accidents is tires. With so much weight riding on them, they must perform safely 100 percent of the time. Poor maintenance, lack of proper inspection, and even design or manufacturing flaws can lead to tire blowouts, which can cause severe destruction.
Who Is Liable When a Truck Accident Happens?
Whether an accident involves a big rig or not, it’s not always readily apparent who should be responsible. Sometimes it might seem obvious right away, but that can be deceiving. When truck accidents happen, there can be one or many parties liable, depending on the specific circumstances of the collision. This is one reason why it’s crucial to hire an experienced New Orleans truck accident attorney. Part of their job is to perform a comprehensive investigation to ensure the right people or parties are liable for your injuries and damages.
Potentially liable parties in a truck accident include:
#1. The Truck Driver
A trucker might cause an accident due to negligent behavior, such as speeding or driving while fatigued or distracted. Truck drivers are also responsible for inspecting their rigs to ensure the appropriate maintenance and loading of cargo. For example, if a maintenance problem or cargo shift contributes to a truck accident, the trucker can be partially responsible for the accident.
#2. The Carrier
The trucking company is responsible for all of the trucks and drivers it places on the road. They are also accountable for proper hiring and training practices. Suppose the company employs truckers who have FMCSA rules or driving violations on their records, or their records don’t show adequate training of employees. In that case, they can be to blame for an accident. Sometimes their records or employee interviews reveal that they pressure drivers to cut corners on FMCSA hours of service (HOS) limits or truck inspection and maintenance requirements to save the trucking company money.
#3. Cargo Shipper and Loader
Some carriers are contractors that ship goods for other companies. Often they transport sealed cargo. The individual parties to this type of arrangement—including the cargo originator, shipper, loader, and transporter—are all responsible for adhering to pertinent federal and state regulations. If any of them are negligent, they can be found liable. If a semi-truck accident results from a cargo shift or other issues with cargo, your New Orleans truck accident lawyer can subpoena and examine the records from each party involved with the cargo, including the carrier, to determine who is at fault.
#4. Other Vendors
Depending on the scale of the trucking company’s operations, they may outsource work to many vendors.
Outsourced work might include:
- Administrative work
- Recruiting drivers
- Performing background checks
- Alcohol and drug testing
- Truck maintenance or repair
- Dispatching work
- Other fleet operations
- Cargo shipment brokers
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any third-party vendor can be accountable if their negligence contributed to a big rig wreck. When you hire an experienced New Orleans truck accident attorney, they will thoroughly investigate the circumstances to determine who was negligent. This is one way they work to maximize your compensation.
#5. Truck and Parts Manufacturers
Unfortunately, trucks and their parts can fail. Brake failures, tire blowouts, or problems with the steering or coupling (kingpin) systems are common in these large vehicles. Sometimes they are attributable to a maintenance issue. However, other times the part or system was defective before it even hit the road. In these cases, an attorney can file a product liability claim to hold the part manufacturer and distributor liable for their defective product.
#6. Government Agencies and Contractors
Sometimes government agencies or their contractors contribute to the cause of an accident. For example, if a road hazard, like broken pavement or a soft shoulder, causes or contributes to a semi-truck crash, the government entity responsible for maintaining that area of highway can be found liable. For example, you can hold a negligent maintenance contractor hired by a government entity accountable if their work causes a problem or if the work zone’s setup contributed to a crash.
What if Multiple Parties are Liable for Your Semi-Truck Accident?
With so many parties potentially liable for a truck accident, more than one party often shares fault. Perhaps the truck driver was drunk at the time of the accident, had a history of DUIs, which the trucking company overlooked when they hired the driver, and the highway was damaged due to poor maintenance. In this scenario, the truck driver, the trucking company, and the government entity responsible for the highway can all share liability for the accident.
If the case ends up in court, the judge or jury will typically assign each at-fault party a degree of fault. Each party will owe the injured party damages in their apportioned amount. For example, the truck driver may be 60 percent at fault, the trucking company 30 percent, and the government entity 10 percent. If the victim’s damages totaled $100,000, the driver will owe $60,000, the trucking company will owe $30,000, and the government entity will owe $10,000.
How Long Do You Have to File a Truck Accident Case in Louisiana?
Louisiana has a one-year statute of limitations. If you suffer injuries in a truck accident, you have one year from the date of the accident to file an injury claim. If you don’t file your claim within this deadline, you lose the legal right to file one. However, sometimes this deadline can vary, for example, if a minor child sustains injuries or the claim is against a government entity. Securing representation from a skilled New Orleans truck accident lawyer can file your claim within the correct statute of limitations.
When Should You Call a New Orleans Truck Accident Lawyer?
It’s in your best interest to call a New Orleans truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your truck accident.
If you wait too long, you might end up:
- Missing the deadline to file your claim
- Settling for less than what your claim is really worth
- Being taken advantage of by the insurance adjuster—for example, they may get you to say something that can hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation.
- Not having access to or losing valuable evidence in support of your claim.
At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, we know what devastation truck accidents can cause you. Some can lead to catastrophic injuries and millions of dollars in damages. These are tragic situations that require the skill of attorneys who stop at nothing less than getting their clients what they deserve. We are here to fight for you.
How Our New Orleans 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Law Firm Can Help YOU!
If you ever drive on the highway in New Orleans, you know that avoiding trucks is an impossible task—and that you are NEVER completely safe on the roads when you’re near a semi-truck!
If you sustained injuries in a semi truck accident in New Orleans—whether it is a broken bone or paralysis from a spinal injury—you can trust that the legal team at Stewart J. Guss Personal Injury Lawyers will go to bat for you. Our truck accident law firm represents clients in even the most complex situations and with the most catastrophic injuries—and we don’t stop until we get the results our clients deserve.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of truck accident victims for more than 20 years. If you were injured in a big rig accident, call our office right now to schedule a free consultation! Because we take all our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case.
If you need an 18-wheeler accident lawyer near you and would like to discuss your situation without paying a DIME, please call 800-898-4877 or CLICK HERE to contact us online. We have someone available 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, to help you.
We are proud to represent injured New Orleans truck accident victims in the Central Business District, French Quarter, Garden District, Uptown, Mid-City, Lakeview, Gentilly, Bywater, Lower Ninth Ward, Uptown, New Orleans East, Slidell, the West Bank, Algiers, Marrero, Harvey, Gretna, Metairie, Kenner, and St. Bernard.
Stewart J Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, New Orlean Office
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.