When a truck driver fails to pay attention to the road ahead or when external factors such as weather, road conditions, and traffic come together, it creates a perfect storm leading to one of the thousands of truck accidents that occur in the U.S. Leading to the question, what happens when a truck driver has an accident?
When a truck driver has an accident, several things can occur. Depending on the severity of the accident, there may be property damage, injuries, and potential legal consequences. The specific outcome will vary based on factors such as the cause of the accident, the extent of damages or injuries, and any applicable laws and regulations. While each truck accident aftermath is unique, there are common patterns that tend to emerge, and through our years of practice in Louisiana, we have gained valuable experience in anticipating and navigating these situations.
If you’ve been the victim of a Louisiana tractor-trailer accident, call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free legal consultation about your case. We’re dedicated to our clients and will do everything in our power to get you the compensation you deserve.
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Louisiana?
According to data collected by LSU’s Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety (CARTS), there were 74 deadly tractor-trailer accidents in 2022, out of 6,307 total crashes involving a tractor-trailer. This number fluctuates year-to-year but is always too high in our minds.
Every year, thousands of Louisianans are injured, permanently disabled, or even killed in big rig accidents. If you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of a trucker’s negligence, you deserve compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
What Happens if a CDL Driver Gets in an Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, its severity, and the laws of its locality, several things can occur following a truck accident:
- Emergency response: If the accident involves catastrophic injuries, emergency services should be called so that victims can get the medical attention they need and police can collect evidence about the scene and the cause of the crash. The vast majority of injured people in truck crashes are passengers of the other vehicle.
- Investigation: In order to determine the cause of the accident, police will investigate the scene. Their investigation will also determine if there were contributing factors, like adverse weather or road conditions, or mechanical issues with the truck.
- Insurance claims: The claims process in a truck accident can be complicated because there are more parties involved than the truck driver and the other car. The trucking company’s insurance may become involved, as well as the cargo’s owner, or the loading company, or the maintenance company. It’s up to your lawyer and these insurance companies to determine who is at fault and who is required to pay damages related to the accident.
Legal action: Depending on the accident’s severity, and whether we can come to an agreement with insurance about your settlement, we may need to file a truck accident claim. If your loved one was killed in a trucking accident, you could be entitled to wrongful death damages as well.
What Should You Do Following a Truck Accident?
If you were involved in a truck accident, you might be dazed, hurt, and unsure of your next steps. If you can safely, the following steps can help ensure your damages are properly compensated:
1. Stay calm and safe
If possible, move your vehicle to a safe place out of the flow of traffic. Then, turn on your hazard lights and call 911, especially if you or your passengers are injured.
Do not leave the scene of the accident, even if it’s minor.
2. Exchange information with the other driver
Next, exchange personal contact information with other drivers on the scene, including your
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance information
Other than getting basic information, do not talk to the other driver, and do not say anything that could admit fault (including apologies). These admissions can be used against your claim later.
You should also take photos of the accident and the vehicles involved, as well as your injuries and property damage. This evidence can strengthen your claim.
3. Report the accident
In most cases, you’re required to report a traffic accident to the police or the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), especially if there are injuries, fatalities, or property damage exceeding $500. Failure to report an accident can result in fines and other penalties, including suspension of your license.
You should also notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Your policy may require you to report accidents within a certain time frame, so delaying your report or omitting information can affect your coverage.
4. Seek legal advice
Finally, make sure to choose a truck accident attorney with experience handling these kinds of accidents, because truck accident claims are often far more complex than a typical traffic accident case. They can involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, their employer, the truck manufacturer, the cargo owner, and others.
In addition, successfully negotiating a settlement requires in-depth knowledge of local, state, and federal laws. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have that knowledge, won from years of experience practicing law in Louisiana.
So, What Happens When a Truck Driver Has an Accident?
Truck accidents can be some of the worst accidents you can face. Even if you’re not seriously hurt, you’ll have experienced an upsetting or even traumatic event. If you were the victim of a truck accident, you deserve answers for the damages you’ve faced and will continue to face.
Call Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free legal consultation, and you’ll talk to a dedicated personal injury attorney with years of experience. We’ll listen to your story and provide advice on the next steps to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today.
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