Semi trucks were involved in 15 percent of all of the fatal motor vehicle collisions in Louisiana in 2010. Additionally, in 2010, more than 30 percent of these fatal accidents occurred on interstates. Commercial trucks logged over 6.75 billion miles in Louisiana in just 2008; the state is home to nearly 7,000 individual trucking companies. Have you or someone you love been injured in semi truck accidents in Louisiana? If so, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries and damages.
Cause of Semi Truck Accidents in Louisiana
Semi truck accidents in Louisiana can happen for a number of reasons: The truck may not have been inspected properly, there may have been a mechanical malfunction or a shipment may not have been loaded properly inside the vehicle. However, semi truck accidents often happen when a driver is fatigued or not paying attention to the road.
Federal law applies to commercial vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds. These trucks must be used to transport nine or more people, plus the driver, for compensation or 16 or more people, plus the driver, for no compensation. Additionally, the law applies if the semi truck is transporting hazardous materials. Regulations state that, in 14-hour day, a driver must be on the road for a limit of 11 continuous driving hours. After that time, he must take a rest period of at least 10 hours. In any given seven-day workweek, the semi truck can only be in operation between 60 and 77 hours. In an eight-day workweek, the semi truck can only be in operation between 70 and 88 hours. The week resets at zero once the driver has been off the road for two and a half continuous days.
Many drivers and their employers fail to comply with the law. Employers sometimes overlook their workers driving longer than the legal limits to make more money or to adhere to a strict schedule. Unfortunately, if a driver is not well-rested and focused on the road, he is at a higher risk of dozing off while driving. Plaintiffs filing semi truck accidents in Louisiana may be entitled to file personal injury lawsuits against both the trucking company and the driver if they can prove that the employer forced the driver to operate the vehicle longer than the federal limit.
Unfortunately, trucking companies are well-aware of how common semi truck accidents really are. In Chicago, a state trooper was killed when the driver of a semi truck fell asleep while driving and impaled the trooper’s car. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did ultimately fine both the driver and his employer, that did not help to make up for the loss of a loved one that the victim’s family is now feeling. In this case, the trucker’s GPS logs indicated that he had been traveling for several hours past the federal regulation limit of 14 hours road-time. Law mandates a 10-hour rest period after 14 hours on the road, but the driver and his employer failed to comply with the limit.
This is just one example; companies across the country know that these situations happen. Employers understand the trucking industry’s regulations, yet sometimes turn a blind eye because they have tight schedules and they want to make a higher profit. Instead of splitting shipments into numerous trucks or scheduling their routes sooner to allow for more travel time, companies simply place the deadlines and overlook whatever means have to be used to get there. Officially, none of this is true. And yet lawsuits using drive logs as evidence often prove that it is the unfortunate truth.
Considering a Lawsuit? Let Us Help
Have you or a loved one been injured in semi truck accidents in Louisiana and are now thinking about a lawsuit? Here at Attorney Group for Louisiana, we can work with you to help you seek compensation for your injuries. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to pursue a claim against the driver and his employer for the accident and receive compensation for vehicular damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills and any resulting injuries. Those filing on behalf of a loved one may be entitled for damages for loss of income, loss of consortium and wrongful death. So contact Attorney Group for Louisiana today to get your questions answered and take the guesswork out of finding an attorney.