Driving near trucks can be a little nerve-wracking. Maybe it’s having to pass an 18-wheel rig on I-110. Or it could be seeing a truck in the rearview mirror on a back road. An actual crash is a worst-case scenario come to life. The good news is that if negligence is involved, a driver can recover financial damages in a civil lawsuit. The bad news is that identifying who is liable can be more difficult in truck accident cases than a standard car crash case.
The experienced Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers at Beall & Thies understand what it takes to properly investigate a crash, to hold the right person accountable, and to fight for a fair settlement. Call today at (225) 577-6223 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Who Is Liable in a Truck Accident?
Presuming the source of fault doesn’t lie with the injured automobile driver themselves, liability can go in several different directions…
The Individual Truck Driver
This might be the most straightforward answer. If a truck driver was speeding, driving inattentively or otherwise handling their rig in a reckless manner, then they are a logical place to start in the search for liability. If the truck driver is an independent contractor who owns their own rig, that simplifies the search for liability even more. But many cases, even when the fault of the truck driver is evident, aren’t always so simple.
The Trucking Company
Is it possible that the trucker should never have been hired to begin with? Trucking companies are responsible for screening their new hires and if they handed an 18-wheel rig to an unqualified driver, then fault can go to the company.
It’s also possible that the trucking company submits its hires to their insurance company for approval. In circumstances like these, an insurance firm that signed off on the hiring of a driver whose lack of qualifications could have been unearthed by a background check, could find itself liable for negligence on the part of that driver .
Truck drivers also have clear limits placed on how much they can drive. A trucker cannot drive more than 11 hours in a day. Furthermore, that 11 hours must be done within a 14-hour window, meaning there must be 10 consecutive hours of rest. On a weekly basis, there are further limits falling between 60-70 hours of drive time.
Part of adhering to that limit falls on the driver, but it also falls on the company to schedule workloads in a way that make staying within the limits possible. A company that hands a driver a schedule of cross-country deliveries that can’t be done without either speeding or breaking the time limits can be held liable for trucker fatigue. Our Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys know how to go about finding where fault in these situations lies.
The trucking industry relies heavily on subcontractors, including for tasks like loading up the rig. One possible source of accidents is objects poorly packed and flying off the truck. If the subcontractor was negligent in the way the rig was packed, they can be the source of liability.
Mechanical and repair contractors that work on the truck are responsible for making sure its functions and equipment are in good working order. Negligence here can result in malfunctions that lead to accidents, which mean legal liability.
A Third Vehicle
What if the truck wasn’t at fault for the fact, they hit another car. Let’s say a third car recklessly cuts in front of the truck. An 18-wheel rig isn’t designed to adjust quickly and the effort to get out of the way might have then led to the crash. That doesn’t make the truck driver negligent—Louisiana law requires only that drivers of any vehicle exercise reasonable care, not that they prevent every accident. In this example, the truck driver exercised reasonable care, but the operator of the third vehicle did not. It’s the latter would be the proper target of this lawsuit.
Identifying the correct defendant might require some detailed research and a knowledge of how to investigate everything from the scene of an accident to a trucking company’s internal hiring practices to its subcontractor relationships to its work schedules.
Furthermore, that work is just the beginning. Once the defendant has been identified and the lawsuit filed, a Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer must do the diligent footwork necessary to prove negligence.
The injuries that come from a truck accident might be catastrophic and the quality of the attorney investigating the case might be the different in a settlement an injured plaintiff can live on and one that fails to meet their needs. At Beall & Thies, we’ll fight for what should be yours. Call today at (225) 577-6223 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
Beall & Thies has been doing that hard legal legwork for over 20 years as a firm and our individual attorneys have over a combined 100 years of experience. Even after all that time and the track record of success we’ve built up, we’re still hungry for the next opportunity to fight for someone who needs legal help.
"Never expected to be in a predicament where I would need to hire an attorney but, I wouldn’t recommend anyone but, B&T. They helped my father in his predicament and they’ve helped me in mine. Continuous support throughout the entire process"Den'a Wells
"They are professional and go above and beyond customer satisfaction. I was informed every step of the way on updates and case progress. I highly recommend this firm for all your legal needs!! I am thankful for all they have done for me!!"Barb Nemerovsky
"Beall & Thies was very welcoming. I would definitely recommend them. My attorney, Aaron Humphrey didn’t only make sure I didn’t have to worry about my case, but also treated me like I mattered. Thanks for everything you guys did for me and "Chrystal Woods Graham
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Russell W. Beall
"Russell W. Beall is a founding partner in the Baton Rouge law firm of Beall & Thies LLC. His main emphasis of practice is on Civil Litigation including Torts, Products Liability, and Premises Liability. Russell is a frequent guest speaker at Louisiana State University Law School where he participates in the Appellate Advocacy Program and the Professionalism Orientation. He earned his B.A. degree at Louisiana State University (1998) and his J.D Louisiana State University Law School (2001). Russell is an active member of the Louisiana Association for Justice and is frequently invited to be a guest speaker at continuing legal education seminars."Read Full Bio
William W. Thies
"William W. Thies was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1974 moving with his family to Slidell, Louisiana at seven years of age. Mr. Thies graduated from Slidell High School in 1992. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in history and political science from Louisiana State University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center in 2001. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May 2002. He is a member of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, American Bar Associations, and the Louisiana Association of Justice. He is admitted to practice in all state courts, the United States District Court for the Middle and Eastern Districts of Louisiana, as well as the United States Supreme Court."Read Full Bio
"Jacob H. Thomas is originally from the Piney Hills of North Louisiana, known for producing great litigators such as Huey P. Long as well as several other notable statesmen on the both the federal and state levels.Read Full Bio
Jake is a graduate of Jonesboro-Hodge High School and Northwestern State University where he was a member of the Theta Mu chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, the NSU Presidential Leadership Program, and the Inter-Fraternity Council serving as Vice President."
"Aaron Humphreys joined Beall & Thies, LLC as an associate attorney in the fall of 2016. He was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in May of 2016. Aaron is also a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and the Louisiana Association of Justice."Read Full Bio
"George G. Caballero practices general civil law and focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury, wills, and successions. George joined Beall & Thies as of counsel in 2017 after starting Caballero Law Firm in 1993. Mr. Caballero has over thirty years of experience as an attorney and has served clients in various matters ranging from business and tort litigation, business, family law, and successions.Read Full Bio
Mr. Caballero is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Mississippi College School of Law. Upon graduation, he immediately went into the private practice of law, practicing in both Louisiana and Mississippi."
Jewel “Trae” E. Welch, III
"Trae is a lifelong resident of the Baker-Zachary area. Trae is the son of The Honorable Judge Duke Welch, currently presiding on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals, and former East Baton Rouge Councilwoman, Roxson Welch. Trae is married to the former Lynn Caldwell of Tallulah, Louisiana. Together Trae and Lynn are raising their two children Quade and Vivian."Read Full Bio