Should I Settle My Trucking Accident Claim in Louisiana, or Go to Court?

Should I Settle My Trucking Accident Claim in Louisiana, or Go to Court?
August 31, 2013 Gary

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports over three thousand non-fatal large truck and bus accidents in the state of Louisiana each year, resulting in over two thousand injuries – many of them quite serious.  Additionally, over a hundred fatalities result annually from large trucking accidents in Louisiana. Although semi-trucks are common across the United States, the southwest portion of Louisiana sees a particularly large number of trucks on the roadways due to the state’s large logging and petrochemical industries. While good for the economy, the chances of a trucking accident occurring increases as more of them flood the already crowded Louisiana roadways.  Nearly constant construction work on our highways increases the probability of serious accidents.  With this in mind, consider the following facts:

Causes of Trucking Accidents in Louisiana

The most common causes of trucking accidents include loads which are not properly secured, distracted, drowsy or aggressive driving on the part of the truck driver, overloaded trucks, improperly trained drivers, and/or equipment failure (brakes, tires, etc.).  The sheer size and weight of semi-trucks as compared to smaller passenger vehicles on the roadways increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to those in the smaller vehicles when a collision occurs. If you are one of the unfortunate persons injured by a negligent truck driver, trucking company or truck equipment manufacturer, you may feel as though you have few options to ensure that the responsible party pays for your injuries and damages.

The Complexities of Trucking Accidents in Louisiana

Truck accident litigation tends to be much more complex than automobile accident litigation because there can be an extended list of potential defendants. The truck driver, the truck’s actual owner, the manufacturer of the truck or truck parts, the company who loaded the truck or the insurance carrier for the truck and trailer may all be named in a lawsuit following an accident with injury. It is common for any of those defendants to immediately begin blaming the others once an accident occurs, and they may even try to blame the automobile driver. Although most vehicle accidents are governed only by state laws, some federal regulations apply to interstate trucking companies, increasing the complexities involved in a lawsuit.

Should I Litigate or Settle?

Due to the trauma involved in a trucking accident, many victims of such accidents wonder whether it would be much easier to simply settle with the insurance company, accepting whatever amount is offered, in order to avoid a protracted court process.  If you are the victim of a trucking accident, are seeing your medical expenses mount dramatically, and perhaps have no regular paycheck coming in due to your injuries, what should you do?  Once a lawsuit is filed, it could be as long as a year—or more—until the actual trial takes place. You may find this an acceptable length of time due to the likelihood of a larger payout in the end or you may need a settlement much sooner in order to pay critical expenses.

During litigation, documents will be gathered and eyewitness accounts explored. The discovery process mandates that both sides involved in the lawsuit will share information gathered. Because of the time and expense involved in trucking litigation many trucking accidents do settle prior to going to court despite the higher levels of compensation a trial could result in. The decision to litigate or settle is best made after a consultation with a Louisiana attorney who is experienced in handling cases against trucking companies.  That attorney can assess your individual circumstances and present your best options. Considerations regarding the amount of your medical expenses, whether your injuries are permanent, your lost wages, any loss of wage earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and changes in your daily activity are all important factors in the evaluation of your claims.

Koederitz Law Firm wants to help those injured in trucking accidents. Over thirty years of experience enables us to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you receive an equitable settlement. Gary P. Koederitz, an attorney experienced in representing injured individuals in this type of claim, will fully investigate and aggressively pursue your claim based on your individual circumstances. Call (225) 295-9494 today for a consultation.