Serving Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast
Truck accidents can cause massive devastation. Injuries are typically severe, and often fatal. Multi-car pileups are not uncommon in accidents involving large commercial trucks (frequently called big rigs, semis, tractor-trailers, and18-wheelers). And when a large commercial truck is involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle, occupants of the passenger vehicle usually take the brunt of it.
According to statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 68% of those killed in truck accidents are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. 17% of those who die in these types of accidents are occupants of the commercial truck, and another 14% are motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Tractor-trailers that are fully loaded typically weigh 20 to 40 times more than a passenger vehicle, so these statistics come as very little surprise.
Truck accident victims and their families can find their lives forever changed. Injuries from 18-wheeler accidents can be severe and debilitating, and medical costs alone can easily exceed six or even seven figures. This, on top of weeks or months being out of work during their recovery time, if they are ever able to return to work at all.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Biloxi or anywhere in the state of Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana, or on the Gulf Coast, the experienced truck accident attorneys of Reeves & Mestayer are here to help you and your family hold the trucking company and other responsible parties accountable for the harm they have caused you.
We understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll big rig accidents can take on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. We work closely with our clients, and we handle all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery. We are not afraid to go up against well-funded adversaries such as large trucking companies and their insurers, and we know what it takes to successfully navigate the complexities of these types of cases.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Trucking is a multi-billion-dollar industry that accounts for approximately 7% of the overall U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). While the goods delivered by big rig trucks are extremely important to the lifeblood of our economy, many in the industry do not take the steps necessary to ensure the safety of truck drivers and those who share the roadways with them.
Unfortunately, trucking companies often place unrealistic deadlines on drivers, forcing them to make a choice between delivering their loads on time or adhering to legal requirements. This puts them in a difficult spot in which they feel like they have no choice but to cut corners in order to do their jobs. Sadly, this all-too-often results in disastrous consequences.
Some of the most common reasons trucking accidents occur include:
- Fatigued/drowsy driving: Truckers put in long hours over-the-road, and many of these hours are during evenings and overnights when it is dark outside. After so many hours in a day or a week, it is only natural to start getting sleepy behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is among the leading causes of truck accidents.
- Speeding/reckless driving: When truckers are trying to meet deadlines in order to get paid, they sometimes choose to drive at unsafe speeds or even drive recklessly. Excessive speeding and other forms of reckless driving vastly increase the chances of a vehicle accident.
- Chemical impairment: In order to cope with the stress, truckers sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs. Other times, they may use certain types of drugs (commonly known as “uppers”) to help them stay awake longer. Driving while intoxicated is always a poor decision that puts everyone on the road in greater danger.
- Poorly loaded trucks: In order to keep tight schedules, tractor-trailers are sometimes loaded in a hurry. This can result in trucks that are overloaded (i.e., weight exceeds allowed limits) or unevenly loaded, which is a common reason why large trucks sometimes tip on their side or roll over.
- Negligent truck maintenance: Big rig trucks typically log thousands of miles on the road each month. If they are not maintained properly, mechanical breakdowns can occur. When this happens in the wrong place at the wrong time, it can result in a trucking accident.
- Vehicle defects: Faulty vehicles or vehicle parts are another common contributor to large truck accidents. For example, if there is a brake line leak, it can severely impair the vehicle’s ability to stop safely when the driver encounters adverse road conditions. Other common vehicle defects that can cause an accident include computer system malfunctions and tire blowouts.
As mentioned earlier, trucking accident victims can end up with serious and catastrophic injuries. These may include:
- Severe scrapes, cuts, and bruises
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
- Fractures/broken bones
- Amputations/loss of limbs
- Wrongful death
Investigating Your Truck Accident
Truck accident cases are much more complex than cases involving only passenger vehicles, and they require experienced and aggressive truck accident lawyers such as those at Reeves & Mestayer to ensure a full recovery. State and federal trucking regulations play a large role in truck accident cases. Much of the evidence that we use comes from the extensive records that truck drivers and trucking companies are required to keep in order to prove compliance with these complex laws.
We will also investigate to determine if a defective truck or defective roadway played a role in your accident. Only through a thorough investigation can we find all of the underlying causes of your accident and injuries, so that we can hold all of the responsible parties accountable and pursue all avenues of compensation that are available to you.
Trucking Accident Responsibility
In accidents where the truck driver was at fault, the trucking company or another company responsible for hiring the driver is typically held responsible for the accident. Trucking companies must follow strict hiring and monitoring practices. They also have a duty to maintain and repair their trucks and keep extensive maintenance records. Responsible parties in a trucking accident can include one or more of the following:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Freight shipper
- Freight broker
- Third party logistics provider (3PL)
- Truck, parts, or equipment manufacturer
- Truck, parts or equipment seller
- Contractor responsible for repairs and maintenance
- Weigh station personnel
- Government department or agency responsible for design, construction, and/or maintenance of defective roadway
- Another driver
Contact an Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, Reeves & Mestayer, PLLC is here to help. Please call us today at 228-374-5151 or toll free 1-855-558-2977 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation so we can start fighting for your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.