Thousands of semi-trucks roll through Gulfport and other cities throughout Mississippi each week. Big rig trucks are a vital part of our economy, bringing in all types of products that we depend on each day. But although commercial trucks play a pivotal role in maintaining our standard of living, this sometimes comes with a cost.
18-wheelers are massive vehicles that can weight up to 80,000 pounds or more when they are fully loaded. And when this type of vehicle gets into an accident with a passenger vehicle that is only a fraction of its size, the consequences can be devastating, particularly for those who are driving or riding in the passenger vehicle.
If you or someone close to has been injured or killed in a truck accident in Gulfport or anywhere in Mississippi, Louisiana, or on the Gulf Coast, you may be entitled to compensation. Trucking accident cases can get very complicated, however, and large trucking companies and their insurers will do just about anything they can get away with to avoid paying the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Before you speak to anyone from the other side about your accident, contact the experienced Gulfport truck accident lawyers at Reeves and Mestayer to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly evaluate your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.
At Reeves and Mestayer, we have seen the toll truck accidents can take on victims and their families, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation our clients deserve. We have extensive experience and a successful track record with these types of cases, and we are not intimidated by well-funded adversaries such as the big trucking companies and their insurers.
We work closely with our clients, providing strong legal representation and moral support during a difficult time, and putting our experience to work to help ensure that all those responsible for their injuries are held fully accountable. We know that is generally preferable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the other side rather than going to trial. That said, we prepare relentlessly for trial from the outset, so if the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith, we are ready and able to pursue full damages through litigation.
How are Gulfport, MS Truck Accidents Caused?
Each year, approximately 4,000 individuals are killed in trucking accidents throughout the country. Of those killed in these types of accidents, 68% are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, 17% are occupants of commercial trucks, and another 14% are motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Truck accidents are usually caused by some type of negligence, often on the part of the commercial truck driver, although sometimes the car driver contributes to the accident as well. Some of the most common reasons trucking accidents occur include:
- Speeding: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) reports that speeding is the most common contributing factor in fatal truck crashes. Unfortunately, truckers are often under pressure to go above the speed limit in order to meet unrealistic deadlines.
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: In addition to speeding, other forms of aggressive and sometimes reckless driving often contribute to big rig accidents. Examples include following too closely/tailgating, illegal or unsafe passing maneuvers, and failure to yield the right of way.
- Drowsy Driving: Driving while drowsy or fatigued is far more common than most people realize, and truckers are one of the groups most likely to engage in this type of behavior. Truckers sometimes try to cut corners by staying on the road longer than they should, often in violation of federal hours of service regulations. This increases the likelihood of getting drowsy or even falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Distracted Driving: Motorists have more distractions these days than ever before, and the widespread use of smartphones has made this situation far worse. Texting while driving and similar behaviors are especially dangerous, because they take the driver’s entire focus off of the road. Distracted driving is a problem among all motorists, and it is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents.
- Overloaded/Unevenly Loaded Trucks: Some truck accidents happen because there is too much weight in the truck or it is weighted too much to one side or the other, causing it to jackknife or tip over under the wrong conditions.
- Negligent Maintenance: Tractor-trailers that are in full service log thousands of miles on the roadways each month. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that they are properly serviced and ready for this type of heavy use. Sometimes, however, those responsible for maintaining the trucks fail to perform the maintenance needed to keep them safe.
- Vehicle Defects: Trucking accidents can happen because of faulty vehicle or vehicle parts, which break down in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Examples include computer dashboard malfunctions, brake line failures, and tire blowouts.
Pursuing a Mississippi Trucking Accident Claim
As mentioned previously, truck accident cases can be very complex. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the industry, and there are multiple parties that could be held responsible for this type of accident.
Some of the parties that could be at fault in a trucking accident include:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company that employs the driver;
- The owner or lessor of the truck;
- The freight shipping company responsible for loading the truck;
- The party responsible for truck maintenance;
- Those responsible for maintaining the roads;
- The designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
An extensive investigation is typically required to gather all the important facts and pieces of evidence and to get to the bottom of who is at fault for the accident. This is why it is important to work with a lawyer who not only has in-depth personal injury experience, but also specific experience successfully pursuing more complicated cases like these.
Fighting for Compensation After a Truck Crash
After a truck accident in Gulfport, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount you receive depends largely on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries. You may be able to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical bills if your injuries are severe enough to warrant ongoing treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost future income if your injuries prevent you from working long-term
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Disability and/or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
Because the damage caused by truck accidents tends to be much more significant than damage caused in other collisions, compensation tends to be higher. Additionally, insurance policies for truck drivers have much higher limits than insurance policies for personal drivers. This gives victims a better chance at getting the compensation they are due.
Contact an Experienced Gulfport Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a trucking accident in Mississippi, Reeves and Mestayer is here to help! Call our office today at 1-855-558-2977 or message us through our online contact form to schedule your free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving your needs.