Articles Posted in 18-Wheeler Accidents

On August 5, 2022, a Western District of Louisiana jury awarded $3,000,000 in a rural tractor-trailer crash and assigned 100% liability to US Xpress and its driver. 

On February 14, 2018, a scaffolder was on his way to work early in the morning fog on U.S. 190 approaching the intersection of inferior LA 26. At the same time, an 18-wheeler was stopped at the stop sign on LA 26 waiting on another vehicle to pass on U.S. 190. However, as plaintiff approached the intersection, the truck pulled out directly in front of plaintiff, blocked his lane of travel, and caused plaintiff to slam into the trailer near the rear tandem wheels. US Xpress alleged that the plaintiff was speeding, inattentive, and failed to brake timely. 

Plaintiff suffered a severe cut to his right, little finger that led to amputation of the finger. Plaintiff underwent surgeries to his right finger, neck, and back, and continues to suffer from headaches and associated psychological injury. 

In June, Governor John Bel Edwards signed SB435 into law, which provided that safety measures, including camera safety devices, will be installed on the Basin Bridge as a measure to reduce safety risks.

The new law went into effect on August 1, 2022 and will be implemented in three phases:

  1. Phase one began with crews installing “Higher Fines” and “Safety Corridor” signs to warn drivers of the changes. Also, as of August 1, 2022, fines are doubled for those speeding. This means those speeding may face fines as high as $350.

On February 14, 2018, plaintiff W.B. was severely injured when an 18-wheeler failed to check for on-coming traffic. At the time of the incident, plaintiff was working as an industrial scaffolder, to support himself and his family, and lived an active lifestyle. WB suffered the loss of his right, little finger, a large laceration to his head, neck and back pain injury, and headaches. Bradley underwent surgeries to his right hand, neck, and back and continues to suffer from headaches.

Defendants attempted to place the blame on the plaintiff, arguing that he should have been the one to “brake sooner,” despite the fact that a left-turning motorist has the legal obligation to wait until it is completely safe to make their turn. Defense asked the jury for a verdict of $0 to $429,000. After a five-day trial, a jury returned a verdict on August 5, 2022, as follows:

Bradley was awarded $293,108 in past medical expenses; $500,000 in future medical expenses; $125,000 in past wages; $241,000 in future wages; $690,892 in past and future physical pain; $400,000 in past and future mental pain; $250,000 in loss enjoyment of life; and $500,000 in disfigurement. This equals a total of $3,000,000 in damages.

Musings of a Trial Lawyer Waiting For the Jury (August 2022)

“As I type this note, my last submission as President of the LAJ, I am awaiting the response of eight jurors in the Western District of Louisiana. Their verdict will have to be unanimous. This venire and jury were a trucking defense lawyer’s dream – truck drivers, dispatchers, logistics folks, insurance company employees. The jurors we ended up getting did not look great on paper, but I’m hopeful they came in open-minded. After a week of trial, I have no idea how they received the evidence I presented. 

Rough week. Gave a home hum opening, fought through some tough admissibility issues throughout the trial, and just wrapped up with a decent but not spectacular closing. Violated my first rule of openings/closings – used some notes as reminders to make sure I covered all of the issues. It ruins the flow. I know better. I talked too fast. Again.  

On July 6, 2021, Interstate 10 was the location of two fatal car crashes, which occurred about thirty miles from each other. For approximately two hours, I-10 experienced closures in both the east and west bound lanes.

The first occurred earlier in the day around 8:00am. Near mile marker 92 near Duson, an 18-wheeler truck going westbound crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a truck pulling a livestock trailer head on, causing the 18-wheeler to overturn into the median. This multi-car crash resulted in two fatalities and five injuries- the identities of the victims have not been reported at this time. All westbound lanes on I-10 near miler marker 92 were closed until about 4:00 that afternoon.

The second accident occurred around noon at mile marker 69 between Jennings and Egan. Though information of the crash has not been released, Louisiana State Police has reported that the interstate-closing crash in the eastbound lanes was fatal. After about two hours, the eastbound lanes were cleared.

An average of 16,500 car accidents occur daily across the United States. In the blink of an eye, a rear-end car accident can completely turn one’s life upside down by causing life-altering injuries. Such an event can leave one lost as to what to do next, scared as to the daunting recovery process that lies ahead, and confused as to where to even begin. Some insight into the expected process of legal settlements may aid you or a loved one in making important decisions following a tragic accident.

In Louisiana, a car accident resulting in an injury, death, or property damage resulting in over $500 requires the parties by law to contact the local police department. Following the accident, an injured party should seek legal assistance. This will significantly offset the post-accident burdens of both filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company and gathering  supporting evidence like medical examinations, photos, and witness testimony.

Further, an attorney can file suit against a negligent party, thereby holding that party liable for their actions. The lawsuit must be brought within 1 year of the date of the accident or else the claim is forever lost. Once the legal process begins, parties will work tirelessly to reach what is known as a settlement. A settlement resolves the dispute by dropping the claim before reaching trial in return for a monetary compensation. Settlement processes can last anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on the severity of the injuries and the accident. In the settlement process, the injured party seeks recompense for physical pain and suffering, repair or replacement of their car, medical expenses, mental anguish from the accident, lost wages, as well as other forms of damages.

On Feb. 3rd, 2021, St. Martin Parish Fire District and Henderson Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to Grand Pointe Avenue near I-10 for a vehicle fire. When first responders arrived, there was an 18-wheeler carrying produce engulfed in flames. After additional assistance from neighboring first responders and Breaux Bridge Volunteer Fire Company aerial unit the fire was able to be contained without causing any further incidents. No injuries were reported according to Henderson Police.

Thank you to the local area first responders, and all those involved that were able to contain this incident without further injury.

As reported, no one was hurt, but accidents can happen at anytime and anywhere. To help ensure the safety of yourself, and others, remember to stay vigilant while on the road and be mindful of your surroundings.

No one doubts the essential functions 18-wheelers provide in the daily exchange of commodities as large truck drivers tend to cover as much as 5,000 to 6,000 miles a week. However, due to the inherent nature of such trucks, drivers are at a greater risk of injury or even death when being involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler. In fact, the number of fatalities resulting from large truck accidents increased by 31% nationally from 2009-2018, according to U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Unfortunately, Louisiana also experienced an increase in the number of fatal crashes involving 18 wheelers. According to FARS, Louisiana’s fatal crashes with large trucks increased by 42% as the number spiked from 67 in 2015 to a somber 95 in 2018. Nationally, there were 4,475 fatal crashes at the hands of 18-wheelers in 2018.

Just last week, an 18-wheeler traveling southbound on LA Highway 578 struck a 58-year-old man going east at a Highway intersection in Franklin Parish. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Plaintiffs Latoya Fontenot and Michael Robertson were injured when an 18-wheeler changed lanes and struck their vehicle.  There was minor property damage on the Fontenot’s vehicle and neither plaintiffs sought medical attention at the scene.  Robertson and Fontenot began treating with chiropractor Dr. Rowdy Gautreau.  When conservative measures failed, Robertson and Fontenot both presented to Dr. William Brennan, a Lafayette neurosurgeon.  Dr. Brennan performed a laminectomy on Robertson; one year later, Brennan performed a fusion at L4/5 L5/S1.   Dr. Brennan also performed a three-level cervical fusion on Latoya.   Michael Robertson was enrolled in pain management after the accident and was treating with Dr. Sanjiv Jindia for chronic pain.  At the time of the accident, Robertson was working offshore.

Defendants defended the case on all angles: liability and damages. On the first morning of trial, defendants stipulated to liability.  With respect to damages, defendants attacked Robertson’s credibility, particularly the fact that Robertson, a convicted felon, had testified that he did not return to work after the accident despite evidence that Robertson returned to his job for six days.  Defendants also argued that Robertson failed to disclose his 2010 treatment to “chronic back pain” to his treating physicians and that he overexaggerated the facts of the crash and the property damage to the vehicle.  With respect to Fontenot, the defendants argued that while Fontenot was treating with Dr. Brennan and complaining of neck pain, the visits she made to her primary care providers contained no mentions of neck pain.

Plaintiffs experts were as follows:  Sy Arceneaux and Stony Landry, vocational rehabilitation, and John Theriot, economist.  Defendants retained Dr. James Domingue to give expert testimony about Latoya Fontenot’s EMG, and Dr. Chambliss Harrod to provide an Independent Medical Exam regarding the plaintiffs’ need for surgery.

Three parties have sued a truck driver and his employer for injuries and damages sustained in a crash earlier this year.

On June 24, Plaintiffs Marvin Gaitlin and Tasha Bodie, both individually and on behalf of her minor daughter Mykalia Collins, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Sam Grace, EPES Transportation Systems Inc., and National Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh. The suit alleges that Grace negligently operated his vehicle and that EPES negligently entrusted the tractor-trailer to Grace.

On February 25, Gaitlin was stopped in traffic on Manhattan Boulevard, near the intersection of Ute Drive in Jefferson Parish. Bodie and Collins were Gaitlin’s passengers at the time, and their vehicle was directly behind the tractor-trailer driven by Grace and owned by EPES Transportation. According to the suit, Grace suddenly reversed his tractor-trailer and backed into the front of Gaitlin’s vehicle, leaving him no time to avoid the collision. Grace then proceeded to back up his vehicle again, striking Gaitlin’s vehicle a second time. As a result, the parties suffered severe and debilitating mental and physical injuries.