Were You Injured in an 18-Wheeler Accident?
An accident with a commercial truck in Jackson can have devastating consequences. Not only could you experience extensive medical treatment and property damage, but you may be facing an uphill battle against the trucking company’s insurance company. What you need is a skilled Mississippi truck accident lawyer who has the knowledge, the resources, and the experience needed to get you the maximum compensation following such a tragic accident.
The truck accident lawyers at Giddens Law Firm know all too well how difficult it can be to get back on your feet following a semi-truck crash. We will fight on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected. We will thoroughly investigate the scene of the accident and obtain the necessary evidence to protect your claim before it disappears.
If you were in a truck accident anywhere in Mississippi, our Jackson truck accident lawyer John Giddens is ready to fight on your behalf. Contact us as soon as possible.
How Do Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents?
An accident with a large truck differs from getting into a car accident. While all motor vehicle accidents can result in drivers and passengers experiencing devastating permanent injuries, trucking accidents present a disproportionate risk of serious injury, as well as unique challenges in seeking compensation.
Because semi-trucks can outweigh a small economy car by 25 times or more, the basic principles of physics dictate that such collisions are especially dangerous for occupants of a small passenger car. When large trucks are involved in fatal trucking accidents, the person who dies is an occupant of the other vehicle in over three out of four fatal collisions, according to data from the federal government.
The differences between a car accident and an 18 wheeler accident go beyond the sheer size of the truck and its potential to cause larger amounts of damage. When there is an accident involving two passenger vehicles, there are usually only two parties involved – the driver and the injured victim. However, when large trucks get into wrecks, there may be other parties involved because the truck driver may not be the truck’s owner, which is usually a business entity.
Truck injury victims should be aware that trucking companies will immediately dispatch a team to go to the accident scene and collect as much evidence as possible. If you get into an accident with an 18-wheeler, do be sure to cooperate fully with the police and with other authorities, but be wary of individuals who are part of the accident response team. Those people are working on behalf of the trucking company, so they are at the accident scene looking for information that will help their client’s position, which is opposed to your best interest.
In addition, commercial trucks usually carry a larger insurance policy than a personal vehicle. Since these insurance policies can cost the company thousands of dollars if paid out, the insurance adjuster will do whatever they can to prevent paying you the full compensation you deserve. Any little thing you say or do may be used as a way to deny your claim or even find you at fault for the accident. That’s why it’s always wise to not speak with the other party’s insurance company until you have a chance to speak with our experienced truck accident attorney at Giddens Law Firm.
There can be even other parties involved in a commercial truck accident case, such as a truck parts manufacturer, a shipping company that loaded the cargo, or whoever was responsible for the maintenance of the vehicle. The array of parties that could potentially be involved in a personal injury case where there has been an accident between a truck and a car can make resolving claims related to those cases rather complicated.
Fortunately, our knowledgeable 18-wheeler accident attorney in Jackson, MS can navigate the complexities of the claims process and pursue the best possible result for you.
How Can Our Truck Accident Lawyer Help With My Case?
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer accident in Mississippi, you will need to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. Our truck accident lawyer is familiar with the specific laws and regulations that govern the Mississippi trucking industry, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Other ways our experienced truck accident attorney can help you with your claim include:
Extensive Knowledge of Trucking Regulation and Industry Practices
Overloaded freight, driver fatigue, and speed may be factors in any truck accident. State and federal law regulate how trucks are maintained and drivers must fill out vehicle inspection reports. These reports can be crucial evidence to help experienced counsel reconstruct the accident by establishing the condition of the truck.
Because truck accidents pose an increased risk of permanent debilitating injuries and fatalities, the trucking industry is subject to a complex matrix of federal and state regulations designed to promote highway safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary entity responsible for enacting federal regulations that govern interstate trucking, which involves commercial drivers that operate in multiple states.
Trucking companies and drivers that operate exclusively within Mississippi are primarily regulated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). This extensive regulatory scheme is designed to mitigate the increased danger posed by big rigs by establishing safety rules regarding matters like:
- Pre-employment screening and hiring standards
- Inspection and maintenance of semi-truck
- Hours of service (HOS) rules to keep fatigued truck drivers off the road
- Pre-employment and random screening for drugs and alcohol
- The maximum length and weight requirements
- Proper securing of loads
- Medical fitness of commercial drivers
- Recordkeeping requirements to verify compliance (i.e. driver logbooks)
Many trucking accidents throughout Mississippi are the result of truck drivers who violate these safety regulations with the tacit or express approval of the trucking company. When drivers use methamphetamines to drive longer shifts and disregard federal regulations, both the truck driver and trucking company can benefit from increased profits but put other drivers’ lives in danger.
Preservation and Gathering of Evidence in Mississippi Trucking Lawsuits
Trucking litigation is also complicated because commercial carriers and truck drivers have no real incentive to preserve evidence that can be used to establish liability. Trucking companies often employ rapid response teams that can be dispatched to the scene of a tractor-trailer crash almost immediately. These trucking experts begin an immediate investigation so that they can develop a strategy for minimizing or evading liability.
A successful Mississippi trucking accident lawsuit typically is contingent on promptly contacting experienced trucking accident lawyers. Our Jackson truck accident lawyer promptly sends written notice to the trucking company indicating that the semi-truck and data contained in the rig’s black box is the subject of litigation so it must not be destroyed or altered.
When a truck is quickly repaired and placed back into service, the black box data, which contains information about what happened before and during the accident is erased. Because logbooks are routinely fabricated or manipulated to conceal non-compliance, black box data can be critical in exposing safety violations and establishing the cause of a trucking accident.
Our truck accident attorney also engages in the extensive discovery of other records that might reveal negligence by the commercial carrier or driver. Some of the documents and information we might seek in discovery include:
- Driver’s personnel file
- Carrier’s hiring procedures and criteria
- Maintenance and inspection records
- Driver lodging and fuel receipts
- Documents related to a prior violation of safety regulations
The bottom line is that trucking litigation is complicated, so you should schedule a consultation with an experienced trucking accident law firm promptly so that you can explore your rights. We invite you to call our Mississippi truck accident attorneys today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.
Are Semi-Truck Accidents in Mississippi on the Rise?
Mississippi has a thriving logging industry, which means that 18-wheelers, big rigs, and semi-trucks loaded down with lumber are traveling throughout our state – from Meridian to Vicksburg on I-20 and from Jackson to Hattiesburg to Gulfport on Highway 49. These big trucks throw more than just pine needles; sometimes they drop whole trees into oncoming traffic causing wrecks due to improperly secured loads.
According to the Institute for Safer Trucking, the number of fatal truck accidents in Mississippi had increased by 12 percent over the last decade. Of those fatal truck accidents, 74 percent were on non-interstate roads and 29 percent happened at night.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal has attributed the rise in truck traffic on America’s roadways to an increase in online shopping and disruptions of the supply chain. Not only are there more and more 18-wheelers on the interstate, but there’s an increase in delivery trucks driving through our neighborhoods. These trucks were not meant to travel down residential roadways and in doing so, they are causing damage to our cities’ streets.
The rise in trucks on our roads leads to a rise in trucking accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,119 people died in large truck crashes in 2019 which is 31% higher than in 2009. In fact, 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2019 occurred in an 18-wheeler accident. The majority of these accidents happened on major roads other than interstates and freeways.
What Do I Do Following a Truck Accident in Jackson?
In the aftermath of a truck accident, you will likely be in pain and quite often in shock. While experiencing the range of emotions and physical pain that surrounds a truck accident, it can be confusing to know what steps you should take to protect your legal rights.
The following is a list of dos and don’ts that every Mississippi injury victim should follow to protect a truck accident claim and maximize your later chance at a full recovery.
What You Should Do Following a Truck Crash
- Get to a safe location: If you have been involved in a truck accident in Mississippi, it is imperative you make sure you and anyone else involved in the accident are safe. If you are able to, move to the nearest safe location to prevent further injury. This will generally be to the nearest soft shoulder.
- Call 911: Once you make sure everyone is safe, call 911 as soon as possible after a truck accident, even if the crash was a fairly minor one. A police officer will arrive shortly at the scene of the accident and complete a police report. The report will be based on an examination of the scene and interviews with the drivers and witnesses involved. This police report can prove crucial to your later recovery for personal injuries or damages, so it is always best to call 911 after an accident. If for some reason a report is not made at the scene, go to the police station as soon as possible to report the accident.
- Document the scene of the accident: If you can, try to get as much evidence as possible from the accident scene. Take photos of your car, the truck, and the crash scene. If there are any witnesses at the scene, get their contact information so you can follow up with them later on. And don’t forget to get contact information from the other drivers, passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident.
- Receive medical treatment: It is best to seek medical treatment right away after any type of motor vehicle accident. Some injuries may not be evident for hours or even days after a crash. The earlier you seek medical treatment, the sooner you can get the medical attention you require and the better your chances of recovery.
- Retain the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney: Truck accidents can be quite complex as compared to an accident with a car or motorcycle. The trucking company and its insurance company will do what they can to deny your claim, especially if you were seriously injured. Instead of going at it alone, contact a truck accident lawyer at Giddens Law Firm. Our experienced Jackson truck accident attorney will initiate a complete investigation into the cause of your accident and fight for your maximum recovery.
What You Should Not Do Following a Truck Accident
- Leave the scene of the accident: Even if you think your car is drivable and the damage was not that bad, don’t leave the scene of the crash under any circumstances. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Mississippi and can result in serious penalties. Instead, wait for the police to arrive and leave only when told to.
- Lose your temper: After a truck accident, your emotions will be heightened. You’re confused, worried, and angry. You may want to take your frustrations out on the person responsible for the accident. But don’t do it; it will cause more harm to your case.
- Admit fault: Don’t ever admit fault to the truck driver, passengers, witnesses, or even the police. The police and insurance company will make a determination after the accident who is responsible for the accident. By admitting fault, you could damage your claim.
- Give a recorded statement: After the accident, you will be receiving a call from the truck company’s insurance company wanting to know more about the accident. The insurance adjuster may try to record your statement. But remember, whatever you say will be used against you later on down the line. So try not to give a recorded statement until you first speak with an 18-wheeler accident attorney.
- Accept the initial truck accident settlement offer: You will likely be pushed by the insurance adjuster to accept a quick settlement. Never accept such an offer without consulting with a truck accident attorney first, as the initial settlement offer will generally only cover a small portion of your losses stemming from the accident.
The Jackson truck accident lawyers at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured truck accident to contact our firm immediately. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will examine your accident and guide you through the legal process to a full recovery. Our case reviews are always free and confidential. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how one of our skilled truck accident attorneys can help you.
What Are the Major Causes of Truck Accidents in MS?
Mistakes do happen. But when negligence plays a part in a truck accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Here are some causes of truck accidents that are the result of driver negligence:
Following the hours of service regulations can help drivers begin their shifts well-rested and alert. Many drivers take naps during the day to refresh themselves and give their eyes a rest. Some take the time to stop throughout the day for brisk walks or other types of exercise breaks, which can increase alertness. Of course, no discussion of stay-awake strategies would be complete without the mention of coffee and other caffeinated stimulants.
Although most truckers follow these safety measures, there are some drivers who engage in dangerous behavior that can interfere with their ability to safely operate their trucks. The long hours and demanding working conditions that truck drivers experience can make them very, very tired. Drowsy truck drivers can be just as dangerous on the road as those under the influence of alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Unfortunately, the things that some truck drivers do to stay awake are illegal and they compromise the safety of everyone else on the road. The illegal stimulant drug methamphetamine, or meth, is easy for truck drivers to get. Meth can help drivers stay awake, but it can also cause hallucinations and vertigo. Meth also affects a driver’s reaction time and their depth perception – not exactly things you want happening while someone is driving a massive eighteen-wheeler.
People who are addicted to meth are at risk for an increased incidence of health conditions like heart attack and stroke. These medical emergencies can occur suddenly, and they can cause an accident if the person having a heart attack or stroke is behind the wheel.
Being on the road for long hours can be stressful, especially if you’re under a tight deadline. This can lead to a short temper and a heavy foot on the accelerator. When a truck driver drives erratically or in an unsafe manner, it can easily result in a devastating crash.
Aggressive driving covers a range of unsafe driving behavior, not just speeding. Other types of aggressive driving include:
- Tailgating other people on the road
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Illegal passing and cutting off other drivers
- Brake checking
- Failure to yield the right of way
Distracted driving has become extremely common with the rise of cell phones. It is also extremely dangerous. In 2019 along, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
A truck driver taking their eyes off the road for only five seconds may not seem so dangerous, but driving at approximately 55 mph, that truck has been driving without paying attention for the length of an entire football field.
Why Choose Giddens Law Firm For Your Truck Accident Case?
When your injuries are significant enough to cause a lifetime of pain and suffering, a quick settlement from the insurance company is never enough to cover the future costs in medical bills, the suffering caused by the truck driver’s negligence. Catastrophic injuries such as amputation, paralysis, burns, brain damage or even death regularly occur in wrecks with big rigs and have life-long effects on you and your family. This is when you need the advice and counsel of a compassionate, experienced, legal advocate dedicated completely to your cause.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A. has built its reputation throughout the state of Mississippi by relentlessly preparing for trial, investigating any lead that might communicate to the jury, and use of vivid demonstrative evidence in the courtroom resulting in many significant jury awards and verdicts.
Unlike many law firms, Giddens Law Firm, P.A. limits its legal representation to only a few serious Mississippi truck accident injury cases and death claims per year. This enables the legal experts to focus the most time and resources on each case in order to yield the best possible results for their clients.
Time is often not on the side of truck accident victims; it is imperative you take immediate action as soon as possible, so please call us today for a free legal consultation and case analysis toll-free at 1-888-335-2022.
Frequently Asked Questions About Commerical Truck Accidents in Jackson, Mississippi
How Much is My Truck Accident Case Worth?
All personal injury cases are different so there is no standard amount. There are several factors that we need to look at before giving you an estimate of what your accident is worth. Some of the factors include:
- Medical bills such as surgery, lab results, medical equipment, doctor’s visits, and long-term care.
- Lost wages as well as lost earning capability
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
How Much Does a Truck Accident Lawyer in Jackson, MS Cost?
Like most Mississippi truck accident lawyers, our 18-wheeler accident attorneys work on a contingency fee. What this means is you do not owe us a fee for our services until the end of the case. If we are able to get you a settlement or a positive verdict for your claim, we will take a percentage of the award. If we are unable to get you the compensation you need, then you don’t owe us a fee.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident?
There can be multiple parties that can be held responsible for a truck accident, such as:
- The truck driver, who may have been driving in a careless manner
- The trucking company that hired the reckless driver
- The truck manufacturer, who produced a faulty product that caused the accident
- Third-party brokers, who had hired a negligent truck company
All these parties carry their own insurance policies. This means you may receive compensation from more than one party. That’s why you need to speak with a truck accident lawyer to learn your options.
What is Negligent Entrustment in Tractor Trailer Accident Cases?
Mississippi law allows for the owner of a tractor trailer or 18-wheeler to be responsible for the acts of someone to who the vehicle or truck is entrusted to. This is called negligent entrustment.
For example, if an owner of an 18-wheeler supplies a negligent trucking company or negligent truck driver to a third party, the owner of the equipment may be held liable to the injured victims.
In Mississippi, the following elements are required to prove negligent entrustment:
2. That the owner knew the truck or should have known the truck would have been used in a manner involving an unreasonable risk of harm.
3. That the harm resulted from the use of the truck.
For more information on negligent entrustment, contact our experienced Jackson truck accident lawyer.
What Should I Do If Someone From the Trucking Company Calls Me Before I’ve Chosen a Trucking Accident Lawyer?
It’s very important that you don’t make a recorded statement to the truck company or its insurance carrier until you’ve spoken with an attorney. The insurance representative may try to pressure you into signing a settlement right away. And as tempting as that may be, don’t sign any forms until you first speak with a semi-truck accident attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Following a Truck Wreck?
According to Mississippi law, injury victims have three years from the date of the accident to file their truck accident claims. Although this seems like a long time, evidence will disappear quickly following an accident. The sooner you start your accident claim, the more likely you will be successful.
Contact Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyer John Giddens Today
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, call Giddens Law Firm, P.A. at (601) 355-2022 or Toll-Free at (888) 335-2022. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds
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