Category Archives: Trucking Accidents

    Special Preservation of Evidence Issues in Trucking Litigation

    When a 3,000 pound economy car is struck at highway speeds by a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, the results often are catastrophic for occupants of the passenger car. The massive weight disparity between large trucks and passenger vehicles increases the likelihood that occupants of a car, pickup or SUV will suffer debilitating injuries that necessitate spiraling medical expenses, prolonged treatment and/or rehabilitative therapy, and permanent mental and/or physical disability. Given the severity of injury associated with trucking accidents, victims of negligent truck drivers and indifferent commercial carriers rely on maximizing recovery in a personal injury claim to get their lives back on track. However, unique evidentiary challenges involved in trucking litigation make these personal injury lawsuits qualitatively different than typical car accidents. This blog post outlines some of the evidentiary issues that must be successfully dealt with in Mississippi trucking accident cases. These are as follows:

    • Falsification of Records: Although drivers operating big-rigs and the commercial carriers for whom truckers work are required to keep detailed records, these documents often are unreliable. Commercial drivers are required to maintain logbooks that provide evidence of hours of service (HOS), rest breaks, off-duty periods, and inspections. The most important function of this logbook is to monitor drivers who violate anti-fatigue rules. Since drowsy or fatigued driving is considered a leading cause of trucking accidents, these logs are designed to provide a record that can be reviewed in the wake of a collision. Unfortunately, these logbooks are so routinely falsified that they have become derisively referred to in the trucking industry as “lie books.” An experienced Mississippi trucking accident attorney will be very familiar with the industry practice of keeping two sets of logs or manipulating the information in such logs. Our Mississippi trucking accident law firm routinely investigates and conducts discovery to obtain evidence that can expose misleading driver logs, including receipts for gas, motel bills, on-board data recorder information (“black boxes”), and similar evidence to ferret out attempts to cover up HOS violations.
    • Preservation of Black Box Data: When an 18-wheeler is rushed back into service following a crash, the black box, which records critical information like speed immediately prior to a collision, sudden braking, shifting of gears, hours of service, vehicle location, maintenance issues, and more, can be erased. The black box on a tractor-trailer will have limited recording capability, such as thirty days of storage. When the memory becomes full, the black box typically records over prior data. This means that critical information might be erased if immediate action is not taken to ensure the black box data is preserved.
    • Repair of the Tractor-Trailer: When a big-rig is involved in a collision, the cab or trailer might have body damage. Alternatively, faulty brakes that have not been properly serviced might fail. If the trucking company or an independent repair facility fixes physical damage from the impact, an accident reconstruction expert might be deprived of important evidence that could be used to interpret fault, causation, or other issues. If faulty brakes or other malfunctioning components or systems are repaired, this can impede the plaintiff’s ability to prove negligent maintenance or vehicle defects.
    • Spoliation of Evidence: Our Mississippi big-rig accident attorneys address the issue of preserving black box data and post-crash damage by sending the commercial carrier a notice regarding spoliation. This letter will inform the commercial carrier that the truck and its black box are the subject of litigation. The notice will warn the trucking company that the evidence must be preserved in an unaltered condition. The letter will also warn that a violation of the notice will result in a motion for sanctions in the form of attorney fees and/or an adverse finding regarding an issue or the evidence at-issue.

    If you or someone you love has been injured in tractor-trailer collision, the compassionate and knowledgeable Mississippi trucking accident lawyers at Porter & Malouf, P.A. are here to help. Call our office today at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free initial consultation.

     

    Trucking Accidents Caused by Manufacturing Defects are on the Rise in Mississippi

    While the vast majority of trucking accidents that occur in Mississippi stem from driver negligence, many others are caused by truck manufacturing defects. Truckers, especially those that move cargo across various parts of the country in large tractor trailers, rely heavily upon the safety of their vehicles. However, defect-related trucking accidents are unfortunately on the rise in the U.S. and often cause serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Otherwise stated, in the event that their truck fails for whatever reason, it can create hazardous driving conditions for others on the road.

    Inevitably, truck failures leave its driver and possibly his or her employer with huge potential liability exposure. However, it is important to consider that a truck manufacturer can also be held financially responsible if the cause of the accident, in whole or in part, can be traced to a specific manufacturing defect. In fact, when a trucking accident stems from a manufacturing defect, the potential to recover in a civil suit extends to all injured parties, including the truck driver and others affected by the defect.

    Although the root of every accident is not always readily apparent, a detailed investigation may reveal that something wrong with the truck played a significant part in causing the crash. In other words, perhaps the reason why the truck jack-knifed, overturned or strayed from its course was due to a defective truck part and not the driver. In general, there are several types of defects that cause life threatening accidents in Mississippi, such as:

    1. Substandard tires. When a manufacturer of a truck uses parts that cannot withstand the weight and size of a vehicle, accidents are bound to happen. For instance, trucks equipped with tires that cannot handle the size and weight of large trucks often cause tire blowouts, which typically result in severe crashes.
    2. Improper brakes. Trucks, especially tractor trailers, weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds. As such, it is necessary for these types of vehicles to be built with brakes that can withstand their massive size and weight. Moreover, large trucks, especially those that are loaded up with heavy cargo, require enough space with which to come to a complete stop. Defective brakes not only prevent a trucker from stopping in time, but could cause the driver to lose control and seriously hurt themselves and other drivers.
    3. Steering column defects. These types of defects are serious as they can cause a truck driver to lose control and overturn, killing the truck driver and others in his or her path.
    4. Engine/transmission problems. Like steering column defects, these types of problems can lead to serious and life threatening accidents. When a truck is equipped with a defective engine or transmission, the sheer weight and size of the vehicle can cause undue pressure on these parts, potentially leading to fires and other catastrophic incidences.

    If you or a loved one has been personally injured in a trucking accident in Mississippi, call Attorney Tim Porter or Patrick Malouf to learn more about your legal options. You can also contact us today online for a free, no obligation case review or call our office directly at (601) 957-1173.   Trucking accident defect cases are extremely difficult to prove and involve complex rules and regulations. Don’t rely upon an inexperienced attorney. Contact us now – our highly experienced trucking accident attorneys will take the time you need to answer all of your questions and advise you of the scope of your rights and responsibilities. We look forward to hearing from you!

     

    Frequently Asked Questions about Mississippi Underride Collisions

    There are many types of trucking accidents however, what unites them all is the fact that they can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. In other words, when automobiles collide with large tractor trailers, the results can be devastating at any speed. One of the most deadly trucking accidents in Mississippi is what is known as an “underride collision”. These reportedly account for 25% of trucking accident fatalities in the United States. For those who survive these types of accidents, their lives unfortunately are never the same. Specifically, they often face lifelong and painful disabilities, including paralysis, amputations and other catastrophic injuries.

    What is an underride collision?

    An underride collision occurs when a car collides with truck and gets trapped underneath it, which can sheer off the roof of a car and crush it. There are two types of underride collisions. The first one is known as a rear underride collision, which refers to a situation in which a vehicle slides under the rear of a large truck. The second type of underride collision is called a side underride collision, which is where a vehicle gets trapped underneath the side of a truck.

    What are the consequences of an underride collision?

    If a car slides completely under a truck, what often happens is that the roof is sheared off during impact, often resulting in the tragic death of the driver and his or her passengers. In the event that a truck has underride collision barriers, this may reduce the severity of injuries and the accident as a whole.

    What causes underride collisions?

    There are many causes of underride collisions. As for rear underride collisions, they typically occur at night and when a truck’s taillights are blocked, dirty or not working properly. These also tend to occur when trucks are moving slowly and not using emergency flashers to alert other drivers. With regard to side underride collisions, these frequently occur when side lighting is inadequate or not functioning properly. Meaning, when a truck lacks proper side lighting, a car can easily veer into a truck’s lane and get caught underneath it.

    How is Fault Determined in Mississippi Underride Collisions?

    Following an underride collision in Mississippi, accident investigators are typically called to the scene to gather evidence, determine what happened, and render a conclusion regarding fault. Trucking companies often have their own investigators that they use to try and minimize their liability in these types of accidents.

    What should I do if I was injured in an underride collision?

    The obvious answer is that you should seek medical attention immediately. Once you have been medically stabilized, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney Mississippi trucking accident experienced at handling these types of cases. Underride collisions are serious and require the expertise of a skilled Mississippi underride accident attorney who will effectively fight for your rights. Moreover, experienced trucking accident attorneys can also work with a team of investigators to help you recount the events leading up to the accident and establish causation and fault in your case.

    Call Peter Malouf, Attorneys at Law, Now to Obtain the Aggressive Representation You Deserve!

    At the law firm of Porter Malouf, Attorneys at Law, our Mississippi trucking accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle any type of trucking accident case, including those involving underride collisions. When we meet, we will take the time to answer all of your questions, examine the facts of your case, and advise you of your legal options. For more information on our legal services, contact Porter Malouf, Attorneys at Law online or feel free to call at 601-957-1173 to schedule your free, no obligation case review.

    When Cargo From Tractor Trailers Causes Serious Accidents in Mississippi

    Tractor trailers can be dangerous enough because of their overall size on Mississippi highways. However, many people don’t think about how dangerous the roads are if cargo falls from, or out of, the truck. Some examples of lost cargo include, but are certainly not limited to, the following situations:

    • A truck hauling multiple cars is not properly secured, and the cars fall off the truck colliding with other drivers;
    • A semi-truck’s back door is not adequately secured, and the contents of the truck, including food, drinks, and other heavy objects, fall out, slamming into cars on the roadway;
    • Construction equipment on a truck, such as glass, 2 by 4’s, steel machinery, and other equipment can cause deadly accidents if lost from a truck; and
    • Trucks hauling gasoline, if not properly sealed, could leak and cause fires and explosions on the roadway if ignited

    These types of accidents are not as common as other trucking accidents, but they do happen. Earlier this year, here in Jackson, Mississippi, a truck was hauling cars and the cars were lifted too high on the trailer. One car struck a bridge as the truck was attempting to drive under an overpass. The car was knocked off of the truck and was then hit by an oncoming driver on the highway. The driver of the car was injured. The truck driver admitted the accident was his fault as there should have been enough clearance, and the attached car was simply too high.

    Truck drivers and trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure all cargo is properly secured. If even one small mistake occurs, the consequences could be disastrous. Overloading a truck, and not loading the truck properly to ensure clearance under overpasses are mistakes that cannot happen. There should be thorough inspections before each truck gets on the highway to haul cargo from point A to point B. The time and cost it takes to thoroughly inspect trucks prior to travel significantly decreases the chance that innocent drivers will be harmed on the roadway.

    How Do You Know Who Is At Fault?

    While the driver may deserve some blame in the situations described above, in order to know what other parties may be responsible for your injuries, you need to speak with a trucking accident attorney skilled in trucking accident investigations. It could be that the driver did nothing wrong at all, and it was the trucking company or the person or persons who loaded the truck (perhaps employees at a warehouse). If multiple parties share responsibility, your trucking accident case may be more complicated than you think. It may seem that an accident where a truck has lost cargo is a clear cut case, but this isn’t always true. In order to really know what you are dealing with, you need an attorney by your side to advocate for your right to receive compensation.

    Contact Porter & Malouf, P.A. For a Free Consultation

    Trucking accidents can cause some of the most devastating injuries that often lead to permanent disfigurement, disability, and even death. The law firm of Porter & Malouf, P.A. is highly experienced in handling all types of trucking accident claims, regardless of how challenging or complex. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Porter & Malouf, P.A. has an outstanding reputation that is nationally recognized. Our firm was ranked 14th in the United States in 2002 by the National Law Journal, and also received a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell. To find out if you may have a trucking accident claim, contact us online today, or call us at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.

    Mechanical Failures in Mississippi Trucking Accidents

    While many trucking accidents are caused by sleep-deprived truck drivers, drivers that are speeding, and bad weather conditions, some trucking accidents are caused by the failure of a truck’s brakes, tires, and other mechanical failures. Such failures can lead to accidents that result in the serious injury or death of innocent people. Our Mississippi highways are busy with truck drivers transporting goods from across state lines. With so many trucks sharing the road with other drivers, any small accident could turn deadly in an instant.

    What Are the Most Common Mechanical Failures Associated with Trucking Accidents?

    Brake failure and defective tires are the most common types of mechanical failures that lead to trucking accidents. The difficult part about mechanical failure trucking accidents is determining who is at fault. Fault could be placed on the truck driver, the company that the driver works for, or the manufacturer of the brakes or tires. A thorough investigation would need to be done in order to establish fault. Regardless of who may be at fault, the injured party deserves to be compensated for any injuries suffered, as the injury would not have occurred but for the truck’s mechanical failure.

    The driver, the company that employs the driver, or both, could be responsible for a mechanical failure if there was not a proper inspection of the truck prior to it being used. For example, if the brakes or tires were not checked to ensure they were safe enough to operate the truck, both the driver and the company could be at fault if an accident results and causes physical injury to another. On the other hand, if inspections were properly completed, and it turns out the manufacturer of the brakes or tires is really at fault, then a lawsuit could be filed against the manufacturer. Each case is different and requires a unique, individualized investigation.

    Why You Should Contact an Attorney to Discuss Your Trucking Accident Injury

    Trucking accidents are not always as clear cut as they may seem. When mechanical failures are involved, it takes the skill and knowledge of a trucking accident attorney to determine who is at fault for the injuries you have suffered. For example, it may be necessary to retain an expert to investigate the mechanical failure in order to answer those important questions to find out what actually happened. The expert could be one specializing in mechanical failures, or the expert may be an accident reconstruction specialist. Depending on how complicated the case is, your case could potentially require multiple experts to determine causation.

    The bottom line is that regardless of who is at fault for a trucking accident that involves mechanical failures, if you have suffered an injury, you are entitled to receive compensation. Only a trucking accident attorney can help to determine who and what caused your injuries.

    Call Porter & Malouf, P.A. Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

    A trucking accident can leave you seriously injured or a family member deceased. Most automobiles simply do not have a chance when being struck by a truck on the roadway. To find out if you may be entitled to compensation, you need to speak with the trucking accident attorneys of Porter & Malouf, P.A., located in Jackson, Mississippi. In 2002, Porter & Malouf, P.A. was ranked the 14th winningest law firm in the United States by the National Law Journal, and received a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell. If you would like to speak with one of our highly experienced trucking accident attorneys, contact us online, or call our office today at (601)957-1173 to schedule your free consultation.

    When Speeding is the Cause of a Trucking Accident

    Most people will not dispute that a speeding vehicle can cause a dangerous and often life-threatening accident. In the context of trucking accidents, this statement is even more true. Truck drivers have a heightened obligation to ensure they are not speeding, as the impact of a truck on any other vehicle (including another truck), could be deadly. A truck driver must comply with a set of rules and regulations that are stricter than for the everyday driver. One such responsibility is to ensure a truck is driving within a certain range of speed that may be well below the posted speed limit for most drivers. The reason why a truck driver must drive slower than most vehicles is usually quite obvious to most people, but cannot be stressed enough. Such reasons include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Trucks are extremely large and have low visibility, therefore, truck drivers must be aware of blind spots and drive slower to ensure they do not collide with other vehicles when changing lanes;
    • Trucks carry massive amounts of cargo, and this weight makes it difficult for truck drivers to maneuver, and if a truck driver is speeding with a large amount of cargo, the added weight can be a recipe for a deadly accident;
    • Trucks are more susceptible to being affected by weather conditions, thus, if a truck driver is speeding in heavy rain, high winds, or snow and the truck loses traction, this can create a disastrous scenario for causing serious accidents; and
    • Because trucks are so large and heavy, they must prepare to come to a stop much sooner than other vehicles, and if a truck driver is speeding, he or she may not be able to come to a stop in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle

    What Types of Injuries Can Result from a Trucking Accident Caused by a Speeding Truck Driver?

    There is a variety of ways in which people can be seriously injured or killed from a trucking accident caused by a speeding truck driver. These injuries include some of the following:

    • Death;
    • Spinal cord injuries;
    • Paralysis;
    • Severe head injuries leading to permanent brain damage;
    • Concussions;
    • Broken ribs and limbs; and
    • Amputations of arms and legs

    How Do I Know If a Speeding Truck Driver is Responsible for My Injuries?

    It is not always easy to determine the cause of a trucking accident and who is at fault. An investigation will be conducted by law enforcement in most circumstances, however, for a more extensive investigation, your case may require the assistance of experienced legal counsel who handle trucking accidents on a regular basis. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, your attorney may choose to have an accident reconstruction specialist further evaluate the scene of the accident, all factors involved, and determine who was likely at fault for causing your injuries. Such experts can determine with scientific probability how fast a truck was going at the time a collision occurred.

    Contact Porter & Malouf, P.A. Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

    If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you should speak with a Mississippi trucking accident attorney as soon as possible to find out if you may be entitled to compensation. Truck drivers who cause accidents from driving too fast should be held responsible for injuries they cause. The attorneys of Porter & Malouf, P.A. are highly experienced in all areas of personal injury law, with a large emphasis on trucking accidents. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, Porter & Malouf, P.A. was ranked the 14th winningest law firm in the United States in 2002 by the National Law Journal, and received a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, contact us online, or call us at (601) 957-1173 to schedule your free consultation.

    Sleep Deprived Truck Drivers Can Lead to Disaster

    Truck Drivers have a job to do. If they don’t haul the goods that consumers demand, then the chain of commerce breaks down. We rely on the ability of truck drivers to transport their 18 wheelers across Mississippi within specific time constraints. However, when truck drivers are on the road for hours on end, it is inevitable that they will become sleep deprived. We need consumer goods to be delivered on time, but we also need our truck drivers to be safe and well rested. When there are sleepy truck drivers on the road, this makes Mississippi highways unsafe for everyone, especially those driving smaller cars or motorcycles.

    Signs on the Road that Truck Drivers Are Falling Asleep at the Wheel

    If you are driving a car or motorcycle on the highway, you know how difficult it can be sometimes to maneuver around a semi-truck. While semi-trucks can be hard to handle in high winds and rain, it is even more deadly when a semi-truck is being handled by a driver who is not rested. A few of the things to look out for when you are driving on the highway that may mean a truck driver is falling asleep at the wheel include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

    • Veering and weaving across lanes, much like you would see with a drunk driver;
    • Inconsistent speed, sometimes driving well below the speed limit and then quickly accelerating; and
    • Driving only in the left passing lane, not aware that a line of traffic is forming behind the truck

    Serious Injury or Death May Result From Accidents Caused by Sleep Deprived Truck Drivers

    Because of the sheer size of 18 wheelers, any accident that occurs, no matter what party may be at fault, will cause serious injury and often death. If a truck driver begins to fall asleep and veers into the next lane, slamming into a small car, there’s not much the small car can do to avoid the accident. The impact will be enormous and will push the small car completely off of the roadway, sometimes across the median into the oncoming traffic lanes. This type of accident can result in permanent spinal cord damage, multiple broken bones, paralysis and death.

    Even though truck drivers are supposed to rest a certain number of hours per day, as required by federal regulations, there’s no way to ensure that these truck drivers are following the rules. Many truck drivers choose to take the risk that they will make it through their trip okay with energy drinks and coffee. Unfortunately this conduct is rampant among Mississippi truck drivers as well as across all fifty states. Many truck drivers will admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel before. Sleep is essential for truck drivers to safely get from point A to point B. A truck driver that causes an accident which results in serious injury or death to another driver is negligent and must compensate the harmed individual(s).

    Contact Porter & Malouf Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

    If you or a family member has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck 18 wheeler, you need to speak with a Jackson, Mississippi personal injury and auto accident attorney as soon as possible. When you are injured because of another driver’s negligence, such as falling asleep at the wheel, you deserve compensation for what you have lost. The attorneys of Porter & Malouf, P.A. are successful Mississippi trial attorneys with the experience necessary to evaluate your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf. Porter & Malouf, P.A. was ranked the 14th winningest law firm in the United States in 2002 by the National Law Journal, and received a rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell. These credentials show that the hard work of our attorneys pays off. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online, or call us today at 601-957-1173.