Archive for the ‘Mississippi Tractor-Trailer Accidents’ Category

Mississippi Tricking Accident Attorney Explains Jackknife Trucking Accidents

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Driving near tractor-trailers can make people nervous. After all, the weight of these vehicles is 20-30 times what a passenger car is, and when a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are the ones that typically suffer the most severe injuries and a higher risk of death. While there are certain aspects of truck driving that make it more challenging, and potentially more likely for the truck driver to cause accidents, not all truck accidents are caused by truck drivers. With that said, the size and weight of commercial trucks makes it more difficult for them to stop quickly, especially on wet or icy roads, and truck drivers are more likely than other drivers to spend extremely long periods of time behind the wheel.

It seems that jackknife accidents would be clear examples of accidents that are the fault of a truck driver, and not the other driver, however, even in these cases an injured person will have to prove liability.

What is a jackknife accident?

Large tractor-trailers consist of a cabin and the trailer. When the driver in the cabin loses control over the trailer part of the truck, and the truck takes on the shape of the letter “L” or a “V,” this is referred to as “jackknifing.” The name is derived from a folding knife because the shape is similar to that of a partially folded blade.

What are the risks associated with jackknifing?

If a truck loses control and jackknifes, the trailer could cross the road, including the traffic in lanes traveling in the opposite direction. This can cause cars to crash head-on into the trailer with little opportunity to get out of the way or stop. There is also a large risk of a truck rolling when it jackknifes, creating an incredible risk to everyone on the road, and at times risking spilling cargo that could also be hazardous.

What causes a truck to jackknife?

When a truck driver slams on the breaks, the cab might stop, but the trailer may continue to move forward. This could occur because of inclement weather, curves in the road, or because the truck driver was trying to avoid something in his or her path.

Many times, these accidents could be caused by negligence on the part to the truck driver. For instance, the need to slam on the breaks could often occur as the result of the driver speeding, or driving at a speed that might be under the speed limit, but still reckless due to the weather or other conditions. Of course, not every accident involving jackknifing will necessarily be the fault of a truck driver. If the trucker only attempted to stop abruptly because of a car accident that occurred immediately in front of the truck’s path, then the driver might not have been negligent, but rather caught in a helpless position.

It is important to remember that if you were in an accident with a truck that jackknifed and your own driving might have contributed to the injuries that you suffered, you can still collect compensation from the other negligent driver under Mississippi law, your compensation will just be reduced to reflect your share of the fault.

Any accident involving trucks is frightening and can potentially cause catastrophic harm. Be sure to speak with an attorney to have your claim evaluated and to determine your best course of action.  Contact Barrett Law PLLC today to speak with our seasoned Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorney.

 

Mississippi Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers Suggest Some Important Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Trucking Accident Attorney

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Many people who experience catastrophic injuries or lose a family member in a tractor-trailer accident have never had to retain an attorney.  The chances are that you will not have had reason to retain let alone speak to a trucking accident lawyer until you or a loved one suffers an injury in a trucking collision.  We represent many clients that have never dealt with an attorney in any context before retaining our law firm.  This lack of familiarity makes it difficult to determine what questions to ask when interviewing attorneys to handle your trucking accident claim.  In this blog post, our Mississippi trucking accident lawyers highlight key areas of inquiry when evaluating a personal injury lawyer to represent you in trucking litigation.

What types of trucking litigation cases have you handled in the past?

Tractor-trailer accident lawsuits are not simply motor vehicle collision cases that involve a large vehicle.  Trucking litigation involves special issues and challenges that are not present in a typical car accident case.  For example, the trucking industry is subject to extensive regulation both at the federal and state level, so effective representation in a trucking case requires extensive knowledge of trucking laws, regulations, and industry practices.  If a potential lawyer does not have specific experience in successfully handling trucking litigation, you might want to keep looking because trucking accident litigation does not provide a good venue for on-the-job training.

How does your law firm intervene to preempt trucking companies from manipulating or destroying evidence?

The trucking industry has developed a reputation for the alteration or destruction of evidence in tractor-trailer litigation.  The practice of falsifying driver logbooks or keeping two sets of books is so common that these records are derisively referred to as “lie books” by a fair number of commercial drivers and trucking companies.  Many trucking companies have investigators that can be dispatched to a crash scene within minutes, so they can quickly gather evidence.  A commercial carrier might repair damage to a cab or trailer which prevents an accident reconstruction expert from analyzing the damage patterns to the vehicle.  The big-rig also might be placed back in service causing data on the event data recorder to erase vital information about the vehicle and driving of the trucker immediately before the crash.

Our experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer accident lawyers at Barrett Law take affirmative steps to preserve evidence in trucking accident lawsuits.  Our trucking accident law firm frequently sends a notice to the trucking company advising that the semi-truck that was in an accident is the subject of litigation and must not be changed or altered from its current condition.  This notice includes the data maintained on the electronic recorder for the large truck.  If the commercial carrier does not comply with the notice, we can seek sanctions.  These sanctions can impair the position of the trucking company in litigation or result in an attorney fee award.

While the threat of sanctions often will be sufficient to discourage attempts to modify or destroy evidence, we also might seek a restraining order prohibiting such action if the commercial carrier ignores our notice.  Our Mississippi trucking accident lawyers recognize the importance of acting promptly to prevent evidence from disappearing, which might prove critical issues, such as driver fatigue, speeding, inadequate vehicle maintenance, sudden braking, GPS location, and other information that might be relevant to liability, causation, or damages.

If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Jackson or the surrounding areas, our Mississippi Tractor-Trailer Accident Lawyers have successfully represented many victims of negligent commercial carriers and their drivers.  At Barrett Law, we are here to help.  Contact our law firm today at 800-707-9577 to schedule your free consultation, so we can answer any questions you may have regarding filing your claim.

 

 

Trucker Ordered Out-Of-Service after Multiple Convictions of DUI

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Although the prospect of an intoxicated truck driver barreling down I-55 at sixty miles per hour might sound alarming, some in the trucking industry contend that drunk driving is no longer an issue.  While the use of stimulants and other drugs might be more prevalent than alcohol in the trucking industry, alcohol-impaired drivers continue to claim lives.  Shockingly, stories are still reported by the media of repeat DUI offenders operating tractor-trailers.

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently deemed a truck driver with a license in another state to be an imminent hazard to public safety.  Based on this determination, the trucker was ordered not to operate his big-rig in interstate commerce.  The truck driver was stopped and issued a citation in March 2016 for driving under the influence of alcohol.  A blood test of the driver at the time of the citation revealed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .308 percent.  This level of intoxication is seven times the legal limit for driving after consuming alcohol.  The tractor-trailer operator also received a citation for possession of an intoxicating beverage while on-duty and failure to maintain a proper logbook.  Both violations led to the driver’s immediate change in status to out-of-service.

 

This unsafe truck driver had a record of prior violations of trucking laws and regulations.  These prior violations included three prior convictions for alcohol-related driving violations.  In one of these prior incidents, the truck operator refused to submit to a breath test, which led to an eight-month license suspension.  The truck driver received a 15-month suspension following yet another DUI incident.  Before these incidents, the negligent truck driver was convicted of multiple violations of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs while operating a commercial motor vehicle, which resulted in a one-year license suspension.

In issuing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s imminent hazard out-of-service order, the agency concluded that the trucker’s history “…demonstrates that [the driver] is unwilling or unable to cease operating a commercial motor vehicle while using alcohol.”  The agency characterized the risk posed to the public as follows: “[His] continued operation of a commercial motor vehicle…puts the motoring public at imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death….”

When a commercial driver disregards an imminent hazard out-of-service order, the consequences can include a civil penalty not to exceed $2,750 and disqualification from commercial driving for a term that is not less than six months for a first offense.  These penalties increase to $5,500 and disqualification for a two-year period for a second offense.  Criminal penalties also can be imposed for violation of an imminent hazard out-of-service order.

The FMCSA’s order temporarily limits this driver’s ability to endanger other vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Mississippi roadways, but he got far too many bites at the apple.  When trucking companies fail to conduct adequate background checks, pre-employment screenings, and chemical testing, dangerous truck drivers like the one involved in this story can seriously endanger public safety.

If a criminal conviction or regulatory violation cannot keep unsafe truck drivers off the road, a civil judgment against the trucking company often provides a motivation for commercial carriers to be proactive.  A civil lawsuit could impose a massive judgment or settlement on a trucking company that fails to perform random drug tests or take unsafe drivers out-of-surface.

If you suffer an injury in a tractor-trailer accident in Jacksonville or the surrounding areas, our Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys have successfully represented many victims of negligent commercial drivers and trucking companies in obtaining compensation for their injuries.  At Barrett Law, we are here to help.  Contact our firm today at 800-707-9577 to schedule your free consultation, so we can answer any questions you may have regarding filing your claim.

 

Our Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Discuss the Complex Matrix of Trucking Regulations

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

The trucking industry is subject to an extensive regulatory framework due to the inherent dangers posed by sharing Mississippi roadways with massive 18-wheelers that dwarf sedans and other passenger cars.  Many of the detailed regulations that govern the trucking industry are designed to implement safety standards that make our roadways safer.  When tractor-trailer drivers and the commercial carriers for whom they work disregard these standards, deadly trucking accidents are the all too common consequence.  Our Mississippi Trucking Accident Attorneys carefully analyze potential cases to identify violations of trucking regulations or other laws that often serve as a basis for holding trucking companies accountable for unsafe practices.

In the broadest sense, there are two major types of trucking schemes that regulate a commercial carrier and their drivers.  Trucks that operate exclusively within the boundaries of Mississippi are governed by “intrastate trucking” regulations, whereas carriers that operate across state lines are subject to “interstate trucking” rules.

Because violations of important trucking safety regulations often constitute the basis for imposing liability on commercial drivers and trucking companies, effective litigation of semi-truck accident cases requires thorough knowledge of trucking regulations.  Examples of issues addressed by these safety standards include:

  • Vehicle inspections and maintenance;
  • Maximum weight and length;
  • Medical fitness of drivers;
  • Proper loading which includes the amount and securing of loads;
  • Testing for impairing substances like alcohol, prescription drugs, and narcotics;
  • Anti-Fatigue regulations;
  • Recordkeeping regarding maintenance, hiring practices, and HOS; and
  • Pre-employment screening and monitoring of drivers.

Although trucking companies and commercial drivers are subject to regulations that require keeping track of certain safety practices, the process of proving negligence is often compounded by failure to abide by these rules.  Truck drivers keep personal logbooks that are supposed to document hours of service.  These logs are so routinely falsified that those in the trucking industry often joke about the widespread practice of maintaining two sets of books.  Our Mississippi trucking lawyers often combat such tactics in some or all of some of these ways:

  • Sending a “Spoliation” Letter:  This notice will advise the trucking company  that the truck and the vehicle’s data recorder (similar to a commercial airplane’s black box) are the subject of litigation.  This correspondence will also warn of the consequences associated with repairing the big-rig, or failing to preserve the black box data.  We can seek financial sanctions or ask the judge to unfavorably rule on certain issues if the trucking company disregards our warning.
  • Filing for an Injunction: Situations might arise where we suspect that the carrier is prepared to destroy evidence and disregard our admonishment regarding spoliation of evidence.  Our law firm might file for an injunction in such cases, so altering or destroying such evidence will constitute a violation of the judge’s order.
  • Using Discovery Aggressively: Because we know that alterations or omission of important records can be a standard practice of certain commercial carriers.  Our Mississippi semi-truck lawyers engage in aggressive discovery to obtain documents and records that can used to expose inconsistencies.

Contact an Experienced Mississippi Truck Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation 

At Barrett Law, PLLC, our compassionate Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys understand tractor-trailer accident victims often feel overwhelmed, and we are here to help.  Contact our firm today at (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation, so we can answer any questions you may have regarding filing your truck accident case.

 

Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Offer Updates on the Tracy Morgan Lawsuit

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Tracy Morgan, the well known actor and comedian, was seriously injured in a tractor trailer crash this past summer.  The accident happened when a Wal-Mart tractor trailer, travelling above the speed limit, pummeled into the limousine carrying Tracy Morgan and several of his comedian friends and assistants.  Morgan sustained serious injuries in the crash, including multiple broken bones, and required extensive time in the hospital.  He is still continuing rehabilitation due to his injuries.  Fellow comedian and friend James McNair died in the accident.

This past July, Tracy Morgan filed a personal injury suit against Wal-Mart in a U.S. District Court in New Jersey.  In the suit, Morgan claimed that the Wal-Mart driver who crashed into the limousine acted negligently in causing the accident, as the driver was both speeding and had been awake for 24 plus hours before the fatal accident.  Morgan further asserts that the employer, Wal-Mart, knew or should have known that the at-fault driver was unsafe on the roadways because he had not slept in over 24 hours.

This lawsuit, filed now months ago, has heated up in the past few weeks.  Wal-Mart is now asserting that Tracy Morgan shared contributory negligence for the crash because he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Most of the public knows that limousine buses rarely come equipped with seatbelts and even in those that do have seatbelts, passengers infrequently use them.  Similarly, most school buses do not have seatbelts and children rarely use them when present.  As such, critics of Wal-Mart have heavily criticized the giant company’s latest attempt to place blame on the plaintiff.

Comparative and contributory negligence are defenses that can minimize a defendant’s degree of fault in some accidents, shifting partial blame to the plaintiff.  These principals allow fault to be shared between both parties, but the cause of action will be allowed to continue.  If the plaintiff is found to be partly at fault for the accident, his or her recovery will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

When, as in this case, the defendant puts forth a claim of contributory or comparative negligence, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to prove they did not act in a negligent manner.  Accordingly, it is now up to Morgan to prove that failing to wear a seatbelt in the limo bus was not negligent, or did not contribute to the accidents or injuries.

As the Tracy Morgan case highlights, truck accidents come with complex issues of negligence and liability.  Anyone involved in a truck accident should seek the representation of an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights.

Barrett Law PLLC: Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys Aggressively Assisting the Victims of Truck Driver or Trucking Company Negligence   

The Tracy Morgan crash, which severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and claimed the life of his friend, has brought the nation’s attention to the very real dangers of tired truck drivers.  Truck drivers who operate massive tractor trailers with little sleep pose a threat to all drivers on the roadways across the U.S. The Tracy Morgan lawsuit now holds the potential to influence reform in the trucking industry and perhaps lead to increased regulation of trucker’s sleep and work hours.  The Mississippi Truck Accident Attorneys at Barrett Law PLLC have fought for the safety of Mississippi drivers for over 75 years.  We wish to assist all truck accident victims in holding the negligent truckers and trucking company’s responsible for their accidents accountable.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, call Barrett Law PLLC today at 1 (800) 707-9577 to schedule your free consultation.  We look forward to providing you with exemplary legal services.

Expectations With That of Trucking Accidents In Mississippi

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

In our lives we are responsible not only for getting tasks and responsibilities accomplished, and done so in a timely manner, but also that of getting from place-to-place in order to get them done. In order to do so we not only rely the majority of the time on our vehicles, but also that of the road itself. However, are you actually safe on the road in this day and age? When we think of the majority of auto accidents that occur on the road today we typically assume they occur at the hands of the individual driving the vehicle. However, that is not always the case, especially when large trucks are around.

What Purpose Do Trucks Really Serve?

Trucks are one portion of our world today that help not only transport necessary materials from one area to the next, but also transport that of the goods, and products that can be seen all throughout our homes, which are purchased from supermarkets, and other stores. While we rely on these vehicles to not only help transport supplies we depend on so much we also rely on them to do so while operating their vehicle properly, and safely. Unfortunately, this is not the case today in many instances.

The Facts of The Matter

Today, trucking accidents have not only significantly risen, not only within Mississippi, but all throughout the country as well. Why? From reasons ranging between fatigue to inexperience, or just negligence these accidents not only are continuing to occur, but also causing a large amount of damage to whatever comes within their path. In many cases, automobiles such as sedans, and SUVs can not only be destroyed to what looks like a crushed soda can, but the passengers inside not simply injured, but killed with one swift hit. Yet, those motor vehicle operators that do manage to survive do so with serious, and debilitating injuries that impact their quality of life and welfare presently, and for years to come.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident and has been injured or killed you may be entitled to damages for your pain, suffering, and property damage. Make sure that you contact an experienced, and ultimately dedicated attorney immediately in order to fight for what we all truly want at the end of the day, which is that of peace of mind.

If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, make an appointment with one of our Mississippi attorneys by calling (800) 707-9577.

 

The High Risk of Overloaded Tractor-Trailers

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

A fully loaded tractor-trailer may weigh as much as forty tons making it an extremely dangerous weapon in the hands of an inexperienced or careless driver.  The massive weight of a tractor-trailer makes it less responsive and much more likely to cause serious collisions that may result in permanent debilitating injuries.  Despite the inherent risk associated with these heavy vehicles, the pressure to increase profits sometimes entices trucking companies to overload tractor-trailers.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration promulgates regulations regarding safe loads and the maximum weight of tractor-trailers.  Tractor-trailers are subject to periodic inspection and are equipped with a data recorder that can be used to determine that a vehicle is overloaded.

There are a number of specific ways that overloading a tractor-trailer may contribute to a collision.  Many tractor-trailer accidents are caused by brake malfunction or failure.  When a tractor-trailer is overloaded it puts more stress on the brakes and creates a greater likelihood that brake will fail.  The increased weight also increases the distance that a tractor-trailer needs to stop to avoid a collision and makes it more difficult to maneuver to avoid an obstacle.  A tractor-trailer that is overloaded is also difficult to control when descending from an incline.  An overloaded truck also increases the probability of tire blowouts that play a factor in many commercial trucking accidents.

The enormous mass of an overloaded truck often causes fatal collisions or catastrophic injuries like spinal cord injuries, traumatic head injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage and amputation injuries.  The financial costs associated with medical treatment for severe injuries like these can financially cripple a family.  If the family member who is injured in a tractor-trailer collision with an overloaded truck is a primary wage earner, a personal injury recovery may be necessary for a family to maintain its standard of living.

If you or close family member is injured in a Mississippi tractor-trailer collision, the experienced trucking lawyers at Barrett Law have the experience and knowledge of trucking industry regulations and customs.  We understand the tactics used by trucking companies to avoid liability and work diligently to obtain the compensation that our trucking accident injury clients need to move past their accident.  The experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to trucking accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Fog Suspected Factor in Fatal Jackson Tractor-Trailer Crash with School Bus

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The community of Jackson was again shaken this week by yet another fatal accident between a school bus and tractor-trailer, which is the second such fatal crash between these two types of motor vehicles already this year.  The accident earlier this week occurred when a school bus was stopped at a stop sign on Mississippi Highway 450 and began to make a left turn.  The driver of the tractor-trailer slammed into the school bus when the bus pulled in front of the tractor-trailer while making the left turn onto U.S. Highway 61.  The driver of the tractor-trailer indicated that he tried to brake to avoid the collision but did not see the school bus until it was too late.  Law enforcement authorities have indicated that the area was impacted by heavy fog, which may have played a role in the fatal Jackson crash.

This is the second fatal accident between a tractor-trailer and school bus during the first quarter of 2011.  This tragic accident highlights a number of critical risk factors related to Mississippi motor vehicle accidents.  While school buses are relatively safe they lack seat belts and airbags so if they rollover or a passenger is ejected the injuries can be catastrophic and even fatal.  In the Jackson crash, both the bus and tractor-trailer rolled over in the collision.  Rollover collisions are particularly dangerous because they can result in head, neck and spine injuries, crush injuries as well as vehicle ejections.

In most accidents involving tractor-trailers, occupants of the other vehicle are those that are injured.  The Jackson crash was no different as a fifth grade student lost her life and eight other students were taken to the hospital including four that were airlifted.  Statistics indicate that the occupants of the other vehicle in a tractor-trailer collision are 98 percent more likely to die in an accident with a commercial truck.  Tractor-trailers are less responsive, need greater braking distance and have larger blind spot, which means that they are at greater risk for being involved in a motor vehicle collision in Mississippi.  This provides a partial explanation for why there are 500,000 tractor-trailer accidents per year in the U.S.

Tractor-trailer accidents also are more likely to cause traffic-related fatalities because of the massive size and weight of the vehicles.  A fully loaded tractor-trailer may way 80,000 pounds, which is in excess of 25 times more than a typical passenger vehicle.  The force of impact caused by the weight differential between a tractor-trailer and most other vehicle typically results in catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

When the hazard of fog is added to the risk factors related to these inherent risks involving a bus collision or commercial truck accident, the consequences are often tragic.  Most people are well aware that fog will reduce visibility and increase motor vehicle collision risk, but many do not realize that fog also impairs visual perception.  Fog reduces the color contrast between a vehicle and its background making it harder to identify the vehicle or judge speed and distance.  A driver’s ability to judge speed is impaired further by fog because drivers typical use their peripheral vision to judge speed by using other objects as reference points to judge the speed of a vehicle as it passes objects on the side of the road.  Fog impairs a driver’s ability to judge speed so drastically that a driver is often unable to distinguish between moving vehicles and vehicles that are stationary.

If you are driving in fog, you should slow down and allow more stopping distance to compensate for less visibility and impaired visual perception.  Unfortunately, many drivers in Jackson and throughout the roadways of Mississippi do not show the proper respect for foggy conditions.  If you or a family member suffers serious injury or a loved one is killed in a fog related tractor-trailer accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and loss.  Our experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer accident lawyers represent commercial trucking accident victims in Jackson and throughout Mississippi.  If you have suffered a serious commercial trucking accident, we offer a free no obligation initial consultation so that we can evaluate your case and advise you regarding your rights to compensation.