18-wheeler Accident Lawyer in Acadiana and Lafayette, LA

With years of experience as an 18-wheeler wreck attorney, Chad Ikerd has helped many clients receive the compensation they deserve after being involved in truck accidents, including a $2,000,000 settlement. Recently, in June 2023, Chad helped to secure a $1.26 million verdict in federal court in an 18-wheeler crash.

His extensive knowledge of the law and unwavering commitment to his clients make him a trusted advocate for those who have been unnaturally injured by a big rig or commercial motor vehicle.

In fact, Chad Ikerd has committed himself to focusing on truck accident cases, including attending specialized training in this field to continuously develop the knowledge and skills to help clients injured or killed by negligent truck drivers.

Chad Ikerd is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA), which is dedicated to improving safety in the trucking industry and helping attorneys recover full justice for those injured in trucking accidents.


18 wheeler truck tire malfunctionIt is simple physics. An 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, compared to a typical vehicle, which may weigh between 2,500 – 4,200 pounds.

Additionally, there are numerous federal and state regulations that demand professional drivers to perform certain duties.

Thus, if an attorney tells you a trucking case is the same as an auto accident, get up and walk out of their office…they do not know what they are doing.

Commercial vehicle wrecks often result in vastly more serious injuries than a typical car crash. They lead to large numbers of deaths and permanent disabilities, which can leave victims and their families struggling with medical bills, lost wages, permanent or “forever” pain, and emotional trauma.

That is why it is crucial to choose an attorney who not only understands the complexities of these cases but also has a proven track record of success.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an 18-wheeler or commercial motor vehicle wreck in Lafayette or throughout Louisiana or Texas, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney at the Ikerd Law Firm today.


A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Complex Legal Process and Protect Your Rights

Trucking crashes are often more complicated than other types of accidents due to the number of parties involved and the federal and state regulations that must be followed by the professional driver.

A trucking accident may involve the driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the vehicle or parts, the shipper of the product, the broker that selected the driver, and numerous other third parties.

An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you navigate this complex legal process by identifying all responsible parties and holding them accountable for their actions by securing full justice for you and your family.


Truck Accident Attorneys Have Experience Dealing with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to settle claims for as little as possible. However, an experienced truck accident attorney has dealt with insurance companies before and knows how to negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


Hiring an Attorney Can Help You Gather Evidence and Build a Strong Case

To prove liability in a trucking accident case, it is essential to gather evidence such as witness statements, police reports, medical records, accident reconstruction, surgical recommendations, life care planning for future expenses, and other documentation.

An experienced attorney understands what evidence is needed to build a strong case and can help you gather this evidence quickly and efficiently.


18-wheeler Crash Attorneys Can Help You Determine the Full Extent of Damages

Trucking accidents often result in significant damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.

An attorney can help you determine the full extent of these damages so that you receive fair compensation for your losses.


Without Legal Help, You May Be at Risk of Settling for Less Than What You Deserve

Many people make the mistake of trying to handle their trucking accident claim on their own.

However, without legal help, you may be at risk of settling for less than what you deserve or facing financial hardship due to the costs of the accident.


Common Causes of 18-wheeler Wrecks

Driving an 18-wheeler truck is a demanding job that requires skill, focus, and attention to detail. Although we often have to sue truck drivers, we recognize and empathize with the difficult job truck drivers have to do every day on the busy highways of this country. While every case and driver is different, most times drivers are victims too, in the sense that they were not properly prepared by their employer or did not have a safe vehicle.

Unfortunately, accidents involving these massive vehicles can be catastrophic due to their size and weight. That is why there are rules and regulations established to make sure drivers of extremely heavy vehicles can safely interact and drive alongside smaller

While there are many reasons for 18-wheeler wrecks, some causes are more common than others.

1. Inexperienced Drivers

18 wheeler truck crashSome companies hire drivers fresh out of driving school with brand-new CMV licenses, put them in charge of 80,000-pound trucks, and send them out on the road with little to no supervision.

Just because someone has a CMV license and knows the basic requirements does not mean they are prepared for every hazard that will be presented to them on the open highway.

2. Overloading

One of the leading causes of wheeler accidents is overloading the truck with cargo beyond its recommended limit.

Overloading can cause instability in the vehicle, making it difficult for drivers to control it on the road. When an overloaded truck travels downhill or around curves, it increases the risk of rollovers or jackknifing.

3. Poor Maintenance

Another common cause of 18-wheeler accidents is poor maintenance of the vehicle. Regular maintenance checks should be conducted to ensure that all parts are functioning correctly. In fact, these checks should be taken every time a driver gets in and out of their big rig. This is just one example of how 18-wheeler cases are different than a typical auto accident (regular drivers do not do full inspections of their cars each time they drive).

Brake failure, tire blowouts, steering problems, or other mechanical issues can occur if proper maintenance is not carried out.

Drivers should inspect their trucks before every trip and report any issues immediately to their employers or mechanics.

Employers must also enforce regular maintenance checks as part of their safety protocols.

4. Driver Fatigue

Long hours behind the wheel without adequate rest can impair judgment and reaction time in drivers.

Driver fatigue is a significant cause of 18-wheeler accidents since tired drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or make critical errors while driving.

Employers must adhere to regulations on driving hours and ensure that drivers take breaks during long trips.

Drivers must also prioritize getting enough sleep before embarking on long journeys.

5. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another leading cause of 18-wheeler accidents. Drivers may be distracted by their phones, eating, or engaging in other activities that take their attention away from the road.

Texting while driving is particularly dangerous as it takes a driver’s eyes off the road, which can delay reaction times to developing dangerous situations in front of them.

To avoid distracted driving, drivers should keep their phones out of reach while driving and avoid eating or drinking behind the wheel.

Employers can also enforce strict policies on phone use and other distractions while driving.


Proving Negligence in 18-wheeler Truck Accident Claims

Negligence is a key factor in any 18-wheeler accident case.

It refers to the failure of an individual or entity to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person.

In the context of an 18-wheeler accident, negligence can be attributed to the truck driver, trucking company, the selection of the trucking company by the shipping broker, or other parties involved in the operation of the vehicle.


Maximizing Compensation for Your Injuries and Damages

Seek Medical Attention Immediately After the Accident

If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine the day of the wreck, some injuries may not be apparent right away. Seeking medical attention will not only ensure that you receive proper treatment for your injuries but also document them in your medical bills.

Keep Track of All Expenses Related to the Accident

After seeking medical attention, it is important to keep track of all expenses related to the accident.

This includes medical care, lost wages, property damage, and other costs. Keeping track of these expenses can help you recover compensation for your damages later on.

Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offers from Insurance Companies Without Consulting with an Attorney

Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly and for as little money as possible.

However, accepting a settlement offer without consulting with an experienced attorney could result in receiving less than fair compensation for your damages and injuries.

An attorney can assess the value of your case and negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.

Work with Your Attorney to Determine Fair Compensation for Your Damages and Injuries

Your attorney will work with you to determine fair compensation for your damages and injuries. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, wrongful death, and other losses.

Your Attorney Can Negotiate with Insurance Companies on Your Behalf

An experienced attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive a fair settlement that covers all of your expenses and losses.

Insurance companies are often more willing to negotiate when they know that they are dealing with an experienced attorney who understands the law.


Call us at the Ikerd Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been involved in an 18-wheeler or commercial motor vehicle wreck, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced Lafayette truck accident lawyer today.

At the Ikerd Law Firm, our legal team have been serving Lafayette and the surrounding areas for years, with the knowledge and skills necessary to handle even the most complex cases.

Call us today for a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fault is determined by a close examination of all the facts, witnesses, evidence, and professional standards of care in an 18-wheeler wreck.

In order to establish fault in an 18-wheeler wreck, a plaintiff must present sufficient facts to prove:

  1. The commercial motor vehicle driver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (likely a fellow driver),
  2. The commercial motor vehicle driver breached that duty of care.
  3. The risk of harm was within the scope of protection afforded by the breached duty (legal or proximate cause).
  4. The plaintiff was injured (damages)
  5. The plaintiff’s injuries were caused in fact by the breach in the standard of care (cause in fact).

In other states, like Texas, the analysis is similar, but the “proximate cause” and “cause in fact” elements are combined.

Any wreck with another automobile is dangerous and can lead to serious injuries. However, the risk of injury with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is significantly higher due to basic physics: 18-wheelers and CMV’s are MUCH heavier vehicles than a typical passenger car.

Commercial motor vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds as compared to a typical passenger vehicle, which may weigh between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds. This means that an impact with an 18-wheeler, even at low speeds, can have significantly more force behind it than with a passenger vehicle.

Therefore, there are many state and federal laws that regulate the operation of commercial motor vehicles in an effort to reduce the risk these massive vehicles can pose to the motoring public. First and foremost, a driver of a CMV must have a special license they can only get after specialized training.

There are many common factors that can lead to a preventable wreck involving an 18-wheeler, including:

  • Inadequate training and supervision
  • Improper turning
  • Driver fatigue/hours of service violations
  • Bad weather or hazardous conditions
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to clear blind spots
  • Driving under the influence
  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Improper loading
  • Mechanical failure due to poor maintenance of vehicle


Every wreck has the potential to cause life-altering injuries. However, the unique nature of commercial motor vehicles and the weight of those vehicles exponentially increase the risk of danger. Some common injuries from a wreck with an 18-Wheeler include:

  1. Spinal cord trauma (possible paralysis)
  2. Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries
  3. Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  4. Broken or dislocated bones, including amputated limbs
  5. Nerve impingement
  6. Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
  7. Wrongful death
  8. Emotional and psychological damage, including PTSD

In most States, you will be limited to seeking “compensatory” damages for your injuries after an 18-Wheeler wreck.

Some States, like Texas, allow for “punitive” damages if the actions of the commercial motor vehicle driver and/or his employer were so recklessly egregious that they should be “punished” for their actions, in addition to compensating the injured parties for their losses. In Louisiana, punitive damages are not allowed in 18-Wheeler cases.

Therefore, when compensatory damages are all that is available, they are typically split up into two different categories: general damages and specific/special damages.

Specific or special damages are the damages you can “show a receipt” for, so to speak. Examples include:

  1. Lost wages
  2. Medical damages
  3. Property damages
  4. Loss of future wages and retirement
  5. Loss of earning capacity

General damages, by contrast, are not “out of pocket” expenses you can show with a receipt or the testimony of an economist or life-care planner. Instead, these damages are not susceptible to a precise economic calculation. They are an “intangible” loss. One person’s pain is not the same as the next.

Everyone’s general damage calculations are unique and tailored to the facts of the case and the individual who suffered the loss. However, some of the general damages you may be able to recover compensation for include:

  1. Pain and suffering
  2. Loss of consortium
  3. Loss of companionship
  4. Mental anguish and emotional distress
  5. Disfigurement or impairment
  6. Disability
  7. Loss of quality of life

A trained and practiced commercial motor vehicle attorney is more important in a case involving an 18-Wheeler than even in a typical car crash case. There are numerous reasons for this, but they include:

  1. A bigger truck usually leads to bigger injuries
  2. Commercial vehicles have special insurance policies and adjusters
  3. The trucking industry is highly regulated
  4. Knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is crucial for identifying duties owed by the truck driver and trucking company
  5. Document request and discovery are vastly more extensive
  6. Defendants are likely to fight much harder with better adjusters and attorneys because of the potential for higher verdicts
  7. Hire expert witnesses, which may be required in a case dealing with professional drivers
  8. The overall complexity of these cases

Chad Ikerd has experience handling commercial motor vehicle cases, including winning a $1.26 million verdict in federal court against a national trucking company. Chad is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA), which specializes in training and educating attorneys representing people injured in big rig wrecks. Chad attends conferences all over the country to stay up-to-date on trends and new legal theories and to provide his clients with the best representation possible.

The amount of time you have to file a claim after being in a wreck with an 18-wheeler depends on the jurisdiction where the wreck happened.

In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the collision to file a “petition” for damages (your formal “claim” to the court) to seek compensation for personal injuries and/or property damage caused by the wreck. See Louisiana Civil Code article 3492 (Delictual Actions). In Louisiana, unlike all other states, this time limitation is called the “liberative prescriptive period” or “prescription.”

In Texas, by contrast, you may have up to two years from the date of the wreck to “bring suit” by filing a “complaint” for personal injuries and property damage claims. See Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 16.003. In Texas, and most states, this time limitation is called the “statute of limitations.”

Most states will have either a one- or two-year limitation on bringing a lawsuit in an 18-wheeler commercial motor vehicle wreck. If you miss the deadline to file a suit, even by one day, it could mean you lose all legal recourse to hold the 18-wheeler driver and company accountable for your injuries. Adjusters may string you along for months before it becomes clear they will not settle with you for full justice.

That is why you should consult with an attorney in the jurisdiction or state where the wreck occurred as soon as possible to make sure you know all your options and do not miss a deadline. The Ikerd Law Firm and Chad Ikerd are barred in both Louisiana and Texas and will meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your options.

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