Can You Ride in the Cargo Area of a Truck in Louisiana?
Many of us have ridden in the back of a pickup truck at some time or another in our lifetime. However, we now know that riding in the cargo area of a truck can be very dangerous. A perilous situation can arise if the vehicle is involved in a traffic accident. Without a seat belt or any protection, the passenger can be thrown from the vehicle or crushed in the accident. For this reason, many states, including Louisiana, have laws regarding traveling in cargo areas. Louisiana limits riding in the rear of trucks by age and type of road.
As experienced Louisiana car accident attorneys, we know the damage that can occur in a truck accident. If you have been injured traveling in a cargo area, you need immediate representation. The insurance company for the other driver may try to blame you for your injuries. If it is successful, you could receive far less in compensation than your actual damages.
Who Can Ride in the Back of a Pickup Truck in Louisiana?
LA Rev Stat § 32:284 (2016) speaks specifically about passengers in open pickup trucks and other cargo areas. No person is permitted to ride on the tailgate of a truck when the vehicle is on a state highway. This law does not apply to public sanitation or emergency vehicles.
In Section C of the same statute, the law states that no one under the age of 12 years can ride in the rear of a truck when the truck is on a state highway. The two exceptions to this rule are:
- If the truck is traveling fifteen miles per hour or slower in an authorized parade; or,
- In an emergency where an adult is with the child.
Section D of the same statute also prohibits anyone from riding in a truck bed when the truck is on an interstate highway except in an emergency. Catastrophic injuries can result in a truck accident when there are passengers in the back of the truck. For this reason, insurance companies may try to argue the comparative negligence defense to reduce the amount of money it must pay to the victim to settle the claim.
Comparative Negligence for Cargo Area Passengers
It is a fact that being in the back of a truck increases your risk for traumatic injuries and death. Insurance adjusters may argue that under Louisiana’s comparative fault statute (LA Civ Code 2323 (2016)) the victim’s compensation should be reduced because the victim contributed to his or her injuries by being in the rear of a truck at the time of a collision. If an intentional act caused the crash, this law does not apply. The statute states that if a person suffers an injury partly due to their own fault and partly due to the fault of another party, the victim’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim.
For example, if a jury says you are 50 percent at fault for your injuries because you were riding in the rear of a vehicle at the time of the crash, your compensation will be reduced by one-half. In other words, instead of receiving full compensation of $100,000 the most compensation you can receive for your injury claim is $50,000.
Our Louisiana car accident lawyers strongly urge you to ride in the front of a truck where you can wear a safety belt. If you are injured while riding in the cargo area, we urge you to call our office. Even though the insurance company may argue you are not entitled to compensation, you may have a valid claim. Please call now to learn about your options.