Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys in Birmingham
Birmingham is a massive city that is the meeting place of interstate 459, interstate 20, and interstate 65. There are so many commercial trucks that roll through here that you are bound to encounter many of them when you go anywhere.
If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, you may be coping with serious injuries, large medical bills, and looming questions about the future. Our truck accident lawyers at the offices of Mann & Potter, P.C. can help you to understand your legal options, file your truck accident claim, and recoup the financial award that you need in order to move forward with your life.
Finding Fault in Truck Accidents
Because Alabama is an at-fault car insurance state, anyone who is involved in an accident and suffers harm or property damage must turn to the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy for compensation. As such, establishing fault in a truck accident is absolutely essential. If a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for an accident, their ability to recover damages from the other party may be completely annihilated based on Alabama’s system of pure contributory negligence. One of the most important things that our truck accident lawyers will do for you is open an investigation into your case to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your accident and injuries would not have occurred but for the negligence of another party.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are almost always preventable, and would not occur but for the fault of one of the parties involved. To be sure, some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driving distracted: this can include certain activities while driving such as eating/drinking; using a navigation device; using a cell phone; changing the temperature of the vehicle; checking trucking logs; using CB radio; changing the music, and more
- Fatigued driving: employers are demanding more and more out of the drivers they do have, expecting them to complete routes faster, drive more miles per day, and put aside their own needs for the good of the company. This often results in drivers who hit the road with minimal sleep or time to recover mentally from their last long haul. Combined, these factors create the ideal environment for fatigued driving.
- Other causes include Driver intoxication or impairment, including the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs; Aggressive driving; Speeding; Cargo shifts; and Vehicle defects, such as defective tires or brakes.
Liability for a Truck Accident
Once the cause of a truck accident has been identified, the next step is determining who is liable—or legally responsible—for the damages that have resulted. Parties who might be named in a truck accident lawsuit include:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- A third-party driver;
- A vehicle part manufacturing company; or
- The party responsible for cargo loading and securement.
Our lawyers will consider all potentially-liable parties and explore all available insurance options in order to increase your chances of recovering your full settlement amount.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident in Alabama?
Here are some of the parties that someone who is injured in an accident with a commercial truck could go after:
The Truck Driver
Driver negligence is a major contributing factor in a large number of commercial vehicle accidents. And in a truck accident case, proving that the driver violated federal or state trucking regulations leading up to the accident can help demonstrate fault.
The Trucking Company
The company that employs the driver or contracted with them to make the delivery may also be responsible for the accident. Trucking companies will often try to avoid liability by claiming that the driver is an independent contractor rather than an employee. However, just because the company says the driver is an independent contractor, this does not necessarily mean it is true. An experienced truck accident lawyer can thoroughly examine the relationship between the driver and the trucking company to determine if the trucking company can be held responsible for the accident.
The Cargo/Shipping Company
Some commercial trucking accidents happen because the truck was overloaded (beyond allowed weight limits) or loaded unevenly, causing the truck to rollover or tip to its side. When this is the case, the shipping company that loaded the truck may be partially responsible for the accident, particularly if they violated cargo loading rules.
The Designer or Manufacturer of a Faulty Vehicle or Vehicle Part
If the defective vehicle or defective vehicle part played a role in the accident, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or another party in the supply chain. Common product defects that can cause truck accidents include tire blowouts, brake line failures, computer dashboard malfunctions, and steering system failures.
The Party Responsible for Maintaining the Truck
Big rig trucks put on thousands of miles over-the-road in a typical month. But sometimes, in a rush to get them back on the road in time to meet tight and often unrealistic schedules, they are not serviced properly. Truck maintenance is essential to keeping the vehicle in safe working order, and when the party who is in charge of maintenance fails in this duty, they can also be held responsible if a preventable mechanical failure plays a role in the accident.
Truck Accident Injuries and Damages
It is incredibly rare for those who are involved in a truck accident to walk away from the accident unscathed. Because of the massive weight of the larger vehicles that are involved in truck collisions, and the sheer amount of force that is then involved in the accident, smaller, passenger vehicles are often completely totaled or crushed. As such, occupants of those smaller vehicles may suffer devastating injuries and damages, including disabling and permanent injuries and impairment, high medical bills, the inability to return to work, a diminished quality of life, psychological harm, and a myriad of other losses and impediments to living a happy, healthy life. In particularly severe truck crashes, victims may suffer fatal injuries, leaving surviving loved ones with grief and questions about the future.
Filing a Truck Accident Claim in Alabama – Evidence and Deadlines
If you have been in a truck accident in Alabama, it’s important that you understand the types of evidence that you will need to bring forth a successful claim for damages, as well as the limit on the amount of time that you have to file your lawsuit.
Our lawyers will be responsible for gathering and organizing all evidence on your behalf, although we encourage you to participate in the process to the greatest degree possible and to provide us with any evidence and documentation you have at your initial consultation. Types of evidence that are valuable in a truck accident claim include:
- Truck driver’s logs;
- Truck servicing and maintenance reports;
- Police reports;
- Eyewitness reports;
- Doctors’ opinions;
- Medical reports;
- Truck black box (event data recorder) data;
- Testimony from friends and family;
- Accident reconstruction experts’ opinions;
- Vehicle design specialists’ opinions;
- Photos of the accident scene; and
Once evidence is gathered, fault is determined, and the amount of damages that you have suffered has been calculated, our lawyers will issue a demand letter to the relevant insurance companies. From there, negotiations will ensue – we are skilled negotiators who won’t back down or accept lowballed settlement offers. In the event that negotiations are unsuccessful and you are not offered the settlement that you deserve, we will consider litigation. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you must do so within two years’ time. Failure to file your suit within this time frame will serve as a permanent bar to recovery.
Let Our Lawyers Help You Recover the Settlement You Deserve After an Alabama Truck Accident
There are few things that may change your life more than being involved in a catastrophic truck accident. As you recover from your injuries and learn more about what your future will look like, our lawyers want to lend you the legal support and aid that you need. While nothing can truly give you back what has been taken or restore your life to the quality that it was before the accident, a large settlement can ensure that there are the financial resources necessary to pay for your medical bills, accommodate for your disability in the future, and support your costs of living.
When you call our Alabama truck accident lawyers, we will sit down with you to discuss your case and provide you with a free overview of your options and our professional legal opinion. You can call us today at 205-879-9661 to schedule your free consultation, send us a message telling us more about your case, or visit our Birmingham law office in person. We are also able to travel to your location if injuries preclude you from traveling to ours. Please reach us today to get started.
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