Truck accidents result in major injuries that can affect a person’s life forever. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages or income earnings, and pain and suffering. Don’t fight the insurance company on your own. Ensure your rights are protected by hiring a Birmingham truck accident lawyer from Cory Watson Attorneys.
Our attorneys have over 38 years of experience fighting for accident victims in Alabama. We will fight for you and your family.
Call our Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyers today at (205) 328-2200 for a free consultation.
Truck Accidents Have a Great Capacity to Do Harm
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash, the responsible party put you at immense risk of serious injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks:
- Weigh as much as 30 times more than passenger vehicles
- Cannot brake as quickly as smaller vehicles
- May kill drivers of vehicles they strike
Your car might have offered little protection against an oncoming truck. You might be seriously injured as a consequence. You might have lost a loved one. In any case, you deserve justice.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Because of the size and weight of tractor-trailers, a commercial truck accident with a passenger vehicle can result in serious and catastrophic injuries. Common injuries our experienced Birmingham truck accident lawyers see include:
- Brain injuries including traumatic brain injury
- Internal injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
Who May be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
In the event of a truck accident, multiple parties in the trucking industry could be held liable. By pursuing claims against all responsible parties, our Birmingham truck accident attorneys can maximize compensation on behalf of their clients. The following are some entities that may bear liability in a truck accident:
The Truck Driver
Truck drivers who disregard traffic regulations, speed, drive recklessly, or operate their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be held liable for their negligent behavior. Moreover, if they fail to adhere to local and federal regulations or neglect to ensure the safety of their vehicle on the road, they could also be considered at fault.
How Can a Truck Driver’s Negligence Contribute to a Trucking Accident?
Trucking accidents often result from errors on the part of the truck drivers. Accidents caused by a negligent truck driver may be due to any of the following unsafe driving practices:
- Fatigue: Due to long hours on the road without proper rest and breaks, tanker truck drivers can easily become fatigued. The National Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately 30 percent of commercial truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. To address this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the number of hours truckers can drive within a 24-hour period and mandates regular breaks. However, some drivers may exceed these limits.
- Truck Driver Inexperience: Inexperienced truck drivers may lack the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate a commercial vehicle, especially in challenging driving conditions like steep inclines, adverse weather, or heavy traffic. They may also be unfamiliar with federal safety guidelines.
- Truck Driving Under the Influence: Mixing alcohol or drugs with commercial trucks poses serious dangers, especially when carrying flammable or combustible cargo. The federal blood alcohol level for commercial truck drivers is lower (0.04 percent) than that for other motorists (0.08 percent) to mitigate these risks.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving plays a role in 8 percent of commercial truck accidents, involving activities like texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, or adjusting navigation systems. Even momentary distractions can lead to catastrophic consequences.
- Speeding: A speeding truck becomes a potential disaster, given its massive size and weight. Higher speeds reduce a driver’s ability to react to unforeseen circumstances, and collisions with these large trucks at high speeds result in devastating outcomes, often with catastrophic consequences.
The Trucking Company
In the event of a crash involving one of their trucks, the trucking company may be held liable through various means. Your truck accident attorney may consider any of the following:
- Failure to MaintainTheir Commercial Vehicles: Trucking companies are obligated to inspect and perform regular maintenance on their commercial vehicles to ensure all systems are functioning properly and do not pose risks to drivers and other road users.
- Negligent Hiring Practices: It is the responsibility of trucking companies to ensure that their drivers are adequately trained and qualified to operate their commercial trucks. Conducting thorough background checks on all drivers is crucial to ensure a clean record without criminal offenses, traffic violations, or questionable job history. Some trucking companies may compromise on driver qualifications during staffing issues or peak demand, which can lead to potential risks.
- Negligent Retention: Apart from careful hiring practices, trucking companies should regularly evaluate their drivers to ensure ongoing compliance with state and federal regulations. Periodic drug testing and enforcing safety standards are also essential aspects. If a driver fails to meet these safety requirements, appropriate disciplinary measures or termination should be carried out by the company.
- Failure to Supervise: Trucking carriers must ensure that their employees adhere to federal regulations and take corrective actions against any careless or negligent behavior. Proper supervision is essential to address issues promptly and maintain compliance with safety standards. If a trucking company neglects necessary supervisory measures when dealing with driver-related concerns, it can be held liable for accidents that result from such negligence.
How Might Vicarious Liability Apply to a Truck Accident Case?
The principle of vicarious liability holds that employers can be held accountable for the actions of their employees if those actions occurred within the scope of their employment. In the context of a truck accident, this means that if the driver causes an accident while performing their job duties, the employer or trucking company may be held liable for the resulting damages, even if they were not directly involved in the incident.
How Do I Establish a Trucking Company’s Liability in a Truck Accident?
To hold a trucking company liable in a tanker truck accident, the following elements must be established:
- Employment Relationship: It must be proven that the truck driver was employed by the trucking company at the time of the accident.
- Control over the Driver: It must be demonstrated that the trucking company had control over the actions and behavior of the truck driver, either through direct employment or contractor arrangements.
- Work-Related Duties: It must be established that the truck driver was performing their job-related duties at the time of the accident, and the actions that led to the accident were within the scope of their employment.
The Loading Company
The loading company bears significant responsibility when handling hazardous materials for tanker trucks to prevent accidents. They must adhere to strict guidelines, including:
- Proper Loading and Balancing: Cargo must be loaded correctly into the tanker truck and balanced appropriately to minimize the risk of accidents. Ensuring the stability of the cargo is essential to prevent hazardous spills or loss of control during transit.
- Employee Training: The loading company must provide regular training for its hazmat employees, with refresher courses every three years. This ensures that the personnel handling the hazardous materials are well-informed about safety protocols and best practices.
- Leakage Testing: Regular leakage tests must be conducted to ensure the integrity of the tanker truck’s containment system. Identifying and addressing any leaks promptly is crucial to prevent potential hazards on the road.
- Securing Cargo: The loading company is responsible for securely fastening and securing the cargo within the truck. Properly secured cargo reduces the risk of shifting loads, which could lead to accidents or spillage.
A truck manufacturer can be liable for truck crashes under certain circumstances. Liability in such cases typically falls under the concept of product liability. Here are some ways in which a truck manufacturer can be held responsible for a truck accident:
- Defective Design: If the truck’s design is inherently flawed or dangerous, leading to accidents, the manufacturer may be held liable. This could involve issues with the vehicle’s stability, braking system, steering mechanism, or any other essential component that directly contributes to the accident.
- Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect occurs when there is an error in the assembly process, resulting in a truck that deviates from its intended design. These defects can cause accidents and injuries. Even if the design itself is safe, a mistake during production can make the truck dangerous.
- Inadequate Safety Warnings or Instructions: Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide clear and accurate safety warnings and instructions for the proper use of their trucks. Failure to do so could lead to accidents caused by drivers’ misunderstanding or ignorance of potential risks.
- Failure to Recall: If the manufacturer becomes aware of a defect or safety issue with their trucks but fails to issue a recall or take appropriate actions to rectify the problem, they may be liable for any accidents that result from the known issues.
- Breach of Warranty: If the manufacturer provides a warranty for the truck’s safety or performance and the truck fails to meet those standards, it may be held liable for any accidents that occur due to the breach of warranty.
- Negligence: In some cases, a manufacturer’s negligence in the design, production, or testing of the truck can lead to accidents, making them liable for the damages caused.
Liability can also extend to other parties involved in the truck’s supply chain, such as suppliers of components, distributors, or dealerships, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Your Birmingham truck accident attorney with Cory Watson Attorneys will consider all potentially liable parties in your personal injury case.
For a free legal consultation with a truck accidents lawyer serving Birmingham, call 877-562-0000
What Evidence Can Prove Liability in a Truck Accident?
All commercial trucking companies are obligated to adhere to regulations and maintain up-to-date records. Regulators and law enforcement agencies conduct reviews of truck drivers’ and trucking companies’ records to ensure compliance with the law. In the aftermath of a truck accident, your Birmingham truck accident lawyer will carefully scrutinize these records for any potential violations. The records that may be examined include:
- Truck Driver Hours of Service Logs: Records of the hours that tanker truck drivers have been on duty, detailing driving and rest periods to ensure compliance with mandated rest breaks and driving limits.
- Driver Pre-Trip Inspection Report: Documentation of pre-trip inspections carried out by the driver to identify and address any potential safety issues before commencing a journey.
- Inspection and Maintenance Records: Records of routine inspections and maintenance performed on the tanker truck to ensure it is in proper working condition and safe for the road.
- Truck Data Record Logs: Information logs capturing data related to the truck’s performance, including speed, braking, and engine diagnostics.
- Trucker Employment, Certifications, and Driving Records: Comprehensive records of the truck driver’s employment history, certifications, and driving qualifications.
- Cargo and Freight Manifest: Detailed documentation of the hazardous materials or cargo being transported, including quantities and special handling requirements.
- Drug and Alcohol Testing After an Accident: Results of drug and alcohol testing conducted on the driver after the accident to assess impairment.
- Cell Phone Usage Data: Records indicating cell phone usage by the driver during the time leading up to the accident to determine if distracted driving played a role.
- Post-Accident Inspection Report: Inspection report conducted immediately after the accident to assess damages and potential contributing factors.
Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me 877-562-0000
Cory Watson Attorneys Seeks Justice for Truck Accident Victims Like You
Our firm’s main office is located in Birmingham. These local roots may be helpful as we lead your case. We know what it takes to complete truck accident cases in The Magic City.
Our team will:
- Identify all of your accident-related losses
- Determine who’s responsible for those losses
- Obtain proof of your losses
- File your case
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Deal with attorneys for defendants in your case
- Gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Organize all case-related materials—evidence, testimony, documentation, and more
- Negotiate a settlement
- Proceed to trial if necessary
No two truck accident cases are alike. We’ll hire investigators, experts, and others to contribute to your case.
Are You a Candidate for a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
You can generally bring a lawsuit if someone’s caused you harm. If a truck driver or another party is responsible for your losses, you could sue them. If you have a case, Cory Watson Attorneys’ truck accident lawyers will lead your case for financial compensation. You deserve closure for your accident in Birmingham, and we’ll work to give you that.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
What Damages Can You Receive Compensation For?
We’ll seek a fair recovery for your damages. Defendants in your case may cover all of your losses, including:
Truck accidents can cause serious injuries requiring:
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency treatment
- Diagnosis through physical examination and medical imaging
Disabling injuries may come with lifelong medical costs. Our team will seek coverage for your current and future healthcare expenses.
A truck may have caused extensive—perhaps total—damage to your vehicle. Liable parties may cover repairs to or replacement of your vehicle.
Pain and Suffering
A truck accident puts you in a sudden, frightening position. Trauma can result from the accident, resulting in injuries, and the loss of a loved one. Your pain and suffering may include:
- Pain from your injuries
- Traumatic thoughts about your accident
- Lost sleep
- Other negative consequences of your accident
Injuries may rob you of physical or cognitive abilities. They may change your personality if you’re dealing with a brain injury. These are also forms of pain and suffering.
Mental Health Treatment
You may need treatment for pain and suffering—from counseling to medication and other therapies. The cost of these treatments should not be on you.
Loss of a Loved One
Some truck accidents cause tragic loss of life. If your family is coping with the loss of a loved one, your pain and suffering is likely great. We will undoubtedly seek coverage for your pain and suffering. We may also seek coverage for:
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of financial support
- Medical costs
- Any other losses from your loved one’s passing
Nothing can undo the loss of a loved one. Through a lawsuit, though, we will seek accountability for your loss.
We Will Protect You After Your Accident
Your rights may be at risk immediately after your accident. It’s our job to protect them. Insurance companies, the trucking company, and others may try to:
- Have you accept fault for the accident
- Force a quick, cheap settlement
- Manipulate you in one or more ways
- Intimidate you with attorneys
You don’t have to deal with these headaches. Our firm will protect you from these parties.
We Will File Your Case As Soon As Possible
Our knowledge of Alabama’s civil code is a benefit to our truck accident clients. AL Code § 6-2-38generally allows you two years to file a personal injury case. The clock for this timeline may start on the day of your accident. Certain factors may extend this deadline.
AL Code § 6-5-410 also allows two years to file a wrongful death case. There may also be extenuating circumstances that affect this deadline. You may still be able to bring a case even if it’s been over two years since your truck accident. You should not wait to contact our team, though.
Call the Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys for a FREE Consultation
Trust a firm with roots in the Birmingham community. Cory Watson Attorneys can help you arrange medical care. We’ll handle your claim from start to finish so you can focus on your treatment. If you lost a loved one, we’ll handle your case with the utmost sensitivity.
Call the Birmingham personal injury lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys today at (205) 328-2200 for a free consultation. We will assign a Birmingham lawyer to review and possibly start your truck accident case.
Birmingham Office Location2131 Magnolia Ave s.
Birmingham, AL 35205