Truck accidents aren’t like other vehicle crashes. Commercial trucks are larger and heavier than standard passenger vehicles. That means when a tractor-trailer is involved in an accident, the injuries tend to be severe and the chance of fatalities rises dramatically.
There were almost 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Of that number, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a nine percent increase from the previous year. Thousands of people are injured in these crashes, which can result in lifelong disabilities, pain, and suffering.
People who are injured in Alabama truck accidents may be entitled to compensation to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other damages. It’s important to talk to a skilled truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Driving a large truck takes skill. These rigs are large, heavy, and have numerous blind spots that can make seeing other vehicles on the road difficult. Large trucks also require regular maintenance and need to be inspected to check for mechanical problems. These issues, along with pressure on truck drivers to complete their deliveries on time or early, all contribute to the growing number of truck accidents on U.S. roads.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers aren’t immune to the lure of cell phones and other devices while driving. However, they are bound by state and federal law not to use those devices behind the wheel. Checking directions and eating while driving are other forms of distracted driving that can cause collisions.
- Driver fatigue: Many truckers drive long distances and work on short deadlines. They may be offered incentives to make deliveries on time. As a result, they rest too little as they push to meet those demands. However, FMCSA has established hours-of-service regulations that mandate certain rest periods for every trucker. Failure to follow those standards can have serious consequences if a driver falls asleep and causes a crash.
- Mechanical failures: Truck owners are required to maintain their trucks and equipment. But there are times when maintenance goes unchecked or is rushed to meet shipping demands. Poor truck maintenance and faulty mechanical parts can be a contributing factor in accidents.
- Speeding: Truck drivers who choose to ignore speed limits or engage in other dangerous driving practices can be held liable if their recklessness results in an accident.
- Driving under the Influence: Any driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a danger to others on the road. Truckers are held to a higher standard than other drivers, which means that a blood alcohol concentration of only .04 percent (half that of civilian drivers) is enough to be considered intoxicated driving.
There are a number of other circumstances that can also lead to truck accidents, such as inclement weather, improper cargo loading, blind spots, wide-swinging turns and blown-out tires.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
Here is a list of the things you should do if you’ve been in a truck accident:
- Get medical help: Even if you are not sure how severe your injuries are, be sure to seek medical attention right away to protect your health and your legal rights. Some injuries are not immediately apparent.
- Exchange insurance information: Make sure to get the names and insurance information of everyone involved in the accident.
- Get witness information: If there were witnesses to the crash, make sure to get their names and contact information
- Document the accident scene: Take photos of the vehicles from multiple angles. Make sure to include damage to both the car and truck. Get shots of any skid marks or debris from the accident on the road. You should also photograph your injuries from the time of the accident through the healing process.
- Contact an experienced Phenix City truck accident attorney: At Bence Law Firm LLC, our legal team provides personalized, comprehensive legal services to truck accident victims. Truck accident claims are much more complex than traditional car accident cases. Don’t talk to any insurance representatives until you’ve arranged a free consultation with Attorney David Bence.
Why Is a Truck Accident Worse Than a Car Wreck?
A truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while a typical car will usually only weigh around 3,000 pounds. The extra weight and force behind a truck’s impact can crush a car while leaving the rig itself relatively undamaged.
Trucks may also be carrying any number of hazardous, flammable, or chemical materials that can lead to explosions and disfiguring injuries, such as burns. For these reasons, truck accidents are typically more serious than car wrecks.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
That depends on the facts of the case. Liability for a truck accident can fall on multiple parties, including yourself. Possible defendants in an Alabama truck accident claim include:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Truck owner
- Cargo loaders
- Truck manufacturer
- Auto parts manufacturer
- Other drivers
It’s critical to talk to a knowledgeable truck accident attorney who can determine who should be held accountable for the crash. Unlike most states, Alabama is a contributory negligence state. That means that if you are found even one percent responsible for the accident, you will be unable to recover any compensation to help with your medical expenses and other losses. It’s guaranteed that insurance companies will be scrutinizing you carefully to look for any reason to blame you for the crash. Don’t let them bully you — put Bence Law Firm LLC to work for you.
What are the Challenges of Pursuing a Truck Accident Claim?
One of the biggest obstacles that people face when going up against trucking companies is the size and resources of the other parties involved. After a serious truck accident, there are teams of attorneys and insurance adjusters working on behalf of the truck driver and the trucking company. Their goal isn’t your health and safety — it’s to minimize their responsibility and pay you as little as possible. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney by your side.
At Bence Law Firm LLC, we know the tactics that insurance companies use in an attempt to shirk their responsibilities. We’ll counter them by building a strong, evidence-based case that proves your right to maximum compensation.
How Long Do Truck Accident Cases Take to Settle?
That depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the type of injuries and damages that were caused. At Bence Law Firm LLC, we tackle each case with a thoughtful, tailored approach. There is no “one size fits all” legal strategy. We work to get to know you and your case before presenting your best possible options.
In Alabama, you have two years from the date of the truck accident to file a claim for compensation. It’s smart to consult with an attorney well before that, though. The more time that passes, the greater the chance that evidence will be lost or witnesses will move away.
How Can Bence Law Firm Help Me?
People who are hurt in truck accidents often face significant physical, financial and emotional hardships as they recuperate. You deserve to recover in peace without having to worry about how to pay your hospital bills and who will take care of your family.
Phenix City truck accident lawyer David Bence can help. Founded in 2014, Bence Law Firm LLC focuses on providing customized and compassionate representation to clients who have been injured in Alabama accidents. We don’t buckle when insurance companies try to use intimidation strategies to limit payouts. We fight back.
If you’ve been injured, you deserve to know your rights. Call or contact us for a free consultation.