Accidents involving tractor trailers and other large commercial vehicles often result in life-changing catastrophic injuries and fatalities. At Moore Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of commercial vehicle accident claims and understand the strict federal and state regulations that apply to truck drivers and interstate trucking companies. If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a trailer tractor accident, we fight for your rights and guide you through the process every step of the way. Our caring legal team is committed to helping you recover maximum compensation for your damages.
Alabama Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, approximately 1 in 10 highway fatalities involve accidents with large trucks. Although the Alabama Interstate System represents only one percent of the state’s total mileage, it carries 25 percent of the traffic volume and is responsible for 11 percent of fatalities. In 2016, 8,937 large trucks were involved in accidents in Alabama, resulting in2,345 injuries and 157 fatalities. 27.5 percent of those crashes occurred on interstate highways. Large truck accidents occurring in cities came in at a close second at 25.4 percent.
Common Causes Of Tractor Trailer Accidents
- Improper passing and lane changes
- Failure to see another vehicle or object
- Wide turns or failure to yield
- Tailgating or misjudging stopping distance
- Mechanical failure or defective equipment
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Driving too fast in inclement weather
- Improperly loaded cargo
Types Of Tractor Trailer Accidents
- Head-On Collisions: These types of crashes usually occur when an 18-wheeler or other motorist crosses the center line into oncoming lanes of traffic. Head-on collisions often cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
- Sideswipes: Tractor trailers have large blind spots on either side of the truck and behind the vehicle. Sideswipe accidents also occur when trucks drift out of their lanes.
- Jackknife: When a truck driver slams on their brakes, the trailer may swing out at an angle to the cab, which is called jackknifing. Tractor trailers that jackknife at high speeds often cause multi-vehicle pileups that can result in high numbers of injuries and fatalities.
- Rollover: A tractor trailer has a high center of gravity, which increases its tendency to roll over, particularly if it is improperly loaded or has shifting cargo. A truck may also roll over if a driver takes turns at an excessive speed or swerves to avoid something in the road, causing them to lose control.
- Rear-end Collisions: Due to their heavy weight and large size, big trucks need a longer stopping distance than smaller vehicles do. Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of truck accidents, and can lead to whiplash and other neck, spine and head injuries.
- Under-ride Accidents: The front end of a car can easily slide underneath a tractor trailer in a rear-end or T-bone collision. According to the National Safety Council, most large trucks have minimally-compliant rear guards and no side or front under-ride guards at all, and single- unit trucks have no federal requirements for under-ride protection of any kind. Occupants of smaller vehicles involved in under-ride accidents may sustain serious head and spine injuries, decapitation or death.
- Bridge Collisions: When a truck driver misjudges the height of a bridge or overpass, the consequences can be deadly. A truck hitting a bridge or getting stuck may result in multi-vehicle pileups when the truck stops quickly.
- Wide Turn Collisions: This type of accident happens when a truck driver swings out to the left to make a right turn. If a driver fails to see cars on the right, they may be hit or crushed.
- Common Injuries Sustained In Tractor Trailer Accidents
- Back and Neck Injuries: These types of injuries can range from minor neck pain to slipped discs to paralysis and require costly medical treatment, rehabilitation and ongoing care.
- Head and Brain Injuries: Injuries such as TBI (traumatic brain injury) can be life-changing and lead to the loss of cognitive and motor function, psychological issues and other problems.
- Broken Bones: It is not uncommon for occupants of smaller vehicles to sustain multiple breaks or severe compound fractures and crushed bones when involved in an accident with a tractor trailer.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt trauma can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs such as the lungs, liver, kidneys and spleen.
- Cuts and Burns: Lacerations and burns sustained in truck accidents can be particularly painful and leave permanent scarring.
- Wrongful Death: If you have lost a loved one in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Mobile, AL is a must to ensure you receive just compensation for your losses.
What To Do After An Tractor Trailer Accident
After any motor vehicle accident, it’s vital to seek medical attention right away. If you are able, call 911 to report the accident, check to see if anyone needs assistance and take photographs, notes, witness statements and collect insurance and contact information of other drivers. Seeking the counsel of a qualified tractor trailer accident attorney is vital to ensure your rights are protected and that important evidence is preserved. Do not give any statements to insurance companies or sign anything before contacting a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling tractor trailer accident cases.
Your Rights After A Tractor Trailer Accident
In Alabama, you have two years from the day of the accident to make a personal injury claim. If your injuries and losses were caused by negligence, you may be entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Tractor trailer accident cases are complex and often involve multiple parties such as the driver, trucking company, parts manufacturer and maintenance and repair companies. There are strict state and federal laws and regulations that that specify how many hours a driver may be on the road, cargo restrictions, inspection and documentation of maintenance and repair and other issues. Our legal team is familiar with the ins and outs of these laws and regulations and will pursue every possible avenue to recover maximum compensation.
How To Deal With Insurance Companies
Handling a trucking accident claim without an attorney can leave you in a precarious physical, emotional and financial position. Insurance companies typically try to minimize liability or deny claims altogether. Trying to recover compensation on your own is most likely a losing proposition that results in inadequate compensation. Our attorneys are by your side to protect your interests and fight for the compensation you deserve. We know how to accurately value truck accident claims and determine who may be responsible for your injuries and losses. At Moore Law Firm, our attorneys aggressively negotiate on your behalf to help you get the medical care you need and ensure your family’s financial future is protected.
How Does A Civil Lawsuit Work?
Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court, if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached your attorney will take your case to the civil court. In a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff can take action and request compensation from a defendant who may liable for some type of wrong. To initiate a civil lawsuit, you must file a complaint in the appropriate court. The complaint must state the cause of action for the complaint, outline legal and factual reasons you believe the defendant is liable, and set forth the compensation or damages you’re requesting. Once a summons is issued to the defendant, pre-trial discovery may begin. During this process, possible settlements may be discussed, with the judge aiding negotiations. If the parties cannot come to a fair agreement, upon completion of discovery the matter goes to trial.
The burden of proof rests on the plaintiff in personal injury cases. That’s why it is vital to have a tenacious personal injury attorney to represent your interests. After both sides have presented their cases, the judge or jury decides whether the evidence demonstrates that the defendant is liable for your damages.
How Will I Pay For My Case?
Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that there are no up-front costs to pursue your case and we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.
How To Find The Right Tractor Trailer Accident Attorney
Choosing the right personal injury attorney can be daunting. Our legal team understands what’s involved in investigating trucking accident cases. We collect evidence such “black boxes” and driver logs and may utilize professional accident reconstructionists to back up the facts of your case. At Moore Law Firm, you can rest assured that our attorneys have a proven track record of success when it comes to recovering maximum compensation for clients who have been injured in truck accidents. If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident in Mobile, AL, our personal injury attorneys can help. Call Moore Law Firm at