According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, in 2019, there were 10,486 accidents involving large trucks, resulting in 2,612 people being injured and 137 losing their lives. At Moore Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of complex cases involving tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. Since 1985, our caring team has helped more than 15,000 personal injury clients in the Mobile, AL, area. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, we fight to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Improper passing and lane changes – Tractor-trailers have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles do. When drivers fail to properly check before changing lanes, devastating sideswipe accidents can occur.
- Misjudging stopping distance – Because of their heavy weight and large size, tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers need more stopping distance than other vehicles.
- Speeding – Although any type of vehicle can be dangerous if a driver is speeding, when a tractor-trailer is involved, the results can be devastating.
- Driver fatigue – Truck drivers often face tight deadlines and stay behind the wheel longer than they should, which can lead to drowsy driving accidents. Our truck accident lawyers are well-versed in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations pertaining to the number of hours truckers are permitted to drive.
- Distracted driving – Using smartphones and other devices while behind the wheel and other distractions can lead to accidents that cause serious injury.
- Impaired driving – Using alcohol or drugs can reduce reaction times, cloud a driver’s judgment, and result in deadly DUI crashes.
- Improperly loaded cargo – When cargo is improperly stacked or secured, a truck may be more prone to tipping, or cargo may break loose and fly onto the road.
- Mechanical defects – If faulty brakes or other mechanical defects cause a crash, any injured parties may be able to bring a claim against the parts and truck manufacturer.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
- Back and spinal injuries – These types of injuries can range from slipped discs to serious conditions such as paralysis and require costly medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- Head and brain injuries – Traumatic brain injury can be life-changing and lead to the loss of cognitive and motor function, psychological issues, and other problems.
- Broken and crushed bones – It is common 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.
- Amputation – The cost of prosthetics and home modifications can be exorbitant, and the loss of a limb often leaves injured victims unable to work and do things they once enjoyed.
- Internal Injuries – Blunt-force trauma can cause internal bleeding and damage to organs such as the lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen.
- Disfigurement – Lacerations and burns sustained in truck accidents can cause chronic pain and leave permanent scarring that has a significant impact on a victim’s quality of life.
- Psychological trauma – Being involved in a tractor-trailer accident is terrifying and can cause serious psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
Types of Truck Accidents
- Head-On Collisions – These types of crashes usually occur when an 18-wheeler or another motorist crosses the center line into oncoming lanes of traffic.
- Jackknife – When a truck driver slams on the 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.
- Wide Turn Collisions – This type of tractor-trailer 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.
- 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. An 18-wheeler also may 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 18-wheeler 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. Occupants of smaller vehicles involved in under-ride accidents may sustain serious head and spine injuries, including decapitation. Fatalities are common in these accidents.
- Bridge Collisions – When a driver misjudges the height of a bridge or overpass, getting stuck may result in multi-vehicle pileups if the truck stops suddenly.
What Should I Do If I Am Hurt in a Truck 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 and take photographs of the scene, damage to vehicles, and your injuries. Collect the insurance and contact information of other drivers and any witnesses. If you’re seriously hurt, ask a bystander to help with gathering photos and information. If possible, get a copy of the police report at the scene. Don’t give statements to insurance adjusters or sign anything before contacting a personal injury lawyer. Seeking the counsel of a truck accident attorney is vital to ensuring your rights are protected and important evidence is preserved.
How Long Do I Have to Seek Compensation?
In Alabama, the statute of limitations for filing a truck accident claim is two years from the date of your injury. However, it’s crucial to seek the counsel of a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Valuable evidence can be lost and it’s best to relay your story while events are still fresh in your mind.
Determining Fault in Truck Accidents
Establishing fault in truck accident cases can be challenging. Our truck accident lawyers thoroughly investigate the crash to determine what caused the accident.
There are strict state and federal laws and regulations that specify how many hours a driver may be on the road, cargo restrictions, inspection, documentation of maintenance and repair, and other issues. Driver logs, the truck’s “black box recorder,” cell phone records, and other evidence all can be used to prove how a crash happened. Our team also may enlist the help of expert accident reconstructionists experienced in investigating multi-vehicle crashes. Our truck accident attorneys have the necessary resources to take on large trucking and insurance companies to uncover the truth about who is responsible for an 18-wheeler crash. If a mechanical defect caused an accident, our personal injury attorneys may be able to pursue compensation from the parts manufacturer, mechanic or maintenance company, and any other liable parties.
What Kind of Compensation Can Be Sought?
If your injuries and losses were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Other damages specific to your case
Because trucking companies and independent drivers usually have high policy limits, insurers fight to reduce payouts by minimizing victims’ injuries or pointing fingers to avoid liability. Each case is unique, and which types of damages are appropriate depends on the specific circumstances. Our semi-truck accident lawyers help you understand your rights and the specific damages to which you may be entitled. Our attorneys aggressively negotiate on your behalf to help you get the medical care and compensation you need and protect your family’s financial future.
Will My Case Likely Go to Settlement?
The financial repercussions of being hurt in an 18-wheeler accident are stressful, and it can be tempting to accept a settlement offer that may not even be enough to cover your medical bills. Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court, truck accident cases tend to be more complex than those involving only passenger vehicles. You should always contact a personal injury lawyer before signing anything or accepting a settlement from an insurance company. Our truck accident lawyers evaluate your case, give you an estimate of what we believe your claim may be worth, and negotiate aggressively to help you obtain a fair settlement.
How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Truck Accident Injury Claim?
The amount of time it takes to resolve a truck accident claim can range from a few months to years if a case goes to trial. Truck accident cases require extensive investigations, and if multiple parties are involved, it likely will take longer to resolve your case. How long your case will take also depends on whether insurers are willing to offer a fair settlement amount. In some instances, it is necessary to take a case to trial, especially if a victim has suffered catastrophic injuries and is seeking a large recovery. Our personal injury lawyers can explain all the factors that may be involved and keep you up to date on what’s happening every step of the way.
What If the Liable Party is Uninsured or Underinsured?
Alabama has some of the highest numbers of uninsured drivers in the country. That’s why it’s crucial to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist and MedPay coverage on your auto insurance policy. A few extra dollars is well worth the cost, as it will pay for your medical bills and property damage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. Our truck accident attorneys pursue every possible source of compensation. We’ll review your policy to see if filing a claim with your own insurance company is a viable option.
What If I Lose a Loved One in a Truck Accident?
If you’ve lost a loved one in an 18-wheeler accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit against any liable parties. Typically, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of the person’s death. If your case involves the death of a minor child or you’re bringing a claim against the government, you may have less than a year.
If you believe you may have a wrongful death case, it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Having a truck accident attorney also greatly increases your chances of winning a wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are the only type of damages awarded in wrongful death claims in Alabama. Our wrongful death lawyers assess your case and give you an estimate of how much compensation you may be able to recover.
Can I Afford to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
At Moore Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free, even if you don’t move forward with your truck accident case. You aren’t required to pay any costs up-front, and our personal injury lawyers work on contingency. This means you won’t pay attorneys’ fees unless we make a recovery for you. If you have any questions about fees or other costs of legal representation, we’re happy to answer them for you. You can count on us to provide a straightforward assessment and advise you of all the options that may be available to you.
Find a Truck Accident Lawyer In Mobile, AL
At Moore Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers have a proven track record of success when it comes to recovering maximum compensation for clients injured in truck accidents. Call us at 251-445-7602, contact us online, or use the convenient chat feature on our website to schedule a free consultation. We serve injured people throughout the Mobile, AL, area.