If a commercial truck driver caused your Alabama crash, you have the right to take legal action and seek compensation based on the expenses and losses you incurred. You may also have options for financial recovery if your loved one passed away from injuries in a related accident. An Alabama truck accident lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm can review your case and explain your legal options for free.
Our personal injury law firm represents victims of Alabama 18-wheeler crashes and other traffic accident injuries. We know how to navigate the insurance claims process and go to court on behalf of our clients. We have team members standing by 24/7 to answer calls, so call us today for your free case consultation.
Pursuing Compensation for Your Alabama Truck Accident Damages
18-wheelers are much larger and heavier than most cars on the road, so it is no surprise that collisions involving smaller vehicles can cause devastating injuries. They may require extensive treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, therapy, and recovery time. These injuries could include:
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and other back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Lower extremity injuries
- Upper extremity injuries
- Internal injuries
- Burns and scarring
The lawyers from the Morris Bart law firm understand the challenges posed by truck accident injuries, from missed work to ongoing care costs. We frequently work with families learning to live with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, as well as other permanent injuries. We help our clients by handling their legal claims or cases so that they can focus on healing.
Damages Recoverable in an Alabama Truck Accident Case
Alabama law allows truck accident victims to seek compensation for injury- and crash-related costs and losses. This includes both economic and non-economic losses, known as “damages.” These vary based on the details of each case. However, some common types of damages we pursue for clients after a traffic accident include:
- Current medical care costs and related bills
- Future treatment and support needs
- Lost income when they miss work
- Diminished earning capacity for lasting injuries
- Property damage, including car repairs
- Other expenses and economic losses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Other non-economic losses
How do I Know How Much My Case Is Worth?
For many crash victims, the first question they have for our attorneys is, “How much is my case worth?” Unfortunately, this is not an answer we can give you here or will have for you during your free consultation. The settlement or verdict in each case is based on the facts of that individual accident. We answer this question for our clients before we file a claim, though.
We cannot demand a fair settlement from the liable parties unless we know how much might qualify as “fair.” This means we need to determine a value range for the client’s case before we can begin the insurance claims process. Our lawyers know how to handle this by:
- Adding the economic expenses and losses
- Using expert information and input to determine future care needs
- Working with economists and others to determine reduced earning capacity
- Applying our knowledge and experience to value the non-economic damages
We can then use this value to help our clients understand when a settlement offer might be worth accepting and when we may need to consider suing or continuing negotiations. We use proven negotiation techniques to get a fair payout from the insurance company when that is the best option for our clients. Our personal injury lawyers know how to develop a compelling case to hold a truck driver and their employer liable.
Wrongful Death Actions in Alabama
Alabama allows those who lost loved ones to pursue and recover compensation following a truck accident under Ala. Code § 6-5-410. We may be able to help you with this process and represent your family in court. However, this law limits who can file these actions, how they must proceed, and the types of damages available.
Wrongful death actions in Alabama require a lawsuit and trial. This is because the state only allows plaintiffs to recover punitive damages in these cases. There are no compensatory damages available to victims in personal injury cases that are recoverable through a wrongful death action. This was affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court as recently as 2012.
This means we cannot seek compensation for your loved one’s medical bills, funeral expenses, or other costs suffered by your family. Instead, the court awards damages based on the degree of bad behavior exhibited by the at-fault parties.
For a free legal consultation with a Truck Accident lawyer serving Alabama, call 800-537-8185
Proving the Truck Driver Was at Fault in the Crash
Almost any careless or reckless mistake behind the wheel of a big rig can cause serious injury in an accident. According to theFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the three most common “critical events” that cause truck accidents are:
- Leaving the travel lane and going into another lane or off the road, 32 percent of accidents in the study.
- Loss of control because of speeding, cargo shifts, or other issues, 29 percent
- Rear-end collisions, 22 percent
Of course, there are many other factors that play a role in every accident. In the causation study, they identified the top ten factors for large trucks as:
- Brake failure
- Congestion or other traffic-related issues
- Prescription drug use (drowsy driving)
- Speeding is too fast for the conditions
- Not knowing the roadway
- Issues with the roadway, signage, or signals
- Failure to stop when necessary, such as at a crosswalk, red light, or stop sign
- Over-the-counter drugs( can cause drowsiness)
- Inadequate surveillance, such as failure to check blind spots or because of distractions
There are some situations where the truck driver caused the crash, but other parties were negligent. We can address this if we find evidence that it occurred in your case. This happens frequently because of missed maintenance, poor repairs, or defective parts.
Most crashes occur because of a driver’s carelessness, and truck accidents are no different. When a driver makes a mistake behind the wheel, it can easily lead to a collision. To hold those responsible accountable for a crash caused by driver error, we need to prove negligence. This requires us to document the following:
- The driver’s obligation to behave in a specific way in the situation
- Their failure to uphold this obligation
- Their failure caused the crash
- Our client suffered harm from the collision
In most cases, the driver has a specific obligation because of traffic laws. It is worth noting that commercial vehicles and tractor-trailer trucks have to follow many more regulations than most drivers on the road.
For example, if a truck driver merges into you on I-65, they likely failed to check the adjacent lane and their blind spots for traffic before moving over. They may have also failed to signal, so you were unaware of what would happen. Their failure to check led to the collision, and you suffered physical, psychological, and financial harm.
Our team will investigate to prove this using evidence such as:
- The accident report filed by the police
- Witness statements
- Video of the crash
- Physical evidence, such as the damage to your car
- Pictures of the accident and damages
- Accident reconstruction data
- A survey of the scene
- Your relevant medical records
- Expert interviews
- Data from the truck’s onboard computer
- Post-accident drug and alcohol tests on the truck driver
- Commercial driving records
- Truck maintenance records
The trucking company will have many of these items following a collision. We need to act quickly to ensure the company preserves them. This requires us to draft a spoliation letter that includes our intent to take action in the case. It also includes the need to protect related evidence. This is one reason why it is vital that we know about your crash as soon as possible.
Identifying the Liable Parties in a Tractor-Trailer Accident Case
In most traffic accidents, the at-fault driver is also the legally responsible party. We file our claim against that driver’s insurance or sue that driver as the only liable party in the collision. This is generally not the case in a commercial truck accident, though.
Under the 1929 opinion in St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Robbins, the Alabama Supreme Court recognizes respondeat superior. This doctrine makes the employer “responsible for the acts of his servant or agent” when they are on the clock and acting “within the scope of his employment.”
This means our team can generally hold the trucking company vicariously liable for the accident caused by their driver. We may base our claim on their corporate insurance policy or sue the company in civil court. This often allows us to recover more compensation for our clients because of the higher policy limits on this coverage.
What If the Trucking Company Claims I Contributed to the Crash or My Injuries?
One defense trucking companies and other accused parties often use in traffic accidents are to blame the victim for contributing to or causing the crash. This is something you must pay attention to in Alabama. If the insurer or another party tries to blame you and you do not yet have a lawyer fighting for you, it is time to call one.
Under case law, Golden v. McCurry (1980), Alabama recognizes pure contributory negligence. This rare take on shared fault bars the victim from recovering any compensation if they contributed to causing a crash in any way. For example, if a trucker ran a red light but could show you were speeding through the intersection, you might lose your right to pursue damages.
Our attorneys know how to defend against these allegations. We will work to mitigate the damage done and counter any evidence they may try to use to show you were negligent.
Paying for Representation from Our Team
At the Morris Bart law firm, the areas we serve are all parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We have 15 locations across the Gulf South, including six in Alabama. We can identify the office nearest you and come to you when necessary. While we have locations in the following six cities, you will not need to travel outside of the county where the crash occurred to proceed with your case:
Our attorneys represent clients based on a contingency fee. There is no charge when you sign your contract for us to represent you, and no other upfront fees. We get paid after the case settlement, and only charge attorney’s fees in cases where we secure compensation for the client. We base our fees on an agreed-upon percentage of the total payout.
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Your Legal Options for Compensation After an Alabama Accident and Injuries
Each case is different, but there are two approaches we can generally take to recover compensation for our clients. Each has its pros and cons. Which one will be most effective for you depends on the circumstances of your crash, the details of the case, and the overall situation.
Most of our cases settle outside of court and do not go to trial. However, our trial attorneys will sue and take your case before a judge or jury when necessary to give you the best opportunity for recovering fair compensation.
The options usually available in these cases include:
We can file an insurance claim based on the trucking company’s liability policy and demand a fair payout based on the client’s damages. This often leads to settlement negotiations, and we can frequently reach an agreement that covers our client’s damages. We know how to build support for a claim and use proven techniques to get a better offer from insurance adjusters.
There are several circumstances when we may consider filing a lawsuit instead of pursuing an insurance claim or after beginning the claim. Remember, suing only refers to filing a formal complaint in civil court. Very few of these cases actually go to trial, although we will if it is in our client’s best interests. A fair settlement outside of court is still possible and may even be more likely after filing a lawsuit.
If we need to sue, Ala. Code § 6-2-38 gives us two years to do so in most cases. Missing this deadline will prevent you from holding the trucking company and its driver legally liable. Exceptions could exist as well. Act quickly to avoid this issue.
Speak With a Lawyer from Our Team for Free
You can talk with an attorney from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We can offer advice, guidance, and information about your truck accident case, Alabama law, and your next steps. We will explain our services and how we can help you while answering all your questions about this process.
Contact us today to speak with a lawyer and get started. We have someone available now to discuss your options with you.
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