According to the National Safety Council, large trucks made up only 4 percent of registered vehicles in 2020. Yet, accidents involving large trucks accounted for 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes that year. Additionally,107,000 large trucks contributed to injury crashes in 2020.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident in Alabama, a Birmingham 18-wheeler accident attorney from the Morris Bart law firm can help. You may be eligible to receive compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, or funeral expenses. Learn more about your rights and what our law firm can do for you during a free case assessment with one of our attorneys.
The Danger of 18-Wheeler Accidents
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 97 percent of deaths in large truck accidents in 2019 were passenger vehicle occupants. The average car weighs about 5,000 pounds, while an 18-wheel truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This huge size difference is largely responsible for serious injuries and death in18-wheeler accidents.
18-wheeler truck wrecks can cause:
- Property loss, including total loss
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck and spine injuries
- Permanent disability
Collision victims may be able to recover money to cover their accident damages. This helps to pay for related expenses and financial losses, as well as the intangible damages experienced. Financial recovery can be vital for those who are hurt and cannot work.
For a free legal consultation with a 18-Wheeler Accident lawyer serving Birmingham, call (205) 380-4158
Can You Sue for an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident?
After you are involved in an 18-wheeler collision, you may be able to sue. The Birmingham 18-wheeler accident attorneys from the Morris Bart law firm can let you know if you have strong grounds for a lawsuit. If you sustained lasting injuries or lost a loved one in the truck wreck, you deserve justice.
You must prove that the truck driver, trucking company, or another party acted negligently and caused the crash. Your attorney may be able to help you develop your allegations into a strong claim or civil action.
In most cases, we can recover compensation for our clients without suing or taking the accident case to trial. Instead, we can file an insurance claim based on the liable parties’ policies, and demand a fair settlement from the insurer.
Damages You Can Claim in an 18-Wheeler Accident Case
Alabama law permits you to seek compensation if you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver or another careless party. You may be able to seek damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Loss of income
- Reduced future earnings
- Property damage
- Mental anguish
If your loved one was killed in an 18-wheeler accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Alabama law only allows family members pursuing wrongful death actions to recover punitive damages, per Ala. Code § 6-5-410. The damages are meant to penalize the negligent parties and are not based on the losses suffered by victims and their families.
An 18-wheeler accident attorney in Birmingham may be able to help you hold the liable party responsible for the tragedy they caused. We will identify your recoverable damages and help you pursue the money you deserve based on the facts of your accident.
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Who Is At-Fault for an 18-Wheeler Accident?
If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit following an 18-wheeler truck crash, you must pinpoint the at-fault party. Multiple people may be responsible for the accident that injured you. Potentially liable parties include:
A Truck Part Manufacturer
A truck built with defective parts is not safe to drive. If the truck crashed due to faulty parts, the manufacturer may be at fault for your losses. Common defective truck parts include:
- Steering mechanism
- Electrical systems
Vehicle parts must be periodically inspected to ensure they remain functional. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 612 people died in tire-related crashes in 2019.
The Truck Driver
The 18-wheeler operator may have caused the collision that injured you. Common negligent acts truck drivers are guilty of include:
- Drunk driving
- Fatigued driving
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
Driver error is the most common cause of traffic accidents, including those involving commercial vehicles. Errors could include anything from running a red light to improper passing.
The Trucking Company
Several factors are outside of a truck driver’s control. The truck driver’s employer may also be liable for your accident. A trucking company may be negligent for:
- Lack of vehicle maintenance
- Missed inspections
- Failing to train drivers adequately
- Violating service hour regulations
- Hiring unlicensed or unqualified drivers
Trucking companies may also be liable for accidents if they hired a driver with known substance abuse problems.
If the truck driver is found negligent, their employer is likely vicariously liable. This is possible under a 1929 opinion by the Alabama Supreme Court that holds the trucking company legally responsible when the negligent party in an injury accident is:
- An employee of the company
- Working within the scope of their employment when the accident occurs
The Truck Loading Crew
If the truck freight was improperly loaded or secured, the loading crew may be liable for your injuries. Cargo must be loaded evenly and secured to prevent a truck from becoming difficult to manage. An 18-wheeler can roll over if it is overloaded or cargo shifted en route. A crashed 18-wheeler may also lose its cargo and leave hazardous material on the road, causing more accidents.
If improper loading caused the accident, the loading crew’s employer may be liable for the injuries and losses.
How a Birmingham 18-Wheeler Accident Attorney Can Help
Even if you plan to pursue compensation through an auto insurance claim, you may want to consider working with a lawyer. We can manage your case while you focus on healing from your injuries and getting back to your previous activities as much as possible. We are experienced negotiators, and we will fight for the payout your case warrants.
Your Birmingham truck accident attorney from the Morris Bart law office can help you collect evidence to support your case, such as:
- Video footage from nearby traffic cameras
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Police accident reports
- Witness statements
- The truck company’s training procedures
- The truck driver’s employment history
- The truck driver’s logbook
- The truck driver’s drug test results
We must act as soon as possible after a truck crash to preserve the trucking company’s evidence that supports your case. Contacting us as soon as your injuries are stable allows us to ensure the strongest evidence is available in your case.
How Long do You Have to Take Action After Your Accident?
Alabama has a two-year statute of limitations for traffic accidents, per Ala. Code § 6-2-38. This means you have two years from the date of the collision to pursue a civil suit against the negligent party. In some cases, the deadline may be even shorter. Waiting too long will result in your case being dismissed, so don’t delay in contacting your attorney.
Contact Morris Bart Today for a Free Consultation
If you have any questions about your legal rights after an 18-wheeler collision, call us 24/7 and schedule your free consultation. Speak with an 18-wheeler accident lawyer in Birmingham from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC. Our law firm is ready to advocate for you.
Questions?Call (205) 380-4158
to find a Morris Bart office near you.