Truck drivers put a lot of miles on their rigs every year. Eventually, these extra hours spent on the roads could lead to an accident. If the truck strikes a passenger car or a motorcycle, the results could be devastating, creating significant injuries or even a wrongful death for the other driver.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck crash, consider hiring a Birmingham truck driver negligence accident attorney to defend your right to seek compensation. At the Morris Bart law firm, our team of personal injury attorneys has seen the effects on families from injuries sustained in commercial truck accidents.
Proving Negligence in Support of Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit after a trucking accident, you need to prove that the driver acted negligently, which led to the wreck with the truck and your personal injuries.
Negligence does not necessarily mean that the driver acted purposefully to cause the truck wreck. Instead, it means the driver could have done something differently to avoid the collision, which would have left you uninjured.
Truckers Must Have a Commercial Driver’s License
Those who want to drive a commercial vehicle in the state of Alabama are required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If the trucker who caused your accident with a semi-truck does not have the proper training or license, he or she could be found negligent in the crash.
Most semi-truck drivers who are operating on the roadways in Alabama need a Class A or a Class B CDL. A Class A CDL allows a driver to operate any type of commercial vehicle. A Class B CDL also allows a driver to operate commercial vehicles, but it is somewhat more limiting than a Class A CDL.
Alabama recently introduced a law that allows those as young as 18 years old to receive a CDL. However, truck drivers must be at least 21 to drive a truck with hazardous materials or to operate a truck with two or three trailers.
If a younger driver caused the semi accident in which you sustained injuries, he or she must have been following these restrictions. If not, negligence may have occurred.
Truckers Driving Negligently
One of the easiest ways to determine that a truck driver was operating their semi-truck negligently is if law enforcement officers investigating the wreck issued a traffic ticket or charged the driver.
However, even if no tickets are issued, it can still be proven that negligence occurred. A Birmingham truck driver negligence accident lawyer can review the facts, including reading police reports and speaking to witnesses, to help determine if negligence was a factor in your accident. These include:
- Driving after drinking alcohol
- Driving after taking drugs
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to maintain a lane
- Failing to yield
- Failing to obey traffic signs and signal lights
- Traveling too fast for the weather
- Traveling too fast for road conditions
If a truck driver is operating a rig without a trailer—which is also referred to as bobtailing—this can be an especially dangerous situation. Semi-trucks operate best with the weight of a trailer attached.
An inexperienced driver may struggle to control the rig when bobtailing, leading to a truck accident. Forcing a young or inexperienced driver to operate a rig while bobtailing could be considered negligence by the owner.
Truck Crash Statistics
At the Morris Bart law firm, we know that serious accidents involving commercial trucks in Alabama happen far too frequently. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, trucking crashes have increased over the past few years. Some of the 2018 statistics regarding truck crashes in the state include:
- Number of crashes: There were 10,079 crashes involving trucks, which is by far the highest number during the previous decade.
- Number of injuries: 2,629 people suffered injuries in crashes involving trucks, which is also the highest number during the previous decade.
- Interstate crashes: 30.3% of all truck crashes occurred on interstates in the state of Alabama, resulting in 35 fatalities.
- Common causes of accidents: Some of the most common reasons a truck accident occurred included improper lane change, failure to yield right of way, and tailgating.
We can collect the facts in your case, proving that the negligent acts of others led to the wreck and your bodily injuries. We will present your side of the events in negotiations with the truck driver’s insurance company, as well as in court, if necessary.
For a free legal consultation with a Truck Driver Negligence Accident lawyer serving Birmingham, call 800-537-8185
Determining Liability in Your Truck Accident
In an injury accident with a truck, determining who is the responsible party for a personal injury lawsuit is not always an easy process. The truck driver should be held accountable if they were driving negligently.
But others could also be liable in the case, including:
- The owner of the truck
- The trucking company that hired the driver
- The company that trained the driver
- The manufacturer of the truck
- The manufacturer of parts for the truck
- The mechanic who repaired or maintained the truck
- The company that loaded the trailer
Determining exactly how many of these parties should be held liable in your accident with a commercial truck will depend on the unique aspects of your case. When you retain a lawyer for a truck accident in Birmingham, you can count on them to sort out the details of determining liability.
Birmingham Truck Driver Negligence FAQ
Proving negligence in a truck wreck can be challenging, especially considering Alabama’s contributory negligence laws. But a Birmingham truck driver negligence accident lawyer knows how. We’re available to answer your questions when you need us.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
Yes. A skilled truck driver negligence attorney understands the complex nature of truck accidents and who might be at fault. Proving negligence generally requires establishing its four elements:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care while operating the truck
- They breached this duty in some way
- This breach of duty resulted in your injuries
- Your injuries resulted in significant monetary losses
With all the variables for determining liability in truck accidents, there are several possible avenues to take. A lawyer can investigate your case and acquire evidence to prove negligence, such as:
- Photographic and video evidence of the accident scene, vehicle damage, visible injuries, traffic signals, vehicle placement on the road, and skid marks
- Witness testimonies
- Any admissions from the truck driver or other related parties
- Truck driver logs
- Medical records
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might even be able to gather some of this evidence yourself to help protect your rights after a truck accident.
Are Truck Drivers Responsible for Damages in Birmingham?
While assigning blame in a typical car accident usually goes to a driver, it’s not always the case in a truck accident. Even if a trucker is determined to be negligent and accountable for the accident, they may not necessarily be responsible for your damages.
Alabama truck driver negligence can be complex. Because most truckers operate their vehicles under the scope of their employment, the trucking company they work for would be responsible for your damages. However, in some circumstances, truck drivers can be held liable themselves.
A truck driver can be responsible for damages in a Birmingham accident when:
- The driver made deliberately negligent choices: This can include excessive speeding, being under the influence, or acting carelessly, which are all illegal and often strictly prohibited by their employer.
- The driver used the truck for personal reasons: When operating a truck outside the scope of employment, it may be against company rules. The responsibility would lie solely on the driver.
- The driver is an independent contractor: In this case, a trucker is not technically employed by a trucking company and would be required to carry his or her own insurance.
- The driver is an owner/operator: This would mean that the driver and the trucking company are essentially one and the same.
Our Personal Injury Law Firm Is Ready to Help
If a truck driver was acting negligently or recklessly while driving, you have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation. At the Morris Bart law firm, we are ready to handle all the legal aspects of your case.
We work on a contingency-fee-basis and do not accept attorney’s fees unless and until you successfully receive a settlement or court award. Call us or contact us online today to speak with a member of our team.
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