You could get justice in your Mobile County tractor-trailer collision case by holding the responsible parties accountable. It might be possible to recover compensation for your injuries, bills, lost income, and more.
A Mobile, AL, 18-wheeler truck accident lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm will discuss your case with you, helping you understand your legal options and how these cases work. Our Mobile personal injury law firm represents victims of commercial vehicle collisions on contingency, meaning you don’t pay attorney’s fees if you don’t recover compensation.
Why Hire a Mobile Truck Accident Lawyer From Morris Bart
- We understand how commercial truck accident cases work in Alabama. Our attorneys have over 40 years of experience and 15 locations across four states.
- Our truck accident lawyers offer high-quality legal services with a personal touch. We custom-tailor our legal strategies to achieve the best possible results on every truck accident case.
- We have a proven track record of success. Our attorneys have collected over $1 billion for our clients in successful settlements and verdicts on past cases.
- You will pay us $0 upfront to take your Mobile truck accident case. Our clients pay us nothing unless we secure positive case results on their behalf.
For a free legal consultation with a 18-Wheeler Accident lawyer serving Mobile, call (251) 298-8380
Common Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
At Morris Bart, we have been representing clients and litigating Mobile truck accident cases in multiple states for many years. We have the knowledge and experience needed to take on even the most complicated claim. Our Mobile truck accident lawyers understand the nature of 18-wheelers and the commercial trucking industry as a whole.
We handle many types of truck accident cases in Mobile, including:
- Sideswipe: a truck driver has large blind spots and may not see a smaller vehicle to the left or right. This can result in a sideswipe collision if the truck driver attempts to change lanes or merge into traffic without checking blind spots.
- Underride: due to the height disparity between a passenger car and a tractor-trailer, a collision could lead to the passenger car sliding or being wedged beneath the trailer of the truck. This could result in catastrophic injuries for the occupants of the car, including decapitation.
- Jackknife: if a truck driver fails to use the proper techniques when braking or rounding a corner, the trailer of the truck could swing away from the cab at an angle (jackknife). This could lead to the driver losing control of the truck and sliding into other vehicles or rolling over.
- Rear-end collision: truck drivers often drive while drowsy, fatigued, distracted and under the influence. These dangerous behaviors could lead to a truck driver rear-ending other motorists. In some cases, these turn into override accidents, where the truck drives up and over a smaller car.
- Rollovers: a large truck might roll over if a truck driver takes a corner too quickly, the truck jackknifes or the truck leaves the road. A tire blowout could also “trip” a truck, causing the driver to lose control and the truck to roll over.
Our Mobile semi-truck accident attorneys are dedicated to helping crash victims hold trucking companies and their drivers accountable for causing preventable collisions. We can work with experts, including crash reconstruction experts, to determine the cause of your accident. Then, we can go up against the responsible party or parties on your behalf.
Understanding Fault and Liability in Your Truck Collision Case
Winning compensation for our client in any traffic accident case requires us to prove negligence. Therefore, we must have evidence to show:
- The at-fault driver had an obligation to take a specific action
- They did not do so
- This failure led to a crash
- Our client suffered physical, emotional, and financial harm
For example, imagine a truck driver approaching a stop sign. Legally, drivers have a responsibility to stop at intersections with traffic signals or signs. When they do not, they might cause a collision. These circumstances would likely support an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Proving Liability in a Commercial Vehicle Accident Case
Liability works somewhat differently in a commercial vehicle crash case than in typical passenger car accidents. We can often hold the truck driver’s employer vicariously liable for their negligent actions behind the wheel.
The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed vicarious liability as case law as early as 1929, in St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Robbins. Thus, using the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, we can build a case against a truck driver’s employer as long as we can prove the driver was acting “within the scope” of their job description.
In most 18-wheeler truck accident cases, we file our claim or lawsuit against the trucking company or another corporation that employs the at-fault driver. The doctrine of vicarious liability makes the company, not the individual driver, the primarily liable party in these cases.
Suing the Trucking Company
We often negotiate out-of-court settlements to end truck collision cases. As a result, we rarely need to file a lawsuit in a Mobile County civil court. The reasons why we may need to sue include:
- The insurer will not agree to a fair settlement
- They deny responsibility or argue facts of the case
- The deadline to sue is approaching
In Alabama, victims generally have up to two years to sue under Ala. Code § 6-2-38. However, exceptions could mean you have even less time to begin this process.
Proving Negligence in a Mobile, Alabama Truck Accident
Negligence is the basis of most truck accident claims and other personal injury cases. If someone is negligent, it means he or she has failed to use an appropriate degree of care, resulting in harm to others. As a victim of a truck accident in Mobile, you or your lawyer will need to prove that the other party was negligent and that this caused the crash. The burden of proof always rests with the filing party or plaintiff in a personal injury claim.
Proving negligence in a truck accident case requires evidence of four facts:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, or an obligation to act responsibly.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care by behaving negligently or recklessly.
- The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate or actual cause of the truck accident.
- The plaintiff suffered real and compensable losses as a result of the accident.
The burden of proof in a truck accident case is a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means enough evidence to prove that the defendant is more likely to be responsible for the truck accident than not. An attorney from Morris Bart can help you collect and present enough evidence to meet this burden of proof.
Evidence in a truck accident case may include:
- The truck’s black box
- Electronic data recorders
- The truck driver’s inspection logs
- Truck maintenance reports
- The trucking company’s compliance history
- The truck driver’s medical and driving records
- Cell phone records
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Video footage of the crash
- A police report
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony
- Proof of injuries, such as hospital records
Commercial truck accidents often involve unique forms of evidence. The truck’s black box, for example, is an electronic recording device onboard many commercial trucks that collects data about the truck driver, how the truck was driven leading up to the accident and the truck’s performance. Accessing this data could provide proof that the truck driver made a mistake that caused a truck accident.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Mobile Truck Accident Claim?
The recoverable damages in a truck collision case depend on the victim’s losses. While many people incur the same types of harm in a crash, the value can vary widely. Many factors affect the worth of a claim, but the severity of injuries is incredibly impactful.
Economic damages are the expenses and losses that have an objective monetary value. They include the costs you incurred, your future expenses, and any income losses. Common examples include:
- Medical care, current and future
- Lost income and benefits
- Reduced earning capacity because of lasting injuries
- Vehicle repair or replacement
Noneconomic damages do not have a tangible value, but accident victims should still receive compensation for them. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability or disfigurement
Our team knows how to value these losses and negotiate a fair settlement that includes them. We will not allow the insurer to undervalue our client’s claim, nor will we allow any truck crash victim we represent to accept less than a just payout.
Punitive damages may be available in some cases. In fact, under Ala. Code § 6-5-410, punitive damages are the only type available in a wrongful death claim. The state bars family members from recovering compensatory damages if their loved one died from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.
We can explain this quirk in the law and how it could affect your chances at financial compensation if your loved one died from truck accident injuries.
Are There Damage Caps for Alabama Truck Accident Cases?
A damage cap is a legal limit on the amount of financial compensation available to a plaintiff in a personal injury case. In Alabama, there are damage caps on wrongful death cases and punitive damages. In a wrongful death lawsuit, only punitive damages can be sought. Compensatory damages for a family’s funeral and burial expenses, medical costs, and pain and suffering are not available. However, there is no cap on punitive damages in a wrongful death case.
There is a cap on punitive damages in other cases, including nonfatal truck accident cases. These are damages awarded in some cases to punish a defendant for gross negligence or egregious acts of wrongdoing. Under Alabama Code Section 6-11-21, the cap on punitive damages when a case does not involve physical injury cannot exceed the greater of three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000. If the case does involve physical injury, the cap on punitive damages is increased to $1.5 million.
How to Handle Insurance
It is important to contact an attorney to deal with insurance companies for you during a truck accident claim in Mobile. Insurance corporations put their own interests first. A lawyer can prevent an insurer from taking advantage of you during settlement negotiations, fighting on your behalf for maximum financial compensation for your losses – even if this means taking your case to court. Do not give a recorded statement or accept a settlement from an insurance claims adjuster until you have spoken to an attorney about your rights.
Morris Bart & Associates, LLC Represents Truck Crash Victims in South Alabama
The Morris Bart law firm has 15 locations and serves all areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We helped more than 6,500 accident victims receive compensation in 2019, representing them through the claims process or civil trial. Many of our clients receive negotiated settlements, but our trial attorneys are not afraid to sue when necessary.
Some recent truck accident case results include:
- $490,000 for a victim in Hattiesburg, MS, with neck and back injuries
- $337,500 for a client who suffered two concussions, a broken neck, and a fractured vertebra in a Texarkana, AR, crash
We act on behalf of our clients, protecting their rights and seeking justice for them throughout the claims process and beyond by:
- Managing all communication with the potentially liable parties and their insurers
- Investigating the crash case and gathering support for their claim
- Identifying at-fault and liable parties
- Calculating a fair compensation range and documenting their losses
- Filing the claim and negotiating with the insurer, as necessary
- Preparing all paperwork and meeting all applicable deadlines
- Representing them at trial, if needed
Reach Out to Morris Bart & Associates, LLC for a Free Case Review Today
At the Morris Bart law office in Mobile, our team offers free consultations for 18-wheeler truck accident victims. We can help you understand your right to pursue damages and hold the liable parties accountable. Our team also answers questions and discusses how our services can help your case.
Call (251) 298-8380 today to speak with a team member.
Questions?Call (251) 298-8380
to find a Morris Bart office near you.