Truck accidents can be serious: They often lead to long-lasting and severe injuries, extensive medical bills, and a fear of the future. If you or a loved one has experienced an accident involving large commercial trucks, it is essential to seek advice and representation from qualified Birmingham truck accident lawyers.
At Gathings Law, we are passionate about giving our clients the best representation and compassionate advice, especially in stressful situations such as truck accidents. Here’s what you can do to understand your rights—and next steps after a truck accident.
Accidents as a Result of a Negligent Truck Driver in Birmingham, AL
Throughout life, accidents happen. Some might be small, while others are rather serious. Truck accidents are perhaps one of the most stressful accidents one can experience. They often occur because of negligent drivers or as a result of a trucking company that has not performed the correct procedures and properly maintained its fleet.
As a result of the severity of this kind of auto accident, it is essential to understand your rights and how negligent truck drivers can impact the rest of your life.
There are many reasons why a truck driver might be negligent, including:
- Not paying attention to the road. Drivers using their phones or busy with other tasks while driving can get distracted and miss clear signals to stop or follow the correct road protocols.
- Substance abuse and DWI. Driving while impaired is a serious crime: It can lead to distracted driving, reckless decisions, and worse. The risk increases in cases involving large trucks.
- Driver fatigue. Truck driving often involves great distances and long hours. Due to this, there is a risk of driver fatigue. Falling asleep behind the wheel of any vehicle can lead to devastating accidents; it could be even worse when it involves a truck.
- Vehicle Safety Checks. Failure to report a fault on a vehicle due to not checking the truck or not reporting it could lead to a fatal truck accident.
- Weather conditions. Driving recklessly in poor weather conditions can be disastrous, especially if the driver travels too fast on wet roads or in low visibility areas.
- Driving without the proper training. There are many different types of commercial vehicles, and each has a different training protocol. If the truck driver is not appropriately trained, severe injuries and accidents can occur.
Regardless of the reason, accident victims deserve compensation and representation. The causes of truck accidents can vary—and each case is unique—so it is crucial to understand each aspect of the law and how it will impact your truck accident case.
What if There Was No Negligent Driving?
While not all truck accident cases result from negligent driving, they can be a result of other factors. Skilled Birmingham truck accident attorneys will be able to help you gather the correct information and evidence to support your claim of negligent driving or help you find the actual cause of your accident. In the event that the accident was not a result of driver negligence, but was the result of other wrongful conduct, one of our lawyers will be able to guide you through the correct claims process and represent your rights.
To help you with your case and Birmingham truck accident claims, our experienced lawyers are here to protect you and your rights. If you have been suffering from the aftermath of a commercial truck accident, get in touch with experienced truck accident lawyers at Gathings Law. We will analyze your case, and ensure you get the representation you deserve.
The Law and Truck Crashes
When an individual is injured in a truck accident, Alabama law requires them to call the police immediately. Additionally, if the accident results in bodily injury, death, or more than $500 in property damage, an SR-31 report must be filed.
When involved in a traffic accident, a truck driver must stop to help the injured victims or transport them to the hospital.
Truck Crash Laws in Alabama
Before filing your claims, you must be aware of the legalities surrounding trucking accidents and how they impact your personal injury claim. There are federal regulations that the truck company needs to adhere to, as well as local Alabama laws.
Here are a few more rules, laws, and regulations concerning trucking and truck drivers in Alabama:
- It is illegal for truck drivers to work within state lines if they are under the age of 18 or if they lack the experience or training to operate a truck safely.
- To operate a commercial truck over 26,000 pounds, the truck driver must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- The trucking industry enforces an 11-hour driving limit for commercial vehicle drivers. Truck drivers can only drive for 11 hours after ten (10) consecutive hours off duty.
Your truck accident lawyer will consider all aspects of your case when compiling your accident claim. This is why it is vital to work with experienced Birmingham truck accident lawyers. They will have the knowledge and experience to use the full extent of local and federal laws in their representation.
Common Causes of Birmingham Truck Accidents
Before filing your truck accident claim, your lawyer will discuss each aspect of the case with you—from the cause of the accident to the liability of the driver and communications with the insurance company.
The causes of truck accidents are vital factors that will impact how your case will be handled. Here are some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents:
- Truck maintenance;
- Negligent driving;
- Vehicular fault;
- Third parties such as other car drivers;
- Changing lanes improperly;
- Cargo falling from the back;
- Air brake failure;
- Tractor-trailers rolling over due to heavy loads;
- Commercial truck drivers not following regulations or road rules such as stopping distances, and reckless driving.
Your Birmingham personal injury attorney will guide you through the truck crash and your rights consequently. They will assess liability and guide you through the processes and protocols to build a strong case, and prepare you for the possible outcomes.
Who Is Liable?
You might wonder who is liable for a truck accident in Birmingham, AL? The answer depends on the circumstances that lead to the accident. Your Birmingham truck accident attorney will work with you, from communicating with law enforcement and relevant insurance companies, to collect a body of evidence.
This body of evidence will include police reports, accident reconstructions, medical records, vehicle records and reports concerning the vehicles, and any pertinent information regarding the accident. From there, they will be able to investigate to see who is liable for the truck accident case claim.
Typically, there are several possibilities:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company that owns the truck or manages the fleet;
- The vehicle manufacturer;
- Equipment and parts manufacturers;
- Maintenance personnel or company;
- The city or government agency that has failed to maintain the roads.
An experienced attorney will be able to work with the evidence you have and collect further evidence to determine who is at fault. It is vital for your case to begin collecting information as soon as possible.
Evidence that is used in a claim for truck accident injuries can vary. Usually, an experienced lawyer will recommend that you take photographs of the scene from every angle as well as the contact details of all parties involved, if you are physically able to do so.
Items such as name, contact information, and insurance company details are essential as they will all play a role in the evidence later. This is important as multiple parties could be at fault or involved. Accident reconstructionists might be called upon to assess the scene and create a reconstruction of the events: This will help parties understand who is truly at fault in more complex cases.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents?
As with most legal proceedings, there is a statute of limitations to filing your injury case. In Alabama, you have two years after the date of your accident to file your case in court.
It is crucial to speak to a reputable Birmingham truck law firm that understands state and federal laws about trucking accidents. These laws will impact your case and its potential outcome.
Why Is the Statute of Limitations This Long?
This is an important question to consider: The statute of limitations ensures that you, as a victim, can collect the relevant evidence and information, and attend to the most essential things (such as recovery) before filing your claim.
As some truck accidents can have life-long consequences such as permanent disability or chronic pain injuries, you will need to be assessed by relevant medical professionals to get the most pertinent information that will impact your claim.
Filing a Claim
Your truck accident attorney will advise you on the best approach when filing your injury case. Together with the evidence and your medical records, your attorney will be able to give you clear expectations of the possible outcome.
You might be wondering what compensation you can claim in a truck accident? Here is a list of the compensation you might be eligible to claim for. While there are other items you could also claim for, it is best to discuss this with your Birmingham truck accident lawyers.
- Past and future loss of wages;
- Emotional trauma;
- Medical bills;
- Compensation for physical injuries;
- Property damage;
- Loss of life in the event of a death;
- Permanent disability.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Resulting From Truck Accidents?
There are many different injuries that you can face after a truck accident. These can range from mild to life-threatening—and, at times, you could be faced with permanent disabilities.
These are the most serious injuries you could face:
- Neck and spinal injuries;
- Permanent disabilities such as loss of limbs or paralysis;
- Fractures and broken bones;
- Bruising and whiplash;
- Emotional trauma and stress;
- Loss of life;
- Permanent incapacity;
- Long-term chronic pain.
No matter what injuries you are left with, you should be able to hold the responsible parties accountable.
A Case Of Wrongful Death
If a loved one has passed due to an accident involving a truck, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. In cases in which a loved one lost their life due to the negligence of others, the case may be considered wrongful death instead of a personal injury case.
Speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer for advice on your case, and how to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party if applicable.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Whether you have been in an accident with a large truck or in a semi-truck accident, it is essential to remain calm.
- Assess yourself for injuries.
- Contact police and emergency services.
- If possible, check on other parties involved in the accident.
- If you can do so, you may collect information; begin by photographing the scene and collecting particulars of those involved.
- You will need to attend a medical check-up and assessment even if you feel you are not severely injured. This will form part of the evidence in your case.
- Contact your truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, and inform them of what has happened.
Always make sure medical professionals document your injuries in a medical report relating to the crash. This will ensure that there is a record made of any injuries, and that you are aware of anything that could become a longstanding medical problem caused by an accident. Even if you feel fine at the time of the accident, the adrenaline might be masking your pain.
Gathings Law: Birmingham Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been in a trucking accident in Birmingham, get in touch with Gathings Law. Our law firm has a dedicated team of compassionate attorneys. With 30 years of experience protecting the rights of people in Alabama, we can represent your needs and use the full extent of the law to ensure the best possible outcome. Whether it is the trucking company that is responsible or the driver themselves, we are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.