Motor vehicle accidents kill more than 37,000 people and injure an additional 2.35 million people every year. When the accidents involve an 80,000-pound truck, the chances of other occupants walking out alive are often slim. The “lucky” ones get out with catastrophic or fatal injuries. An experienced Montgomery truck accident lawyer is ideal to have working on your case.
At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we understand the agony and financial burden a truck accident can have on the victim and his or her family. If a negligent driver, trucking company, cargo company, or another responsible party caused your injuries in an Alabama truck accident, we are ready to fight for your right to compensation.
If a Montgomery, Alabama truck accident injures you or a loved one, hire a qualified, experienced and knowledgeable truck accident attorney from Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers today. Our commitment and aggression in the pursuit of compensation for our clients have earned us national recognition.
Don't worry about how you will pay us because our attorneys work on a contingency fee payment structure, meaning if we lose your case; you don't owe us a dime. Call us at 334-666-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free case review.
Truck Accident Statistics In Alabama
Truck accidents happen all too frequently on Alabama roads considering that almost 10,000 truck accidents occur in Alabama every year. According to estimates, 33 percent of Alabama's tractor-trailer accidents happen on state roads, while another 30 percent happen on interstates. The rest occur in cities, counties, and other local roads.
On average, truck accidents kill 111 people yearly in Alabama, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. About 83 percent of the fatalities in these wrecks are occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists, with the remaining 17 percent being truck drivers.
What Steps Should You Take After a Truck Accident?
If you get into a Montgomery, AL, truck accident, follow these steps to protect your legal rights and interests:
It is essential to contact 911 as soon as possible so that the police can record the accident account and file an official police report. If you need urgent medical care, calling 911 is even more important.
Once you have notified law enforcement, check on the other involved parties and help where you can. Someone may need immediate medical attention.
Get To Safety
After checking on the other parties, get to a safe distance lest you want to get into another accident. If you have to, move your car away from traffic when it's safe to do so.
Ensure you swap personal information with the truck driver or any other drivers involved in the wreck. Get the phone numbers, addresses, driver's license numbers, and license plate numbers. Remember also to get the name and phone number of the truck driver's company.
Document the Scene
Begin gathering evidence of the crash by taking as many photos and videos of the crash scene as possible using your smartphone. Take the pictures from different angles and distances to paint a vivid picture of the accident and the degree of damage for your attorney, insurance company, and the jury. Ensure you get your injuries, property & vehicle damage, or skid marks on the road.
Speak with Witnesses
Talk to witnesses and record their accounts of the accident. Don't also forget to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses.
Seek Medical Attention
After getting into a wreck with a truck, you are likely to sustain injuries. Get treatment and have your physician check for injuries that were not apparent. Remember also to get a copy of your medical report.
Contact an Attorney
Finally, call a Mike Bell Montgomery truck accident lawyer as soon as you can. Remember that insurance companies will begin assessing your case immediately after your accident with a truck—lawyer up to protect your interests.
What Are Alabama's Laws Regarding Truck Accident Liability?
Contributory Negligence in Truck Accidents
Alabama follows the pure contributory negligence rules in truck accident cases. Under this law, if you are found to have contributed in any way to the crash that caused your injuries, you are barred from getting compensation. Even if you bring a civil claim against the party with the major share of fault, your claim will still be denied. Even if your case goes to trial after filing a personal injury claim, the other side may prove that you somehow contributed to the accident and ruin everything for you.
Our Montgomery truck accident lawyers can help prove that you did not contribute to the accident in any way.
In Alabama, if you got into a truck accident with a truck driver who was on the clock, your case may go against the truck driver's boss or employer according to a doctrine known referred to as respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
If vicarious liability applies to your case, the responsible party in your truck accident case could be:
- A corporation
- A small company
- A local municipality or state government
- A private truck driver
A Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers attorney can help you understand if vicarious liability is applicable in your Montgomery truck accident case.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
It's always wise to have a lawyer in your corner for any personal injury case. A lawyer can improve your chances of getting compensation significantly. A truck accident lawyer can:
One of the many ways a Mike Bell Montgomery truck accident lawyer can help is by leading investigations. With the help of different experts, an attorney will investigate the accident scene and gather and preserve all evidence, including the truck's black box that can show what happened moments before the accident.
File a Claim
After concluding investigations and gathering enough compelling evidence, an attorney will establish fault and liability then file a civil claim on your behalf.
A truck accident lawyer can handle all negotiations with insurance companies and defense attorneys to prevent you from making costly mistakes like accepting a lowball settlement offer. Since insurers are out to make profits, they want to pay as little as possible. That is why their high-pressure attorneys may contact you after the accident to make a lowball offer to settle your case fast or get you to admit to fault.
We are aware of the dirty underhand tactics insurers use. Besides, insurers are likely to present a more realistic settlement offer and take your case more seriously if they know you have a lawyer in your corner.
If settlement negotiations hit a brick wall, your case will go to trial. A truck accident attorney can help you with the required paperwork to start the trial. An attorney will also represent you in court since they have knowledge, experience, and skills. Advocating for you is probably the most important way a truck accident attorney can help.
What Types Of Compensation Can I Receive?
In a successful truck accident, you will receive compensation for your losses called ‘damages.' In Alabama, truck accident victims are allowed to collect punitive and compensatory damages for both their economic (financial) damages and your non-economic (non-financial) damages, as follows:
These damages have a dollar value, and they cover your monetary expenses and losses, including:
- Medical, rehabilitation, and continuing care costs
- Loss of earnings
- Lost future earning capacity
- Property loss or damage
- Home or vehicle modification costs
They don't have a specific monetary value. They cover losses that can't be quantified in dollars easily, such as:
- Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium.
In rare cases, an Alabama court may award the victim of a truck accident punitive damages. Unlike damages awarded to compensate the injured person, these damages are meant to punish the responsible party for acting with conscious malice or deliberate recklessness and discourage others from doing the same in the future.
What Is The Worth Of My Alabama Truck Accident Claim?
Since truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries and bring significant property damage, the result is high-value claims. For this reason, truck accident claims are often associated with high settlement amounts. In Alabama, there is no fixed monetary standard for non-financial damages. Thus, the value of your truck accident claim depends on the following factors:
- The degree, severity, and permanence of your injuries and whether you need continuing care
- The amount of your property and vehicle damage
- Your age, earning capacity, family situation
- The impact of the accident on your life
- Whether there existed a wrongful death
- The inclination and generosity of the individual judge and jury
- Your attorney's skill and ability to investigate, negotiate, and present your case.
Every case is unique. Individual circumstances determine the value of each case. The personal injury lawyers at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers have achieved settlements and verdicts for our clients in Montgomery and all over Alabama – we will fight to get you maximum compensation.
Is There A Time Limit For Filing A Truck Accident Claim?
Yes. The statute of limitations on truck accident cases in Alabama is two years from the injury date according to Alabama Code § 6-2-38.
Failure to take legal action before time runs out may result in you losing your right to hold the at-fault party liable.
How Is Fault Determined In Alabama Truck Accidents?
In most personal injury cases, the legal principle of negligence is a vital element in establishing fault. Courts and insurance carriers will use the idea of negligence to assign fault or the truck driver's failure to exercise a duty of care to other motorists. Negligence is determined partly via eyewitness accounts and citations in the police report after investigations are done. While citations help determine who was more careless, some courts may dismiss citations in police reports as hearsay.
Another crucial element of determining fault in a truck accident is proving that the truck driver violated the vehicle code.
Can a Lawyer Prove Negligence On the Truck Driver's Part?
Yes, a lawyer can prove negligence on the truck driver's part using these four elements:
- Duty of care – By showing that the truck driver owed other motorists a duty of care.
- Breach of duty – The trucker breached his or her duty of care to fellow motorists by disobeying traffic rules or the regulations of commercial vehicles.
- Causation – The driver's negligent actions, e.g., Speeding, caused the truck accident.
- Damages – The truck accident victim sustained injuries and losses as a result of the truck accident.
A truck accident attorney can prove that a trucker was negligent by proving all four elements existed. At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have helped countless truck accident victims recover the compensation they are owed and can help you prove that the truck driver was negligent.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
When it comes to truck accident liability, many parties are often involved, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo company, etc. According to federal law, trucking companies are responsible for their drivers' actions, while manufactures and truck owners are responsible for the equipment's safe condition.
Potentially, responsible parties in a truck accident case may include:
The operator of the truck is the most obvious person responsible for the truck accident. When you work with an experienced Montgomery truck accident attorney, it is easy to prove that the driver was negligent. Negligence can be through failure to adhere to traffic regulations and rules regarding the operation of commercial vehicles. The driver can be held liable if his or her negligence caused the accident.
The trucking company can be a responsible party in an Alabama truck accident if they failed to maintain the truck properly or if they are found to have known about the truck driver's negligent behavior and did nothing about it.
Company Who Loaded the Truck
Some truck accidents occur because the truck was loaded unevenly or beyond the allowed weight limits causing the truck to tip over or roll over. In this case, the cargo company that loaded the truck may hold partial responsibility for violating cargo loading regulations.
Vehicle or Parts Manufacturers
Sometimes, a mechanical failure stemming from the truck or parts manufacturer's negligence can cause a truck accident. When this happens, the truck or parts manufacturer can be held responsible for a truck accident. Although proving negligence in such cases is difficult, a Mike Bell truck accident attorney can help prove negligence on the vehicle or parts manufacturer part.
Truck Repair and Maintenance Companies
Trucks accumulate a lot of mileage and may fail to get proper service when they are rushed back on the road in a bid to meet tight and often unrealistic schedules. To ensure the truck is in safe working order, regular truck maintenance and repair must be done. Truck Repair and Maintenance Companies may be liable for a truck wreck if they fail in their duties or if a preventable mechanical failure causes the crash.
A Third Party
In some cases, negligence for a truck accident will extend to a party whose unreasonable actions caused the accident. For example, when a truck driver crashes after trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian walking on the road, the pedestrian can be held responsible.
Handling truck accident cases can be complicated since responsibility is often shared among several parties. This is why you should hire a Montgomery truck accident attorney.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are numerous causes of truck accidents, some more prevalent and obvious than others. Some of the most prevalent truck accident causes in Alabama are:
Sometimes, truckers drive for too long under strict company orders or by choice. This may lead to truck drivers getting fatigued, causing them to fall asleep at the wheel, resulting in serious or sometimes fatal asleep-at-the-wheel truck accidents. Through its hours of service (HOS) regulations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration dictates how long truckers can stay behind the wheel.
Some truck drivers chose to text or use their phones while driving even when they know it is illegal. Engaging in such acts or other distracting behavior may result in a truck accident.
Driving a truck without a care for other road users can result in an accident, especially if the truck is loaded with cargo.
Drunk truck drivers may also cause truck accidents. Trucker drivers in Alabama are considered to be drunk by the law if their Blood Alcohol Content is 0.04 percent or more.
Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight
Another common cause of truck accidents is overloading and improper loading of cargo. If cargo is overloaded, unevenly loaded, or secured improperly, the driver may get into an accident.
Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers
Some truck accidents happen because some new truck drivers are poorly trained or lack the experience and judgment that comes with years of driving a truck.
Lack of Truck Maintenance
A technical issue may arise in the truck due to lack of maintenance, causing a truck accident.
When a component in the truck malfunctions, a truck accident may occur as a result. For instance, when the truck's brakes malfunction, the vehicle may fail to stop and may end up colliding with other vehicles.
Poor Road Conditions
Trucks may lose balance and roll over when they hit a pothole on the road at high speeds, especially if they are loaded with cargo.
At Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we can help you determine the direct cause of a truck accident and fight for your compensation.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers Today for a Free Case Review
Handling trauma after getting into a truck accident can be a painful and stressful process. Pursuing financial compensation can also be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Our qualified attorneys at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you deal with your truck accident claim while you focus your energy on recovering.
We have vast experience dealing with personal injury cases, and we know how we can maximize your chances of recovering total compensation.
If you need a truck accident lawyer after being injured in Montgomery, Alabama, contact us today at 334-666-5000. You can also talk to us online. We offer an initial free consultation.