Alabama Trucking Accidents
An Alabama traffic accident, such as one involving an eighteen-wheeler or other large freight carrier, is typically more catastrophic than an ordinary car accident in Birmingham. A commercial truck fully-loaded can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while an normal sized automobile weighs around 3,000 pounds. The size difference alone makes the automobile no match for a commercial vehicle. Moreover, an injury with an 18-wheeler in Alabama can cause serious, even fatal, injuries.
In recent years, the overall number of fatal crashes involving tractor-trailers and automobiles has decreased. Statistics show that drivers of 18-wheelers are normally much more careful on the road compared to automobile drivers. However, large truck crashes still account for 130,000 injuries each year and around 5,000 fatalities.
When an accident involving a commercial vehicle occurs in Alabama, the trucking company can be held liable if the commercial driver is directly employed with the company. If the truck driver is an independent contractor of a larger company, the company can still be held liable with a third party claim depending on the amount of supervision the company has on the driver.
Trucking companies, employers, and contractors typically carry separate insurance policies because of the potential liability if they are involved in an accident.
There are certain unique dangers that are only a consideration for large commercial trucks on highways and road. Such as:
- Jackknifing – Eighteen-wheelers and other large big-rig are prone to jackknifing, especially during sudden braking and turning. Because it is known that a truck can jackknife, it is not necessarily proof of operator negligence, because many accident situations present situations where there is no practical way to avoid jackknifing without risking some other form of catastrophe.
- Turning Accidents – Because of the size and length of a commercial vehicle, they can be difficult to turn. In order to avoid running the rear wheels into parked vehicles or over a sidewalk, sometimes it is necessary for a commercial vehicle driver to use two lanes of traffic to make a turn.
Q: What are the most common factors involving an accident with an automobile and commercial truck?
A: Normally accidents in Alabama are caused by a number of things including a truck’s characteristics, performance capabilities (i.e. limits with regards to braking, acceleration, and visibility) and car driver ignorance.
Q: Can I receive money for missed work, if I was injured in a crash where a truck driver was at fault?
A: Yes. In a personal injury case, you can recover money for income lost and compensation for loss of earning capacity.
Q: I was involved in an accident where my car collided with a truck carrying a hazardous liquid, and she suffered respiratory problems. Can I sue the shipper of the chemicals in addition to the truck driver?
A: If the shipper failed to advise the driver or the trucking company of the hazardous material there are limited circumstances where the shipper can be held responsible.
Q: What does that mean to drive in a truck’s “No-Zone?”
A: A “No-Zone” refers to the areas behind and beside a commercial truck, where there is limited/zero visibility: the left and right rear quarter, and directly behind the truck.
Q: If I am injured by a commercial vehicle, can I sue the truck driver’s company?
A: It depends on whether an employment relationship is established between the truck driver and the trucking company.
If the driver is directly employed by the company-and a relationship is established- the company can be held responsible for the driver’s negligence. However, if the truck driver is an independent contractor, the liability can become a problem. If this situation arises, the issue becomes the amount of supervision the company has over the driver.
Q: I was involved in a car accident where an 18-wheeler jackknifed, can I sue the truck driver?
A: The fact that a truck jackknifes is not necessarily considered operator negligence, because there are many situations where there is no practical way to avoid jackknifing.