An eighteen-wheeler careening down the highway is always a little intimidating to other drivers. After all, tractor-trailers are huge. They carry tremendous cargo loads and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because of the size and weight of these big rigs, when a tractor-trailer jackknifes and causes an accident the results are often catastrophic and deadly. A jackknife means that the back of the trailer turns at a sharp or right angle to the tractor. It essentially becomes a “V” instead of a straight line. Recently, one such accident occurred on an Alabama highway. An eighteen-wheeler loaded with equipment for a large musical concert jackknifed, swung into another lane, and killed a motorist. The accident also caused injury to the driver of the tractor-trailer.
If you are hurt in an accident with a tractor-trailer in Alabama, chances are your injuries are severe. It is not often that someone walks away from such an accident. You likely have medical bills, lost wages, and perhaps you will spend years suffering. You may be entitled to a monetary award that will compensate you for your injuries. If you have a loved one who died in such an accident, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate in your case.
You should know that tractor-trailer cases are quite complex. Consider speaking with attorneys who understand the issues that often come up in such matters. The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt have experience with all types of automotive accident cases and will take the time to discuss the particular facts of yours. With the information you provide for us, we can begin trying to determine if you are legally entitled to a monetary award.
Who is Responsible for a Tractor-Trailer Jackknife Accident?
Tractor-trailers by their sheer size and weight are dangerous and as such are subject to a significant amount of government regulation. Tractor-trailers require a tremendous amount of maintenance. Drivers and their employers must follow countless rules and laws about driving time, weight restrictions and other safety issues. Trucking companies must keep strict records about their employees and vehicle repairs. Maintenance companies must also keep meticulous employee and repair records. One small error along the way can have devastating effects on the roadway and motorists. Failure at any one step, by any one person, can cause an accident.
Who is responsible when a tractor-trailer jackknifes or experiences another type of accident? Determining the correct party can prove to be difficult because of the many people involved in getting a tractor-trailer on the road. Generally, one or more of the following entities will be responsible for the accident:
- The truck’s driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The manufacturer of the tires, brakes or any other part of the vehicle that contributed to the accident or injuries
- The company or person who leased the truck from an owner
- The loader of the truck’s cargo or shipping company
The process of determining fault in these cases requires intimate knowledge of the many federal rules and regulations that govern the trucking industry in our country. Investigations need to be done to see who along the way, may have violated a law. For example, was the driver trying to meet a deadline and driving for more hours than the law allows? Did the company loading the cargo add too much weight or not secure the load properly? Did faulty brakes cause the truck to stop short, causing the jackknife? Did a tire blow out and someone should have checked the air pressure? Was the driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg.
In order to conduct investigations and get answers to the above questions you will need to request and review driver log books, maintenance records, and employee records. You will need to interview witnesses, employers, and various experts to get as much information as possible to support your claim. Of course, if you are recovering from injuries or mourning the loss of a loved one, collecting this evidence will be even more difficult if you are doing it on your own.
Contact Alabama Tractor-Trailer Attorneys
The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt understand the federal and state of Alabama trucking laws that apply in tractor-trailer accident cases. Once we determine what party or parties are responsible for your injury, we can begin the process of recovering damages for your injuries. Our attorneys may help you recover money for any medical bills, future medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering you have suffered as a result of your accident. Contact our attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt. Allow us advocate on your behalf and use our experience to gain the best possible outcome for you and your family.