If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a large truck or tractor-trailer accident in Alabama, you could be entitled to monetary compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A truck accident lawyer with Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can help guide you through the legal process.
For more than 20 years, the personal injury attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP have represented clients injured in commercial truck crashes in Birmingham and many surrounding areas of Jefferson County. Our firm has secured several multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of injury victims.
We are committed to helping individuals and families all over Alabama during these difficult and often tragic events. Above all, Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will fight to obtain all the compensation you are entitled to.
If you or your loved one has been killed or injured in a truck or tractor-trailer crash, contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP for a free consultation.
Consequently, oftentimes, these accidents can be caused by, but are not limited to; driver error and defective parts. Call (205) 324-1212 right now to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case.
Why Do I Need a Truck & Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer?
Firstly, accidents that involve commercial vehicles are much more complex than traditional passenger vehicle claims. Trucking company or insurer representatives may promptly contact you to sign forms or accept a settlement offer for case resolution.
Avoid engaging with these parties until you have legal representation. However, contrary to the representatives’ claims, numerous forms limit victims’ legal rights, and the suggested settlements are typically insufficient.
Hiring an experienced truck accident lawyer ensures you have a legal advocate fighting for your past, present, and future expenses. Your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement and file a lawsuit if the trucking or insurance company refuses adequate compensation.
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP understands the tremendous financial stress victims face following commercial truck accidents. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if you receive a financial award.
Why Choose Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP?
Our firm has handled several injury cases involving large trucks and tractor-trailers. Therefore, upon hiring us, we can swiftly conduct an independent investigation to preserve evidence and identify all negligent parties.
Commercial truck accidents often involve multiple liable parties, a key distinction from other car crashes. Some of the different people or entities that could be financially responsible for your injuries include:
- Truck driver
- Truck owner
- Truck part manufacturers
- Maintenance companies
- Shipping agencies
- Cargo loading companies
- Governmental entities
- Other motorists
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP can identify the specific cause of your own wreck and work to make sure that all negligent parties are held accountable.
Cases We Handle
Commercial trucks are among the largest vehicles on the road in Alabama. That sheer size makes them incredibly dangerous when they are involved in any kind of accident, which is why commercial trucks are subject to strict Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.
Some of the kinds of truck crash claims Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP handles include, but are not limited to:
- UPS Trucks
- USPS Trucks
- Logging Trucks
- Delivery Trucks
- Construction Trucks
- Garbage Trucks
- Large Semi Trucks (tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers)
- Other Commercial Carriers
No two accidents are ever the same, and the exact cause of a crash can be difficult to determine. In general, some of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents are:
- Speeding – If a driver fails to observe the posted speed limit, they are putting themselves and others in danger. Moreover, large trucks need longer stopping distances than smaller vehicles, requiring sufficient time to avoid serious or fatal collisions.
- Inclement Weather — Rain, heavy fog, and intense winds are just a few of the weather conditions that can make truck driving more difficult. While the weather can very likely be a cause, it still does not excuse the driver or trucking company. If drivers choose to travel in such conditions, they must prioritize safe operation.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) — In Alabama, truck drivers can be charged with DUI at a 0.04 BAC, half the limit for standard passenger vehicle drivers. DUI charges may apply when a driver operates under the influence of controlled substances, including illegal or prescription drugs. Even certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can impact a driver’s ability to safely operate a truck.
- Unsafe Road Conditions — In some cases, an accident could be the fault of a government agency responsible for maintaining a roadway. Failure to correct certain design defects or other known problems could make the agency liable for a victim’s injuries.
- Violations of Traffic Laws — Speeding is perhaps the most common behavior that drivers engage in, but many other traffic infractions pose dangers as well. Additionally, failure to yield the right of way, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, or tailgating are all possible causes of truck accidents.
- Failure to Maintain Vehicle — Trucking companies must maintain their vehicles, and drivers must ensure their trucks are roadworthy before driving. Companies can be liable for inadequate maintenance, while a third-party maintenance provider may be accountable for improper truck servicing.
- Driver Error — Some drivers simply make bad decisions. For this reason, if a trucking company inadequately trained or hired a driver with incidents, respondeat superior may hold them responsible. This theory holds that an employer is responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee.
- Driver Fatigue — Truck drivers must adhere to strict limits on consecutive work hours and weekly work hours. Furthermore, extended driving durations significantly increase the likelihood of driver drowsiness. Drivers must keep logbooks to show compliance with work hour limits, but verifying honesty and accuracy poses challenges.
- Defective Parts — If a tractor-trailer component malfunctions, the part manufacturer might be liable in a potential product liability case. In specific cases, authorities hold the trucking company responsible for failing to replace the part.
- Improperly Loaded or Secured Cargo — Improper cargo loading or overloading, managed by the trucking company or third party, can cause various truck accidents. Cargo can come loose or the load can lead to a rollover accident.
- Failure to Yield – If a truck driver fails to yield the right of way to a motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian, they could cause a severe and possibly fatal crash. Our attorneys will be ready to hold them accountable if they do not obey the rules of the road.
- Prescription Drug Use/Over-the-Counter Drug Use – Unfortunately, many truck drivers overlook that over-the-counter and prescription drugs can be as harmful as illegal substances or alcohol. Even seemingly benign medication, like an allergy pill, can impair a truck driver’s concentration and quick reaction to hazards.
- Inadequate Surveillance – Inadequate surveillance is when a truck driver fails to properly monitor their surroundings when maneuvering their vehicle. Consequently, crossing intersections, making turns, or changing lanes without looking first endangers other drivers significantly.
Many of these types of cases involve violations of state or federal regulations, and Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP will uncover any such violations to prove the responsible party’s negligence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Contributory negligence defines negligence by the victim that directly contributes to their injury. In Alabama, contributory negligence is an affirmative defense that can prevent a victim from recovering compensation. For this reason alone, people should avoid admitting to any kind of fault following a truck accident, especially when speaking to insurance companies.
The first thing you will want to do is to seek medical care. Additionally, even if you don’t believe you’re injured, seeking immediate treatment is crucial because some injuries may not show symptoms immediately. Moreover, delayed treatment could jeopardize the legitimacy of your injury claims. If possible, take numerous crash scene photos from various angles and distances. Additionally, you will want to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses of your accident. If a trucking company or its insurer contacts you, wait for legal counsel before engaging with them.
Truck & Tractor Trailer Accident Statistics
According to the most recent Alabama Department of Transportation (DOT) Crash Facts booklet, a commercial truck is any vehicle that weighs more than a light truck (e.g., pickup trucks) or SUV. Examples of commercial trucks include delivery trucks, 18-wheelers (aka tractor-trailers or semi-trucks), tow trucks, utility trucks, and other work trucks. Notably, the state does not count buses as commercial trucks.
The Crash Facts booklet says there were 8,579 truck crashes in Alabama during the most recent year for which data is available. These crashes caused 130 deaths and 2,330 injuries.
Unfortunately, the report does not include data for specific cities or counties. However, the report lists the most common causes of truck accidents in Alabama, which include:
- Improper lane changes (13.3 percent)
- Failure to yield the right-of-way (10.2 percent)
- Unseen objects, vehicles, or people (8.1 percent)
- Tailgating (7.1 percent)
- Misjudged stopping distance (4.5 percent)
- Defective equipment (4 percent)
- Drivers swerving to avoid an object, animal, or person (3.8 percent)
- Improper backing (3.6 percent)
- Improper turns (3.4 percent)
- Drivers crossing the median or centerline (2.9 percent)
The two most common road types where Alabama truck accidents occur are interstates (28.7 percent) and city roads (24 percent). Contrarily, the least common road types are county roads (9.9 percent) and U.S. routes (15.4 percent), although 3.1 percent of truck accidents fell into the “other” category.
Contact a Birmingham Truck & Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Today
Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has more than two decades of experience handling complex personal injury claims. Furthermore, our firm knows the lifetime of challenges that commercial truck victims face and we work tirelessly to help them obtain the compensation they need and deserve- in a timely matter.
Were you severely injured or was your loved one killed in a truck or tractor-trailer accident in the greater Birmingham area? Let our truck accident lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation when you call (205) 324-1212 or contact us online today.