Truck Accident Attorney in Cullman
Trucking is a major industry in Alabama, and more than 9,000 trucking companies call the Yellowhammer State their home. Dozens of these companies are based in Cullman, and hundreds more are located in the greater Birmingham area. Overall, this industry provides more than 100,000 jobs to residents, accounting for roughly 1 out of every 15 jobs in the state.
There is no doubt that the trucking industry is important to the Alabama economy, and those in Cullman and other communities depend on commercial trucks to deliver the products and supplies needed to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy. But at the same time, having all those big rig trucks on the road increases the chances of serious and fatal vehicle accidents.
Large tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded, and when a vehicle of this size collides with a regular passenger car, van, or pickup truck, the other vehicle involved is most likely to take the brunt of it. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), approximately 67% of those who are killed in truck accidents are occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. 17% are occupants of the large commercial trucks, and another 15% are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.
When someone is severely injured or killed in a truck accident, they deserve to be fully compensated. These types of cases are far more complex than standard auto accidents, however, and because they tend to be high value cases, large trucking companies and their insurers typically push back aggressively to minimize their liability. If this has happened to you or someone close to you, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to recover the just compensation you deserve.
At Burge & Burge, we have several decades of experience representing victims of truck accidents in Cullman, Birmingham, and surrounding Alabama communities. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of the complexities of these types of cases, and we have a successful track record going up against well-funded adversaries (such as the big trucking companies). We are not intimidated by their vast resources, and we have the knowledge, experience, skills, and commitment to help ensure that our clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.
What are the Most Common Causes of Truck Crashes?
Trucking accidents that happen in Cullman and other places in Alabama are caused by a number of different factors. These include:
- Speeding/Aggressive Driving: Truck drivers often face undue pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines in order to deliver their loads on time. This causes some of them to cut corners by exceeding the speed limit and/or driving more aggressively. These behaviors increase the likelihood of a serious accident.
- Distracted Driving: Driver distractions are the leading cause of all motor vehicle accidents, and truck drivers are not immune from this problem. Driving for countless hours over the road can get boring, and some truckers pass the time by texting, watching videos, and engaging in various other smart phone activities.
- Impaired Driving: Some truck drivers turn to alcohol or various types of prescription or illegal drugs in order to deal with some of the stresses of the job. Chemical impairment while behind the wheel is very dangerous, because it slows reaction times and generally causes motorists to make poorer driving decisions.
- Drowsy Driving: Truckers drive for long hours, and many of them are during evenings and overnights. Driving these long stretches while tired and fatigued can cause someone to get sleepy behind the wheel, which can result in catastrophic consequences.
- Negligent Vehicle Maintenance: Semi-trucks that are in full-service log thousands of miles over the road each month. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that these vehicles are properly maintained. When they are not, mechanical breakdowns can occur, putting the truck driver and others on the road in great danger.
- Product/Equipment Failure: Closely related to the last point, defective vehicles, parts, and equipment can also malfunction in the wrong place and at the wrong time, leading to an accident. Examples include brand-new tires blowing out, brand-new brakes that fail to stop the vehicle, and computer dashboards that go haywire while traveling down the highway.
- Improper Cargo Loading: Some trucking accidents happen because the cargo inside the trailer portion of the semi-truck exceeds weight limits, or it is loaded unevenly and favoring one side or the other. When this occurs and adverse road conditions arise, the tractor-trailer is at greater risk of rolling over or getting flipped onto its side.
Who can be Held Liable for a Truck Accident?
Because of the numerous factors that often contribute to a trucking accident, a thorough investigation is necessary to determine the root cause and who is responsible. In many cases, there could be multiple parties that are responsible for a large truck crash. These include:
- The truck driver,
- Drivers of other vehicles;
- The company that employs the commercial driver;
- The owner or lessor of the semi-truck;
- The party responsible for maintaining the truck;
- The cargo/shipping company that loaded the truck;
- The entity responsible for repairing and maintaining the roads;
- The manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
By identifying and pursuing a claim against every party that may have played a role in causing the truck accident, those who are injured have a better chance of recovering full and fair compensation. This may include damages not only for direct economic losses such as medical bills and lost earnings, but also for noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life.
As mentioned earlier, trucking accident cases can be difficult to pursue, because those who are at fault usually will not willingly take responsibility, and in fact, they will use all kinds of tactics to fight the case. It is even more of an uphill battle in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. This means that if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident (even 1%), they can be barred from recovering damages. This is why it is critical to get a skilled attorney involved as early as possible; otherwise, your right to be compensated for your injuries may be jeopardized.
Speak with a Knowledgeable and Compassionate Cullman, AL Trucking Accident Lawyer
At Burge & Burge, we understand the immense physical, emotional, and financial toll truck accidents take on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible. We work closely with our clients, providing the strong personalized representation they need and deserve. And we handle all of the complicated legal tasks, so your focus can remain where it belongs; on your recovery. Throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on the progress of your case, and we are always available whenever you need to reach out with questions or concerns.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, message us online or call our office today at 205-251-9000. We look forward to serving you!