Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Gadsden Al
Accidents involving passenger vehicles can run the gamut from small fender-benders with minimal vehicle damage and minor injuries to high-impact collisions with extensive vehicle damages and severe injuries. Accidents involving 18-wheelers are typically far more serious than regular car accidents. The impact of a large tractor-trailer that weighs upwards of 80,000 pounds fully-loaded colliding with another vehicle, object, or person can result in devastating consequences.
In commercial truck accidents, it is usually the occupants of the other vehicles that take the brunt of the collision. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that there were 4,102 fatalities from large truck crashes in 2017, accounting for 11% of all crash-related deaths. Of those who were killed, 68% were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crash. 17% (of those killed) were occupants of the truck, and another 14% were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
Trucking accidents can be a life-altering experience for accident victims and their families. Moderate to severe or even catastrophic injuries from a crash can result in medical bills that could easily exceed six or seven figures. In addition, victims often have to miss work for an extended period of time, and if the injured party is the primary breadwinner in the household, this situation can lead to financial hardship. When a truck accident results from the negligence of another party, those who are injured deserve to be compensated.
At Burge & Burge, we have over five decades of combined experience representing those injured in truck accidents in Gadsden and nearby Alabama Communities. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of personal injury law, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue to recover full and fair compensation for their injuries. We understand the pain and suffering injury victims and those closest to them have to endure, and we handle all that complex legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery.
Truck accident cases are far more complicated than a typical auto accident case. There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, and there are also several potential parties that could be at fault. Success with this type of case requires an in-depth understanding of the laws and regulations at play, and the ability to conduct an extensive investigation (often dealing with hostile parties who are reluctant to turn over critical information) to uncover all the facts. We know what is involved in a trucking accident case, and we fight hard to obtain just compensation for our clients and to help ensure that all parties responsible are held fully accountable.
What Causes Truck Accidents?
In Gadsden and other parts of Alabama, thousands of semi-trucks roll through each week carrying goods to various parts of the state and to nearby states and regions. Trucking is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and we depend heavily on the materials truckers deliver throughout our daily lives. That said, many of those at the top in this industry are not doing nearly enough to keep their drivers safe.
As mentioned previously, truck accidents can leave those involved with serious and catastrophic injuries. These may include:
- Head and facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Severe cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Broken bones
- Amputations/loss of limbs
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burn injuries
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
There are many reasons why trucking accidents occur, some of the most common include:
- Drowsy/fatigued driving:Because of unrealistic deadlines that are frequently imposed by trucking companies, truckers are often put in a no-win situation where they must choose between following regulations and getting enough sleep or delivering their loads on time. Unfortunately, some choose to stay out on the road longer than they should, resulting in more accidents caused by drowsy or fatigued driving.
- Speeding/reckless driving:Another way that truck drivers try to meet unreasonably tight deadlines is by vastly exceeding the speed limit and/or driving faster than it is safe to drive under the conditions. Excessive speeding and other forms of reckless driving greatly increase the chances of a big rig accident.
- Overloaded/unevenly loaded trucks:Parties responsible for loading trucks are also aware of tight deadlines. In order to stay on schedule, they sometimes cut corners by loading the truck unevenly or loading more cargo than is safe to transport. This can result in trucks being turned to their side or rolling over when they encounter inclement weather or other adverse conditions.
- Driving while intoxicated: To deal with the stress of the job, truckers sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very poor decision that can cause disastrous consequences.
- Distracted driving:These days, it seems that people cannot stay off of their smart phones while behind the wheel, even though we have been well educated on the dangers of distracted driving. When someone who is operating an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer is texting while driving rather than staying focused on the road, it endangers them and everyone around them.
- Negligent truck maintenance:Large semi-trucks typically log thousands of miles on the road per month. If the truck is not maintained properly, mechanical breakdowns can occur while driving, sometimes resulting in an accident.
- Vehicle defects:Some 18-wheeler accidents happen because of faulty or defective vehicles or vehicle parts. Examples may include brake failures, tire blowouts, steering system malfunctions, and many others. If a vehicle defect contributes to a trucking accident, it may be possible to hold the designer, manufacturer, supplier, and/or distributor at least partially liable.
Damages in Alabama Truck Accident Cases
As mentioned earlier, there are several parties that could potentially be held liable for damages in a trucking accident. These may include:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- The owner or lessor of the truck;
- The company shipping the freight;
- The party responsible for maintaining the truck;
- A party in the supply chain of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
A thorough investigation will help determine which of these parties contributed to the accident, and what is the best legal strategy for recovering full damages from those responsible.
Compensatory damages for truck accidents can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic damages:These are monetary damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and damage to your vehicle.
- Non-economic damages:These are intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify; such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
In rare cases in which the actions of the party (or parties) responsible were especially egregious, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are designed to “punish” the responsible party and help serve as a deterrent against similarly egregious actions in the future.
Truck accident cases in Alabama are further complicated by the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages if they are found to be even 1% at-fault for the underlying accident that caused the injury. You can be sure that the other side will look for ways to assign at least partial blame to you for the accident, so they can avoid paying you anything. This is why it is absolutely essential to get an attorney involved as early on in the process as possible, so you can preserve your legal right to compensation.
Contact a Seasoned Gadsden, AL Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a trucking accident in Alabama, you need strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. At Burge & Burge, we are ready to go to work for you! Call our office today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733 for a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. You may also message us through our online contact form.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for you