Truck Accident Attorneys in Hoover, Alabama
Hoover, AL is centrally located just south of Birmingham with several major roads and highways that pass through the city. This includes two major interstates (I-459 & I-65) as well as US Route 31. Hoover’s location makes it a prime area for commercial trucking traffic.
Thousands of large trucks roll through Hoover each week, carrying essential products and goods to residents throughout Alabama and around the southeastern US. The trucking industry is critical for our overall economy, but that said, there are numerous safety issues that this industry has largely failed to address. As a result, truck accidents are happening at higher rates than ever before.
Have you or someone you love been seriously injured in a truck accident in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover? Commercial vehicles may be a necessary part of our economy, but having them on our roads can create a significant hazard.
If you have been injured or a loved one killed from the actions of an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or other commercial vehicle, the experienced Hoover truck accident attorneys at Burge & Burge, PC will explain your options and do everything necessary to advocate for your rights.
An Increase in Dangerous Truck Crashes in Hoover
Home to more than 84,000 residents, Hoover is beautiful area nestled along the Appalachian Mountain foothills, but it is also congested due to its proximity to Birmingham which results in commuter traffic. Hoover is also home to the Riverchase Galleria, which is one of the largest shopping centers in the Southeast and among the largest mixed-use centers in the country. In addition to people driving to and from work or to the area for pleasure, several major highways, namely Interstates 459 and 65, serve as major trucking routes that pass through Hoover.
I-459 is a heavily traveled interstate that connects some of the most congested areas of Birmingham. I-65 links some of Alabama’s largest cities before it enters the state of Tennessee. Both interstates carry a large volume of commuter traffic mixed with interstate truckers, which is a combination that could lead to dangerous accidents.
Of the 289,717 vehicles involved in crashes on Alabama’s roads in 2016, 9,623 were trucks. While this was just 3.3% of the total, the damage and injury that these massive vehicles have the potential to cause can be catastrophic. It’s also notable that there was an increase of close to 500 truck accidents in the state in just one year.
While the city of Hoover doesn’t have specific figures on truck crashes versus passenger vehicles, they have also seen an increase in accident activity. In 2016, Hoover saw 3,258 crashes that resulted in 622 injuries and 8 deaths. This was a 3.9% increase in crashes from the prior year and a 24% and 33% increase in injuries and fatalities respectively. One thing that could explain the soaring rates of injuries and deaths is the involvement of more trucks in Hoover accidents.
Why Truck Accidents Are More Severe
When compared to your run-of-the-mill fender bender, truck crashes are terrifying. The International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion released a study on truck crashes in which they came to several conclusions. First, there is an increased number of commercial trucks on the road, which is heightening the risk to other drivers of an accident taking place. Second, trucks driving any faster than 45 mph increase the chance of a more severe accident occurring, including one that is fatal. Finally, truck drivers tend to engage in behaviors (speeding, drowsy driving) that put them at risk of being involved in serious crashes.
Consider the fact that a passenger vehicle weighs just 4,000 pounds while a commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Trucks need more turning and stopping room and have more blind spots than the average vehicle. An 18-wheeler is also more susceptible to jackknifing and rollover accidents.
When these accidents do occur, they can be life-changing for all involved. Your car is likely to be totaled, and your injuries may be so severe that you will need to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. Some common truck accident injuries include broken bones, facial injuries, traumatic brain injury, internal injuries, spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries, and burns. Financial losses might include medical expenses, lost wages, permanent impairment, and pain and suffering. If the other party was at fault in the accident, you have the right to ask them to pay damages as compensation.
Who is Liable for a Hoover, AL Truck Accident?
One of the complicating factors that we often run into during a commercial trucking accident claim is the number of parties that could potentially be responsible. With a standard auto accident, the fault usually lies with one of the drivers, although there are times when a third party could be liable, such as a bar that served a drunk driver. With truck crash claims, multiple liable parties are more the norm than the exception.
The Truck Driver
The majority of trucking accidents result from some form of driver negligence. Some examples include:
- Speeding and/or breaking other traffic laws.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Texting or other forms of electronic messaging while driving.
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued.
- Violating federal Hours of Service regulations.
If the commercial truck driver displays any of these or other types of negligent behaviors, they are likely to be found liable for the accident.
The Trucking Company
If a large truck driver is at fault for a big rig crash in Hoover, the trucking company that employs them will likely be on the hook for the accident based on the legal theory known as “vicarious liability”. It should be noted that a lot of trucking companies use independent contractors rather than direct employees to transport their loads. At first glance, you may assume that you cannot hold the company liable in this type of circumstance, but that is not necessarily the case. Although a company may classify its drivers as independent contractors, further investigation could reveal that their drivers are misclassified and are technically employees.
The Truck Mechanic
Commercial trucks log thousands of miles over the road each month, and for this reason, it is absolutely critical that they are maintained diligently. Some trucking companies have an in-house maintenance team, while others outsource the work to an independent mechanic. Either way, if negligent maintenance turns out to be the cause of a truck crash, the party responsible for maintaining the truck could be one of those that is held liable.
The Cargo/Shipping Company that Loaded the Truck
Some Hoover, AL truck accidents result from trucks that are overloaded (beyond allowable weight limits) or unevenly loaded. Issues like these can cause a truck to roll over or get flipped onto its side when there are high winds and other adverse weather conditions.
As we talked about earlier, truckers typically face very tight deadlines to deliver their loads on time, and even more so with recent supply chain issues throughout the country. To save time, shipping companies are often in a rush when they load up the truck, which can cause uneven and otherwise improper loads. They might also try to fit more freight into the vehicle in order to save on the number of trips it takes to deliver the cargo, which can result in loads that are too heavy.
The Owner/Lessor of the Truck
Some arrangements in the trucking industry involved a driver who leases a semi-truck from another party who owns the vehicle. In a situation like this, the owner of the big rig truck is responsible for keeping it serviced and maintained. If they fail to do so and this leads to a wreck, the owner/lessor could be one of the parties that is responsible.
A Faulty Product Maker
Some commercial trucking accidents result from vehicle part failures. Examples include newer brakes that fail to stop the vehicle to prevent a crash, newer tires that blow out on the highway, and computer dashboards that malfunction and lead to a collision. When a large truck accident is caused by a faulty vehicle or vehicle part, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the defective part.
When Truck Crashes Happen in Hoover
Because of its proximity to Birmingham and several major thoroughfares, the likelihood of a truck accident happening in Hoover as opposed to a smaller town is high. In fact, there are several trucking and moving companies that operate in Hoover, Alabama and local businesses are going to have their own commercial vehicles on the road as well.
Interstate trucking companies are largely regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which mandates maintenance of equipment, operations, insurance, driver qualifications, and hours of service. Companies that operate within the state are governed by the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Public Service Commission.
While trucking companies and drivers are required to follow certain rules and have proper insurance, there is nothing simple about dealing with a truck accident case. The fact is that there are several parties that could be held responsible for your damages including the truck driver, the truck company, a defective parts maker or supplier, a maintenance company, and even the company that loaded or secured the truck if they did so improperly.
What Our Qualified Hoover Truck Accident Attorneys Can Do For You
No motor vehicle accident is a walk in the park, but accidents involving commercial trucks are particularly challenging. Trucking companies and their insurance providers never have your best interests in mind and are instead looking to protect their own interests and bottom lines. This means that they will attempt to minimize losses or even place blame on you where there was none at all. Because of these factors, we recommend that you never speak with the trucking company’s insurance adjuster or lawyers without first consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
These accidents require immediate and thorough investigations, which is just one of the things the legal team at Burge & Burge, PC will initiate on your behalf. Our job is not only to preserve and collect evidence for your case, but also to identify the at-fault parties we can pursue for the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident in Hoover, Alabama that was caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or negligent conduct, our experienced truck accident attorneys can help. Contact us as soon as possible at 205-251-9000 or online to schedule a free consultation.