Truck Accidents Lawyers in Mobile, AL
Tractor-trailers are vital to Alabama’s economy and are part of the industry that fuels commerce throughout the U.S. These large trucks transport billions of dollars worth of goods across the country, driving millions of miles each day.
While these large vehicles are essential for our economy, they are also incredibly dangerous. When truck accidents occur, the outcome can be devastating for the victims and their families.
The experienced truck accident attorneys at Thiry & Caddell, LLP, understand that truck accidents can be severe and life-altering. We believe that truck drivers and trucking companies should be held responsible for negligent behavior. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a truck accident in South Alabama, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Truck Accidents in Alabama by the Numbers
Large truck accidents can happen anywhere in Alabama, but the Port of Mobile is one of the top 10 ports in the nation, so there is significant trucking activity throughout the region.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, there were over 10,000 truck-involved crashes in the state in 2018, resulting in over 2,600 injuries and 121 deaths.
Most truck crashes in Alabama happen on the Interstate (30.3%) or city streets (24.2%). The most fatal crashes take place on the Interstate, U.S. routes, or on State Routes.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents?
Large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, tanker trucks, and flatbeds, are more difficult to maneuver, take more distance to stop, and have wide blind spots. For these reasons, it’s vital that commercial truck drivers remain alert to changes in traffic and road conditions, follow other vehicles at a safe distance, and drive at safe speeds.
A truck driver that is tailgating, driving too fast for conditions, speeding, or is inattentive could cause a serious accident. The difference in the size and weight of a truck vs. a passenger vehicle means that these accidents can cause severe injuries and even be fatal for victims.
The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Inattention/Distracted driving
- Making illegal maneuvers
- Following too close
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Overweight truck
- Intoxicated driving
- Mechanical issues
It’s a common practice for truck drivers to push the boundaries of what they are permitted to do by law to meet deadlines and make a living. Because of pressure to meet tight deadlines, many truckers drive long hours, despite being exhausted, and often find ways to falsify driver logs to get around federal regulations.
Who is Responsible for Your Truck Accident?
While anyone can be at fault in a truck accident, truck drivers tend to make more mistakes than drivers of other types of vehicles. But, it would be jumping to conclusions to assume that truck drivers are always the responsible party in one of these crashes.
Truck accidents are complicated for a variety of reasons. One is that several different parties could be held responsible for your damages. When we investigate a truck accident case, some of the parties that could be held liable include:
- Truck Driver– In most truck accident cases, the truck driver is the obvious choice as the responsible party since they were behind the wheel. This may be true in your case, but there are other possibilities. No matter how experienced a truck driver is, anyone can make a snap judgment that turns out to be horribly wrong. Commercial drivers are prone to many of the same mistakes that personal drivers are. Distracted driving is a significant problem for truck drivers, whether they are distracted by their phone, a team driver in the vehicle with them, or the radio. Fatigued driving is another issue for many commercial drivers. To meet strict deadlines or nearly impossible productivity standards, they often have to push themselves to the absolute limit. This puts them at serious risk of causing an accident.
- Truck or Trailer Owner– The owner of the truck or trailer (they might be different companies) could be held accountable for your damages if they failed to properly maintain the equipment and that failure led to an accident.
- Truck or Trailer Leasing Company– Likewise, a company that leases trucking equipment is responsible for inspecting and maintaining it. The trucking company plays a role in quite a few commercial trucking accidents. They have an obligation to make sure the truck is road-ready before their driver leaves and a responsibility to ensure that their drivers follow state and federal rest stop requirements. Despite this, some trucking companies put profits over people and force drivers to skip breaks, drive for longer than is truly safe, or cut breaks short to get back on the road. When these situations occur, it is likely that the company is at least partially liable for a crash.
- Truck Loaders/Cargo Shippers– A cargo loader or shipper might be held responsible if they created a dangerous situation with an uneven load or one that was too heavy. When companies ship cargo, they are responsible for loading that cargo in a safe manner. Overloading a truck or loading cargo in an unbalanced way puts the driver at serious risk while on the road. This is why it’s important to hire an attorney to investigate your accident and its causes. If unbalanced cargo is the cause, you’re unlikely to find out from the trucking company or cargo company—they’ll just leave you to figure out your path to compensation on your own.
- Truck and Parts Manufacturers– When truck parts, such as tires, fail, the designer or manufacturer could be held accountable for the resulting damages. While human error is the most common cause of vehicle accidents, vehicle manufacturers are also liable for some crashes. Trucks see significant wear and tear from their long days on the road, and the components used to build or repair the truck are supposed to stand up to that. When a component is poorly made or designed and it causes an accident, the manufacturer could find themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit. Note that we said, “poorly made or designed.” If the piece was designed correctly but manufactured improperly, you would seek compensation from the manufacturer. If the piece was designed in an unsafe manner, the design company would be your target.
- Federal, State, and Local Road Authorities– Agencies that are responsible for the maintenance and construction of roadways could also be held liable for unsafe conditions that lead to accidents and injuries.
Collecting Full and Fair Compensation for Your Damages
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident through no fault of your own, you have the right to pursue full and fair compensation. The damages you can collect include those that cover the cost of your past and future medical care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.
Multiple parties could be jointly liable for one of these accidents, and each might have a different insurance company defending its interests. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to carry higher levels of insurance than car drivers, but you can expect significant resistance from those insurers if you file a claim.
Investigators might attempt to contact you right after the accident, and anything you tell them could compromise your case. If they do reach out to you, take their contact information and let them know your attorney will be in touch.
These adjusters and attorneys are not on your side. They are attempting to protect the interests of their clients and the bottom line of the insurance companies. They’d like nothing better than to deny your claim or get you to agree to a quick settlement that is not in your best interests.
Alabama has a strict “contributory negligence” rule that bars a person from recovering damages if they are found to be partially at fault in an accident. Many insurance companies will look for evidence that you did something wrong. Avoid speaking with them and contact an experienced truck accident attorney that will represent your interests.
Speak With a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident cases can be incredibly complex and not something you want to handle alone. If you are facing the devastating aftermath of a truck accident in the Mobile area, it’s vital that you enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney that understands the laws surrounding these claims.
At Thiry & Caddell, LLP, we have successfully handled thousands of cases over the past 40 years and will provide personalized and diligent representation on your behalf. After an injury, you should be focusing on your recovery. Let us do the heavy lifting on your insurance and legal case.
Contact us today at (251) 478-8880 or reach out to us online for a free consultation to discuss your options.