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Trucking is an essential part of the U.S. economy. 72% of goods in the United States are delivered by truck. While truck drivers play a critical role in this industry, they can also jeopardize the safety of other motorists when they prioritize profits over the well-being of others they share the road with. 

When trucking accidents occur, there are usually severe injuries. In the worst-case scenario, a wrongful death occurs. 18-wheelers can weigh in excess of 65,000 pounds and do significant damage to a person and property when the impact is made.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a trucking accident, the Huntsville truck accident lawyers with Siniard Law, LLC want to help. Our compassionate trucking lawyers can investigate your case and seek compensation for the harm you’ve suffered because of the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. Contact us today to get started with a free legal consultation. 

Our Approach to Truck Accident Cases

The trucking company’s insurance carrier is already working against you. The insurance company will have investigators and expert engineers at the wreck scene quickly. Their job is to gather the evidence that is helpful to the trucking company and to distort evidence that is helpful to the victim. That’s why you need to hire a trucking accident attorney as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence when a trucking accident injury victim hires us. We want to gather as much evidence as possible as soon as possible. Tire marks, wreck debris, video surveillance footage, and eyewitness statements can be essential in achieving the best outcome.

Once you hire one of our attorneys, we also want to quickly notify the trucking company that they must preserve all relevant evidence. 18-wheelers are equipped with data recording devices that record the truck’s speed, braking force, and other relevant factors.

Once we gather all the evidence possible, we assist our client in getting the medical treatment they need. After our client has recovered from the injuries, then we seek to resolve the case.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents occur every day. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 147,162 truck crashes in the United States in 2022. These resulted in 4,988 fatalities and 68,813 injuries. 

Some of the leading causes of these crashes include:

Fatigued Driving 

Truck drivers have to work long, tedious hours. They are also paid by the load, so there is a built-in financial incentive for them to work long hours to get paid faster and make more money. These factors can result in tired drivers behind the wheel, which poses a public safety risk.

These drivers can put other motorists at risk. The Sleep Foundation says that drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving, causing impairments to reaction time, vigilance, multi-tasking, and hand-eye coordination. Truck drivers who dangerously put others at risk so they can earn more money or trucking companies that force them to work beyond the hours of service should be held accountable for their negligence. 

Speeding 

Because of the financial incentive, drivers are motivated to make deliveries as fast as possible. Truck drivers may drive over the posted speed limit or too fast for road or weather conditions. But this decision can lead to deadly or catastrophic consequences because speeding increases the likelihood that the driver won’t have adequate time to stop to avoid a collision and that more serious injuries will occur. 

Distracted Driving 

Today’s truck drivers have many systems and technological components that alert them to various details. They may be receiving a barrage of information from:

  • Accident prevention tools
  • Onboard cameras
  • Dispatch radios
  • Cell phones
  • GPS instructions
  • Infotainment systems

When truck drivers are distracted, they are less likely to notice and will have less time to respond to hazards. 

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Truck driving can be a hard job, often resulting in long hours away from family, health problems, and relationship issues. Some truck drivers turn to drugs or alcohol, which can increase the likelihood of them causing a crash. 

Medical Conditions

Truck driving is a sedentary job that can lead to harmful medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, and sleep apnea. These conditions can make it more likely for a truck driver to have a critical medical event during their long hours. 

Improperly Secured Cargo Load

Cargo can shift during transit or fall off the commercial vehicle, which is why there are precise rules that trucking companies, drivers, and cargo loaders are required to follow. When they break these rules and cause an avoidable accident, they should be held liable for their carelessness. 

Truck Maintenance 

Trucks must be properly maintained to ensure safe driving. Inspections must also be conducted regularly to identify any potential hazards. 

Truck or Part Defects

Commercial trucks have thousands of moving parts. If these parts malfunction, they can cause the truck to jackknife or a critical feature to fail. 

Common Truck Accident Injuries 

Truck accident injuries are often fatal or catastrophic. Truck accident victims can suffer severe injuries when they are involved in an accident with a much larger vehicle. Common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Catastrophic injuries
  • Amputations
  • Crush injuries
  • Internal injuries

In addition to the physical injuries, accident victims may also experience psychological injuries because of the life-threatening nature of the incident. A truck injury lawyer can investigate your claim, determine who is responsible for it, and pursue fair compensation on your behalf. 

Truck Accident Claims Vs. Car Accident Claims

Truck accidents are very different from car accidents. Truck accident cases involve:

Federal Regulations

Cases involving injuries from trucking accidents are more complex because of the federal regulations that govern trucking companies and their drivers.

Common Reasons Trucking Wrecks Occur

Many trucking accidents occur because truck drivers are forced to work more hours consecutively than is required by law. This causes truck drivers to be fatigued and make driving errors they usually wouldn’t. Other trucking accidents occur when loads are not properly secured, equipment on the truck fails (brakes and tires), and truck drivers haven’t received proper training.

When you have been injured in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you must prove negligence on behalf of the trucker or the trucking company.  The best way to prove negligence is by showing non-compliance with regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  If a violation of the regulations contributed to the accident, then you will be entitled to compensation.

You need an attorney who is familiar with the federal regulations and has the expertise to prove that the trucking company did not follow the regulations.

Intensive Investigations 

After a truck accident, insurance companies, defense teams, and others may investigate to protect the trucking company. Other agencies may investigate, such as the National Transportation Safety Board. Knowing how to gather information from these investigations and conduct an independent investigation can be the key to winning your case. 

Multiple Parties Involved

Commercial truck accidents may involve multiple parties, such as:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking company
  • Truck owner
  • Mechanic
  • Cargo-loading company
  • Manufacturers

Each of these parties may try to minimize their degree of liability and try to shift the blame to others, including the truck accident victim. 

Size Discrepancy

Average passenger vehicles weigh between 2,500 and 6,000 pounds. Fully loaded trucks, on the other hand, can weigh up to 65,000 pounds. When these two vehicles of such disparate weights collide, extensive damage can often result. 18-wheeler accident victims can suffer serious injuries, including permanent disabilities that prevent them from earning an income and drastically reduce their quality of life. Responsible parties can be held accountable for these losses.

Potential Defendants in Truck Accident Cases

If you were injured in a truck accident, there may be one or more parties responsible for your injuries, including:

The Truck Driver 

The first party you may look to for compensation is the truck driver. Truck drivers must operate their vehicles safely and in conformance with the law. If they breach their legal duty, they can be held responsible for the ensuing injuries. 

The Trucking Company 

Trucking companies are responsible for the negligence of their drivers, as well as their negligent acts or omissions, such as:

  • Negligent hiring or supervision
  • Negligent retention of unsafe or unqualified drivers
  • Failing to maintain the fleet
  • Encouraging drivers to continue working beyond the hours of service rules
  • Failing to conduct mandatory drug and alcohol tests

Other Drivers

Just because a commercial truck was involved in the accident does not necessarily mean the truck driver was responsible for causing the accident. Other drivers may have contributed to the crash and can be held accountable for their negligence.  

Mechanics or Maintenance Companies

Trucking companies often outsource maintenance and vehicle repairs to third parties. If these parties negligently perform work on the trucks and this substandard work results in truck accidents, they can be held liable for the harm they cause. 

Cargo Loading Companies 

Trucking companies sometimes pay third parties to load cargo in their trucks. If this cargo is not properly secured, it can fall off the truck or shift the weight, putting the truck in danger of jackknifing during transit. 

Truck or Part Manufacturers 

Commercial trucks have thousands of parts. If any of these parts are defective, they can cause accidents, and the manufacturer responsible for them can be held responsible for the resulting injuries. 

Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries

In the trucking accident cases our attorneys have handled, the injuries were serious, permanent, and life-altering. We have had cases with leg amputations, crushed vertebrae, internal organ injuries, and significant brain injuries.

What Compensation Is Available?

Trucking companies are required to have liability insurance.  Most trucking companies have at least $1,000,000 in insurance to cover your injury claim. Many of those trucking companies have more than $1,000,000.

Injury victims have the right to be fairly compensated for the injuries and losses they suffered because of the accident, such as:

  • Medical expenses for current medical treatment and ongoing care
  • Future anticipated medical expenses
  • Lost income 
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Permanent disabilities and impairments
  • Reduced quality of life 

The value of your claim depends on the extent of the injuries, the amount of medical treatment needed, and the total medical bills  Other factors in determining the worth of a trucking injury claim are lost wages, pain, and whether the injury is permanent.

Experienced personal injury attorneys can gather evidence to help prove the full extent of your damages to seek maximum compensation for your claim. 

Our Trucking Accident Settlements

We have reached settlements in trucking accident cases totaling over $10,000,000. We were able to resolve one trucking accident case with permanent injuries for $4,450,000.

Evidence You Can Use in a Truck Accident Case

Truck accident cases are often very fact-specific. Proving the defendant is responsible for your accident injuries often requires compelling evidence, such as:

  • Electronic data recorder information 
  • Photos or videos of the accident
  • Personnel records
  • Inspection reports
  • Weight station tickets, bills of lading, dispatch instructions, and delivery documents
  • Toxicology records
  • Driver history information 

Experienced attorneys know how to identify and preserve evidence critical to your case. 

Why an Expert Witness Can Be Important in Truck Accident Cases

We usually retain an expert accident reconstructionist in cases involving 18-wheelers that have caused severe injuries. Our expert can download pertinent data from the 18-wheeler’s event data recorder so that we know the 18-wheeler’s speed, braking distance, and other relevant factors regarding how the wreck occurred.

Accident Scenes in Trucking Accident Cases We Have Handled

We have handled trucking accident cases that occurred on Highway 431 in Guntersville, Highway 72 near Gurley, I-565 near Madison, Memorial Parkway in Huntsville, and several trucking accident cases on I-65 in Morgan and Limestone Counties.

FAQs

How Can a Huntsville Truck Accident Lawyer Help with My Case?

Truck injury lawyers can handle the legal process while you focus on your injury. Siniard Law, LLC can help with your truck accident claim by:

  • Investigating your accident
  • Determining all parties at fault for your injuries
  • Preserving valuable evidence in your case
  • Handling communications and claims with insurance companies
  • Negotiating for maximum compensation
  • Answering your questions and advising you of your legal options at each phase of the case

How Much Do Huntsville Truck Accident Lawyers Charge for Their Legal Services? 

You might be concerned about whether you can afford to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, you can—regardless of your financial status. This is because the personal injury attorneys at Siniard Law, LLC, accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that our legal services are conditioned on our ability to bring about a successful outcome for your case. 

If we are unable to secure a settlement or award on your behalf, we do not get paid for our services. If we do secure compensation, we receive a percentage of what we recover on your behalf. You don’t pay us until you get paid.

Do I Have to Sue the Trucking Company to Recover Financial Compensation for My Truck Accident Injuries

Most personal injury cases are resolved through an insurance settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In truck accident cases, this could include the trucking company’s auto insurance, general liability insurance, or other insurance specific to the circumstances. 

However, in some cases, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to show the defendant you are serious about your injuries and recovering the compensation you deserve. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process and advise you on which strategy makes sense for you. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Alabama?

In Alabama, personal injury victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for causing the wreck. If this deadline passes and the case has not been settled and you have not filed a lawsuit, you can lose your opportunity to pursue compensation for the harm you suffered. Protect your legal rights by seeking skilled legal representation. 

How Are We Paid?

There is no cost to you if we do not obtain a settlement or verdict.  We are paid on a contingency fee basis.  This means we get a percentage of the verdict or settlement amount.

Contact an Experienced Huntsville Truck Accident Lawyer for Legal Advice and Representation

Were you injured in a truck accident in Huntsville, Alabama? If so, contact our legal team at Siniard Law, LLC. We want to protect your rights and recover financial compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Call us today to get started with your legal claim.