Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you care for have been the victim of a truck accident, contact an experienced Birmingham, AL truck accident attorney for legal help and counsel. Semi-truck accidents are almost always catastrophic. The nature of car accidents involving 18-wheeled tractor-trailers is violent and traumatic. When a large truck collides with a regular passenger vehicle, it typically crushes the smaller car, pushes it off the road, and leaves it mangled. Most truck accident survivors suffer severe injuries and the memory of such disastrous crashes will haunt victims for the rest of their lives.

Our Birmingham injury attorneys will fight on your behalf while you and your family focus solely on recovery. We recently recovered more than one million dollars for a truck accident victim- meet with us in a free consultation today to see if we can do the same for you.

When Truck Drivers Are Negligent

Despite sharing the road with much smaller vehicles, many truck drivers fail to take the proper safety measures to prevent an accident. Other drivers do their best to perform their duties reasonably, but they make human errors or suffer lapses in judgment. These lapses can be deadly. When truckers drive when they’re drowsy, drive under the influence, drive distracted, or any other form of negligent driving, they are risking the lives of every other driver on the roadway.

Common causes of truck accidents are driver fatigue, road rage, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Truck drivers are on strict deadlines to meet their destinations, driving long hours and pushing themselves past a safe limit. Although Alabama law requires commercial truck drivers to sleep a certain number of hours every day, oftentimes these hours aren’t during the normal sleep cycle. Truck drivers may have difficulty sleeping during their required hours and fail to get a restful night’s sleep.

Some of the most serious and often times deadly truck accidents occur when truck accidents collide with smaller vehicles, motorcycles, bicycle, and even pedestrians. Accidents resulting from large trucks and semi trucks colliding with them usually result in serious life threatening injuries like: Brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, paralysis, and death.

A wide range of different types of auto collisions are often times caused by truck drivers negligence. For example motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bus accidents, and other types of auto crashes are frequently caused by the negligent actions of truck drivers who are either driving under the influence, driving distracted, or driving while fatigued.

Drowsy driving in a truck is incredibly dangerous. Even the slightest driving mistake can lead to a large-scale crash. When a truck driver drifts into another lane without paying attention, the truck can push other drivers off the roadway and into guardrails or oncoming traffic. If a truck driver wakes up and abruptly jerks the wheel back into his or her own lane, the truck can smash into other vehicles, causing a pileup.

Federal and state laws prohibit truck drivers from drinking on the job. A blood alcohol content (BAC) level of just 0.02 behind the wheel (about the equivalent of one drink) is punishable with a 24-hour commercial driving suspension. A BAC of 0.04 results in a DUI. Unfortunately, truck drivers don’t always follow the law. When a truck driver drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can lead to a major accident – often fatal for other drivers.

Who is Responsible?

Since most truck drivers are commercial, they generally have special insurance depending on what the vehicle hauls. When a truck driver acts negligently, causing an accident, the victim(s) can hold the driver responsible as well as the truck company. The company can be held responsible for hiring a negligent driver or failing to train drivers properly.

If a part malfunction, such as faulty brakes, causes the accident, the victim(s) can file a product liability lawsuit and sue the manufacturer, maintenance crew, or another negligent party. Each truck accident case is different. Working with a Birmingham truck accident attorney who understands state laws regarding commercial trucks is the only way to ensure you’re pursuing the defendant with as much power as the law provides.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The Alabama Department of transportation analyzes truck-involved accidents annually. In 2014, they released a list of the predominate causes; however, they also note “there is no inference as to whether the truck or another type of vehicle was the cause of the crash.”

Some of the most common causes are:

  • Improper Lane Change – 11.4% of crashes
  • Failure to Yield Right of Way- 10.2%
  • Unseen Object, Person, or Vehicle- 8.7%
  • Tailgating- 7.2%
  • Misguided Stopping Distance- 5%
  • Defective Equipment- 4.9%
  • Avoiding Animals, Objects or People- 4.1%

Certain roads are more prone to truck-involved accidents, as well.

Trucking Accidents in Alabama

Fatalities follow a similar trend, though not identical. Accidents on a U.S. Route are responsible for 30.2% of fatalities followed by state routes and an interstate with 29.2 and 28.1 percent in 2014. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatalities from truck accidents are on the rise, increasing by 18 percent between 2009 and 2012. On average, there are 10 fatal crashes and more than 280 injures per day.

The trucking industry is a major economic player in Alabama, and truck drivers carry goods all over the state every day. In 2015 alone, the trucking industry provided more than 100,000 jobs in Alabama. This equates to one out of every 15 Alabama adults working in the trucking industry. The average salary for Alabama trucking industry workers is around $40,000 per year and the state reported more than $4.9 billion in trucking industry wages for 2015. There are more than 9,000 trucking companies operating out of Alabama, and the majority of these companies are small, locally-owned businesses. Alabama depends on tractor-trailers to move more than 86% of all goods in the state, and more than 79% of all goods manufactured in Alabama reach their destinations by truck.

Considering the vast impact the trucking industry has on the state of Alabama and its residents, it’s vital for Alabama residents to know how to handle trucking accidents. Since 1975, the fatal accident rate for tractor-trailers has dropped dramatically. As of 2014, the fatal accident rate for trucks in Alabama was only 1.14 per 100 million vehicle miles travelled.

Recent Trucking Issues in Alabama

Many truck drivers and trucking companies in Alabama are worried about the impact that Birmingham area construction and road work will have on drive time and profitability. The I-59 and I-20 bridges are under construction with a major bridge replacement project on the horizon for 2018, and trucking industry representatives have already bemoaned the associated delays. The construction will last several years, and Birmingham has the largest concentration of jobs in the state. This means that all motorists, including truck drivers, will need to circumvent the construction or find new routes.

Buddy Moore Trucking Company has a distribution center in east Birmingham and 30 trucks travelling between this center and customers in the Birmingham area every day. Once I-59 and I-20 close for construction, these drivers will have to either navigate very congested inner city streets or drive up to 30 miles out of the way to get around the construction. This has an enormous impact on the company’s ability to meet customer demands. Company leaders at Buddy Moore are considering investing in property in West Birmingham to serve as a staging area and offset lost driving time.

Construction on the road also makes it especially difficult for truck drivers who may only drive for up to 11 hours per day each. Navigating the congested Birmingham area could take up to two hours alone, significantly impacting how much travel a truck driver can complete in a given day. This construction also opens the door to more accidents in several ways. Traffic congestion can cause tempers to flare and driver to act irrationally or impulsively. In an effort to get to work on time, a driver may speed or engage in reckless driving maneuvers that put other motorists at risk. If truck drivers speed or drive unsafely to reach destinations on time, it puts every other driver around the truck at serious risk. Construction also means lane closures and more road hazards.

Federal and state laws prohibit truck drivers from drinking on the job. A blood alcohol content (BAC) level of just 0.02 behind the wheel (about the equivalent of one drink) is punishable with a 24-hour commercial driving suspension. A BAC of 0.04 results in a DUI. Unfortunately, truck drivers don’t always follow the law. When a truck driver drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can lead to a major accident – often fatal for other drivers.

How to Safely Drive Around 18-Wheelers

For noncommercial drivers, doing your part to avoid severe truck accidents could be a life and death matter. It’s important for all drivers to remember with the trucks great size comes greater blind spots and slower breaks than most cars. Follow the below safety tips to hopefully avoid a truck accident in Birmingham.

  • Avoid “No-Zones”: directly behind the truck and beside where they have large blind spots
  • Always use your blinker when around semis and never abruptly change lanes or cut them off
  • Try not to drive between two semi truck
  • Be patient when a truck is making a right turn; they sometimes require more than one lane to turn successfully
  • When merging, accelerate with enough speed so the truck driver doesn’t need to break quickly
  • Avoid any and all unsafe passing when semi trucks are near by
  • Don’t abandon your vehicle in a travel lane; if possible, move the car completely off the shoulder and wait for help

Seek Legal Help From Truck Accident Attorney in Birmingham, AL

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you have a legal right to take the negligent party to court. At The Mitchell Law Firm, LLC, we’ll try to win you a settlement without taking your case to trial – through mediation with the other party. Our truck accident lawyers in Birmingham, AL understand your injuries are likely severe, and you may need financial compensation for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost earning capacity. When you’re ready to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your accident, contact us for a free consultation.

 

“I turned [my case] over to Mike and he did a great job handling my issues. His staff is very professional and kept me up to date with everything going on.” – Craig S.