Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyer
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.