FAQs Accidents with Commercial Vehicles
Statistically, commercial vehicles cause a lot of accidents each year. In fact, commercial trucks like tractor trailers and 18-wheelers are involved in 12% of traffic-related deaths and 4% of injuries nationwide. Because of their size, these accidents can be severe and have lasting consequences for the victims.
If you have been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, you most likely have a lot of questions. While each case is unique, here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers related to these tragic accidents and the subsequent lawsuits.
Q: What is considered a “commercial truck?”
A: Commercial trucks are used to conduct business, such as making deliveries or transporting commercial goods. Examples are tanker trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, delivery trucks, and freight trucks.
Q: Why are injuries from commercial truck accidents typically more severe than those involving passenger cars?
A: A typical commercial truck is much larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle, meaning it can cause more destructive property damage and catastrophic injuries. The average passenger vehicle weighs roughly 3,000 pounds, and a fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds or more.
Q: What are the common causes of commercial truck accidents?
A: Because commercial trucks are larger than a passenger vehicle, they also take longer to stop and have limited visibility and maneuverability. When combined with poor road conditions, excessive speed, or a careless driver, these factors can lead to jackknife, rollover, underride, and override accidents.
Q: What is a truck’s “no zone” and why is it dangerous to drive in this area?
A: A commercial vehicle’s “no zone” refers to the areas around a large truck that have limited or no visibility. In other words, the truck driver can’t see the passenger vehicle in these areas, so it’s best to not stay in them.
Q: Who can be held responsible in an accident with a commercial vehicle?
A: There may be several responsible parties when a dangerous truck accident occurs. Both the truck driver and their employer (the trucking company) could be potentially liable. If there was a mechanical issue with the truck, a parts manufacturer or installer is also a possibility. In cases where road conditions contributed to an accident, a municipality might even hold a degree of fault. Because each case is unique and there are many factors involved, a quick and thorough investigation into your accident to determine the responsible parties is a must.
Q: What laws regulate commercial drivers that could play a role in an accident case?
A: There are federal, state, and local laws which could regulate commercial vehicles and their drivers. Failure to comply with any regulations could impact the outcome of your case. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules applying to the commercial trucking industry. These regulate:
- The hours that a truck driver can be on the road without a period of rest;
- Drug and alcohol use of commercial drivers;
- Training requirements for drivers;
- Weight limits for trucks and their loads; and
- Maintenance schedules for commercial vehicles.
Q: What compensation can I collect from a truck accident lawsuit?
A: If you are injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle, you have the right to seek compensation for current and future medical expenses, loss of immediate and future wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the crash. In wrongful death cases, the decedent’s family can also claim damages related to funeral costs, loss of economic contributions, and loss of companionship.
Q: What if I was partially at fault in the accident?
A: Alabama uses the contributory negligence legal doctrine, which is a harsh method of viewing fault in terms of the injured party. Essentially, the other side will attempt to show that you were partially at fault in the accident. If they can do this, you may not be entitled to collect damages. This is just one of the reasons why it is essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner who knows how to successfully argue these types of cases and will fight hard for your rights and interests.
Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney
At J. Allan Brown, L.L.C., our Mobile truck accident attorneys have a proven track record of aggressively pursuing justice on behalf of injured clients. Trucking companies often take elaborate steps to conceal evidence and defend their interests. This is why time is of the essence in these types of cases.
We recommend that you avoid speaking to anyone about your accident until you first consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. Contact our office now at 251-473-6691 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.