Experienced Mobile Alabama Trucking Accident Attorney
Caring personal and legal support for the injured
A passenger car is no match in a collision with a commercial semi-truck weighing between 10 and 40 tons. Your passenger car averages around 5,000 pounds so it is easy to see that catastrophic injuries are most likely to be suffered by the occupants of the passenger vehicle.
In Alabama in 2014, there were 76 deaths among passengers involved in a semi-truck crash, according to federal statistics.
Victims of these devastating events need the support of a Mobile truck accident attorney with the legal skills to go against powerful trucking companies. We bring a clear understanding of how trucking operations work and the compassion to help victims and their families through a complex set of legal and personal challenges as they try to recover from physical and emotional injuries.
Mobile personal injury lawyer J. Allan Brown founded the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, L.L.C. to provide injury victims with a level of personal and legal support they cannot always experience from truck accidents attorneys in Mobile working at large, impersonal law firms. Now, more than ever, it is critical to have a strong advocate in your corner who is willing to provide the skilled personalized representation you need and deserve.
Alabama Truck Accidents
There are more than 9,000 trucking companies in the state of Alabama, and there are tens of thousands of big rigs traveling our highways.
According to the most recent report by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 147 trucks were involved in fatal crashes in Alabama in just one year alone.
While most trucking accidents may involve truck driver error, the true liability often extends to the trucking companies or other parties, shown in the following examples:
- A driver experiences exhaustion but continues driving due to difficult deadline pressures
- The brakes of a truck fail shortly after undergoing repairs
- A tire blows when proper pre-trip inspections should have revealed issues
- A driver loses control when cargo shifts because someone loaded it improperly
There are also instances where the passenger vehicle may be at fault. Tailgating, cutting off a big rig, driving in his blind zone, all make it difficult for the truck driver to operate his vehicle safely.
Please be mindful that it takes additional time for a large truck to brake and visibility of a passenger vehicle may be compromised if you follow a semi- truck too closely.
Truck Accidents and Contributory Negligence
If you are a resident of Alabama or if your accident occurred in Alabama you should understand that Alabama is one of four states that operates under a standard of pure contributory negligence.
What does that mean?
In other states, if you contributed to your accident, your jury award will be reduced by the degree of your contribution. In Alabama, if you were partially to blame for your trucking accident, you will not be able to recover any compensation in court.
Contributory negligence will be an argument that the insurance company for the other side uses against you to bar any recovery. This is a time when you need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney who understands how the other side will try and blame you for your own accident.
Investigating Your Alabama Truck Accident
Your trucking accident attorney must be aware of how to thoroughly investigate a truck accident.
We will send preservation letters to the trucking company and all related in this accident to make sure evidence is preserved. Part of our investigation will include:
- The Black Box Recorder – Every truck contains a recording device, not unlike what is on an airplane, that records the conditions outside the truck and inside the truck just prior to the accident. This is an important tool in reconstructing what caused this truck accident.
- The Hours-of-Service – Under federal law, truck drivers are prescribed a number of hours of rest prior to a long haul. We often find that the driver was tired at the time of the accident and had violated the rules, possibly making the truck driver liable.
- Drunk, Drugs or Distracted Driver – Our thorough investigation will determine what electronic devices were in use at the time of the truck accident. We can assume the driver was distracted if he was texting at the time of the collision. Additionally, a blood test will determine what, if any, drugs or alcohol were consumed prior to the truck accident.
- Third Parties – The driver may not own his truck and may be driving at the orders of a company that forced delivery of goods under extremely tight hours. The truck may have malfunctioned or not have been maintained making the owner or maintenance entity responsible for the truck accident.
- Truck Load – If a third party loaded a truck that overturned, our thorough investigation can determine if an improper balance contributed to the truck accident.
- Truck Manufacturer – When trucks malfunction, they may be defective in design and we can determine if any recalls had been issued.
If our investigation determines negligence was involved by any entity, we will be able to identify the liable party that caused this accident.
Know Your Rights After an Alabama Truck Accident
Trucking accidents lawyers in Mobile need a detailed understanding of local laws as well as state and federal trucking industry laws. After a thorough investigation, we will show how you do not share fault in causing your truck accident and therefore contributory negligence should not apply.
The Law Office of J. Allan Brown conducts thorough investigations, enlisting the aid of forensic accident investigators and trucking industry specialists to identify all liable parties. Our links to professional medical resources help make sure clients pursue the full compensation they deserve from everyone who contributed to their distress.
Who Will Pay for My Injuries?
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial bus or truck, chances are that the damages you have suffered are significant. You may be dealing with a disability, medical expenses, property damage costs, lost wages, and more – surely you want these damages paid, and paid quickly.
Which party will be responsible for paying for your claim will depend upon who caused your accident. Potential parties who may be responsible for paying for your injuries (typically through their liability insurance) include a commercial vehicle company or driver, a shipper or loader of cargo, the party responsible for vehicle maintenance, a vehicle or vehicle part manufacturer, or even a party responsible for road maintenance, such as a municipality.
Responsible parties may include:
The trucking company may also be known as the carrier. It is the carrier responsible for the trucks, the drivers it hires, and their training. Often, the carrier needs a load to be at a location in a limited window of time. As a result, the driver may have to violate the hours-of-service rules, limiting the amount of time he is allowed behind the wheel.
There are records and a black box recorder that contains that information. In the event of an accident, that becomes evidence in our case. The carrier is also responsible for the truck’s maintenance, the road readiness of the tires, and the inspection of the vehicle.
Truck Owner or Driver
Truck drivers must be healthy, responsible drivers who follow the rules of the road. But, often, we find they may have cut corners. In some cases, the driver may not fully disclose a health condition. Other times, a driver may be driving while tired or distracted. Then some drivers push the limits by speeding. With a large truck weighing upward of 2,000 pounds, that is a formula for disaster that could lead to a criminal charge if there is a deadly crash. The driver, too, is responsible for inspecting the rig to make sure it is safe to drive.
Cargo Shipping Company
Cargo must be loaded carefully in a large truck. A failure to do so can result in liability for a trucking accident. For example, in some cases, the carrier may be transporting cargo that is sealed upon pickup. In that case, both parties must follow applicable state and federal regulations. In other instances, cargo may not have been correctly loaded and balanced. As a result, if it shifts during travel, it can cause a truck to jackknife.
How Long Will My Case Take to Settle?
Waiting for weeks or months to be offered a settlement that is fair and just can be frustrating, but unfortunately, this is typically the reality of the claims process. Commercial vehicle accidents are complicated, and an investigation into the accident alone can take weeks, or even months! Until an investigation is concluded, it can be difficult to know who’s at fault, and against whom to file a claim. What’s more, you usually should not seek a settlement until you have fully recovered from your injuries or reached what is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This too could take months. While most cases are settled in under a year, if a case goes to court, it could take over a year to resolve.
For a free consultation about your legal options, contact an experienced trucking accidents attorney in Mobile.
Message us online to learn how J. Allan Brown can help or call our office today at (251) 220-3199. The firm provides personal injury services on a contingency-fee basis. You pay no attorney fees until you obtain a settlement or award for your case.