As Alabama’s fastest-growing city, Huntsville has a lot of traffic. And like most larger cities, Huntsville has plenty of traffic accidents. These massive trucks can carry 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and can cause devastating collisions with cars.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, you need an experienced Huntsville truck accident attorney with McCutcheon & Hamner fighting for you.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 fatal crashes and 108,000 injuries involve large trucks and buses yearly. These accidents often require extensive and costly medical treatments, leaving victims and their families with difficult long-term medical, lifestyle, and financial consequences.
When someone suffers injuries in a truck accident due to another party’s negligence, they deserve compensation for all their losses. McCutcheon & Hamner can help them.
Call us at (256)448-8523 today to schedule an appointment with our Huntsville truck accident lawyer.
A truck accident lawyer from McCutcheon & Hamner will work tirelessly to ensure you recover maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses. We have a team of experienced truck accident reconstructionists who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist us in investigating your case.
Our system has recovered millions of dollars of compensation for our clients when they needed help the most.
What Damages Can Truck Accident Victims Receive?
Damages refer to the truck accident-related losses you suffered for which you may recover compensation.
Here are some damages you may collect:
- Current and future medical expenses: This includes medical treatment, hospitalization, medication, rehabilitation, and other expenses related to the injuries you incurred now and may incur in the future.
- Lost income and loss of future earnings: If you miss work due to your truck accident injuries, you can claim compensation for the income you have lost. If you cannot work in the same capacity as before the accident, you may also recover compensation for loss of future earnings.
- Property damage: If the accident damaged your vehicle or other property, you can claim compensation for repairing or replacing your property.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering includes the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish you have suffered because of your accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: You may claim compensation for loss of enjoyment of life if the truck accident adversely impacts your quality of life.
- Loss of consortium: If the accident affects your relationship with your spouse or partner, you can claim compensation for this loss.
Who Can You Hold Liable for a Truck Accident?
Truck accidents can be complex, especially when it comes to determining liability. Often, several parties may bear liability. Your truck accident attorney will seek compensation from all parties responsible, further maximizing your compensation.
Here are some parties who you may hold liable in a truck accident:
The Truck Driver
You can hold truck drivers who speed, drive recklessly or under the influence, do not follow traffic rules, and disregard local and federal regulations liable for the accidents their negligent actions cause.
The Trucking Company
You can hold the trucking company liable for an accident involving one of their vehicles for negligent hiring, training, or supervision of the truck driver. Additionally, if a mechanical problem with the truck contributed to the accident, you can hold the trucking company liable if they failed to maintain or inspect the truck properly.
How May Vicarious Liability May Apply to a Truck Accident Case?
Vicarious liability is a legal term that allows an accident victim to take legal action against an employer and their employee when the employee’s negligent actions cause an accident that causes the victim harm.
Truck drivers must carry a minimum amount of insurance, but if your injuries exceed their policy limits, you may need to pay the difference. Trucking companies usually have more financial resources from which you can pursue compensation.
How Do I Establish a Trucking Company’s Liability in a Truck Accident?
To hold a trucking company liable for your accident injuries, you must establish:
- The truck driver worked for the trucking company when the accident happened
- The trucking company controlled the driver’s actions
- The truck driver was doing their work-related duties when the accident occurred
The Shipping/Loading Company
If improperly loaded or secured cargo causes your truck accident, you can hold the loading company liable for your accident. Shipping companies must load and secure that cargo so it doesn’t endanger other motorists.
How Can a Truck Driver’s Negligence Contribute to a Trucking Accident?
A trucker’s error causes many truck accidents, such as:
Truck drivers spend long hours on the road, which can be exhausting. Driver fatigue causes about 30 percent of all truck accidents, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration.
To reduce driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the number of hours truck drivers can drive in 24 hours and requires drivers to take breaks to ensure they stay alert on the road. However, some drivers may stay on the road longer than allowed.
Truck Driver Inexperience
An inexperienced truck driver may need more skills or knowledge to safely operate a large commercial vehicle, especially in difficult driving conditions such as poor weather, steep inclines, or heavy traffic.
They also may need to learn safety guidelines and regulations for tractor-trailers, understand the importance of maintaining their vehicles with regular inspections, and understand proper loading procedures.
Truck Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is illegal for all drivers, especially truckers behind the wheel of huge, heavy commercial trucks. The blood alcohol level for truck drivers is also lower than for other Alabama motorists—0.04 percent compared to 0.08 percent.
Any motorist who texts, talks on the phone, eats, drinks, or sets the navigation system while driving is distracted and at risk of getting into an accident. According to the FMCSA, 8 percent of commercial truck accidents involve distracted driving.
A speeding tractor-trailer is a literal speeding bullet. At excessive speeds, these massive trucks are more difficult to come to a complete stop. Truckers also need more time to react to unexpected situations. When speeding trucks hit another vehicle, the greater impact results in more catastrophic injuries.
How Can You Hold Trucking Companies Responsible for Truck Accidents?
A trucking company can bear liability for a truck accident in several ways. Carriers must follow federal rules and regulations to prevent accidents. Any oversight of regulations or intentional misconduct of the trucking company can lead to an accident. Here are some errors trucking companies make that can contribute to a truck accident:
Failure to Maintain Their Commercial Vehicles
Trucking companies must inspect trucks and conduct routine maintenance to ensure all systems function properly.
Missing a scheduled inspection or maintenance or not repairing damage or defects can lead to system failure and pose a hazard to the truck drivers and others on the road.
For example, a tire with uneven tread is at risk of a blowout, which can cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle.
Negligent Hiring Practices
Trucking companies must ensure their drivers are trained and qualified to drive their vehicles. Carriers should conduct background checks on all new applicants and review their records for criminal activity, traffic violations, or questionable employment history.
Sometimes staffing issues lead trucking companies to hire improperly trained drivers to drive these massive trucks. You can hold a trucking company liable for negligent hiring if their truck driver’s inexperience contributes to an accident.
Trucking companies should also regularly evaluate their drivers for compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. They must also test all their commercial drivers for drug use periodically. A truck driver who fails a drug test should not drive.
Failure to Supervise
Trucking companies can be held responsible for not ensuring their employees comply with state and federal regulations and laws. They must discipline or terminate drivers who fail to adhere to these safety requirements.
What Evidence Can Prove Liability in a Truck Accident?
Regulators and law enforcement review truck drivers and trucking companies’ records for compliance with trucking laws. Your truck accident lawyers can review these records to see if any violations occurred.
These records include:
- Truck driver hours of service logs
- Truck driver pre-trip inspection report
- Inspection and maintenance records
- Truck event data record logs
- Truck driver employment and driving records
- Truck cargo/freight manifest
- Drug/alcohol testing after an accident
- Cell phone usage data
- Post-accident truck inspection report
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Truck Accident Claim?
When you hire a truck accident attorney with McCutcheon & Hamner, we will build a strong case for you.
Our lawyers can:
- Investigate the truck accident and advise you on your legal options
- File preservation orders with the trucking company or truck driver to secure evidence, including inspection reports or trucking logs
- Identify the cause of the accident and all liable parties, such as trucking companies and cargo loaders
- Gather eyewitness testimony
- Gather testimony from accident reconstructionists, and medical, engineering, and financial experts
- Negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies
- File your case in civil court within Alabama’s statute of limitations
- Represent you in court and advocate on your behalf should your case become a truck accident lawsuit
- Provide peace of mind
Beware of Trucking Company’s Insurance Carriers’ Tactics
Every 16 minutes, someone is killed or seriously injured by a tractor-trailer truck. Trucking companies know this, too. They usually send a team to the accident site within an hour of the accident. These trucking company investigators hide hidden, obtain evidence, interview accident witnesses, and talk face-to-face with local officers to skew law enforcement’s investigation.
In many cases, the truck driver must meet with the trucking company’s lawyer before he can go home after an accident.
The McCutcheon & Hamner law firm belongs to a national organization of attorneys who handle truck accident cases. We meet with this national team regularly to update each other on the lengths these truck insurance companies go to protect their profits.
One of our groups had a case where a trucking company flew the family of an injured truck accident victim to the town where the crash victim was hospitalized, put them up in a hotel, gave them cell phones and meal cards, and then manipulated the family into giving dirt about the truck accident and their spouse. The trucking company used this information to reduce the compensation the injured victims deserved.
The accident victim’s lawyer learned of this only six weeks before trial.
This is simply wrong.
Call McCutcheon & Hamner as soon as possible after your truck accident, and we will ensure the trucking company and their insurance provider will not take advantage of you.
Contact a Huntsville Truck Accident Attorney at McCutcheon & Hamner Today
The Huntsville truck accident lawyers at McCutcheon & Hamner take truck accidents seriously. We have our own team of expert accident investigators on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that we dispatch to the scene of commercial vehicle accidents once we receive a call from a potential client. We do this to ensure the trucking company and their insurance provider cannot manipulate you into taking less compensation than you deserve.
You can trust the personal injury lawyers at McCutcheon & Hamner to fight for maximum compensation in your truck accident case.
Call us at (256) 448-8523 today to schedule an appointment with our
Huntsville truck accident attorney.