Accidents with commercial trucks are some of the deadliest that occur on the roadways. When a passenger car or truck collides with a tractor-trailer that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, it can result in devastating consequences. And unfortunately, drivers and passengers of other vehicles are usually the ones that take the worst of it.
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show just how devastating commercial trucking accidents can be. In 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for), there were 4,136 large truck accident fatalities, which was a 31% increase over 2009, just a decade earlier. Of those who were killed in these types of crashes, 67% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles, 16% were occupants of big rig trucks, and another 17% were motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
The Perils of Pursuing a Truck Accident Claim
Semi-truck accident claims are far more complicated and difficult to pursue than a standard auto accident. There are several laws and regulations that govern the trucking industry, and there are typically multiple factors that may have contributed to the accident. And because these accidents often involve severe injuries, trucking companies and their insurers expend a lot of resources fighting these claims in an attempt to mitigate their losses.
If you or someone close to you was injured in an accident with a big rig truck, it is highly recommended that you get an experienced attorney involved at your earliest possible convenience. This is especially true in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, an injured party can be barred from recovering damages even if there are found to be only 1% at fault for the underlying accident. With strong legal counsel in your corner, you can help ensure that your right to recover full and fair compensation is protected and preserved.
An attorney who has extensive experience with commercial truck accident cases will also have in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations that may be applicable to the case, and the numerous factors that might have caused the accident. In addition, they will have dealt with the various tactics and tricks the other side typically uses, and they will know how to successfully overcome them in order to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
What Must be Proven to Win my Truck Accident Claim?
After your commercial trucking accident injury, your lawyer will go to work immediately to conduct a thorough investigation and identify all contributing factors. Some important pieces of evidence that will need to be looked at include:
- The condition of your vehicle and the visible damage that helps show how the crash occurred;
- The official police report;
- The semi-truck inspection and maintenance logs to show if the truck was not properly maintained;
- The information and monitoring data for the truck driver that may show if they were in violation of federal Hours of Service guidelines;
- Information from the cargo/shipping company showing whether or not the amount of cargo exceeded weight limits;
- The results of any unplanned alcohol or drug tests that were conducted on the driver;
- Any information regarding vehicle product recalls or indications of defective or dangerous products that may have contributed to the accident;
- Your medical report, which will help confirm the extent of your injuries from the accident.
Some or all of this and other important information will be critical to the success of your case. And it may show fault not only on the part of the driver, but other parties as well; such as the trucking company that employs the driver, the shipping company that loaded the truck, the party responsible for maintaining the truck, and the manufacturer or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
Unfortunately, certain pieces of information that may be harmful to the defendant have a tendency to “disappear” over time. To help prevent this type of situation from occurring, your lawyer can send a “spoliation of evidence” letter to the appropriate parties requesting that all evidence and information that is relevant to your case be preserved. If a party fails to adhere to a spoliation letter, it makes it look as if they are trying to hide something, which will reflect very poorly on them if the case ends up in court.
Injured in a Large Truck Crash in Alabama? Contact a Seasoned Dothan, AL Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a commercial trucking accident in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. We will go to work immediately to pursue maximum compensation, and to ensure that all those responsible are held fully accountable. Message us online or call our office today at 334-581-9238 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.