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As you travel Alabama’s interstates and major highways such as I-65 and I-59, you will likely share the road with numerous tractor trailers and larger commercial trucks. When loaded, these large vehicles may weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can cause serious harm if a truck driver loses control. In a collision between an average 3,000-pound car and a tractor trailer that weighs 20 to 30 times as much as the car, the injuries are often catastrophic, life-changing or fatal for those in the smaller vehicle.
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., we believe that negligent truck drivers and trucking companies should be held responsible when they harm others. You should not have to pay medical bills for injuries caused by a negligent truck driver. Our experienced Alabama accident attorneys have recovered more than $100 million in verdicts and settlements for clients, including a $1 million settlement against a trucking company for causing the wrongful death of a motorist, a $1 million settlement in a wrongful death accident caused by a tractor trailer blocking a roadway and a $550,000 settlement of a hit-and-run accident involving an 18-wheeler.
If you have been injured in a truck accident or a loved one was killed in a truck accident, the law firm you select may make all difference in the outcome. If you choose a truck accident attorney at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., you will have the law firm that other attorneys and legal publications have recognized for exceptional legal service. Call 256-536-0588 to talk an experienced truck accident lawyer or use our online attorney contact form.
How an Experienced Huntsville Truck
Accident Attorney Can Help You
Truck accidents cause more catastrophic, life altering, and fatal injuries than any other type of motor vehicle accident because of the size of large trucks and the speed involved.
The legal team at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., has extensive experience handling catastrophic injury and wrongful death truck accidents.
We understand the turmoil and sense of uncertainty that many individuals and Alabama families experience after a serious accident. We understand you and your family are going through a very difficult time. Having a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer who can provide trusted guidance can ease your burden and allow you to focus on recovering and moving forward.
Our legal team will investigate the accident and identify all the potentially at-fault parties. We will move quickly to find and preserve evidence of negligence on the part of the truck driver, trucking company or others involved. In some complex truck accidents, we may work with traffic reconstruction experts to analyze the crash and identify the contributing factors to the accident.
We can work with expert economists and life planners who will evaluate the financial impact of the injuries that you or your loved one has sustained. In calculating your financial losses, we will take into account the cost of current and future medical treatment, surgery, physical therapy, medical equipment and lost wages.
We will present a claim on your behalf to the insurance companies of the at-fault party or parties and negotiate aggressively for maximum compensation. We investigate each truck accident case thoroughly as if it is going to trial. Having all the facts in hand allows us to negotiate from a position of strength. Our attorneys are experienced negotiators, and most cases settle without going to trial.
If the insurance company is unwilling to reach a just settlement, our truck injury lawyers are prepared to seek justice in court. We are trial lawyers with a strong track record of success. That makes insurance companies more willing to reach a settlement.
If your future is at stake, trust Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.
Truck Accidents Are More Complicated Than the Typical Automobile Accident
Multiple parties including the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo shipper and others may be jointly liable for a truck accident. Each party may have a different insurer, adding a further complication. Trucking companies and commercial truck drivers are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance than automobile drivers because of the harm that large trucks can cause. Therefore, the financial stakes are higher after trucking accidents.
It is a sure bet that a trucking company and truck driver and their insurers will have lawyers representing their interests. Within minutes of a truck accident, the trucking company’s team of lawyers, accident investigators, and insurance adjusters will swarm the accident scene. Investigators may try to contact you, and anything you say to the investigator could hurt your case. It is important not to talk to their investigator without a lawyer. Take their contact information and let them know your attorney will be contacting them. If you do not have a truck accident lawyer working for you to help with your accident investigation, you may be at a distinct disadvantage.
Their job is to protect the trucking company and minimize the company’s liability exposure. They will try to manage the release of evidence that hurts their client’s case. Essentially, their job is to diminish the value of the claims of other motorists injured in a truck accident.
It is critically important that the injured motorist or the family of a person killed in a truck accident have an experienced truck accident lawyer working on their side and standing up for their interests.
Accidents involving an 18 wheeler and other vehicles require a thorough investigation. Our lawyers are well-informed about federal Department of Transportation (DOT) and state regulations as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which governs the trucking industry. Commercial truck drivers are required to possess a commercial driver license (CDL) and obtain specific training. Trucking companies are required to keep certain records such as driver logs and maintenance records for a specific period of time. These records may offer important evidence of negligence after a truck accident, such as driver fatigue and improper maintenance. Care must be taken to preserve and properly store evidence from the truck’s “black box,” which stores computer data about the truck’s movement. But the evidence may be lost if you wait too long to contact a lawyer to investigate your accident.
Our team of truck accident attorneys wants to work on your side to protect your ability to recover the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers are familiar with accident reconstruction experts and trucking experts. We know the types of evidence to look for and will move quickly to retrieve, document, analyze and preserve evidence critical to your truck accident claim.
Truck Driver and Others May Be Liable for Accident
Truck accidents often have multiple contributing factors and involve several potentially responsible parties including the truck driver, the trucking company, the freight shipper and, in some instances, the manufacturer of defective truck equipment. Identifying all the potentially responsible parties after a serious truck accident requires a detailed analysis by experienced truck accident attorneys. The parties responsible for a truck accident may include any of the following:
- Truck Owner: The owner of the truck, trailer and other equipment has a legal duty to inspect and maintain their trucks and equipment to ensure that they are safe for travel on Alabama roads and highways. Defective brakes, poorly maintained tires, or other improperly maintained equipment often contribute to 18 wheeler accidents.
- Trailer Owner: Commercial truck drivers often tow trailers that have different owners than the truck tractor. If the trailer maintenance has been neglected or the trailer was improperly loaded and an accident resulted, the trailer owner may be partly or fully liable for the injuries.
- Truck or Trailer Leasing Company: The company that leases a tractor trailer truck, trailer or other equipment is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the leased equipment. They may be held liable for a trucking accident.
- Cargo Shipper, Truck Loaders: A shipper may be responsible for an accident if the cargo falls off a truck because it was improperly loaded and shifts inside a trailer, causing the driver to lose control. When tractor trailers are not properly loaded, overweight or unbalanced loads often lead to truck rollover accidents. The truck loaders have a duty to load the truck to ensure that the load is properly balanced and does not shift.
- Truck Manufacturers & Parts Manufacturers: When defective vehicle designs or defective parts such as truck tires that de-tread contribute to truck accidents, the vehicle and parts manufacturers may be held liable for the truck accident. The initial police investigation may overlook the role of a defective part in causing an accident.
- Federal, State and Local Road Authorities: The agency responsible for the design, construction or maintenance of the road may be held liable for an unsafe roadway design or dangerous road conditions that contribute to a truck accident.
Causes of Truck Accidents
In Alabama, 101 people were killed in truck accidents on Alabama’
s roadways in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most of those who died were occupants of other vehicles. Many of the accidents were preventable.
Large trucks, such as flatbeds, tanker trucks and tractor trailers, are more difficult to maneuver, have wide blind spots, and take more distance to stop. For these reasons, it is essential that truck drivers remain alert to changes in road and traffic conditions, drive at safe speeds and follow other vehicles at a safe distance to allow themselves enough room to stop.
A truck driver who is speeding, driving too fast for road conditions, tailgating or inattentive may cause a serious accident. The disparity in weight and size of 18 wheelers and cars means that truck collisions involve a larger share of severe injuries and fatal injuries.
A national study of the causes of large truck crashes published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration analyzed approximately 1,000 accidents involving large trucks and found that the trucks were at-fault in 55 percent of the crashes. The most common reasons cited involved poor decisions by truck drivers such as speeding, driving aggressively and paying inadequate attention to traffic conditions. Overall, truck drivers make more mistakes than drivers of passenger vehicles, the study said.
Seven of the ten most common factors identified in the study as causes of truck accidents involved truck driver errors. The most common causes of truck accidents include:
- Overweight truck
- Making illegal maneuvers
- Inadequate surveillance by the driver
- Driving too fast for traffic conditions
- Following too close
- Misjudgment of other vehicle’s speed
- Stop required before crash
- External distraction
- Brake problem
Mechanical issues with trucks such as brakes out of adjustment, tire failures or lights not working were identified as the cause in 8 percent of crashes in which the truck was at fault. Meanwhile, truck driver decisions such as speeding and tailgating were identified as the cause in 42 percent of the accidents in which the truck was at fault.
Our attorneys handle a broad range of truck accidents including:
- 18 Wheeler Accidents
- Tractor Trailer Accidents
- Ambulance Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Bucket Truck Accidents
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Delivery Truck Accidents
- Dump Truck Accidents
- Fire Truck Accidents
- Garbage Truck Accidents
- Tanker Truck Accidents
- Utility Truck Accidents
- 15-Passenger Van Accidents
- DWI/DUI Truck Accidents
- Railroad Crossing Accidents
- Hazardous Cargo and Spills
- Negligent Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Roads
- Negligent Hiring, Retention, Supervision, and Training of Truck Drivers
- Defective Products