Virtually every industry relies on commercial trucking for the delivery of materials or delivery of products to the marketplace. While commercial trucks are essential to our economy, these massive vehicles can cause catastrophic and potentially fatal injuries if they are involved in an accident. If a truck driver or the trucking company that hired them was negligent and an accident occurs, the victims could be owed significant compensation as a result.

Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., represents people in Huntsville and across Alabama who have been hurt in a collision with an 18-wheeler. Our consultations are free, and you will not owe us anything unless we secure compensation for you. Fill out a contact form or call us at (256) 536-0588 to schedule your free case evaluation today.

Common Causes of 18 – Wheeler Accidents in Alabama

Many different factors can contribute to accidents involving large trucks. Examples of commonly-reported causes of tractor-trailer accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Driver Error
  • Mechanical defects
  • Inadequate driver training
  • Inclement weather
  • Driver fatigue
  • Unsecured loads
  • Overloaded trailers
  • Improper repairs
  • Failure to maintain vehicle
  • Brake failure

Different parties may be responsible for the accident, depending on the specific circumstances. It can be difficult to immediately identify all of the potentially-responsible parties, which is why it is crucial to hire an experienced attorney to investigate the accident on your behalf.

Common Types of 18 – Wheeler Truck Accidents

Though each commercial truck crash is unique, some kinds of accidents are more common than others. In general, some of the most common types of commercial truck accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Head-On Collisions
  • T-Bone Collisions
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Wide-Turning Accidents
  • Intersection Accidents
  • Override Accidents
  • Underride Accidents
  • Jackknife Accidents
  • Overloaded Vehicles
  • Rollover Accidents
  • Blocking Accidents

Certain types of accidents involve greater impact and increased risk of catastrophic injury than others. Semi-trucks are usually 70-80 feet long, including the trailer, and can weigh up to 80,000 lbs, which is 20-30 times more than the average passenger vehicle. The sheer size and weight of these vehicles means that accidents are often much more devastating than those involving smaller vehicles.

18 – Wheeler Trucking Regulations in Huntsville, Alabama

Most commercial vehicle regulations in Alabama mirror federal regulations. One major difference is that federal law requires logbooks to be maintained for six months while Alabama requires them to be maintained for 12 months.

Alabama also regulates:

  • The maximum time a driver may drive a commercial vehicle at once
  • Driver logs
  • Driver training and hiring requirements
  • Drug tests and alcohol tests
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Truck inspections
  • Truck weight standards

In Alabama, a trucking company must immediately report any significant accident to law enforcement. The accident also needs to be reported to the Alabama Public Safety Commission within 24 hours if the accident involved a fatality, or within 15 days if not.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a 18 – Wheeler Crash?

Unlike passenger vehicle collisions in which one driver or another is usually liable for all damages, commercial truck accidents are much more complex because multiple parties may bear liability. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, one or more of the following could be held liable:

  • Truck driver
  • Truck owner
  • Truck part manufacturer
  • Maintenance company
  • Shipping agency
  • Cargo loading company
  • Governmental entity
  • Another motorist

When more than one party is at fault for your injuries, it is not uncommon for the driver or the trucking company to try and pass more of the blame onto another. Each will do whatever it can to minimize its own liability. A lawyer can conduct an independent investigation into your accident to determine who was truly at fault.

18 – Wheeler Truck Accident Statistics

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) defines a truck as any vehicle heavier than a light truck or sport-utility vehicle (SUV), including delivery trucks, buses, 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tow trucks, bucket trucks and utility work trucks. The 8,937 trucks involved in crashes in Alabama in 2016 was the highest number in the 10-year period going back to 2007, and the 2,367 injuries stemming from these crashes was the highest total since 2006.

Alabama truck crashes in 2015 resulted in 118 fatalities. 58 of those deaths, or 36.9 percent, occurred on state routes. In 2016, 2,461 accidents, or 27.5 percent of total crashes, occurred on interstates, while 2,269, or 25.4 percent, occurred on city roads.

According to ALDOT, the primary cause of crashes involving trucks were:

  • Improper Lane Change or Use — 1,104 (12.4 percent)
  • Failed to Yield Right of Way — 847 (9.5 percent)
  • Unseen Object, Person, or Vehicle — 817 (9.2 percent)
  • Tailgating — 692 (7.7 percent)
  • Misjudged Stopping Distance — 504 (5.6 percent)
  • Defective Equipment — 399 (4.5 percent)
  • Improper Backing — 360 (4.0 percent)
  • Improper Turn — 322 (3.6 percent)
  • Avoiding Animal, Object, or Person — 322 (3.6 percent)
  • Crossed Median/Centerline — 272 (3.0 percent)
  • Failure to Obey Sign/Signal — 233 (2.6 percent)
  • Fatigued/Asleep — 200 (2.2 percent)
  • Driving too Fast for Conditions — 176 (2.0 percent)
  • Improper Passing — 173 (1.9 percent)
  • Run Off Road — 157 (1.8 percent)
  • Driving Under the Influence — 111 (1.2 percent)
  • Over the Speed Limit — 86 (1.0 percent)

The cause was unknown in 448 accidents, or 5.0 percent. All other causes accounted for the remaining 1,714, or 19.2 percent, of crashes.

The Process After a 18 – Wheeler Accident in Alabama

The first thing to do after a commercial truck crash is to make sure you receive medical care. This is true even when you do not think you were hurt. Some injury symptoms may not appear until long after the adrenaline and shock from the collision are gone. Also, any delay in treatment could be questioned by insurance adjusters after the fact.

You should also try to take pictures of the accident scene. If you are unable to do this, ask a friend or family member to do it on your behalf as quickly as possible. Waiting even a few hours can cause vital evidence to disappear.

You will want to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your lawyer will conduct an independent investigation and then begin negotiating for a fair and full settlement. If an insurance company refuses to provide satisfactory compensation, your attorney may take them to court to secure the compensation that you are owed.

Contact Us For Help with Your 18 – Wheeler Truck Accident Claim

Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a commercial truck crash in Alabama? Make sure to contact a lawyer with the right experience and resources to handle your case.

The truck accident attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., have more than a century of combined legal experience and have been helping people in Alabama since 1966. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (256) 536-0588 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.