Truck Accident Attorneys
Sharing the road with tractor-trailers is a part of everyday driving on Birmingham roads and highways. Unfortunately, this means there will be mismatched accidents involving hulking trucks and much smaller passenger cars. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these accidents, we know you face a terrible ordeal as you recover.
At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, our dedication and proven record of success put our personal injury attorneys in the best position to get you the compensation you deserve for injuries suffered in a truck accident. Our job as attorneys is to help Birmingham families get back on track.
Contact our Birmingham truck accident attorneys here or by calling (866) 515-8880 if you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and you’re ready to get the help you need.
Why Are Truck Accidents Different?
- Size and Weight
Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, trucks are 16 times heavier than most cars. Such a weight disparity means the vehicle a truck strikes will always receive the worst end of the damage. The impact of a truck against a vehicle a fraction of its size can demolish a car with ease and lead to catastrophic injuries. If this has happened, you need to speak to a Birmingham truck accident lawyer.
- Poor Braking
Coming to a complete stop takes time and space after you slam on the brakes. Because of their size and weight, trucks need even more space than cars. When traveling 60 miles per hour, the average truck needs 350 feet – more than the length of a football field – to come to a stop. Negligent truck drivers will often keep far less space between them and the next car ahead of them, greatly increasing their risk of a crash.
- Poor Maneuverability
Similar to limitations with braking, trucks have a hard time avoiding hazards on the road because of their size and weight. If there is debris in the roadway, a truck is going to need more time to react and more space to maneuver around it.
- Hazardous Cargo
Commercial trucks often carry cargo that is combustible or explosive. If these materials are involved in even a minor crash, they can make the situation potentially deadly.
Truck accidents are different from normal car crashes. This also extends to the law. Strict laws in Alabama and at the federal level govern the activity of drivers on the road and the responsibilities of the trucking companies that employ them. When these laws are violated, people are hurt. This is where a Birmingham truck accident attorney comes in. You need an attorney who understands the nuances of truck accident law. The attorneys at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums are experienced with truck accident cases.
Proving Your Truck Accident Case
When you hire a truck accident lawyer at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, we get to work building the strongest case possible. An essential part of a truck accident lawsuit is proving that the truck driver and/or the trucking company is liable for the accident.
Trucking law is governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. These laws are primarily found in Title 49 of the Federal Code of Regulations. Alabama also has its own laws that apply to the trucking industry.
Any of the followings can be used to establish negligence on the part of the truck driver or trucking company:
- Driver Fatigue
Truck drivers are required to get a certain amount of sleep when on trips. The reality is that doesn’t always happen, and the more tired a truck driver is, the better chance they’ll get in an accident. At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, we know the laws concerning truck drivers and their mandated rest time. These laws exist for a reason, and our lawyers will hold companies accountable when they violate them.
- Speeding or Driving Too Fast In Poor Conditions
Truck drivers are mostly paid based on mileage, not time spent on the road. This means some drivers speed to get to their destination, regardless of the road conditions. Driving massive trucks at high rates of speed in poor visibility, rain, fog or other bad weather increases the chances of a serious accident exponentially. Driving recklessly through construction zones also endangers workers.
- Following Too Closely
It’s Alabama law that truckers must maintain a safe distance between their truck and the vehicles in front of them. As we said above, because trucks weigh so much more than cars, they have to brake much earlier than other vehicles. Trucks that are not inspected properly also may have poor or malfunctioning brakes.
- Drug and Alcohol Use
The law is very clear and strict when it comes to driving a truck under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Though it’s highly illegal, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for truck drivers to use drugs or drink while operating a truck. Methamphetamine use for truckers trying to stay awake on lengthy trips has long been a well-documented problem. Our lawyers have no tolerance for drivers who operate any vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, and our lawyers will step up to help those who these drivers hurt.
- Negligent Maintenance
Trucks that are poorly maintained can be extremely dangerous. Failing brakes, bad engines, electrical problems and more can easily cause a very serious crash. Trucks are required to be inspected frequently. However, some truck companies trying to save a few bucks may attempt to bypass inspections or find ways to avoid recommended safety improvements. A truck accident attorney can hold them accountable.
- Improper Safety Equipment
Trucks have myriad safety devices: reflectors, special tape, dozens of lights and other equipment to keep surrounding drivers aware of their presence. If any of a truck’s safety equipment is faulty, the truck company or driver could be held liable for any injury caused in a subsequent crash.
- Under-Ride Protection
Under-ride protection exists to keep vehicles from crumpling under a truck’s massive back end in an accident. If the under-ride protection fails and a car rides underneath a truck in a crash, the consequences could be very harmful, if not deadly.
- Overloaded Trucks
While there are strict rules regulating how much cargo a truck can shuttle across the country, truck drivers and companies sometimes ignore these regulations. A truck carrying too much weight is at more risk for an accident, and may also cause more damage when an accident occurs. An attorney can file a lawsuit against a trucking company when an improperly loaded or overloaded truck results in an accident.
- Negligent Hiring and Training
Truck companies desperate to hire the cheapest employee as fast and they can to fill jobs will often overlook background checks and inadequately train drivers. Putting poorly trained or unqualified drivers on the road puts you and your family at incredible risk.
- Poor Driving History
Many reckless truck drivers go from trucking company to trucking company, getting hired without the new company realizing their poor driving history. If a truck driver with a bad driving record causes an accident you or a loved one are injured in, you need to hold that driver and his employer accountable. Call our attorneys at (866) 515-8880 or fill out our contact form here.
Alabama Truck Accidents By the Numbers
- Nearly 4,500 truck accidents occur each year on Alabama highways and roads, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
- Nearly 800 people are hurt in those truck crashes.
- Almost 90 people in Alabama die every year in accidents involving trucks.
- One truck accident takes place in the state nearly every two hours.
- Almost two people are injured each day in a truck-related crash.
- Nationwide, more than 1.5 million tractor-trailer accidents each year.
- Accidents involving trucks kill 3,600 people annually in the U.S.
- Roughly 74,000 people nationwide are injured by crashes involving trucks or buses every year.
Common Truck Accident Injuries
- Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are life-altering, and can easily occur in a crash with a truck because of its size and the ferocity of crash’s impact. Brain injuries may not be visible at first and can be mistaken for concussions. Symptoms to watch for include confusion, nausea, vision problems and obvious cognitive difficulties. Brain injuries last lifetimes and can be very costly for victim’s families, as those suffering from TBIs often have to undergo lengthy rehabilitation to relearn everyday activities like walking and talking.
- Back Injuries
Serious and debilitating back injuries are common in truck accidents. Some affect the spine and can cause paralysis if severe enough. These injuries often last years, if not a lifetime, costing victims millions of unimaginable amounts in medical expenses.
- Broken Bones
Possibly the most common serious injury suffered in any type of motor vehicle crash, broken bones can inflict serious pain while requiring significant time to recover. This may mean a victim will be out of work for a long period of time. Those wages and other lost income from broken bones may be able to be recovered by filing a lawsuit against the trucking company.
Did You Lose a Loved One in a Truck Accident?
If a loved one was killed in a truck accident, we extend to our deepest sympathies. You need to know your loved one still has rights. You can still pursue justice on their behalf.
Our experienced lawyers can assist you in filing a wrongful death lawsuit that will bring you and your family stability, wellbeing and assistance in this unimaginably difficult time. We can give you peace of mind and time to focus on healing and moving forward with your lives the best you can.
The law limits how much time you have to file a wrongful death suit. While we know this is one of the most difficult times of your life, keep in mind you will need to reach out to an attorney in a timely fashion to recoup your losses. At Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, we handle wrongful death lawsuits with a level of care, compassion, and success that is unparalleled.
What to Do After a Truck Accident – And What Not to Do
- Call emergency medical services if anyone is injured
- Take down the personal, vehicle and insurance information of the other driver(s)
- Cooperate fully with police, but do not discuss the accident in detail
- Take photographs of the scene, vehicle damage and any injuries, if possible
- Get contact information of any witnesses
- Get a copy of the police report
- Admit fault to anyone, or make comments such as “I didn’t see the truck”
- Give any statement to anyone or sign any document without speaking to an attorney
- Discuss more than the basics of the truck accident with anyone but an attorney
Tip For Preventing Truck Accidents
You can never entirely keep yourself safe from negligent truck drivers, but be mindful of the following tips to keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible when on Alabama roads:
Stay alert. Truck drivers can become very drowsy when driving long distances, even if they have not exceeded the legal limit of driving hours per day. Being extra mindful when driving near a truck can put you in a position to better react to a hazard and keep you and your family safe.
Leave extra space. Always give tractor-trailers extra space. This will help greatly if you or the truck needs to stop suddenly, and it could be the difference between avoiding a crash or becoming a victim.
Avoid distractions. Stay off your cell phone and don’t peer into the backseat for something in your bag. This is going to delay your reaction time and increase your risk of a crash.
What a Birmingham Truck Accident Attorney Can Do For You
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, you probably have a lot of questions. You may not feel comfortable filing a lawsuit. Maybe you’re unsure if you’ll be properly compensated, or perhaps you feel as though you don’t have the time or energy considering all that you’re dealing with right now.
That’s why we’re here. At Pittman Dutton & Hellums, we understand what you’re going through. We’re here to help. We can answer all of your questions for free in a consultation. We’re dedicated to seeking the best result possible for families in AL. We’ll walk you through each step of the way.
When you’re ready, call our attorneys at (866) 515-8880 or take a minute to fill out the form here. We’ll be waiting to help.