Commercial trucks are a necessary part of America’s economy. However, due to their colossal size and weight, they can also present significant dangers for other drivers on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries and losses.
In such cases, a Birmingham truck accident lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we have been securing compensation for accident victims for over 30 years. We have the experience to maximize the damages you receive. Our attorneys are familiar with the low settlement offers and negotiation tactics commercial trucking insurance companies may employ.
Get in touch with us at (205) 322-8880 if you or a loved one have been injured or harmed in a truck accident. We treat all of our clients with the utmost care and respect and provide the attention needed for a successful claim.
A commercial truck accident is any type of road accident involving at least one large commercial truck. These accidents are often highly damaging and even deadly, especially for passengers riding in smaller, non-commercial vehicles.
Commercial trucks are also known by other names like:
- Big rigs
- Commercial trucks
Those recovering from a major car accident face numerous burdens. The challenges are physical, emotional, and financial. As you recover, the thought of hiring an auto accident attorney may not even cross your mind.
That’s understandable, and it’s often the common response. But if you have been in an accident and are reading this page, you have found one of the most experienced auto accident law firms in Birmingham. At Pittman Dutton & Hellums, we have represented thousands in severe auto accidents involving cars, commercial trucks (including 18 wheelers), and trains.
- Commercial licensing
- Vicarious liability (when the employer is held liable for the driver’s acts)
Because of these factors, truck accidents often require legal action. A qualified truck accident lawyer can sort out liability and help the victims recover full compensation.
Truck Accident Injuries
Compared with accidents involving smaller cars, truck accidents can be extremely catastrophic and may involve multiple vehicles and drivers. Truck accident injuries can include:
- Spine and neck injuries
- Brain injuries and concussions
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Wrongful death
These may often involve major life changes, and insurance might not always cover the resulting costs and expenses.
Types of Crashes and Accidents
Commercial trucks can create hazardous crash situations due to their build and parts. These can include:
- Jackknife accidents: This is where the trailer folds up toward the cab, potentially blocking the entire road and creating a pile-up situation
- Cargo spills: Trucks can carry cargo such as logs, slabs of concrete, and chemicals that can spill onto traffic during transit or in an accident
- Roll-overs: Due to their height, trucks can often roll over upside down, especially when traveling downhill or near a cliff
- Underride accidents: This is where a smaller vehicle gets lodged underneath the truck or its trailer, creating a frightening and potentially deadly scenario
- Brake failures: Large trucks take more time to stop, and their weight creates tremendous strain on brakes, especially when moving downhill. Failure to keep the brakes maintained is often a factor
Damages in a Truck Accident Lawsuit
These types of accidents may require legal action in order for victims to recover expenses and losses. Damages in a truck accident lawsuit can cover expenses such as:
- Hospital and medical bills
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of ongoing treatment
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)
The amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff depends on many elements, including the severity of their injuries and losses, the degree to which the truck driver was negligent, and other factors.
Also, the attorney representing the victim plays a substantial role in the amount of damages they can recover. A skilled and experienced attorney will be able to present the evidence and interpret the laws in a way that benefits the victim the most.
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we take our clients’ legal rights seriously and do all we can to see that they receive the justice they deserve. To date, we’ve recovered over $820 million in awards and settlements for our clients. A few outstanding example case results include:
$7 Million Verdict in a Misdiagnosis Case
Our attorneys helped return a jury verdict in the amount of $7 million for a patient who passed away as the result of a tumor diagnosis error. The case was later settled confidentially.
$1.6 Million Verdict in a Bad Faith Insurance Case
In a case involving bad faith concerning a business insurance policy, our team obtained a $1.6 million jury verdict for the client. The damages award included $600,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
After a truck accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Your health and safety are top priority. Certain injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may not fully manifest until days or even weeks after an accident. Thus, you should seek medical care even if you don’t think you are injured at first.
If you are able to after an accident, you should:
- Contact local authorities: File a police report, as it will help with records of the accident
- Contact your insurance company: They will be able to guide you regarding the next steps towards a possible claim
- Gather information from all parties involved: However, don’t make any statements regarding your fault or liability — these could be used against you later in court
- Preserve any evidence from the scene before it’s cleaned up: This includes pictures and video of the scene and damage to the cars
- Contact a Birmingham truck accident lawyer: You may not be able to take action on your own immediately after a truck accident; a lawyer can help handle many of the steps for you
In many cases, the victim in a truck accident may be incapacitated, hospitalized, or otherwise unable to tend to these types of matters. If this is the case with a loved one of yours, contact an attorney who can help gather evidence and information.
Many people don’t realize just how prevalent large truck accidents can be. Consider the following statistics from a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- In 2017 there were approximately 450,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks; of these, 4,237 were fatal crashes, and 344,000 involved injuries
- “Speeding of Any Kind” was the most frequent driver-related factor for truck crashes, with “Distraction/Inattention” being the second most common factor
- In 82 percent of crashes, the fatalities were occupants of other vehicles and not the large truck
This last statistic shows that the occupants of the passenger vehicle, not the truck driver, usually suffer worse injuries and more fatalities in a truck crash. Again, this is due to the discrepancy in size and weight between large trucks compared with smaller passenger vehicles.
Other common causes of truck driver accidents include:
- Driver fatigue (often due to ignoring or violating truck driver break and shift laws)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Overloading cargo — this can often change the way the truck reacts
- Inadequate/poor training, often linked to negligent hiring practices
- Poor maintenance, especially of the brakes
- Reckless driving
Thus, drivers should be aware of the great risks involved with trucks and other large commercial vehicles. If an accident occurs, it is likely to involve severe, life-changing injuries or fatalities.
Truck accidents are among the most dangerous and damaging types of road accidents. They can cause major, permanent injuries and can involve complex insurance and legal issues. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck crash, you should contact an experienced Birmingham truck accident lawyer who can assist you.
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless you win your case. We will respond in 24 hours or less when contacted, and will remain responsive throughout the entire process from beginning to end.
We strive for thoroughness and excellence in every case we take on. All five of the partners in our firm have extensive trial experience and were selected for the 2020 and 2021 Best Lawyers America award.
Contact us today at (205) 322-8880 for a free, no-obligation consultation to determine your legal rights and options. We have the experience to ensure that you obtain the recovery and justice you deserve.
Do most truck accident cases go to trial?
Not necessarily. In certain cases, the issues can be resolved through an insurance claim. However, trucking companies carry commercial policies, which can be more complex than a standard car accident claim.
Furthermore, big commercial insurance companies often don’t want victims recovering the full amount they are entitled to. Thus, any settlement offer might not cover the victim’s losses. Legal action is usually necessary to ensure that the proper parties are held liable and that the victim gets the damages award they deserve.
Are expert witnesses necessary in a truck accident case?
In certain instances, yes. Truck accidents can involve several different cars and victims, especially in pile-ups or multiple vehicle crash situations. Issues like liability can be complicated to sort through. Expert witnesses are typically top professionals in their field and can help reconstruct the accident to determine liability.
Also, calculating damages is an important part of any truck accident lawsuit. An expert medical witness can help testify regarding the victim’s injuries and how much compensation they need for a full recovery. A skilled attorney will also be able to fight for the maximum amount of damages for the victim.
How long does a truck accident lawsuit take?
There is no set time length for a truck accident lawsuit. In many instances, the process can take anywhere from six months to a year, and sometimes longer depending on the case. More complex cases may take longer.
You should be aware that there may be a specific filing deadline involved, known as the “statute of limitations.” This is a set period in which the trucking accident lawsuit must be filed. If you wait until after this date passes, you may lose your chance to file altogether. It’s important to take action promptly if you’ve been in an accident. Get in touch with us today at Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann at (205) 322-8880 if you need representation for a truck accident lawsuit.
How can a truck accident lawyer help?
Being in a truck accident can be traumatizing, and you might not know where to begin. Contacting a trucking accident lawyer can help ease much of the burden. A qualified truck accident attorney can help:
- Organize documentation and evidence for your case
- Communicate with insurance companies and trucking company reps
- Review the relevant laws to maximize the amount of recovery you obtain
- Contact and prep any expert witnesses who will be involved
At Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann, we are passionate about helping those who have been severely injured. We understand the difficulties that result from a major truck accident, and are here to provide guidance and legal advice. Contact us today at (205) 322-8880 if you or a loved one have been in a truck accident. We provide free, no-obligation consultations to determine your next steps.
“Last year I had the opportunity to have Mike Bradley represent me after a car accident. Mr. Bradley, Karen Griffis, and the staff of Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley & Mann made what can be a very stressful and trying time, much easier to bear. More importantly, they care about their clients. I am so thankful that I had them represent me then and will use them again.”-
“Jon made a very unpleasant experience almost a pleasure. He truly has impacted my life and I feel honored that he represented our case with such drive and compassion which helped get the most from a very unfortunate situation. The personal touch he added made me feel he truly cared about me. Thank you for being the person you are.”