Truck Accident Attorneys in Huntsville, Alabama
What Should I Know About Truck Accidents?
Buses, tractor-trailers, and the majority of other commercial vehicles are considerably larger than passenger vehicles. This means that they are capable of doing serious damage to you, your vehicle, and your passengers. What you do immediately after one of these crashes can impact your ability to seek compensation, so try to keep a clear head and stay calm.
Have you suffered injuries in a commercial vehicle accident? Our team of personal injury attorneys can fight for full and fair compensation. Schedule a meeting with us now by calling us at 256-539-3110.
Jeremiah Hodges handled a large truck accident case that caused a national trucking company to institute new safety policies to protect drivers. This lawsuit involved the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and emphasized what are known as the Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The FMCSR control and regulate the interstate trucking industry, and they often play a part in accident investigations.
Things to Do If You Are in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
Report the Accident
It’s crucial to report the accident right away. In small crashes involving passenger vehicles, you may be able to call the non-emergency line and report the crash that way. However, collisions with commercial vehicles tend to be more serious, so you’ll want to report the accident to emergency services. Make sure to let them know if anyone in your car is injured so they can send an ambulance if necessary.
Avoid Apologizing or Admitting Fault
You may feel flustered after the crash. It’s natural to apologize or claim the accident was your fault, especially if you’re trying to appease an angry driver in the other vehicle. Hold on, though—doing either of these things can make it more difficult for you to get compensated, as you’ve now essentially accepted blame for the crash. Limit the conversation between you and the other party to lower your risk of saying something damaging.
When it’s time to start your personal injury claim, you will want to give your attorney as much evidence as possible. Take photos of the crash scene if you are physically able to do so, and if you have time, take a slow video of the entire crash scene. Try to capture the damage to your vehicle from multiple angles and distances. Back up the photos and video footage as soon as you can.
Exchange Contact and Insurance Information
You’ll need to swap contact and insurance information with the other driver. Since they are driving a commercial vehicle, you will also want information about their commercial insurance policy and their employer. If the other driver is belligerent or aggressive toward you, consider exchanging information through the police officer on the scene.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
This is always important after a crash, but it is even more crucial after a collision with a commercial vehicle. A collision with a commercial vehicle leaves you at risk for serious and even life-threatening injuries. You may feel okay in the moments after an accident, but that doesn’t mean you’re not seriously injured.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
HOS rules were initially passed to prevent overworked train crews from causing accidents. The rules were applied to large trucks when the Interstate Highway System allowed drivers to handle long runs. Companies that do not abide by these rules are responsible for many of the following common causes of trucking accidents:
- Alcohol and drug abuse: Truck drivers who are overworked and underpaid might drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Stimulants help drivers complete long routes with little to no sleep, or self-medicating drivers may be impaired.
- Inadequate driver training or maintenance: Drivers must be trained properly, but some logistics companies do not satisfy driver safety and training requirements before sending out new employees. For example, drivers might have been instructed to use cruise control. If the driver falls asleep, their vehicle could continue to travel down the road at high speeds. Logistics companies also can save money by skipping maintenance appointments.
- Defective vehicles and/or parts: Trucks with defective parts or tires can fail at any time.
- Passing and speeding: Drivers are often forced to get to their locations in a short amount of time. Truck drivers who speed and pass passenger vehicles on the highway are more likely to crash when making these maneuvers.
- Distracted driving: Drivers may be distracted by their CB radio, cell phone, or dispatch office. Distracted truck drivers might also fall asleep at the wheel or experience impaired judgment on the road.
What Should I Do When an Accident Occurs?
Our team is proud to help victims and their families who have been injured due to the negligence of greedy trucking companies. Unfortunately, the executives in charge of these companies sometimes value profits over safety. If this has happened to you or someone you know, we are here to help.
What Forms of Compensation Can I Receive?
We understand that, in addition to recovery from such a traumatic event, you are concerned about maintaining your lifestyle, supporting your family, and managing your expenses.
You are entitled to all the compensation listed here:
- Medical expenses. Current and future medical expenses may be included in your lawsuit. Ask your doctor for a treatment plan that details any care you will need in the future.
- Lost wages. You were likely out of work after the accident, and you must recover the money you did not make during that time. If you lost your job or cannot return to work, you may cite your lost earning potential.
- Pain and suffering: You are entitled to compensation for the toll that the accident has taken on you and your family. Alabama allows for compensation when you lost your enjoyment of life, lost companionship or friendship, and/or experience emotional distress.
- Wrongful death: If someone was killed in the accident, the deceased’s estate may sue for wrongful death.
Alabama caps all municipal damage claims at $100,000 per incident. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant without creating a windfall for the plaintiff. Punitive damages are capped at three times the compensatory damage amount or $1.5 million, whichever is greater. If you receive $100,000 in compensatory damages, the court can award three times that amount in punitive damages.
Why Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Insurance companies may offer free legal counsel after an accident, but those lawyers work for the insurance carrier. These lawyers often force plaintiffs to settle quickly and take less money than they deserve. If you give a recorded statement to the insurance company, they can use that statement to deny you coverage or force you to settle faster than you should. Our lawyers work with clients to obtain the highest compensation award possible. You need a lawyer who is on your side, will guide you through this process, and help you deal with all aspects of your new life. Do not wait to consult a lawyer.
Huntsville Truck Accident Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Pursue Justice and Compensation for Injured Accident Victims
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a truck accident, contact the Huntsville truck accident lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. for guidance. Call us at 256-539-3110 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we proudly represent clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.