A truck accident is a life-altering experience. The sheer size and weight of big rigs and 18-wheelers almost guarantee injuries for the occupants of any other kind of vehicle involved. Truck accidents could leave you burdened with enormous medical expenses, a lengthy recovery period, or a hefty repair bill for your vehicle.
You do not need to deal with the aftermath of a truck accident alone. We can fight for you in court to get the financial compensation and peace of mind you need after an accident.
Talk to the truck accident attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for free today.
Decatur, AL Statute of Limitations
It is very important that you file your truck accident lawsuit as soon as possible. There is a law called the statute of limitations that limits how long you have to recover damages in court.
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Alabama is two years per Ala. Code § 6-2-38. After two years, time has run out. A court will not hear your case, and you will not recover any damages.
Some circumstances will let the statute of limitations “toll,” or be put on hold, until certain conditions are met. For example, generally, the statutory period does not start for people under the age of 18 until they reach the age of majority. Under Ala. Code § 6-2-8, if an injury happens to a minor, the statutory period does not start until they are 19 years old.
Negligence in a Decatur, AL Truck Accident
Many truck accident lawsuits are argued under the theory of negligence. Essentially, the plaintiff’s lawyer argues that the defendant acted carelessly and caused the plaintiff’s injury. In a truck accident lawsuit, multiple parties could have been negligent. Work with our truck accident attorneys to determine the correct parties to bring to court.
Truck Driver Negligence
The truck driver is the most likely party to be found negligent for causing the accident. After all, they are the individual with the most control over the truck at the time of the accident.
Truck driver negligence generally takes the form of any driving mistake an ordinary driver can make. The truck driver could be found negligent if they were speeding, intoxicated, or otherwise did not heed the rules of the road.
Additionally, truck drivers have some parameters they must follow for their job. For example, truck drivers cannot drive more than eight hours in one sitting without an eight-hour break and no more than 11 hours in one work day. If the truck driver violated this rule or others, they could possibly be liable for the resulting collision.
Trucking Company Negligence
It is also a good idea to sue the trucking company. The driver themselves might be “judgment proof” or unable to pay for any damages you are awarded. The trucking company will likely be in a better position to compensate you.
Trucking companies are required to screen their drivers before hiring them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations that determine insurance requirements, drug and alcohol tests for drivers, and other safety standards. If a driver has violated these regulations, truck companies are not supposed to let them transport cargo in their trucks. If a trucking company lets a driver who was not supposed to drive behind the wheel anyway, they might be liable.
Additionally, the law allows employers to be found liable for their employees’ negligent actions. The requirement for the employer to be liable in this scenario is that the employee be doing something related closely enough to their work for the employer to be liable. For example, if the employee hurts you while off the clock, the employer cannot be liable because the accident was not work-related. On the other hand, if a truck driver hits you while taking a break at a rest stop, the employer will likely be liable since the driver was doing something work-related.
A malfunction in the truck itself can also cause an accident. The companies that make and design auto parts can be held liable if they made mistakes in the design or manufacturing process that cause auto parts or whole vehicles to be dangerous.
Contributory Negligence in Decatur, AL
Alabama uses a strict legal standard called contributory negligence. Under this standard, a plaintiff who is only 1% at fault for their own injuries cannot recover damages in court. Alabama is only one of five states that use this rule.
When preparing a truck accident lawsuit in Alabama, it is important that you do not accidentally admit fault. Your lawyer should be doing most of the talking with insurance companies and opposing counsel, but if you must speak to an adverse party, make sure you do not make statements that could prevent you from recovering damages. For example, even something as simple as saying “my bad” could be used to try and make it look like you are admitting some fault for the accident.
Types of Truck Accidents in Decatur, AL
Just like how truck accidents happen for different reasons, the kinds of truck accidents that can happen are also varied.
Ordinary Motor Vehicle Accidents
Trucks are not exempt from accidents that any other vehicle can have. Speeding, failing to use a turn signal or drunk driving can all lead to an accident in a truck or a car all the same.
Just like every motorist, a drunk truck driver can face civil liability. The legal limit for truckers is 0.04% blood-alcohol content (BAC) instead of the standard 0.08% BAC.
Fishtailing is when the trailer of a big-rig vehicle starts to sway from side to side behind the tractor. The root problem often involves improper loading, overly windy conditions, speeding, or driver swerving. In any case, a driver who fails to control their fishtailing is often at fault for resulting accidents.
Truck trailers are much taller than most vehicles. If the rear of a truck trailer collides with another vehicle, the other vehicle may slide under the truck, crushing or completely removing the top half of the other vehicle. For that reason, many trucks have guard rails on the back and sides of their trailer to prevent this from happening.
Call Our Decatur, AL Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Call our truck accident lawyers at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.