Injuries from a truck accident are often incredibly severe. Trucks often weigh up to 80,000 pounds (40 tons) and can outweigh a sedan by as much as 27 times their weight. If you have been injured in a crash with a commercial truck, you should consider working with an attorney to get the compensation you deserve.
Truck accidents are often caused by negligent and irresponsible driving and vehicle upkeep as well as profit-focused trucking companies that put safety as a low priority. Holding these companies and their drivers liable in a lawsuit can often help you get compensated in full, even if the insurance companies are reluctant to pay what you are owed.
Contact Howe Law’s truck accident lawyers for a free review of your potential case by calling (844) 876-4357 today.
How to Hold Trucking Companies Responsible for Crashes in Hoover, AL
Whether you live in Hoover or were merely driving in the area when you were hit by a truck, our truck accident attorneys can help you file your case against the responsible truckers and the companies they work for to get you compensation for your injuries. However, there are some legal elements that must be met to sue a driver or the company they work for for a truck accident.
Elements of a Truck Accident Claim
Before you can sue at all for an injury, you have to prove that the defendant was actually responsible. In truck accident cases, this means showing that the driver violated a duty that they owed you and that that breach of duty caused the crash and your resulting injuries.
Put more simply, the driver must have either violated a traffic law or otherwise done something unreasonable to cause the crash. If they did everything right, but the crash happened anyway, they might not be liable. However, in some of those cases, the trucking company is still liable.
Trucking companies can be held directly responsible for a crash if they were the ones who violated a duty – such as duties involving proper maintenance and repairs on their vehicles. For example, a trucking company that put reused tires with a separated tread on their truck – which violates trucking regulations – could be held liable if their driver experiences a tire blowout that causes a crash.
Elements Needed to Sue a Trucking Company
In many truck accident cases where the driver is at fault, the trucking company can be held responsible in place of the driver. This comes from a legal concept called “vicarious liability,” where another party is held responsible for something someone else did. In this case, a legal principle called “respondeat superior” allows an employer to be held liable for what their employee did while on the job.
It is important that you meet a few elements in your case to hold the trucking company liable. First and foremost, there must be a trucking company the driver works for. If they were an independent contractor or owner-operator, then they might be their own employer; there is no one else to sue. Second, the driver’s negligence must have occurred in the course of their work. If they were off duty or taking their truck for a joyride, the accident is often their fault alone.
Insurance Claims vs. Lawsuits
You can often get paid through an insurance claim, but the payments might not be enough. Insurance companies often try to get a bargain out of their payouts by refusing to cover damages in full or leaving off areas of compensation they claim were not adequately proven. In an insurance claim, the decision of how much your case is worth is often left to an insurance company employee, and it is only when you take your case to court that you get a neutral judge and jury to decide your case.
Although insurance is supposed to be faster and simpler than taking your case to court, it might not be successful at all. Our attorneys can file your case in court and force the trucking company to answer for their driver’s actions in open court if they refuse to negotiate and offer a fair settlement.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Hoover, AL
Truck accidents can be caused by a number of different factors and issues. Many of these causes are the same sorts of issues that cause other types of auto accidents, while some are either specific to trucks or more common for truck accidents.
Vehicle accidents involving high speeds are often more serious. Speeding drivers have less time to stop, especially with a 40-ton vehicle. Increased speed also vastly increases the momentum and force transferred in a crash.
Drunk and Drugged Driving
Commercial truckers often have long shifts and might turn to drugs or alcohol to cure their boredom or keep them “buzzed.” Drunk and drugged driving are illegal for truckers and everyone else, but commercial drivers tend to have even lower “legal limits” and other strict dUI rules.
Anyone who is too tired to operate a vehicle safely is a risk on the road. If they are driving a 40-ton machine, they are even more dangerous. Truckers spend hours each day on the road, and fatigue is likely to set in, potentially making tired truckers a bigger danger than other tired drivers.
Driving a car loaded with luggage or moving supplies can feel noticeably heavier and harder to drive. That is magnified with trucks, as they carry much more cargo. If the cargo is not properly secured and positioned within the vehicle, it can shift or even cause the truck to fishtail or go off course entirely.
Although most vehicles are susceptible to potential problems with various auto parts or mechanical issues, trucks spend hundreds of hours each week on the road and can wear down much faster. It is often the trucking company’s responsibility to maintain their vehicles and keep them in good working order. If they hire negligent mechanics or use broken or worn-out parts, they could be liable for the resulting crashes.
Call For a Free Case Review with Our Hoover, AL Truck Accident Attorneys
To have Howe Law’s truck accident lawyers review your case for free, call us at (844) 876-4357.