Semi trucks are huge vehicles that crisscross roads and highways in Alabama daily. If you are hit by one of these trucks, you should speak to a lawyer immediately about legal options for compensation.
You can file a lawsuit against the truck driver who caused the crash. To win your case, you likely must prove that they acted negligently. Injured victims can often sue the truck driver’s employer, the trucking company, under one of several possible legal theories or principles. You should claim the full extent of your non-economic and economic losses in your lawsuit. Punitive damages might be available, although they are rarely awarded. To prove your claims, you need evidence demonstrating how the defendant’s behavior fulfills each legal element of negligence. Your lawyer can help you determine what evidence is available in your case, where to find it, and how best to use it.
Lawsuits are known for being lengthy, time-consuming, and complicated. Our Alabama truck accident attorneys can guide you through the legal process and hopefully get you the compensation you deserve. Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 to arrange a free case evaluation.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against a Semi Truck Driver After an Accident in Alabama?
You can definitely file a lawsuit after a truck accident. Whether or not you have a strong case or sufficient evidence to win is a different story you can discuss with our Alabama truck accident lawyers.
Your lawsuit begins with a formal complaint submitted to the court. The complaint is more than just an allegation of negligence against the truck driver; it is a legal document that must contain very specific details about your case. We need information about the parties to the case, how the accident happened, your injuries and damages, and what kind of compensation you want. Our legal team can help you gather information for a complaint. Your case might be rejected if the complaint does not have all the necessary information.
If your lawsuit is successful, the truck driver, often through their insurance, will pay your damages. Getting to this point through a civil trial tends to take quite a bit of time. While the benefits might be worth the wait, you can also reach a settlement agreement with the defendant outside the courtroom.
Suing a Trucking Company in Alabama Truck Accident Lawsuits
Since truck drivers operate their rigs as working professionals, their employers might also be responsible for the accident. Our Hattiesburg truck accident lawyers can help you prove that the trucker’s employer should also be held accountable.
One legal theory we can use to have the trucking company held liable is respondeat superior. Under this doctrine, employers may be vicariously liable for an employee’s negligence even though the employer was not directly involved in the accident. However, this doctrine only applies where the employee’s negligence occurred in furtherance of their professional duties or within the scope of their employment. Acts of intentional harm or criminal behavior are often not covered.
If the above legal doctrine does not apply to your case, we might still be able to sue the trucking company under a theory of negligent hiring. According to the Alabama Supreme Court case of Mardis v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., an employer may be held liable for negligent hiring if one of the following is proven:
- The employee’s wrongful or negligent behavior occurred in the line of their employment,
- The employee’s actions were committed in furtherance of their employer’s business, or
- The employer authorized, participated in, or ratified the employee’s actions.
One example of negligent hiring is DUI cases involving truckers. Suppose a truck driver caused an accident because they were drunk behind the wheel. Next, suppose the trucking company that hired the driver knew about the driver’s drinking problem or that the driver had a history of DUIs, but still allowed them to drive. In that case, the trucking company might be liable for negligent hiring.
Injuries and Damages You Can Claim in a Lawsuit for a Truck Accident in Alabama
Your injuries and damages in a truck accident might be devastating, as truck accidents tend to be severe. Traumatic injuries, including brain damage, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and death, are not unheard of in truck collisions.
Economic damages pertain to monetary losses. Medical bills are often some of the largest economic damages in truck accidents, especially when plaintiffs need long-term or indefinite medical treatment. Plaintiffs also often claim income they lose because they are too injured to return to work. Other economic damages might include the value of damaged or destroyed personal property, such as your vehicle, if it was totaled in the crash.
Non-economic damages are harder to assign value because they are often unrelated to money. Instead, non-economic damages account for the experiences you endured as a direct result of the crash. Your physical pain, emotional anguish, humiliation, and other awful experiences might not have cost money, but they still deserve compensation.
Proving Your Damages Claims in a Truck Accident Lawsuit in Alabama
Most truck accidents are based on negligence, and your evidence must establish the four legal elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The duty element is the defendant’s legal obligation toward the plaintiff. Generally, all drivers on the road are bound by a duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances and obey traffic laws. Evidence of this duty might come from the simple fact that the truck driver was behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
The breach element is how the truck driver violated their duty. For example, if the truck driver ran a red light and hit you in an intersection, their failure to stop at the light is a breach. Proving the breach might be possible by presenting traffic citations from the police regarding the accident or using security camera footage of the crash.
The causation element is how the breach is linked to your injuries. Essentially, the defendant’s breach of their duty must be the direct and proximate cause of the accident. Finding evidence to prove this element can be challenging, especially when defendants claim another intervening force caused the accident, but not impossible. The final element is damages, and we need evidence that your damages are real and not hypothetical. Medical records and photos of the accident are great evidence to prove damages.
Contact Our Alabama Truck Accident Attorneys for a Free Case Assessment
Our truck accident attorneys can help you sue after a crash in Alabama. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.