Truck accidents can be devastating to people in smaller vehicles or pedestrians near the truck. Trucks are huge and heavy, and the force of a collision, particularly when a truck is traveling at high speeds on an interstate highway, can be fatal. Sometimes a truck driver will be able to get out of a vehicle unscathed even when there have been numerous injuries and deaths of people struck by the vehicle or involved in related collisions. If you were injured in an interstate collision in Alabama, you should retain Decatur truck accident attorney Greg Reeves at the Reeves Law Firm. He can help you thoroughly investigate the crash and fight for all of the damages that you deserve.Preserving Evidence
Not all personal injury attorneys understand how to pursue damages in a truck accident lawsuit. Sometimes truck drivers and trucking companies destroy or conceal information that is vital to establishing liability. They may play games to avoid turning over evidence, such as logbooks or the black box inside the truck. Accordingly, it is critical to hire an attorney who is experienced in handling these cases as soon as possible after an interstate collision. They can send a spoliation-of-evidence letter to the defendants to make sure that they are on notice that litigation is pending so that they preserve evidence.Causes of Interstate Collisions
If you have been injured in an interstate collision, you may be able to pursue damages from the truck driver under a theory of negligence. You will need to prove that the truck driver owed you a duty of reasonable care, the truck driver breached this duty, and you sustained injuries in the resulting accident. A truck driver can breach the duty of care in many different ways, including by texting while driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, speeding, weaving, taking turns too quickly, and failing to check blind spots.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations. These regulations cover such matters as maintenance, hours of service, logbooks, background checks of drivers, securing cargo, and drug and alcohol testing. Failing to abide by FMCSA regulations may cause a serious interstate collision. For example, if a truck is not properly maintained, it is more likely to get into an accident. Both the truck driver and the trucking company that failed to follow FMCSA regulations in that situation may bear some responsibility.Trucking Company Liability
Trucking companies can be held vicariously liable for a truck driver's negligence if the truck driver is in the course and scope of employment at the time of a crash in Decatur or elsewhere in Alabama. A trucking company can also be held directly liable for negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent supervision.
For example, if a trucking company fails to check logbooks that would have revealed that a truck driver was violating the FMCSA regulations by working many more hours in a row than are allowed, and that truck driver crashes into someone due to fatigue, the trucking company may be directly liable for negligent supervision. For another example, if a trucking company fails to conduct a background check that would have revealed that a truck driver had a history of DUIs, and the truck driver gets into a drunk driving collision, it may be possible to hold the trucking company liable under a theory of negligent hiring.Other Defendants
Sometimes interstate collisions result from a dangerous property condition that is attributable to the owner of the road or a construction company. It may be possible in that case to sue the government for damages. Moreover, interstate collisions may also result from a product defect. For example, if a truck driver's brakes give out on the interstate, the truck may plow into multiple cars and cause numerous injuries and fatalities. In that case, your attorney can bring the truck manufacturer and the brake manufacturer into a product liability lawsuit.Contributory Negligence
Sometimes, even when liability is clear, a truck driver will turn around and point a finger at the driver of a smaller vehicle and argue that they are responsible for the accident and their injuries. Most states follow a form of comparative negligence, which allows an accident victim to recover damages if they are partially to blame. However, Alabama follows the harsh doctrine of contributory negligence. This means that even if you are found to be only 1% to blame for an interstate collision, you will be barred from recovering any damages at all.
Accordingly, it is crucial to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer who can minimize any adverse evidence or arguments that may be made against you and obtain important evidence like the truck's black box. You should not talk to the insurance adjuster for the truck driver or trucking company until you have secured an attorney.Damages
Often, interstate collisions occur at high speeds, and the injuries are catastrophic or even fatal. You may face astronomical medical bills and need to take time off from work. You may be able to recover economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are usually tangible and concrete. They can include medical bills, lost income, replacement services, and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic losses are intangible losses that may vary significantly based on the extent of your injuries and the weight that juries give those types of injuries. Noneconomic losses may include mental anguish, loss of consortium, lost enjoyment of activities, and pain and suffering.Consult an Attorney Following a Devastating Truck Crash
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an interstate collision in Decatur or elsewhere in Alabama, you should consult an experienced lawyer immediately to look into the cause of the crash and bring a claim if appropriate. Mr. Reeves has 25 years of legal experience. He represents people in Athens, Huntsville, Madison, Hartselle, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Cullman, Lauderdale, Madison, Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, and Jackson Counties. Since 2011, he has served as a staff member of Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College, which is a prestigious organization for training personal injury attorneys. Contact us at 256.355.3311 or via our online form for a free consultation.