Side-impact accidents are also known as T-bone accidents. These are accidents in which the front end of a vehicle smashes into the door of a passenger vehicle. Since there is very little buffer between the person in the passenger vehicle and the striking vehicle, there is a risk of devastating or even fatal consequences. If a T-bone accident involves a commercial truck or semi-truck, and you suspect that the truck driver or another party was at fault, you should consult Decatur truck accident lawyer Greg Reeves at the Reeves Law Firm.
Truck accident lawsuits are different from other personal injury lawsuits. They are more challenging, and often trucking companies mount very aggressive defenses and may even hide evidence or obstruct your ability to get it. An attorney who has experience litigating other matters, such as ordinary car accidents, dangerous property conditions, or dog bites, may not have the skills to tackle truck accident litigation on behalf of an injured victim.Bringing a Claim Based on a T-Bone Accident
A T-bone accident has its name because in this type of collision, a T is formed based on the shape of the wreck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that in 2014, T-bone accidents made up 26% of the 4,000 people killed in truck accidents. Whenever a massive commercial truck rams into the side doors of a passenger vehicle, there is the potential for catastrophic or fatal injuries to anyone inside the car, especially people sitting on the side of the impact. There is no buffer between the truck and the car in a T-bone accident. These accidents may result in traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, broken bones, crushing injuries, internal injuries, and back injuries.
You may be able to hold a truck driver liable for a T-bone accident if you can show that he was negligent. Negligence is shown by proving that the truck driver failed to act with the appropriate care in the situation and thereby caused your damages. For example, if a truck driver runs a stop sign and mows into a passenger car crossing an intersection with the right of way, a jury would likely find that the truck driver was negligent. For another example, if a truck driver is texting while driving and fails to slow at an uncontrolled intersection in Decatur, T-boning a motorcyclist, a jury is likely to find that the truck driver was negligent.
In most cases, an individual driver's insurance coverage is insufficient to address all of the medical expenses and lost wages sustained as a result of injuries in a truck accident. It can be important to examine the facts of the accident to determine whether anyone else is liable. One of the first questions is whether the truck driver was in the scope of employment at the time of the accident. If he was, it may be possible to hold the trucking company that employed him vicariously liable. Vicarious liability is a form of indirect liability. The employer can be held responsible if there is a finding that the truck driver was in the course of employment and that the truck driver was negligent.Trucking Company Liability
A trucking company can also be held liable if it was directly negligent. That is, it can be held accountable if you can show that the trucking company failed to take proper care in its operations. Trucking companies can be held liable for their negligence in hiring, supervising, or training a truck driver.
Interstate trucking companies and truck drivers must abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These are regulations that address maintenance, hours of service, log books, background checks, drug and alcohol testing, and loading and securing of cargo.
A truck driver or trucking company's failure to abide by the FMCSA regulations may be strong evidence of negligence. For example, if a trucking company failed to conduct a background check that would have revealed a driver's drug abuse problems and past DUIs before hiring the driver, and then the truck driver T-bones a car at an intersection because the truck driver is driving drunk, the trucking company may be liable for negligent hiring. For another example, if a trucking company checks a truck driver's FMCSA-mandated log book of hours driven and sees that the log book has been falsified, but it decides to look the other way because the truck driver is productive, it might be liable for negligent supervision if the truck driver is fatigued and T-bones a passenger car while coming out of a driveway.Other Causes of T-Bone Accidents
In certain rare instances, a T-bone accident might be a result of a mechanical malfunction, such as the brakes not working, or a dangerous property condition. It is crucial to explore all of the options, including the possibility of pursuing a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer of defective brakes or a premises liability lawsuit against the government or a private property owner for a dangerous property condition.
If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover damages. Economic damages are tangible losses, such as medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and replacement services. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses, and they can vary depending on the nature and impact of your injuries. They may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and lost enjoyment of activities.Discuss Your Options with an Experienced Injury Attorney
If you were injured or a loved one was killed by a truck in a T-bone accident, it is important to consult a lawyer immediately. Greg Reeves has 30 years of litigation experience. He represents people in Decatur, Athens, Huntsville, Madison, Hartselle, and Birmingham, as well as other areas of Cullman, Lauderdale, Madison, Morgan, Lawrence, Limestone, and Jackson Counties. Call us at 256.355.3311 or contact us through our online form for a free consultation.