Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney
The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that more than 10,000 truck crashes in Alabama occurred in a recent year, resulting in 121 fatalities and 2,629 injuries. These accidents involved delivery trucks, 18-wheelers, tow trucks, and work trucks.
An accident with a commercial vehicle can be an overwhelming experience, but there’s help available. The commercial vehicle accident lawyers at the Serious Injury Law Group have the knowledge, experience, and drive to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Our Alabama personal injury attorneys have earned widespread recognition for providing high-quality legal representation, including being named one of the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
Get a free initial consultation by calling one of our five offices throughout Alabama, or you can visit our contact page.
What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle?
In broad terms, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle that’s owned and operated by a business and is used by that business’s employees or agents. This category of vehicles includes cars, vans, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Examples of commercial vehicles include:
- Big rigs
- 18 wheelers
- Commercial vans
- Utility vans
- Delivery vans
- Flower delivery trucks
- Restaurant delivery vehicles
- Buses, including school buses
- Construction vehicles
- Moving trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Cement trucks
- Garbage truck
- Mail trucks
- Logging trucks
Corporate cars, taxis, and vehicles used by ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft also qualify as commercial vehicles because they’re used for business purposes. However, people who drive for these companies are often considered independent contractors and not employees, so your claim may be limited to just the driver.
Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Commercial vehicle accidents are much more common than most people think. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that vehicle accidents are the most common cause of work-related deaths in the United States.
The Alabama Department of Transportation reported the following as the primary causes of truck crashes in the state for the most recent year for which data was available:
- Improper lane change or use – 1,351
- Failure to yield the right-of-way – 923
- Unseen object, person, or vehicle – 889
- Tailgating – 809
- Misjudging stopping distance – 506
- Defective equipment – 431
- Improper backing – 382
- Avoiding animal, object, or person – 370
- Improper turn – 330
- Driving too fast for conditions – 311
- Crossed median or centerline – 283
- Failure to obey traffic sign or signal – 277
- Improper passing – 216
- Fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel – 210
- Running off the road – 148
- Driving under the influence – 119
- Driving over the speed limit – 73
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Commercial Vehicle Accident?
One reason it’s a good idea to speak to a commercial vehicle accident lawyer after a crash is these cases are often much more complicated than a standard car accident. There could be multiple parties who are liable for your injuries. You’ll want an attorney’s help to identify all potential sources of compensation.
Some of the potentially liable parties in a commercial vehicle accident include:
- The driver – In most commercial vehicle accident claims, the driver is found to have played some role in causing the crash. Examples of negligent driver behavior include speeding, aggressive driving, driving on too little rest, abusing alcohol or other drugs, and distracted driving.
- The driver’s employer – Businesses are expected to hire safe, responsible drivers to operate their vehicles, as well as make sure drivers have the necessary training and experience to handle the vehicle safely. If the owner of the vehicle did not check to see if the driver had the necessary qualifications or if they overlooked a driver’s prior history (for example, an earlier conviction for DUI), they could also be held liable for your injuries.
- The vehicle’s manufacturer – Larger, heavier commercial vehicles are vulnerable to mechanical defects because of their additional size and the strain put on them. If there’s a defect with the vehicle, it could make it harder for the driver to maintain control, leading to an accident. The manufacturer of the truck or defective auto defect may be responsible for your injuries in these types of cases.
- Maintenance personnel/cargo loaders – Commercial vehicles need to be properly maintained and regularly inspected to minimize the likelihood of accidents. Maintenance workers may overlook a worn or broken part that needs to be fixed or replaced. Similarly, unstable or shifting cargo can cause the driver of a commercial vehicle to lose control, causing an accident. Maintenance workers and cargo loaders can be held liable in cases where their negligence contributes to an accident.
How the Serious Injury Law Group Can Help You
Our Alabama commercial vehicle accident attorneys can help by:
- Investigating the crash to determine everyone who might be liable for your injuries, as well as all possible sources of compensation.
- Gathering and preserve evidence to build a strong case for compensation. This evidence may include your medical records, the police crash report, photos and video from the crash scene, testimony from expert witnesses, eyewitness accounts, and information from the vehicle’s electronic data recorder.
- Handling communications with the insurance and trucking companies. It’s important to watch what you say after an accident, so stay away from social media and let your motor vehicle accident attorney handle any communication with the other parties and their insurance companies.
- Negotiating for a settlement that reflects the full extent of your losses. We know the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a commercial vehicle accident can take. That’s why we fight so hard on our clients’ behalf to get them the compensation they deserve.
- Litigating your case, if necessary. Sometimes insurance companies refuse to negotiate in good faith after an accident. It might become necessary to bring your case to court. We’re skilled trial lawyers and will vigorously protect your legal rights.
Compensation After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
Alabama law allows commercial vehicle accident victims to recover compensation for their losses after a crash, including:
- Your past and future medical expenses
- Your lost wages and diminished capacity to work
- The physical and emotional harm you’ve suffered
- The value of any property damaged in the crash
One important thing to note is that Alabama uses a contributory negligence standard in personal injury claims. This means that if you are found to be at all responsible for your injuries, you will lose your chance to recover compensation. This strict standard makes it extremely important to get help from an experienced personal injury lawyer for your case.
If Injured in a Commercial Vehicle Accident, Contact an Experienced Lawyer from the Serious Injury Law Group
Our commercial vehicle accident lawyers at the Serious Injury Law Group are ready to start work on your case at a moment’s notice. We are responsive and respectful of your time. Get a free case review today by calling one of our offices or filling out our contact form.