Every day, fast-moving 18-wheelers barrel through Birmingham on I-20 and I-59 headed to Tuscaloosa, East Lake, and Gadsden. Days might pass without accidents. Yet, if something goes wrong, it can spell disaster for Alabama residents. Few people realize the full extent of the devastation caused by truck accidents when they see broken glass and skid marks on the pavement. Only victims like you understand the physical and psychological effects of an 18-wheeler accident.
Ideally, the person responsible for the truck accident pays personal injury damages to the injured party. Trucking companies insure their commercial trucks for accident expenses, and this should help cover damages. Yet, insurance companies do not always act according to what is best for innocent truck accident victims.
At Norris Injury Lawyers, your well-being is our top priority. If you have recently been in a truck accident, our personal injury lawyers can help you maximize your compensation. Contact us for a free consultation at (800) 477-7510 to learn what our Alabama truck accident lawyers can do for you. Our representatives are available 24/7 to listen to you voice your concerns.
Why Alabama Truck Accidents Cause Serious Damage
In 2019, there were 159,102 motor vehicle accidents in Alabama. Though any accident can hurt someone, collisions with trucks often lead to severe injuries and death. Investigating the components of Jefferson County truck accidents can help you understand why maximum compensation is necessary.
The weight of an average-sized car is about 5,000 pounds. Yet, in the United States, 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Unless issued a special permit, commercial trucks cannot be heavier than the legal limit. Any trucking companies that overload their vehicles are breaking Alabama state law.
American 18-wheelers come in many shapes and sizes. The standard height of an 18-wheeler is about 13 feet 6 inches. Trucks are generally between 70 and 80 feet in length. By contrast, the average midsize sedan is only 14.7 feet long.
In Alabama, speed limits vary by the type of road. For example, the speed limit is 70 mph on interstate roads, but 65 mph on roadways with 4 or more lanes. Regardless of the posted speed limit, drivers should always take road and weather conditions into account. Reasonable speeds for passenger vehicles might be too fast for heavy trucks.
Semi-trucks have a 40 percent longer braking distance than other cars. A truck driver will need to begin stopping sooner and at a greater distance to avoid accidents. He or she will also need more room to turn.
Due to the excess size and weight of 18-wheelers, a truck driver must pass a test to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Commercial trucks dwarf other vehicles on the road. While all drivers need to be careful, truck drivers have even greater responsibility based on the size, weight, and reduced maneuverability of commercial vehicles. Disastrous truck accidents are often a direct result of negligent behavior.
Impaired driving refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of a substance that affects your driving. In Alabama, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is based on the circumstances. Motorists should not operate a passenger car if their BAC exceeds 0.08 percent. The limit drops to 0.04 percent for commercial truck drivers and 0.02 for drivers under the age of 21.
Certain drugs are prohibited by law. Yet, even prescription or over-the-counter medicine can affect coordination, alertness, and response time.
Driving an 18-wheeler under the influence of a controlled substance can result in fines, criminal charges, and loss of the CDL license. Yet, the most distressing outcomes are for Alabama truck accident victims – injuries, psychological trauma, and death. Impairment-related crashes are 7.62 times more deadly than collisions in general.
In 2019, at least 47 Alabama deaths were associated with distracted driving accidents. A person operating a 40-ton vehicle needs to be focused on the driving task. Common distractors are cell phones, in-vehicle controls, GPS devices, and other passengers.
Federal law regulates how long Alabama truckers can stay behind the wheel consecutively and how soon they can work again after an off-duty period. Laws require truck drivers to take a 30-minute break after every 8 hours of driving time. Truck drivers are also limited by how many miles they can drive in one day. Unfortunately, falling asleep or driving while fatigued was a contributing factor to 2,652 statewide accidents in 2019.
Tight delivery schedules are no excuse to disobey traffic rules. Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and other reckless behaviors can easily contribute to a crash.
Clearly, an 18-wheeler in the wrong hands is a recipe for trouble. If you suspect negligence or recklessness played a role in your Alabama truck accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers. Understanding your legal options will place you in a strong position to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
Your Rights As an Alabama 18-Wheeler Accident Survivor
According to Alabama’s at-fault truck accident laws, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying damages to compensate for accident losses. Once our truck accident lawyers gather evidence establishing fault, we can take steps to ensure you get every penny you deserve from insurance companies who might otherwise be reluctant.
Common truck accident damages include:
- Medical bills: Emergency transport, hospital bills, rehabilitation, and prescriptions can add up fast, especially when interest and late charges enter the picture. Stress over medical bills will not help your recovery or your credit rating. A lawyer can help you determine how much insurance companies owe you for medical expenses, including procedures that you might need in the future.
- Lost wages: Lost wages are another unfortunate repercussion of truck accidents. Along with the time you may miss while recuperating, you might also experience physical disabilities that make returning to your job in the same capacity unlikely. Our personal injury team has over 40 years of experience serving the residents of Alabama. Why let another day go by without determining how to get your lost wages? Click “Start Chat” below to start a conversation with one of our representatives.
- Damaged or destroyed property: Cars and motorcycles are no match for commercial trucks. Was your vehicle damaged or totaled in a Alabama collision? Personal injury damages such as these might be compensated by your insurance company, the at-fault trucking company’s insurer, or as a part of a civil claim. To find out which option will work in your case, complete our contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.
How to Begin Your Personal Injury Claim in Alabama
Accidents lead to inescapable losses, but not all of the aftermath is inevitable. Getting professional advice and having the support of an experienced team of truck accident attorneys can relieve the stress you are feeling at this challenging time.
At Norris Injury Lawyers, we offer free case reviews because we want you to be confident that you are making the right decisions. Call us toll-free at (800) 477-7510, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take the guesswork out of your truck accident claim.