Right now, there are thousands of big trucks on Alabama’s highways. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and drivers don’t follow our rules of the road. In 2018, 10,079 trucks crashed in our state, causing 2,629 injuries and 121 deaths in Alabama alone. These numbers have increased steadily since 2013.
Big trucks don’t make Alabama roads safer for drivers like you. In this blog, the Andy Citrin team outlines some of the most common causes of Alabama truck accidents, and how you can protect yourself.
Alabama’s Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Any number of factors can cause a big truck to crash. While some causes are relatively obvious, many are subtle and easily missed; some trucking companies will even hide their mistakes and “lose” evidence that supports your claims. To fight back, you’ll need an aggressive lawyer who understands the art of truck wreck investigations.
Every year, the Alabama Department of Transportation publishes detailed crash data. In 2018, the top causes of truck accidents included:
- Improper lane changes
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Insufficient stopping distances
- Defective and dangerous truck and car parts, such as tires and brakes
- Improper turning techniques
- Speeding and driving too fast for the conditions
- Crossing the median, center line, or running off the road
- Ignoring traffic lights and signs
- Improper passing techniques
- Drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel
- Drunk and drugged driving
Other common causes of truck wrecks include improper loading, inadequate truck driver training, and trucking company coercion.
RELATED: Causes of Truck Accidents
Simple Tactics Can Prevent or Reduce the Severity of a Truck Wreck
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, 87% of truck crashes were caused by some form of driver error or misconduct. While you can’t prevent a semi-truck driver from making dangerous decisions behind the wheel, you can make safe decisions for yourself.
- Avoid driving in a semi’s blind spots. If you can’t see their mirrors, they probably can’t see you.
- Don’t tailgate a truck or drive too closely. They need more space to stop and turn than the average car.
- Pass big trucks with care. Don’t cross the yellow line, cut them off, or make other reckless choices just because you’re in a hurry.
However, even the most responsible driver can’t avoid every crash. When the unthinkable happens, you deserve answers and accountability.
How to Protect Yourself After an 18-Wheeler Crash
The insurance company is rarely “on your side” after a truck accident. Instead, its goal is to resolve your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. To fight back, you’ll need strong evidence, a comprehensive legal strategy, and a smart lawyer. You can also take some simple steps to protect the value of your claim.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Care
After a catastrophic truck crash, some victims don’t have a choice — they’re hurt so badly, they must seek medical care. However, others walk away with seemingly minor aches and pains, which turn out to be early signs of a severe injury.
If you can’t decide whether or not to go to the emergency room or urgent care, always go. The doctor can identify hidden injuries and treat existing ones, saving you time, money, and pain in the long run.
Keep Track of Your Costs
You can include the cost of medical treatment, medications, surgeries, x-rays, physical therapy, and even transportation to and from appointments in a truck wreck lawsuit. Make sure you keep track of your expenses; save copies of your bills to help you understand your case’s value. Your lawyer can also help you organize these documents.
Keep Track of Your Pain and Other Limitations
An accident impacts every area of your life. If you’re struggling to go back to work, take care of your household and family, or enjoy life as you once did, documenting these feelings and limitations is essential. A survivor’s journal that tracks your daily pain levels, ability to work, and other details about your recovery will help your lawyer understand your case’s value.
Understand Your Future Needs
Talk to your medical team about your future medical needs. Whether your home needs renovations to make it more accessible or you’ll require additional surgeries, understanding these needs is the first step to protecting yourself and during an insurance claim.
Don’t Sign Anything Before You Speak With a Lawyer
The insurance companies love working with victims who are desperate for a settlement and will say “yes” to their first offer. However, this first offer is often unfairly low. When you work with an experienced lawyer, they can help you understand your claim’s real value. Unfortunately, once you accept a settlement offer, you typically can’t demand additional compensation later.
Hurt By an Unsafe Big Truck? Call Andy Citrin
For over 30 years, we’ve been fighting to make Alabama, Mississippi, and Gulf Coast roads safe for everyone. If a dangerous big truck has hurt you or someone you love, don’t wait to reach out to us. We have the experience and insight to stand up to the big trucking companies and are ready to hear your story.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2007, July). The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief. Office of Research and Analysis: United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
Alabama Department of Transportation. (2020). 2018 Crash Facts. Drive Safe Alabama. Retrieved from https://www.caps.ua.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CrashFacts_2018.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.