How Is Liability Determined in an Alabama Truck Accident?

Moments before a semi truck accident

Determining liability after a truck accident in Alabama can be challenging, if not impossible, to do on your own. Yet it’s crucial to identify who is liable to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been hurt, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer to uncover who is to blame. Often, more than one party is at fault.

Contact the legal team at Stokes Stemle, LLC today. Our Montgomery truck accident attorneys have years of experience representing Alabamians in complex injury claims. When you put your case in our hands, you can rest assured that we’ll put your needs first. We’ll investigate your claim thoroughly and demand compensation from every possible source. Our lawyers can also defend you if truck companies and their insurers try to pin the blame on you.

At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we are committed to finding out what caused the accident, which parties are responsible, and how we can prove liability in your case. Call now for a free consultation.

Multiple Parties May Be Liable in a Commercial Truck Accident

The trucking industry is large and involves many different entities. People are often surprised to learn that the truck driver is not always the only one at fault for a collision.

Potentially liable parties in a truck accident may include:

  • Truck driver: A trucker who caused a crash by speeding, fatigued driving, drunk driving, or distracted driving could be held liable under Alabama law. A truck driver is also responsible for inspecting the truck to ensure proper maintenance. If a cargo or maintenance issue contributes to the crash, the truck driver might share part of the liability.
  • Truck company: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets forth guidelines for trucking companies. When a trucking company breaks the rules and those violations contribute to a wreck, the business could be held liable. For instance, a trucking company may be liable if it hires an unqualified driver who goes on to cause a crash. A company might also be liable if it pressures a driver to work more hours than what is legally allowed and the tired driver causes a wreck.
  • Truck’s owner: The truck owner, which may be an individual or a company, could be liable if they do not perform regular maintenance, such as for the brakes, suspension, engine, steering, hydraulics, and other parts of the rig.
  • Cargo loaders or the shipping company: Heavy loads must be secured properly according to federal law. When cargo is improperly loaded, the contents can shift and throw the entire truck off balance. This makes it more challenging for drivers to operate the truck. If the truck is transporting hazardous materials, they could spill out onto the road and endanger other motorists. When cargo companies fail to load a trailer properly, they can be held liable.
  • Vehicle and part manufacturers: Sometimes, truck accidents are caused by defective parts. Transmission failure, steering failure, brake failure, and tire blowouts are examples of issues where the vehicle or parts manufacturer may be held liable for a malfunction. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be able to file a defective product claim against the manufacturer to hold it accountable for the truck accident.

Gathering Evidence to Determine Liability After a Truck Accident

One of the most important aspects of a truck accident claim is gathering evidence to demonstrate that the liable party (or parties) acted negligently.

You must have solid proof of negligence to file a valid claim against the responsible party. Fail to provide persuasive evidence, and your claim against the liable party could be reduced or dismissed entirely. This can be a devastating blow to truck accident victims, who frequently sustain severe injuries and suffer substantial financial and personal losses. At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we can collect the compelling evidence necessary to substantiate your truck accident claim.

It’s vital to start investigating right away. Not all trucking records must be kept indefinitely, but your lawyer can send a spoliation letter to prevent critical proof from being lost, altered, or erased. Gathering the relevant evidence can help show whether or not the trucking company complied with safety rules and regulations. Some evidence can even indicate what the truck driver was doing right before the crash occurred.

You can also help your case by taking photos of the accident scene if you didn’t require emergency medical attention.

Common examples of evidence in a truck accident claim include:

  • Medical records
  • Police report
  • Photo, video, or dashcam footage of the accident scene
  • Truck driver logs
  • Truck inspection reports
  • Witness statements
  • The trucker’s driving record, qualifications, and medical history
  • Electronic onboard recording device (EOBR) data
  • Truck driver’s phone records
  • Truck company’s compliance history
  • Truck wreckage
  • Weigh tickets and reports from weigh stations
  • Truck maintenance schedules
  • Post-crash drug and alcohol test results

If you were too injured to take pictures or interview witnesses at the crash scene, don’t worry. The truck accident lawyers at Stokes Stemle, LLC will work quickly to get your case back on track.

Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys in Alabama

Additional questions about truck accident liability? The truck accident lawyers at Stokes Stemle, LLC can answer them all in a free consultation. We serve injured people in Montgomery, Dothan, Auburn, and the surrounding Alabama communities. Call or contact us now to get started.

About the Author

At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we believe in personalized service. We get to know you, your case, and your needs. Then, we craft a legal strategy that is specially tailored to you.