Semi-truck accidents tend to be among the most catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. The size of a semi-truck, commercial vehicle, or tractor-trailer, often combined with speed on the highway, can lead to traumatic collisions with smaller passenger vehicles. The occupants of those smaller vehicles may be left to cope with serious, life-altering injuries.
Injuries from a truck accident can you out of work, unable to pay medical bills, other living expenses, and unable to enjoy life. When you are hurt due to the negligence of a truck driver or the trucking companies, you deserve fair compensation for your financial damages and for the physical and emotional harm that your injuries cause.
At Stokes Stemle, LLC, our experienced truck accident attorneys have earned a reputation for recovering maximum compensation for crash victims in Dothan, AL, and throughout the Wiregrass area. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable Dothan semi-truck accident lawyers.
Who Is Liable for Trucking Accidents?
A truck accident may be caused by one or several parties involved in the truck’s operation, including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck’s owner, if different from the truck driver or trucking company
- The freight company responsible for loading the truck or trailer
- The truck’s mechanic
- The truck manufacturer or truck part manufacturer
A semi-truck accident lawsuit requires a thorough investigation to determine how the accident occurred and to identify which of these parties bears fault. Our Dothan, AL semi-truck accident attorneys can begin work on your case immediately to determine all potentially liable parties.
How Compensation Is Determined After a Truck Accident in Dothan
After a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation that falls into two broad categories of damages:
Economic damages – include medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity. These types of damages can be determined by adding up bills and invoices from medical treatments or other out-of-pocket expenses and by using pay stubs, income statements, and tax returns to calculate your lost income.
Non-economic damages – include pain and suffering or lost quality of life. These damages are based on a more subjective determination. However, as a general rule of thumb, depending on how severe your injuries are, the greater the compensation you should receive for pain and suffering and lost quality of life. You may be offered or awarded some multiple of your economic damages as a pain and suffering award. Or a semi-truck accident lawyer may be able to point to other evidence that warrants a different, higher award.
What Are the Leading Causes of Truck Accidents?
Operating a tractor-trailer requires great skill and care. Even a momentary lapse of concentration can result in a serious accident.
Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents include:
- Reckless driving, such as weaving through traffic
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Unsafe lane changes, including failing to signal or check mirrors and blind spots
- Left and right turns that are unsafe, including failing to signal or failing to yield to oncoming traffic or traffic and pedestrians in the intersection
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving, caused by cellphone use, radio use, GPS use, or eating and drinking
- Inexperienced drivers, including lacking training and experience on trucks of a certain size
- Unfamiliarity with routes, which can lead to truck drivers getting lost and ending up on restricted or unsafe roads
In addition to causes related to a semi-truck driver’s negligence, other causes of truck accidents include improper or deferred maintenance of the truck, unsafe or unsecured truckloads that can shift during travel, and design or manufacturing defects in the truck or a truck part.
Truck Accident Questions and Answers
What should I do at the scene of a semi-truck accident?
- Immediately following a semi-truck accident, you should check yourself and everyone else involved in the accident for injury. If someone has been injured, call 911. If no one appears to be seriously injured, you should still contact the local police department (or state police if the accident occurred on the highway).
- An officer will come to the scene to prepare a police accident report.
- If safe to do so, take photographs or videos of the accident scene. This includes damage to the vehicles involved, the traffic controls at the scene, skid marks, and the weather, lighting, road, and traffic conditions at the time of the wreck.
- Get the name, license, and registration information from the truck driver and all other drivers involved in the accident, along with the contact information for the trucking company.
- Also, get the names and contact information for any witnesses of the semi-truck accident.
What should I do in the weeks and months after a truck accident?
In the weeks and months following your truck accident, you should continue taking actions to help protect and prepare your legal claim for compensation.
- First, you should be following all of your medical provider’s treatment instructions and recommendations. Ignoring or otherwise failing to follow your treatment instructions might lead the defendants in your truck accident claim to argue that you weren’t as seriously injured as you claim. They also may argue that you aren’t entitled to as much financial compensation as you claim because you have failed to mitigate your damages by obtaining reasonable and necessary medical treatment.
- Next, you should keep a diary or journal tracking your recovery, describing the pain, suffering, and difficulties that your injuries cause you every day. This journal or diary can help you with a claim for compensation for pain and suffering or lost quality of life. Unlike medical treatment or lost wages damages, which can be readily calculated, pain and suffering and lost quality of life damages require a more subjective evaluation. It can often prove difficult to get the other side to accept your claim for these damages without a record of the negative impacts that your injuries have had on you.
- Finally, you should try to stay off social media during your semi-truck accident and injury claim. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers may monitor your social media profiles for posts that might contradict statements you’ve made about the accident. They may also be looking for photos or videos of you being active that might contradict your claims of injury.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a truck wreck?
Under Alabama’s statute of limitations law, you have two years from the date of your truck accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Similarly, a lawsuit for damages arising from the wrongful death of a loved one killed in a truck crash must be filed within two years of the date of death.
Moreover, if you fail to file your lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations, the court may permanently dismiss your lawsuit, and you will lose out on your right to seek compensation
How much will it cost to hire a tractor-trailer accident lawyer?
When you choose Stokes Stemle, LLC, to help you with your Dothan truck accident claim, we do not charge you any upfront fees or costs to handle your claim. Our firm works on a contingency-fee-basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until we recover compensation for your injuries and damages. We only collect a fee as an agreed-upon percentage of your total financial recovery.
How do you file a truck accident claim?
Most truck accident claims begin with filing a claim with the insurance company of the truck driver, trucking company, or other person or company that bears responsibility for your accident. In most cases, you and your attorney will need to negotiate with the insurance companies and at-fault parties to reach a settlement that fairly and fully compensates you for your injuries and losses. Finally, when a settlement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in court to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Talk to Our Experienced Dothan Truck Accident Lawyers Now
If you have been the victim of a semi-truck accident in Dothan, Alabama, contact the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Stokes Stemle, LLC, today. One of our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers can meet with you for free legal advice about your case.
Don’t wait to learn more about your legal options for pursuing financial compensation for your injuries from a truck accident. Let us show you how our firm will fight for the justice and accountability you deserve. Contact us now to get started.