I Was in an Accident with a Commercial Truck – Who Can I Sue?
An accident with any type of commercial vehicle is serious business. Because of the size differential, it is most likely that the driver of the automobile will be the most seriously, even catastrophically injured.
Commercial vehicles run the range from a 15-passenger van to a tractor-trailer. The one thing they have in common is that they are always registered to a company and any commercial vehicle is required under federal law to carry $750,000 in insurance coverage.
Nationally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in 2017, 4,102 people were killed in crashes with large trucks and the numbers keep growing. That certainly is the case in Alabama where the Department of Transportation reports in 2017, 101 people lost their lives in truck crashes following 9,351 truck-involved collisions.
The Responsible Party
If you were not at fault for the accident and have suffered physical and property losses, you likely will need to file a lawsuit to recover.
The other side may initially offer you a settlement. This is rarely adequate and represents more of a nuisance value just to get rid of you. Please do not even consider accepting this offer without first talking to a knowledgeable accident attorney.
Experienced truck accident attorney Chip Nix will examine the scene and gather evidence, determine the amount of insurance available, and what, if any, regulations were violated that led to the accident.
Because evidence has a tendency to disappear, it is important to contact his office as soon as you can after the accident.
Some of the responsible parties may include:
- The Truck Driver –
was he asleep at the wheel? His cell phone records will show if he was texting
and driving and his driver logs should tell us whether he received adequate
mandated sleep the night before. Does he have a history of drug or alcohol
abuse? What did his last medical exam say? Did he own the vehicle or was he an
- The Vehicle Owner –
This may not be the truck driver, in fact, often drivers lease a truck which is
part of a fleet of vehicles belonging to a commercial carrier. We will examine the contractual relationship
between the driver and the fleet owner and the arrangement between the fleet
owner and the shipping company. Was there an effort to get a load to a
destination within an unrealistic time period? Was the truck overloaded or was
the load distributed unevenly?
- The Manufacturer – Had the vehicle been maintained and were there any outstanding recall items? What was the condition of the brakes and the tires? What do the logs say about the amount of time the vehicle had spent on the road? What does the black box recorder say about the conditions preceding the accident? If there were mechanical problems with the vehicle, we may be able to expand the suit to include product liability.
Preparing a Lawsuit
In preparing a lawsuit, we must first send a preservation letter to all of the entities involved with that commercial vehicle so they do not destroy any evidence.
In Alabama, the driver’s log
books must be retained for at least twelve months, but that is no guarantee
evidence will not disappear. We will investigate whether there is a second set
of books which may tell the true story.
Your Injuries and Losses
Make sure you understand the extent of your injuries. Have you sought medical attention to determine what treatment will be needed, both short and long-term? Many soft tissue injuries are not evident right after a collision and become more severe with the passage of time.
The damage to your
property is likely very evident following the collision. Make sure you
understand what it will take to fully repair your automobile.
Skilled Investigators and Negotiators
Please do not hesitate to call Attorney Chip Nix at (334) 203-6669 right after your accident with a commercial vehicle. The losses are certain to be monumental and the injuries catastrophic. Attorney Nix is dedicated to seeking the maximum compensation to make you whole.