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Why Are There So Many Truck Accidents in Alabama?

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Dothan, Alabama sees more than its fair share of accidents involving big trucks. With congestion crowding Highway 84, and our proximity to the beaches of Florida, our outdated roads host traffic backups that can lead to a collision.  Especially bad are passenger vehicle collisions with trucks.  

Alabama is home to more than 10,000 trucking companies. Every year, more than $432 billion in goods is shipped to and from Alabama using large trucks.

In 2017, there were 9,351 trucks involved in crashes in Alabama. Among those, 4,889 resulted in fatalities, according to the state Department of Transportation. Sadly, it is often the family of someone involved in a Dothan truck accident who must pick up the pieces and bring an action against the at-fault driver.

Truck Accidents in Alabama

Trucks can be defined as vehicles used to deliver packages, pick up garbage, a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler. The federal government defines a truck as any motor vehicle weighing greater than 10,000 pounds but a big rig can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more.

In an accident with a passenger car weighing roughly 5,000 pounds, the big rig has the clear advantage in terms of which vehicle occupants are more likely to emerge safely from the collision.

Some of the reasons for Alabama truck accidents may include:

* Speeding – Particularly dangerous in a truck which requires a greater distance to stop

* Distracted Driving – Maneuvering a big rig takes even more focus than a car because of the size involved and extra considerations to keep the load from shifting

* Fatigued Driver – Some drivers do not follow the federally mandated hours-of-service rules that tell them how many hours they must rest between runs.

Many drivers of passenger cars fail to realize that they cannot tailgate a big rig or leave inadequate space between it and the vehicle in front of it. Large trucks simply do not have the capacity to stop short.

Another type of crash with a big rig is a head-on collision that occurs when someone jumps over the median or when one of the vehicles is making turn in front of the other.

As a driver, please leave enough space surrounding the large truck. 

We often find that the driver of the car contributed to the Dothan truck crash and in Alabama, if you contributed to the crash, even one percent, you may be precluded from receiving compensation for your injuries under the state’s contributory negligence laws.

The fault will rest with the person or persons who caused the accident.  Please make sure that is not you.

Truck Accident Negligence

It is important that you call the Dothan, AL personal injury lawyers at Smith & McGhee as soon as you can after your truck accident so we can preserve evidence.

We have decades of experience in gathering the evidence needed to make your negligence claim.  

We will look at the following:

* The Black Box recorder on the Truck – This is mandated equipment on big rigs and tells the story of the conditions prior to the crash.

* The Drivers’ Hours-of-Service logs – This will tell us how long the driver had been on the road prior to the accident. Did he have adequate rest? Federal law mandates a maximum of 11 hours driving after 10 hours off duty.


* Cell phone Records – Was the driver engaged in using electronics at the time of the accident or was he distracted by sending a text message?

* Inspection Report on the Truck – When was its last inspection including tires and brakes? Were there any items on the truck that were under recall?

* Hiring practices – The trucking company likely hires many drivers to move goods across the country and what is their history? The negligence may go all the way to the top with a hauler who pushes drivers beyond the safe limits of travel.

* Distributed Load – was the load on the truck proper for its weight and was it distributed correctly?

You may be entitled to receive compensation for your property loss resulting from the crash such as a lost vehicle. You may also be entitled to receive compensation to cover medical and hospital bills and the cost of rehabilitation. Punitive damages may be involved if a death resulted from the accident.

A consultation with the experienced Dothan truck accident attorneys at Smith & McGhee is free. Please call our offices before speaking to the insurance carrier for the other party as they will attempt to make this go away as soon as possible to their advantage, not yours.