As Alabama’s largest city, and center of the state’s interstate commerce, Birmingham is the primary location for a substantial number of large truck collisions and crashes each year. Moreover, the city’s interstate highway system serves as a connection to other large cities in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States. Interstates 65 and 20/59 in Birmingham are used every day by thousands of large trucks traveling across the Southern Region of the country.
Statistics regarding large truck and 18 wheeler collisions and crashes demonstrate the magnitude of wrecks involving these types of vehicles. According to some sources, one out of nine traffic fatalities in the United States involves a large truck or 18 wheeler. The size, weight and power of large trucks and the loads that they carry are devastating when a high speed impact occurs with a smaller automobile.
Successful litigation of truck accident cases requires advanced knowledge of applicable rules and regulations that govern large trucks as well as an understanding of the trucking industry. The theories of recovery in trucking cases often differ from ordinary car accident cases. Jurisdiction considerations are more prominent in trucking accident cases as well. Many truck accident cases are litigated in federal court because of diversity jurisdiction. Accordingly, attorneys handling these types of cases must have the knowledge, experience and skill necessary to litigate cases to conclusion under the more stringent requirements imposed by federal courts.
Trucking accident cases also frequently involve the use of retained experts. Qualified and experienced experts, whether hired for consultation or as potential expert witnesses at trial, are invaluable. We find that an expert who has worked in the trucking industry and has “hands on” experience is typically the most effective expert. Ideal candidates are former drivers, safety directors or managers who have worked for a trucking company for an extended period of time. These experts have practical knowledge of the industry and juries usually find them to be more credible. In addition, law enforcement officers, accident reconstructionists, fire and cause origin experts, diesel technicians and mechanics, former Department of Transportation investigators, and ECM (Electronic Control Module) technicians are other examples of the types of experts often needed in trucking accident cases.
Typically, our discovery stage of the case involves detailed and comprehensive discovery from persons and sources at the trucking company. We seek information from the truck driver, the company’s safety director, the company’s representatives regarding the nature and extent of the company’s trucking and hauling operations, and any company or contract mechanics who have worked on the truck or trailer within two years prior to the wreck. The objective of this discovery is to ascertain as much information as possible about certain categories, including driver fatigue or impairment, improper loading or securing of cargo, maintenance and repairs of the truck and trailer, and the company’s policies and procedures regarding all of these categories.
The attorneys at Cross & Smith handle large truck and 18 wheeler cases in Birmingham and surrounding areas. Dell Cross has practiced in Birmingham courts for over 20 years. Firm associate Adam Cross lives in Birmingham. Justin Smith has practiced in Birmingham courts for eight years. Both Dell and Justin have written materials and spoken at seminars held in Birmingham for Alabama lawyers regarding the handling of trucking accident cases.
If you or a family member have been injured in a trucking or 18 wheeler accident or wreck, contact the Birmingham truck and 18 wheeler accident attorneys at Cross & Smith. Our firm represents individuals that have been seriously injured or killed as a result of a trucking or 18 wheeler wreck.