18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer Birmingham

Trucking Law and Why Personal Injury Lawyers are Needed after Birmingham Truck Accidents

Car accidents are so common that in Birmingham alone, there were 78,328 crashes in 2023. If you have been in a car accident, you know the feeling: the calm normality as you wait semi-impatiently at a stop light, it turns green, you look both ways, you start driving to the other side, then right as you’re halfway across, a car too quick to notice charges out of nowhere and slams into yours. There is nothing immediately noticed except black, and the sound of metal crashing and screeching to a steaming stalemate.

It’s one thing for a smaller vehicle to crash into a car the same size as it, but what happens when a large commercial vehicle comes charging out of nowhere? Drivers could be catapulted into catastrophic injuries at best and death at worst. Compounding this is that various laws governing truck drivers and potential negligence can be covered in nuances upon nuances. Having a Birmingham truck accident lawyer from a top-notch firm can ease the burden of navigating these laws and award you the damages you deserve.

Understanding Truck Accidents

According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, one of the most common causes of large truck accidents is an improper lane change, constituting 13.3% of all crashes in 2020 and 15.7% in 2022, with failure to yield, unseen objects or pedestrians following close behind as additional causes of large truck accidents. Large truck crashes also mostly take place on the interstate, constituting 28.7% of all crashes in 2020. Jefferson County, Alabama has had the most traffic fatalities in previous years. Large truck drivers are one of the most at-risk drivers for fatigue.

Types of Accidents Involving 18 Wheelers

You might remember when driving to look both ways, use your signals, keep the speed limit, and other rules, but if a commercial truck driver looks at his phone for a brief second while he’s driving, disaster can be inevitable. Given the more sizable nature of these vehicles, with the multiple components therein, there are a few types of accidents that can occur when driving one. In Birmingham, some of the most common are:

Jackknife accidents: this accident is when the driver swerves such that it causes the truck to fold in.

Underride accidents: this accident is as it sounds, a car going under the semi-trailer after a crash.

Hazardous material accidents: These accidents can endanger more people than just the drivers involved. This is when a material the truck transports gets loose. Depending on what is lost, other people can be harmed by the dangerous cargo.

However the accident occurs, it can all feel the same. Truck accident lawyers can be invaluable in determining the specifics of the accident and how much damage it can cause. Wettermark Keith’s injury attorneys have helped thousands of truck accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (877) 715-9300.

The Most Common Truck Crash Injuries

On the road, truck drivers are capable of traveling hundreds of miles in a day, which can lead to driver fatigue or mistakes. In some instances, if a driver is trying to meet a tight deadline, they may deliberately disregard safety procedures altogether. This can lead to catastrophic accidents and injuries for all those involved.

In Jefferson County alone, there were 96 fatal accidents involving large trucks (which was 49 more than in Tuscaloosa), and out of the 10,452 accidents in Alabama in 2022, over 2,000 resulted in injuries. While some injuries are more common than others in this type of accident, here are some of the most common:

Whiplash is probably the most common injury from these accidents, but sometimes the simple aches and pains in the neck could progress to the spine.

Naturally, with vehicles whose weights often go into the five-digit mark, broken bones can appear thanks to a tractor-trailer’s speeding fury.

Different types of traumatic brain injury can also develop, from internal bleeding to seizures to memory loss, or even more severe.

The injuries resulting from these accidents vary greatly, and the severity of each can significantly impact your life, both physically and financially, as well as the compensation you may be entitled to receive. If your injuries are severe enough, such as spinal cord injury, amputation, or even decapitation, the potential compensation could be substantial.

Following these accidents, navigating insurance claims can be particularly challenging. Insurance companies often employ aggressive tactics to minimize payouts and protect their interests. It's essential to have experienced legal representation to advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one were injured due to the negligence of a truck driver, our experienced truck accident lawyers can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The Legal Landscape of Large Truck Accidents in Birmingham

What Constitutes a Large Truck?

When discussing 18-wheeler truck accidents in Birmingham, Alabama, it's crucial to understand what constitutes a large truck. These vehicles, also known as semi-trucks or tractor-trailers, are distinct from smaller passenger vehicles in several key ways.

1. Size and Weight: Large trucks, including 18-wheelers, are significantly larger and heavier than standard passenger vehicles. They typically consist of a tractor unit (the cab) attached to one or more trailers. These trailers can vary in length but are often around 53 feet long. Due to their size and weight, they require more space to maneuver and have longer stopping distances compared to smaller vehicles.

2. Number of Axles: Large trucks usually have multiple axles to support their weight and distribute it evenly. The typical configuration includes two axles on the tractor unit and multiple axles on the trailer(s). This design helps them carry heavy loads while maintaining stability on the road.

3. Commercial Use: Large trucks are primarily used for commercial purposes, such as transporting goods across long distances. They are often operated by professional truck drivers who are subject to specific regulations and licensing requirements.

4. Specialized Features: 18-wheelers often feature specialized components such as air brakes, which require different handling techniques compared to standard vehicle brakes. They may also be equipped with advanced safety systems like collision mitigation technology to help prevent accidents.

5. Regulatory Requirements: Large trucks are subject to extensive regulatory oversight at both the federal and state levels. These regulations cover various aspects of trucking operations, including vehicle maintenance, driver qualifications, hours of service, and load securement.

6. Distinctive Appearance: Large trucks have a distinctive appearance characterized by their size, multiple axles, and often the presence of company logos or markings. They are a common sight on highways and major thoroughfares, especially in areas with significant commercial activity like Birmingham, Alabama.

Understanding what constitutes a large truck is essential for anyone involved in legal matters related to truck accidents. These vehicles pose unique risks on the road due to their size, weight, and commercial use, and holding responsible parties accountable in the event of an accident requires a thorough understanding of their characteristics and operation.

Was I Injured by the Trucking Company? What a Birmingham Truck Accident Lawyer Can Discover

Determining liability in the aftermath of a large truck crash is often more complex than meets the eye. While it may seem logical to assign fault solely to the driver, numerous other parties can bear responsibility. These include trucking companies, cargo loaders, and even the truck's owner if it's not operated by the owner themselves. For example, in a hazardous material accident, the cargo loading company could be liable for not securing the material properly.

In addition, a trucking company could be held responsible for:

    Respondeat Superior: The employer is responsible for the actions, and therefore the negligence, of the employee.

    Negligent Hiring: The employer is responsible for the employee's negligence if they knew beforehand that the employee posed a risk of inflicting harm.

    You will need a personal injury lawyer who knows every path through these laws and has extensive experience in cases like this. At Wettermark Keith, our Birmingham truck accident lawyers have just that: extensive experience navigating these complexities to guide our clients to compensation and recovery.

    How to Choose the Best Truck Accident Attorney in Birmingham

    When consulting with a Truck Accident Lawyer about your case, make sure that they are licensed to practice law in the state of Alabama, and that they are in good standing with the Alabama Bar Association. The lawyer should provide information such as their educational background and client reviews to show that they are capable of representing your case.

    Some key questions to ask include:

    How long have you specialized in this kind of case? Do you focus on Personal Injury?

    How often have you dealt with cases like mine? What did they result in?

    How do you investigate these cases? How do you gather evidence?

    Do your cases go to trial more often or settle? Both?

    How will you communicate to keep me updated about my case?

    Will you be handling this case? If not, may I meet who will be handling it?

    Describe your fee basis. Are there any initial costs? How much do I owe if we win? How much do I owe if we lose?

    How long does this case usually last?

    Do you think we have a case based on the information I have provided?

    Wettermark Keith’s Birmingham personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis; consultation is completely free, and you don’t pay unless we win the case. Communication is key for us; we are here to tell your story and bring your voice to the front. Our Birmingham truck accident attorneys will be in communication with you through every step of the legal process. Wettermark Keith has been taking on these cases for decades, and we are prepared to take on yours.


    How to Handle the Aftermath of a Trucking Accident

    If you were unfortunate to be in a trucking accident, your brain could be awash with confusion, disorientation, fear, and disbelief. Here are steps to take to protect your rights after a truck accident.

    The most important immediate action is to call 911 and report the crash. Call for the police and an ambulance if you or anyone else was injured in the crash.

    One of the most beneficial things to do after a large truck accident is to collect as much evidence as possible by taking photos or videos with your cell phone.

    Collect the contact information for the other drivers involved in the accident, as well as the company they work for and insurance information.

    Witness statements are crucial evidence because they provide firsthand accounts of the wreck, helping to corroborate evidence and establish the sequence of events accurately.

    Make sure to visit a medical professional; medical records can be vital pieces of evidence in showing the extent of injuries sustained in the accident.

    Contact your insurance company and refrain from making any statements that admit you could be at fault for the accident.

    Keep any and all records that can contribute to your case, such as medical records, accident reports, contact information, and company citations.

    The insurance company may try to minimize your compensation and it’s crucial not to settle for less than you deserve; having an attorney on your side is essential to safeguard your rights and maximize your claim. Our law firm has experienced truck accident attorneys who will build a comprehensive case and take it all the way to the courtroom if needed.


    Our 3-Step Process

    Connect With Us:

    Call our office at (877) 715-9300 or use our online form to arrange a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with our Birmingham legal team.

    We Assess Your Case

    In our initial review, our experienced Birmingham team will analyze the details of your case and map out potential strategies. If you've experienced an injury due to negligence, we’ll assign one of our expert personal injury attorneys to handle your case.

    We Defend Your Rights

    As one of the Southeast’s top personal injury firms, Wettermark Keith is fully committed to advocating for your rightful compensation and recovery. If an injury has disrupted your life, let our dedicated Birmingham attorneys seek justice on your behalf.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    In Alabama, the Statute of Limitations is 2 years. This means that after 2 years, you can no longer file a lawsuit to recover compensation from your accident.

    Several factors contribute to determining who was negligent in the accident. A lawyer can prove invaluable in determining what action contributed to the 3 aspects of determining negligence.

    Those aspects include:

    • Duty of Care, which means that the party was obligated to be as safe as possible to protect other parties involved. In simple terms, this is a responsibility each person has to act safely towards others.
    • Breach of Duty, which means the party violated that duty of care. This is a neglect of each person’s basic responsibility to act in a way that keeps others safe.
    • Causation, which means that in violating their obligation to protect others, they caused your accident and injuries.

    Negligent actions include but are not limited to speeding, improper loading, not maintaining proper distance between vehicles, improper lane change, distracted driving, and more.

    Truck accident cases include various factors that determine compensation owed, including the number of people involved, the manufacturer of the truck, the driver’s employer, and how bad the injuries are. You could be compensated for:

    • Economic damages, which is the financial compensation that can be awarded in a case. This includes items such as lost wages, out-of-pocket medical bills, medical equipment, and medications.
    • Non-economic damages, which represent non-financial compensation that can be awarded. This includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other similar factors.
    • Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant, particularly if they willfully committed the act.

    Under the complexities of Alabama's contributory negligence law and other statutes, determining fault in an accident can be intricate. That's where we come in. Our dedicated legal team will conduct a thorough investigation to uncover all the crucial evidence needed to establish that the truck driver is liable for your accident and injuries. We’ll provide clear guidance and keep you informed every step of the way - consultations with an injury attorney are always free.

    We strongly advise against discussing your case with the other driver's insurance company before speaking with an experienced attorney specializing in 18-wheeler accidents. While their representatives might seem friendly, their primary goal is to minimize their payout. By talking to them without legal counsel, you risk saying something unintentionally that harms your claim or accepting a settlement offer that doesn't fully compensate you for all your damages.

    There are three main types of trucking accidents:

    • Jackknife: When the trailer and cab fold on each other.
    • Underride: When a car goes under the trailer.
    • Hazardous Material: When dangerous cargo gets loose and has the potential to hurt more than just the drivers.

    Seek Justice with Wettermark Keith’s Birmingham Truck Accident Attorneys

    If you have been injured by or lost a loved one in a semi-truck accident in Alabama, it could only be the beginning of a challenging journey to justice. At Wettermark Keith, our team of dedicated Birmingham truck accident attorneys is here to advocate for you. With a deep understanding of the complexities involved in these cases, we are committed to fighting tirelessly on your behalf.

    Our attorneys have a proven track record of success in handling truck accident claims, holding negligent parties accountable, and securing maximum compensation for our clients. We understand the devastating impact a truck accident can have on your life, and we are here to provide compassionate support and aggressive representation every step of the way.

    Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Wettermark Keith’s reach is not only regional, but it also includes a diverse range of practice areas, including personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our client’s stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. As we say, It’s more to us, it’s personal.


    Many personal injury law firms will ask a client to pay money upfront to represent them. Not with Wettermark Keith. Clients don't pay anything until our firm wins your case. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Any legal fees and associated costs will be collected from your winnings at the conclusion of the case. If your attorney is not able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your injury, you will not be charged any legal fees for their efforts.

    Wettermark Keith was extremely professional and helpful. This personal injury law firm helped my husband over 10 years ago when he fell and broke his foot on vacation. I called them first because I liked their TV commercials. They are very nice people and I would call them again if I needed a lawyer.

    - Juanita

    Law firm Wettermark Keith has exceeded my expectations! I recommend these lawyers to anyone and everyone I come across. Their commitment to their clients is outstanding. Communication is easy. And I got my settlement very fast. I definitely recommend working with Lee Hawker. He is very gracious and kind. He looked out for me and my family and went above and beyond for us. I’m very grateful!

    - Alexa

    My personal embattlement with the Social Security Administration went downhill. From a personal recommendation, I reached out to Wettermark Keith law firm. Brian Smith and his team took my case and throughout the whole process, I felt more than just another number. Frequent updates were provided, and emphasis was placed on ensuring all needed documentation was in place. In the end, the accident case resulted in a favorable victory. A big thank you to my lawyer Brian Smith and the team at Wettermark Keith for the hard work throughout the entire personal injury process.

    - Dallas

    I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Mark English at Wettermark Keith law firm after my car accident in December 2021. He was very thorough in everything, did a wonderful job of explaining everything that was happening, and was super easy to get in touch with when I needed him. I never had a question that was left unanswered by this lawyer. He's very kind and patient, and he made the personal injury claims process so easy for me. I absolutely recommend him, it was a pleasure working with him!

    - Rose

    I am so elated that I utilized Mr. Muhammad Abdullah’s services. In the beginning, he told me the compensation that I would receive for my personal injury claim and I actually received more than that! After my car wreck (in my brand-new vehicle), I was actually surprised that I was in the pain that I was in. Mr. Abdullah made sure I saw the necessary people for therapy and worked hard to get me back into my car after the accident. I felt that he was diligent, listened to my concerns, and quickly got me back in my car and compensated! I will be utilizing Mr. Abdullah again and again, anytime I ever have to hire a lawyer.

    - Madinah