How Do You Prove Fault in a Truck Accident Case in Alabama?

by Aaron Gartlan

July 8, 2019 | Truck Accidents

Truck accidents in Alabama fall under tort law. In other words, an accident victim must prove that someone else was at fault in order to recover compensation. Proving fault in any personal injury claim is difficult. However, in truck accident cases, it can be particularly challenging. The case may involve multiple parties, which means dealing with multiple insurance companies. All of them may try to blame the other – and possibly even blame you – for the crash.

At Gartlan Injury Law, we have the experience and skill necessary to determine who was at fault for your truck accident and to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. Attorney Aaron Gartlan is an aggressive trial lawyer who fights to level the playing field for honest, hard-working individuals and hurting families. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call or reach us online today.

Who Can Be at Fault in a Trucking Accident?

In many instances, a truck driver can be at fault for an accident. For instance, the driver may cause the crash due to speeding, distracted driving or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Often, a truck driver causes a crash as a result of violating Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations that require pre- and post-trip inspections or restrict the number of hours that the driver can be on the road.

Trucking companies can also be at fault in crashes. Trucking companies are responsible for hiring only competent, qualified and experienced drivers who have passed background checks. When they fail to perform background checks, encourage drivers to violate laws or fail to properly maintain their trucks, trucking companies can be found at fault for an accident.

When a separate cargo company is responsible for loading a truck, the company may be at fault for an accident if the company failed to properly load the cargo. When cargo in a truck is loaded improperly, it can shift or spill during transport. The shift can cause an imbalance, which makes it more difficult for the driver to control the truck.

In Alabama, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their products are safe to use. When a truck manufacturer has made a truck with a defective design, or a defect occurs during the manufacturing process, and an accident occurs as a result, the manufacturer can be found at fault for a truck accident.

Additionally, you could be at fault in a truck accident. In fact, it’s one of the first defenses an insurance company will raise. If you are found even one percent at fault for an accident in Alabama, you could be barred from receiving any compensation. This is why it is important to work with a lawyer who will aggressively challenge any attempts to wrongly shift fault for a crash to you.

Types of Evidence Establishing Fault in a Truck Accident

At Gartlan Injury Law, we will launch an immediate investigation of your truck accident in order to determine who was at fault. It will be crucial for us to start the investigation right away in order to make sure that evidence is preserved, including:

  • Crash scene photos – Photos that you or others take at the scene of the accident can tell the story of what happened, including photos that show the vehicles involved in the wreck, surrounding debris and road and weather conditions. The truck may have also been equipped with a camera that recorded pre-crash events.
  • Inspection of the vehicles and crash scene – It is important to physically inspect your car and the tractor-trailer involved in the crash. For example, an inspection may reveal that the truck had faulty brakes or other defects which contributed to the accident.
  • Black box data – The information downloaded from a truck’s event data recorder (EDR) can include the truck’s speed and brake usage just before the accident occurred.
  • Cell phone records – The FMCSA generally prohibits commercial drivers from texting or talking on hand-held cell phones. A driver’s cell phone records may indicate that the driver violated those rules and caused a crash due to distracted driving.
  • Chemical test results – If a driver operated the truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the driver may face civil liability in addition to criminal prosecution.
  • Inspection and maintenance records – The FMCSA requires routine inspection and maintenance of commercial motor vehicles. Records – or a lack of records – may indicate that a trucking company shirked this duty and allowed a dangerous tractor-trailer to be on the road.
  • Employee records – A driver’s records may reveal that the trucking company hired a driver with a history of traffic or safety violations, or that the company failed to take action after driver committed violations while under the company’s watch.
  • Driving logbooks – Under FMCSA rules, drivers must record their hours. The logbooks may show that the driver violated the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations and exceeded the number of permissible hours on the road. Studies have shown that fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Man filling out a truck accident claim

Gartlan Injury Law often consults with experts in accident reconstruction who can analyze evidence and help us to determine why an accident happened. The accident reconstruction expert’s analysis can be presented in a report and/or illustrated with graphics or computer animation, which can help an insurance company or jury to get a clear picture of the accident and who is to blame for it.

Get Help from an Experienced Alabama Truck Accident Lawyer Today

At Gartlan Injury Law, our experienced Alabama injury lawyers are driven by a genuine passion for helping people through tough situations. If you have been hurt in a collision with a tractor-trailer in Alabama, we will handle every aspect of your case, starting with an investigation to determine who was at fault. While we investigate your crash, deal with the insurance companies and work hard to pursue all compensation that you are due, you can focus on your health and your family. Contact us today and learn more in a free consultation about your case.


Aaron Gartlan is a graduate of Troy University and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law who focuses his practice exclusively on representing those injured by the wrongdoing of others. He is member of the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. In addition to his legal practice, Aaron teaches Business Law as an adjunct instructor at Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business and serves as a field artillery sergeant in the Alabama National Guard.

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