Accidents involving commercial trucks are often much more severe than accidents that involve only smaller vehicles. Trucks are much heavier than the average car and they are capable of causing significant damage. Depending on the nature of the accident, victims may be severely injured or even killed. In addition, truck accidents typically cause serious damage to the other vehicles involved.
Here in Washington, we experience a high volume of trucking traffic on our highways. If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Seek legal counsel from the experienced Spokane truck accident attorneys at Twyford Law Office. We are here to help you seek justice.
Give us a call at (509) 327-0777 today.
Truck Accidents Can Cause Catastrophic Harm
Commercial trucks weigh as much as 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle and can cause devastating damage during a crash. Their heavy weight and high speed make it difficult to stop quickly while their expansive size means they do not maneuver well when faced with a crisis. Rain or poor weather makes it even more difficult for these big vehicles to share the road safely.
According to figures from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, big trucks cause about 3% of the nation’s accidents – but those accidents are devastating to the individuals involved. Once an accident occurs, the occupants of the smaller vehicle can be left with catastrophic injuries, facing months of medical treatment and care. If the accident was caused by the trucker or company negligence, it is even more difficult to deal with – the senseless tragedy could have been avoided if more care was taken.
Who Is to Blame?
If the truck driver or business has behaved negligently – either by failing to follow regulations, failing to maintain the vehicle, or driving in an unsafe manner – they could be held responsible for your injuries. It is essential to speak with a Spokane truck accident attorney as soon as you can to talk about your case and your options after your accident.
Causes of Truck Accidents
While some truck accidents are a result of the same things that cause car accidents – texting, driving under the influence, and distracted driving – other causes are directly related to the truck itself or the driver’s ability to handle such a large vehicle. Truck drivers must undergo specific training to safely handle such a large vehicle and follow specific rules. If the driver is not properly trained or the company or driver fails to comply with laws, an accident could occur.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:
Fatigue: The amount of time a driver can be on the road each week is limited by federal law to help reduce the risk of fatigue. Since trucks can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles a week, fatigue can lead to slower reflexes and a lack of attention to the road, resulting in an accident.
Speeding: Rushing to get to the next destination can result in a terrible accident; a truck traveling above the speed limit is a dangerous vehicle and is more prone to accidents.
Poor maintenance: The company that owns the truck is responsible for properly maintaining its fleet and for ensuring that the truck is safe enough to be on the road. Regular maintenance checks are required. A blown tire or bad brakes could easily cause a truck accident on the highway.
Poor training: While drivers are supposed to be fully trained, some companies rush to hire and end up with less experienced or trained drivers, posing a hazard for everyone on the roadway.
Unsafe driving: From switching lanes to driving too close to other vehicles and even episodes of road rage, poor driving habits become even more dangerous when a big truck is involved.
Overloaded trailer: A loaded truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds; a business trying to save money could place too much cargo inside. Even though there are regulations on the amount of weight a truck can carry, companies can and do overload their vehicles. From improperly secured freight to maneuverability problems, an overloaded truck is a serious hazard.
Road conditions and weather: Construction or even other minor accidents can lead to trucking accidents; these big vehicles just can’t stop as quickly as smaller passenger cars. Bad weather is also more dangerous for trucks than for other vehicles, since they take longer to stop and may have more difficulties maneuvering in the rain or snow.
Washington Truck Accident Laws
Each state has different laws that govern personal injury claims filed after truck accidents. In the state of Washington, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the party responsible. The state of Washington uses pure comparative fault rules in these situations, which means that you can collect compensation after a truck accident even if you were partly at fault for what happened (RCW 4.22.005). For example, if the court determines that you were 20% at fault for the accident and that the defendant was 80% at fault, the defendant will typically be required to pay 80% of your expenses.
Can I File a Lawsuit?
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident that involved a commercial truck, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit. However, in order to recover compensation in this manner, you must be able to show that the truck driver, his employer or another third party was responsible for the accident.
Specifically, you may win by showing that:
The defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care in order to avoid causing injury
The defendant failed to exercise this reasonable care
The defendant’s actions caused the injury you suffered
You experienced some type of damage to your property or a personal injury
Every accident is different, and the amount of compensation you may receive will vary considerably.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may receive compensation to cover:
Damage to your vehicle and personal property
Cost of ongoing medical treatment
Punitive damages for pain and suffering
Twyford Law Office Can Represent You
A truck accident can have major consequences for the victim. Our Spokane truck accident attorneys can help you learn more about your options and ensure you are treated fairly by the insurance company, trucking business, and other parties involved. We understand just how much of an impact this kind of case can have on your life and stand ready to fight for fair compensation for you and your family.
Contact us to learn more about your options and to talk about your specific case. Call (509) 327-0777 now to speak with a truck accident lawyer.