Any car accident case can result in devastating losses. But an accident with a large commercial truck can be especially disastrous to motorists in smaller passenger vehicles. Over 5,000 people have lost their lives in trucking accidents recently. In 2021, accidents involving large trucks exceeded 100,000. Truck accident causes are highly variable, but we discuss the most common causes of semi-truck accidents below.
If you or a family member sustained injuries in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident lawyers can help recover compensation for your losses. The D’Amore Law Group is here to help. Contact us today.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Washington
Let’s discuss some of the most common causes of a semi-truck accident.
Federal law requires truck drivers to have a certain amount of rest before taking to the roads. Nevertheless, some drivers ignore these requirements and drive without adequate rest. The resultant fatigue contributes to truck accidents.
Equipment Failure or Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Equipment failure can have deadly consequences. Whether defective equipment or poor vehicle maintenance caused the accident, the results are often catastrophic.
Reckless driving takes many forms and can include the following:
- Ignoring traffic signals,
- Tailgating, or
- Reckless passing.
When a truck driver engages in reckless driving, no one on the road is safe.
Like all drivers, truck drivers must resist the temptation to engage in distracted driving. Distracted driving includes texting and talking on a cell phone while driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued regulations relating to the use of cell phones while driving, and all truck drivers should follow those rules.
Poor Cargo Loading
Improper cargo loading can cause a truck’s cargo to fall into the roadway or the entire truck to topple over. When this happens, nearby drivers are in great danger. In such cases, the driver, cargo company, or another third party may be responsible.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Statistically, truck drivers are less likely to cause an accident due to intoxication than passenger car drivers. However, this is no comfort for those whose lives have been shattered by the 3.6% of truck drivers whose impairment caused a serious crash.
Non-Driver-Related Causes of Truck Accidents
Sometimes truck accidents are caused by reasons that have nothing to do with the driver. Non-driver-related causes of truck accidents include the following:
- Bad weather,
- Road conditions,
- Poor driver training, and
- Unrealistic time constraints.
As you can see, not all truck accidents are caused by the driver. Your attorney will work to determine the specific factors that contributed to your accident.
What Compensation Is Available for a Truck Accident?
Washington State allows victims to seek compensation to cover economic and noneconomic losses. You can receive compensation for the following economic losses:
- Medical bills,
- Future medical care,
- Property damage,
- Rehabilitation or other therapy,
- Lost wages, and
- Loss of future wages.
Your attorney will gather documentation to support your claim for economic losses. In a Washington state personal injury lawsuit, you can also receive compensation for noneconomic losses. Those losses are less tangible and more subjective than direct financial losses and include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Disfigurement, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
An experienced truck accident attorney can estimate how much to seek for noneconomic losses, which can be challenging to prove.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Trucking Accident Case?
It’s wise to hire a lawyer for semi-truck accident cases. Truck accident claims are generally more complicated than typical car accident claims. Whether it’s the severity of the injuries or the likelihood of multiple defendants, you will benefit from seeking legal advice for your truck accident case. Let’s look at the ways a truck accident lawyer can help.
When a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, identifying all parties that may be liable can be a challenge. Even where the commercial truck driver was clearly at-fault, determining all potentially responsible parties can be difficult.
You should only trust this task to an experienced truck accident attorney. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to identify responsible parties. Liable parties can include the following:
- Commercial truck driver,
- Other drivers,
- Trucking company,
- Insurance company,
- The truck leasing company,
- Cargo loading company,
- Truck manufacturer, and
- Truck component part manufacturers.
As a victim in a truck accident, naming one or more defendants in your claim may result in more significant compensation. Washington State is a pure comparative fault state. This means you are entitled to compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. Even if you are 99% at fault, you could seek 1% of your damage from the responsible party. Your attorney will assess your case and fight for the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Developing the Evidence
Your attorney will use their skill and experience to develop the evidence. This process includes the following:
- Collecting and reviewing police reports;
- Conducting interviews with eyewitnesses;
- Analyzing video and black box recording data; and
- Hiring expert witnesses, including medical experts and accident reconstruction experts.
The defendants in commercial truck accidents typically have the resources to litigate cases fully. They begin their investigation immediately, and you should as well.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Washington is three years. But don’t delay contacting an experienced truck accident attorney to find all evidence as soon after the crash as possible. There’s a short window of opportunity to preserve the evidence and start developing a strong case.
Handling Case Management
Hiring a lawyer will ensure you have the best chance of a favorable outcome. Whether your case ends in a settlement or trial, your attorney will advocate for you every step of the way. They will determine when to negotiate and when to file a case, and they will represent you in court if that becomes necessary. Your legal team will protect your legal rights while you focus on healing.
D’Amore Law Group Can Help
The D’Amore Law Group knows how a trucking accident can impact your life and that of your loved ones. Our skilled and compassionate team will work closely with you to handle all aspects of your case. Our principal attorney, Tom D’Amore, has dedicated his practice to helping families for over 25 years. He has successfully handled thousands of cases. To ensure your case goes as smoothly as possible, contact us online or by phone today for a free consultation.