Dedicated Portland Trucking Accident Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
At D’Amore Law Group, we understand the pain, financial stress, and worry that you and your family are experiencing in the immediate aftermath of a semi-truck crash or accident. Large commercial trucks or semi-trucks are undeniably one of the most hazardous motor vehicles traveling on Oregon roads. The days and weeks following a trucking accident are often filled with grief, staggering medical bills, and lasting changes in your quality of life and the quality of life of a family member. Our knowledgeable Portland trucking accident lawyers are ready and willing to utilize their years of trial experience to develop a customized legal strategy to obtain the compensation you deserve to assist you and your loved ones in this trying time.
Oregon Truck Accident Statistics
A brief look at the statistical data related to trucking accidents makes clear the inherent danger these vehicles pose for travelers throughout Oregon. On a national scale, from 2016-2017, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased 10 percent, from 4,251 to 4,657; the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5 percent, from 102,000 to 107,000; and the number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 3 percent, from 351,000 to 363,000.
According to Oregon’s 2018 Safety Action Plan, in 2017 there were approximately 1,700 truck crashes, 12% higher than in 2016. These collisions resulted in a total of 51 fatalities and 628 serious injuries. Of these crashes, 1,097 were caused by a tractor/semi-trailer, with 380 injuries and 31 deaths resulting. Truck driver behavior was noted as the leading cause of truck crashes.
Statistics have shown that approximately 16 trucking accidents occur on Oregon highways on a daily basis, which translates into a collision nearly every six hours.
Potential Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
The commercial trucking industry is a cornerstone of the modern economy and impacts our daily life. From the goods we purchase at stores to the gas we put in our cars, the majority of products used around the country are transported by semi-trucks. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of trucking entities engage in sound business safety practices when it comes to maintaining their vehicles and supervising their drivers’ work activity. There are, however, instances where some trucking corporations look to take short-cuts that result in reckless driving practices, inadequate training, and sub-par maintenance that increase the chances of an accident occurring. Common causes of trucking accidents can include:
- Driver Fatigue: Drivers employed by commercial trucking corporations often face pressure from their employers to make their deliveries in a short time-frame. Although Oregon statutes impose a cap on the number of hours a semi-truck driver can operate a vehicle at a given time, those regulations are often violated in an effort to meet deadlines. Extended time behind the wheel can lead to fatigue and exhaustion for the driver. It may get to the point where their reaction time is drastically affected, or they even fall asleep while driving – putting themselves and those driving around them in danger.
- Distracted Driving and Inadequate Training: Some truck drivers engage in “Road Rage” – reckless driving practices such as illegal passing, tailgating, vulgar gestures, breaking the speed limit, or driving under the influence of medicine, drugs, or alcohol. Others may not have undergone the requisite training to become certified to operate commercial trucking vehicles. Nearly 33% of all drivers of large trucks implicated in fatal accidents had at least one prior speeding conviction on their record. This is compared to less than 20% of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal collisions.
- Improper Maintenance: Oregon truck accidents are often caused simply due to the inherently large size of the 18-wheelers, which have wide blind-spots where the driver is unable to see other vehicles when turning or changing lanes. Additionally, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a fully-loaded tractor-trailer takes anywhere from 20-40% farther to stop than an average automobile. These risk factors can be exacerbated if the trucking company fails to exercise reasonable care in maintaining its equipment.
Just as there are multiple potential causes of semi-truck accidents, there are also a number of parties who may be potentially liable for the accident as well. This includes the individual truck driver whose negligence led to the collision; the company or organization that employed the truck driver; the entity who manufactured the truck, attached trailer, the trucking equipment, or aftermarket addition; the broker that arranged the transport; the governmental organization that made a road design error; or an additional truck driver or automobile driver whose negligence caused or contributed to the collision.
The dedicated Portland trucking accident lawyer at D’Amore Law Group thoroughly understands the state and federal regulations applicable to the trucking industry. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances that resulted in the trucking accident, in order to bring the negligent party to justice, so that you can fully focus on the recovery process.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident
Trucks with two or three trailers weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds and measuring up to 75 feet in length are a common sight along Oregon’s I-5 and I-84 highways. The sheer size of these vehicles makes this type of accident particularly devastating for the parties involved. While these events are understandably traumatic and stressful, the actions you take in the immediate aftermath can significantly impact your future legal options and ability to recover the damages you are entitled to. If you find yourself involved in an accident with a semi-truck, follow the steps outlined below to maximize your chances for recovery:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Call 911 immediately and seek medical attention for any serious injuries. Due to the severity of the majority of semi-truck accidents, injuries requiring treatment are often obvious. However, many victims fail to recognize the full extent of their injuries. They may not realize until days or weeks later that they or a loved one are experiencing a traumatic brain injury, internal bruising and bleeding, or other latent, less-noticeable injuries as a result of the accident. Thus, you should seek medical treatment beyond the initial assessment you receive at the scene of the crash. This should include a comprehensive medical evaluation by a licensed medical practitioner, physical therapy, surgery, counseling and psychological treatments, and x-rays. Make sure you are completely candid with your physician–downplaying your injuries or pain level will only benefit the insurance company when it comes time to settle. Be sure to keep track of all medical expenditures and bills.
- Document Evidence: Obtaining details about the truck driver and their employer is an essential step in building your case. These details should include the other driver’s name and contact information, their license number, insurance information, and their USDOT number. Avoid making any statements regarding fault when obtaining these details from the other party.
- Obtain Competent and Experienced Legal Counsel: Trucking accidents can be complex and pose unique legal challenges. They commonly involve serious injuries and significant property damage while implicating a variety of federal and state laws. Additionally, negotiating with insurance company representatives (whose primary role is to limit liability and minimize the damages paid to injured parties) requires a strategic approach and willingness to go to trial if necessary. Contact our knowledgeable and proven Portland trucking accident attorney to discuss your case.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who will pay my damages? The trucking company?
In a typical truck accident claim, it is the driver’s insurance company that pays the claim. Normally, the trucking company cannot be held liable unless the company itself can be said to have caused the accident. If the trucker is an actual employee of the trucking company (a rather unusual case), the trucking company can be held automatically liable for the trucker’s negligence. Truckers are usually heavily insured–the minimum liability limits for truckers required by the Federal Department of Transportation is $750,000.
Q: My child was killed in a truck accident. What are my options?
As a parent, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucker or file a claim against his liability insurance policy. The other parent or the child’s grandparents might also be authorized to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensation is distributed among close family members, particularly parents. In most cases, the statutory deadline for filing a lawsuit is three years after the accident. Please contact our Portland trucking accident attorneys, we are experienced, empathetic and determined.
Q: What do I have to prove to win my case?
In a negligence case (as most truck accident cases are), you must prove four facts to win:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. This is easy to prove since all drivers have this duty.
- The defendant breached his duty of care. He may have violated a traffic law, for example, followed you too closely, or violated a trucking regulation.
- The defendant’s breach of duty was a substantial cause of the accident.
- You suffered personal injury and/or property damages as a result of the trucker’s breach of duty.
Q: What are some possible defenses that might be raised?
Many possible defenses might be raised, depending on the exact circumstances of the accident. The defendant or the insurance company might, for example, assert that:
- The accident was your fault, or partly your fault.
- The statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit has already expired.
- The accident did not cause your injury (it was pre-existing, for example).
If you or someone you love has been affected by a semi-truck accident, it is important to realize that there is simply too much on the line to trust your case with anyone other than a dedicated legal team with a proven track record of obtaining results. The trucking accident lawyers at D’Amore Law Group offer zealous representation at all stages of your case so you can rest assured that your legal rights will be protected.
Q: What damages can I recover in a trucking accident?
The damages that you are able to recover in a trucking accident are very similar to damages that can be recovered in almost any personal injury case.
These are losses that are easily quantifiable, usually because you have documentation proving the numbers like a receipt or bill. They include things like:
- Medical Expenses – These can be easily determined by adding up your medical bills, ambulance charges, hospital charges, and the like.
- Lost Wages – This can be determined by simply looking at pay stubs or yearly income tax statements that show how much you typically make in a week, month, or year.
- Property Damages – Again, these can be easily assessed by an appraisal of what your property (like your car) was worth prior to the accident and what it is worth now.
These are a bit more difficult to assess because they are not based on a bill or pay stub. They require the assistance of experts to reach an amount for settlement purposes:
- Pain and Suffering – This is more subjective and unique to each case, and this particular needs to be assessed by a professional.
- Loss of Future Wages or Earning Capacity – If you cannot go back to your job because of your injuries, you need to be compensated in order to develop another vocation or to replace your income if you are unable to work at all.
Recent Results Obtained By Our 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys in Oregon
- $26.4 million verdict from an Oregon federal jury against two transportation companies and their drivers for their prolonged bout of “road rage” with one another that caused a head-on accident with a car, killing a 30-year old woman and severely injuring her 27-year old husband. Read more…
- $2 million dollar result on behalf of the widow whose husband was killed when he was rear-ended by a semi-truck in Oregon. The man’s car was pushed off the road, into a ditch, and burst into flames. Investigation after the crash showed that the truck driver had illegal drugs in his system at the time of the accident and had falsified log reports.
- $1.4 million dollar settlement in Medford, Oregon, trucking accident
D’Amore Law Group client, William Geary (Central Point), was stopped in a line of cars on Biddle Road, waiting for the light to turn green. He saw a double trailer semi-truck traveling fast, make a turn onto Biddle… read more
Contact our Experienced Portland Truck Accident Lawyers for Help
Before signing any papers presented to you by insurance companies, seek advice from experienced legal counsel. The attorneys at D’Amore Law Group will thoroughly examine your case to ensure you pursue all available avenues of recovery. Otherwise, you could be signing away your legal rights and adequate compensation for your injuries and losses. Meet one of our Portland truck accident attorneys for a free consultation in one of our offices located in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, Oregon; or visit our office in Vancouver, Washington. Call our lawyers or visit us online and don’t delay. Our law firm will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.