Truck accidents can cause devastating and costly injuries. If you or a loved one were in a vehicle accident with a semi-truck, you might be eligible to file a claim against the negligent party. Proving negligence in a truck accident in Oregon or Washington is crucial to receiving the compensation you deserve.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to truck accidents. It is essential to have a clear understanding of what caused the accident so you can file your claim against the responsible party. This is why truck accident reconstruction is critical in proving negligence.
What Is Truck Accident Reconstruction?
Accident reconstruction is a forensic approach to determining the details of how and why an accident occurred. Reconstruction is performed by professionals who have specific training involving physics, engineering, vehicle design, and roadway characteristics. Reconstruction uses known data such as the vehicle’s final resting position, size of vehicles, and other proven facts to work backward and resolve the unknowns and create a full picture of what happened. Each crash is different, but these are a few actions generally taken to reconstruct the scene:
- Visit the crash site to take measurements and analyze the site;
- Conduct a thorough investigation of all vehicles involved;
- Review images of the vehicles before and after the accident;
- Evaluate medical records to determine if the injuries match the reported damage;
- Use technology to render 3D models of the accident and injuries; and
- Review evidence, including the collision report, crash test reports, and witness statements.
Reconstruction can help determine factors like the speed of the vehicles, visibility, driver behavior, and other crash elements that may be unknown. The concise science-based report can be used for proving negligence in a truck accident.
Why Truck Accident Reconstruction Is Necessary
In both Oregon and Washington, the party that caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damage caused. It is important that you are able to use the facts of the case to prove liability and receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Oregon follows the rule of modified contributory negligence. Under this law, compensation is apportioned according to fault. This means that you can still file a claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident, as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault. The percentage by which you are found responsible will be deducted from your verdict or settlement. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but found to be 30% at fault, your actual award would be $70,000. Washington follows a doctrine of pure contributory negligence or fault, the only difference being that there is no limit on the degree to which each party is negligent.
That being said, the party you are bringing a claim against will undoubtedly do their best to prove that you shared in causing the accident. It is crucial that you have all the facts to defend yourself, which is why truck accident reconstruction is necessary.
Who Is Liable in a Trucking Accident?
Any collision with a commercial vehicle can be complicated, especially when it comes to semi-trucks. You may assume that the driver is at fault. That is often correct, but your case could include a number of parties who also bear responsibility. Here are a few of the most common responsible parties in trucking accidents:
The Truck Driver
Driver error is the primary factor in many vehicle accidents. In the case of a commercial truck, there are specific laws for truck drivers, including the length of time they can be on the road and pre- and post-trip vehicle checks. In many cases, distracted driving and fatigue are contributing factors.
The Trucking Company
Businesses are often vicariously liable for the acts of their employees so long as they were acting within the scope of their employment or on behalf of the company. In many cases, the trucking company may be held responsible for the actions of the truck driver. The company may also be responsible for failure to enforce trucking laws.
The Cargo Loader
Unlike a standard passenger vehicle, trucks with trailers must have balanced loads to ensure the safety of the cargo and safety on the road. The cargo could be loaded by a specific cargo-loading company, the truck driver, or another party. An unbalanced load can cause the truck to swerve or tip.
A mechanic can potentially make errors that could result in vehicle accidents. It is important to keep up with truck maintenance and address all concerns immediately. If the mechanic does not perform their job to the industry standard and it causes an accident, they may be held liable. The same is true of the company the individual mechanic works for.
The Parts Manufacturer
A faulty part could cause the vehicle to handle in unpredictable and unsafe ways. For example, brake pads that do not function properly could cause serious or even fatal consequences in a trucking accident.
In some cases, poorly maintained roads could be a factor in the trucking accident. Generally, the municipality overseeing that stretch of road, whether federal, state, or local, is responsible for its upkeep. If they fail to fix dangerously broken roads or traffic indicators, they could be held liable.
Let Us Help You with Your Accident
The team of experienced attorneys at D’Amore Law Group understands the complexity of trucking accidents and how to help you obtain the compensation you deserve, which includes proving negligence in a truck accident. We work with accident reconstruction professionals who know what to look for to build a clear picture of what you went through.
This is not just another area of law we put on our resume. Attorney Tom D’Amore is the only attorney residing in Oregon who is certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in trucking law. He is also board certified with the Academy of Truck Accident Lawyers. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.