Seattle Truck Accident Lawyers
What to Do After a Collision with a Big Rig
The challenges that a truck accident survivor or the family members of a wrongful death victim face often seem insurmountable. However, with the right information and help, you can not only get the answers that you need, but also the necessary means for obtaining justice and closure. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our aggressive Seattle truck accident attorneys protect the rights of our clients. We understand the difficulties that you are facing, especially when preserving evidence and dealing with a trucking company's insurance company. We may be able to assist you in finding the best solution for your particular situation. For a free, no obligation consultation, please call (888) 228-3860.
The Next Step: Is Legal Action Right for Me?
After a serious trucking collision, there is a lot to think about and handle on top of recovering from injuries or grieving the loss of a loved one. If you believe that negligence caused the accident, you may have a valid claim or lawsuit. It is important to act fast considering that trucking companies as well as their insurance companies will be quick to begin a defense against any claims of responsibility for the crash.
Washington Truck Accident Recoveries
- $390,000 recovery for truck accident in Skykomish.
- $230,000 recovery for lacerations and broken ribs sustained when a truck overturned as a result of an improperly secured load in Sumas.
Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries to Occupants of Other Vehicles
In a crash involving a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, it is far less common for a truck driver or truck occupant to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. Based on the principles of physics, when a fully-loaded 18-wheeler weighing 80,000 lbs. or more collides with a 3,000 lb. passenger vehicle, the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle are much more vulnerable to harm.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), most fatalities in truck accidents are passenger vehicle occupants. Of the 3,660 people who died in large truck collisions in 2014, only 16% were occupants of large commercial trucks. A full 68% of the fatalities were people driving or riding in cars or passenger vehicles, and 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
The same statistical trend holds true for non-fatal injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 111,000 people were injured in large truck accidents in the U.S. in 2014 – an increase of 17% from the previous year. Of the people injured, 74% were occupants of other vehicles, 23% were occupants of large trucks, and 3% were non-occupants.
IIHS reports that truck braking capabilities are a contributing factor to truck crashes, as loaded tractor-trailers may require 20% to 40% more distance to stop than passenger vehicles, particularly when travelling on wet or slick roadways, or when the truck brakes have been poorly maintained. Another known crash risk is truck driver fatigue. Although federal hours-of-service regulations restrict the amount of time truck drivers are allowed to keep going without rest, surveys indicate that many drivers violate these regulations, as reported to IIHS.
How Is Trucker Negligence Proved in Washington?
In order to hold a truck driver and/or trucking company responsible for a crash, you'll have to prove that the accident was caused by negligence or recklessness on the part of the driver or trucking company. An experienced Seattle auto accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation and help you collect the evidence you need to prove fault. There are many potential acts of negligence that may warrant legal action, but some of the most common include:
- Truck driver fatigue
- Poor truck maintenance
- Distracted driving
- Overloaded truck
One possible source of evidence to support your claim is the commercial truck's black box. This is an Electronic Control Module (ECM) integrated with the truck engine components. The black box is designed to capture a wealth of ongoing data about the truck's operations, including: amount of time driven; average speed; highest speed; average RPMs; and other information that could be helpful to your claim.
However, a truck's black box data is not retained forever. After a certain amount of time – typically 30 days – new data is recorded over existing black box data. The trucking company may also destroy the data after an accident unless legal action is taken to halt this practice. It is important to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, so action may be taken to obtain and preserve black box data and other evidence.
If you believe that negligence caused the accident, you may have a valid claim or lawsuit.
How Can I Get Compensation for Truck Accident Damages in Seattle?
Legal action may help you get money from negligent parties for a wide range of damages associated with the accident and your losses. Most of the time, an accident survivor can receive compensation for medical expenses, including hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, and surgery. Money may also be awarded for lost earnings and benefits due to time away from work to recover or not being able to work again at all because of the catastrophic injury. A person may also obtain restitution for pain and suffering, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other forms of emotional distress.
In a wrongful death case, surviving family members may receive the previously mentioned damages that are typically provided in a personal injury case. However, a wrongful death case may also result in compensation for funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and other damages related to the loss.
Seattle Truck Accident Lawyers - Protecting Your Rights, Proving Negligence
At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we have the resources and experience to effectively protect the rights of our clients and prove negligence. Going up against a large trucking company and a major insurance company requires extensive preparations. Our legal team is committed to providing you with the guidance and representation that you need to get a positive case outcome. The legal process can be demanding and we help our clients overcome this challenging time in as stress-free a manner as possible. For more information, fill out a contact form or call us at (888) 228-3860 today.
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