Any motor vehicle accident can be traumatic for a family to deal with, but large truck accidents can be even more devastating for all those involved because of the serious injuries that occur when such a large vehicle crashes into passenger vehicles.
When you are injured or have lost a loved one in an accident with a large truck, our experienced truck accident attorneys at Buckley & Associates in the Seattle and Tacoma area can help you pursue the resolution to your legal case that you deserve. Call (206) 622-1100 today to speak with one of our multi-lingual staff members.
Danger of Large Trucks
Any vehicle weighing over 10,000 pounds is considered a large truck. Because of their size when large trucks, such as semi trucks, crash, they are more likely to cause major injuries and even death. According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and data reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on tractor-trailer accidents:
- Large trucks are more likely to be involved in multiple-vehicle crashes than passenger cars.
- Almost 10% of people who are injured in a large truck crash will die.
- In fatal crashes 2.1% of truck drivers are over the legally intoxicated limit.
- In 3.5% of fatal accidents, truck drivers have some amount of alcohol in their bloodstream when tested.
- Over the last ten years of reporting, the number of fatal crashes decreased by 17%.
- In the last two years, fatal crashes rose by 5%.
- In the last two years, injury crashes rose by 22%.
Since FMCSA started tracking fatality statistics for trucking accidents in 1975, the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles has decreased from 6 to under 2 for large trucks.
Although the overall trend in the last 40 years is downward for numbers of truck accidents and fatal truck accidents, the most recent statistics indicate that truck accidents may be on the rise again as the number of miles traveled by large trucks increases and driver distractions such as texting and social media usage continue.
For those who suffer injuries in large truck accidents, downward trending statistics are a step in the right direction, but provide no comfort for the thousands of lives altered each year because of the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies.
Causes of Truck Accidents
As with any car accident, crashes involving trucks can have many different causes. Often the party at fault in the accident is negligent in some way. If the truck driver had taken reasonable care in driving and maintaining the tractor-trailer, then the accident would never have happened. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Sleep deprivation or fatigue of the truck driver
- Equipment that has not been maintained
- Drug or alcohol impairment of the driver
- Inadequate training of the driver
- Speeding or other reckless driving behavior
- Distracted driving, such as smartphone use behind the wheel
- Overloaded or unsecured cargo on the truck
- Defective truck parts or mechanical failure
Both federal and state regulations govern the trucking industry. Trucking companies must keep records of maintenance information and driving hours. Unfortunately some trucking companies and drivers do not abide by the federal and state guidelines. They attempt to dodge compliance with the rules in order to maximize profits. Their insistence on placing money and profit before the value of human life only puts innocent lives in danger on the roadways.
When you or your loved one is injured in a truck accident, a careful study of the trucking company records may be needed in your case to determine if negligence has occurred in complying with mandatory regulations.
Responsibility in Truck Accidents
In car accidents, often the only at-fault party is the other driver. However, in tractor-trailer accidents, there may be multiple parties responsible for the injuries you have sustained. As your attorney, we will identify which parties you can pursue through legal action to recover compensation for your injuries. Responsible parties may include:
- Semi-truck driver
- Trucking company
- Cargo loader
- Parts manufacturer
- Maintenance provider
At Buckley & Associates, our experienced truck accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case in order to include all possible responsible parties and hold them accountable for their negligence.
Serious Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Truck accidents generally cause severe injuries to the occupants of the passenger vehicles involved because of the forces involved in the crash. The truck driver may leave the accident unscathed while the other vehicle’s driver and passengers are critically injured or killed. Critical injuries may include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe head injuries
- Complex orthopedic injuries/bone fractures
- Back and neck injuries
- Burn injuries
Injuries of this nature require extensive medical care, rehabilitative therapy, and often necessitate long-term care because of the disability that the injured suffered. Without an experienced lawyer to handle your case, you may not get the compensation you deserve from the insurance of the at-fault parties to sustain your rehabilitation and long-term care.
Wrongful Death Due to Truck Accidents
One of the saddest results of a large truck accident is the wrongful death of a family member who was driving or riding in the vehicle that the truck collided with. In Washington, survivors of the deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice after having their loved one taken from this life too early. Family members who may be able to pursue a wrongful death action include:
- Siblings or parents if they were financially dependent on the deceased
No amount of money will ever fill the hole left by the loss of your loved one, but our attorneys can help you and your family hold the responsible parties accountable for taking your loved one’s life.
Damages and Recovery for Truck Accidents
When you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, the medical bills from your accident injuries and payments due for everyday life can add up to seemingly insurmountable amounts because of your time away from work. Our truck accident attorneys at Buckley & Associates can help you recover the compensation you and your family need. Damages for truck accident cases may include:
- Hospital bills
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Modifications required for home living
- Modifications required for vehicle use
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium (in the case of a lost loved one)
Not every type of recovery is available in every case. In consultation with one of our truck accident attorneys, you will discuss how much your case is worth based on your injuries, time away from work, and needs during recovery or needs for life-long care.
When to Hire a Truck Accident Attorney
Every state, including Washington enacts legislation to put time limits on filing personal injury actions. These time limits are called statutes of limitations. In Washington for personal injury actions, including truck accident cases, you need to file your lawsuit within three years of sustaining injuries in the accident.
Do not wait three years from your accident to consult an attorney. You should call an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. A qualified truck accident attorney can begin:
- Investigating and building your case
- Preserving evidence
- Interviewing witnesses
- Identifying the at-fault parties
- Negotiating with the insurance and lawyers on the other side
For a quick and efficient settlement of your claim, it is important to call our offices at Buckley & Associates at (206) 622-1100 to speak with a lawyer for free about your truck accident case.
Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
Have you or your loved one has suffered serious injuries in a large truck accident? Our attorneys will work to protect your legal rights and quickly resolve your case.
We understand that resolving your legal case is key to helping you and your family heal from your injuries and move forward with your life. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions and keep you up to date on the status of your case every step of the way.
Trucking accident cases are usually complex because they involve:
- Multiple responsible parties
- State and Federal regulations
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Financial experts for determining damages
Hiring an attorney who handles these types of cases often is the way to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of by insurance companies and their lawyers. The other side is looking out for their best interests. You need an experienced lawyer who is looking out for your best interests.
Please contact Buckley & Associates at (206) 622-1100 today for your free consultation with experienced trucking accident lawyers. We welcome clients throughout the Seattle and Tacoma areas of Washington. Our offices are located in Seattle and Tacoma for your convenience.
We work on a contingency fee basis for truck accident cases. You do not pay our fees until we successfully resolve your case. When we take your case on, we expect to win it for you.
Members of our staff are fluent in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and French. We can help you understand your legal rights and pursue your truck accident injury case.