Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck drivers often believe that they are the “kings of the road.” However, nothing can be more devastating than becoming seriously injured or losing a loved one in a motor vehicle accident involving a large truck. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a negligent truck driver, you should speak to an experienced Vancouver truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Uptown Injury Law today.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Large trucks, such as tractor-trailers, are dangerous, due in part to their large size and potential to cause multi-vehicle collisions. These collisions are typically caused by one or more of the following:
- speeding or reckless driving
- fatigued driving
- operating a truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- mechanical defects (on the tractor, trailer, or both)
- failure to properly maintain equipment
- inadequate driver experience or training
- unsecured (or improperly secured) cargo
- cellular phone use (either calling or texting) while driving
Washington Trucking Regulations
Both federal and state laws govern the trucking industry, and trucking companies must keep detailed maintenance records and record drivers’ hours. However, some trucking companies do not abide by these guidelines and unfortunate consequences result. A Vancouver truck accident lawyer will be able to determine if a truck driver or trucking company acted negligently and thus be able to maximize the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Trucking regulations often address the following issues:
- Vehicle maintenance – Large commercial trucks required frequent maintenance in order to operate safely on the road. If they do not receive that regular maintenance, they can cause accidents.
- Vehicle operation – Truck drivers must comply with strict vehicle operation rules that are in place to maintain safety. Driver logs, black boxes, and other records can be reviewed by a Vancouver truck accident lawyer.
- Insurance requirements – Large trucks have minimum insurance requirements established by state and federal laws. These increased insurance limits can allow you to recover for all of your losses in the event of an accident.
- Accident reporting – A commercial truck driver must report accidents to more than the local police. They must also submit reports to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (U.S. DOT), insurance companies, and others. These reports can be helpful as your Vancouver truck accident lawyer starts your claim.
We can review information from the trucking company, truck driver, and insurance companies to determine if they were in compliance with state and federal regulations. If they were not, it may support your claim for compensation.
Who Is at Fault in a Truck Accident Case?
In standard motor vehicle accident cases, there is usually only one at-fault party: the other driver. However, in truck accident cases, including accidents involving tractor-trailers, there may be multiple potential defendants who are responsible for the accident and who can contribute to your damages. Your Vancouver truck accident lawyer can inform you that potential defendants besides the truck driver might include some or all of the following:
- trucking company
- cargo loader
- parts manufacturer
- maintenance provider or repair facility
It’s important to name all of the potentially at fault parties in your truck accident claim. If you fail to name an appropriate party, then the other defendants may be able to have the case dismissed against them, and you will have no recourse. Your Vancouver truck accident lawyer can help you name all necessary parties who may be at fault in your claim.
What Are Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Due to the large size of trucks and tractor trailers, upon impact, very serious motor vehicle accidents can result. These accidents often lead to catastrophic personal injuries which require long term care and treatment, hospitalization, physical therapy, and rehabilitative care. In the most serious cases, death may even result from the truck accident.
Common types of injuries sustained in truck accident cases include the following:
- burn injuries
- traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- complex fractures and broken bones
- soft tissue injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- cognitive impairment
- permanent disability
Some truck accident injuries do not show up right away. Injuries may take days or weeks to appear. It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible so you can be thoroughly examined after a truck accident. You should continue treatment even if you start to feel better. The truck insurance company will need to see that you have endured significant pain that required treatment due to the accident.
Hire a Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
In Washington State, there is a three-year statute of limitations in all personal injury cases. Therefore, a claim must ordinarily be filed within three years of the date on which you sustained your injuries. If you sustained injuries in a truck accident, you should contact an experienced Vancouver truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after sustaining your injuries.
Your Truck Accident Attorney in Vancouver Will Prove the Necessary Legal Elements in Your Case
In a truck accident case, it is the victim who has the burden of proving negligence on the part of a negligent truck driver or other defendant(s).
Duty of Care
Your Vancouver truck accident attorney must prove that the truck driver failed to act as a reasonably prudent truck driver would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.
Breach (or Violation) of the Duty of Care
This means that the truck driver or other defendant failed to meet the applicable standard of care — usually by driving negligently, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving recklessly. Your Vancouver truck accident attorney can assist you with proving breach of the applicable duty of care.
You must prove that the truck driver or other defendant’s breach of the standard of care legally and proximately resulted in all of your injuries and damages.
Damages for truck accident cases in Washington usually consist of economic damages, such as compensation for medical and physical therapy bills and lost wages. There are also non-economic damages, such as damages for lost earning capacity, pain and suffering (past, present, and future) and inconvenience. A Vancouver truck accident attorney will be able to assist you with proving your damages.
While the types and amounts of damages will vary on a case-by-case basis, the most common types of damages sustained in truck accident cases include the following:
- medical bills and expenses (hospital bills, doctor bills, and physical therapy bills)
- lost wages
- out-of-pocket expenses
- pain and suffering (past, present, and future)
- loss of earning (income) capacity
- compensation for mental health treatment
- rehabilitation expenses
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of benefits
- death benefits (if applicable)
What Evidence Will Your Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer Need?
Proving liability and injuries in a truck accident case usually involves witness testimony and physical evidence. Typically, witness testimony includes that of the parties to the accident, eyewitnesses, family members, friends, and co-workers.
Parties to the accident can testify about what they saw, heard, and felt at the scene. In a disputed liability case, witnesses to the accident scene can also describe their version of how the accident happened and what they observed.
When it comes to damages, family members, bosses, co-workers, and friends can be very helpful and necessary witnesses. Specifically, they can testify about how, in their observation, the injured plaintiff’s home life and work life changed as a result of the accident. For example, an injured plaintiff’s spouse could testify about household or social activities that the injured plaintiff can no longer do or take part in since the accident. Similarly, a boss or co-worker might be able to testify about an injured plaintiff having to switch to light duty work following an accident.
An experienced Vancouver truck accident attorney will be able to determine the necessary and helpful witnesses for your case.
Physical evidence in truck accident cases usually consists of some or all of the following:
- incident reports
- police reports
- photos of the accident scene
- photos of the damage to the involved vehicles
- witness statements
- medical records and bills
- lost wage statements
Your Vancouver truck accident attorney will assist you with gathering the evidence necessary to prove your case.
Truck Accident Investigations
It’s important to contact a Vancouver truck accident lawyer immediately after a crash. The trucking company, insurance companies, and others will be on the scene immediately to investigate the accident. You should call a lawyer who can help you begin an independent investigation right away. The longer you wait, the more evidence will disappear.
Trucking insurance companies often arrive at the scene of an accident before the police. Their main goal is to collect evidence and minimize their own liability. They may try to move the truck, truck parts, or the black box (which records important information about the truck) by saying they are clearing the scene. However, in doing this, they may actually be eliminating evidence.
You can prevent some of the destruction of evidence by taking pictures and video after an accident. However, it’s understandable that you may be too hurt to collect information. Instead, call a Vancouver truck accident lawyer right away to start your claim immediately.
Contacting a Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have experienced injuries in a motor vehicle or truck accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is imperative that you speak with a Vancouver truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact our Uptown Injury Law office today.