If you suffered injuries in an accident with a negligent or careless truck driver, contact the Washington personal injury lawyers of Tamaki Law to discuss your legal options. You might be entitled to compensation from an insurance claim or lawsuit. We can review the details of your case and determine whether we can help you.
Commercial trucks are much different than passenger vehicles. They sit higher off the ground, contain cargo, and are much heavier and longer. Truck drivers must obtain specialized licenses and complete training to operate tractor-trailers and other large trucks. Maneuvering along Interstate 5 and other dangerous roads can be challenging for truckers. They must contend with traffic congestion, reckless drivers, and other factors.
Truck accidents tend to cause more significant destruction and injuries than collisions between two small cars. The occupants of the smaller vehicle often suffer more than the truck driver. The violent impact of a crash can result in debilitating physical harm, emotional trauma, and death. Statistics from 2019 show that there were 4,119 fatalities involving large trucks in the United States. Only 16 percent were the occupants of commercial trucks, while 67 percent were passenger vehicle occupants.
It’s critical that you call Tamaki Law at (800) 801-9564 and speak with one of our Washington truck accident attorneys immediately after a car crash. We can perform an investigation and determine who was at fault. We’ll advocate for your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
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Common Types of Commercial Trucks in Washington
Whether you’re driving through a residential community or on a major roadway, such as Stevens Pass or Interstate 90, you could pass by a large truck. They’re essential for delivering packages to consumers, hauling materials to construction sites, and transporting goods to retail stores.
The most common types of commercial trucks are:
- Tanker trucks
- Heavy haulers
- Cement mixers
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Refrigerator trucks
- Delivery trucks and vans
- Flatbed trucks
- Construction vehicles
Truck driver or trucking company negligence can contribute to an accident with any of these vehicles. You could hold them liable for the injuries you suffered and seek compensation to cover your medical treatment and other expenses.
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Truck Accident Cases Tamaki Law Can Handle
Various trucking regulations have been put into place to keep people safe on the road. If the driver or their employer violates these regulations, a deadly accident could result.
The most common truck accident cases we take are:
A truck jackknifes when the trailer and cab swerve toward each other at a 90-degree angle. Other vehicles can become collateral damage as the truck slides into other lanes or oncoming traffic.
Some trucking companies encourage their employees to drive beyond the maximum driving limit set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Long hours on the road can cause fatigue, affecting the trucker’s physical and mental function at the wheel.
Truck drivers will often speed if they’re trying to meet a deadline and stay on schedule. Speeding accidents involving commercial trucks can have fatal consequences.
Tractor-trailers and other large trucks have a high center of gravity. They’re more prone to rolling over if the driver takes a turn too fast, drives recklessly, or makes abrupt maneuvers.
Underride accidents happen when a car ends up underneath a commercial truck. An accident of this type can occur if the trucker suddenly brakes or slows down without warning, giving the driver behind them little time to avoid a collision.
An inexperienced or unqualified truck driver may not know how to operate the vehicle or respond in an emergency. That lack of knowledge and skill can put other people in harm’s way.
Making an error, such as failing to yield the right of way or becoming distracted by a cell phone, can put a trucker on a collision course with a small car. Drivers should remain alert and focused at all times to avoid causing an accident.
Federal size and weight regulations require vehicles to meet specific standards. An overloaded vehicle can put too much pressure on the tires, causing them to explode. Unsecured items can shift during transport and throw the truck off balance, causing the driver to lose control.
The blood alcohol concentration limit for commercial truck drivers is 0.04 percent. Operating a tractor-trailer while impaired by drugs or alcohol is dangerous. This impairment causes slower reaction time, poor decision-making skills, and reduced motor function.
Tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and other aggressive actions can lead to a catastrophic collision. Truck drivers must stay calm behind the wheel and avoid becoming frustrated or engaging in reckless behavior.
Trucking companies should maintain all vehicles in their fleet to ensure they’re working correctly and promptly repair defects. A malfunctioning part or system could prevent the driver from having total control over the truck and could lead to a crash.
No matter what type of truck accident you were in or how it happened, you deserve to hold the driver or trucking company liable if their misconduct caused it. Tamaki Law is familiar with federal and state laws regarding these types of cases. We can build a solid case and try to prove who should be held accountable for your injuries.
Common Injuries Sustained in Truck Accidents
Large trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when they contain cargo. That’s a massive vehicle that can cause life-threatening injuries and death to anyone that gets in its way. Passenger cars might weigh anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. There’s no contest when both vehicles collide. The occupants of the smaller car will likely suffer more severe injuries than the truck driver.
The most common injuries associated with truck accidents are:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Permanent disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limb
- Psychological or emotional trauma
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Crush injuries
Debilitating injuries, such as a crushed spine or internal bleeding, might require surgery. Other injuries can heal with physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other forms of treatment. If you’re left with permanent damage, you could face a lifetime of chronic pain and loss of mobility. The traumatic effects of a disabling injury can cause depression, medical debt, and other problems. You shouldn’t be forced to pay out of pocket for your expenses when the accident wasn’t your fault.
Pursuing Compensation After a Truck Accident in Washington
The amount of your monetary award will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Every client is different, and any compensation you receive should cover your particular losses. Your accident-related losses should be the truck driver’s or trucking company’s financial responsibility.
Every trucking company must adhere to federal regulations and purchase liability insurance. There are multiple coverage amounts based on the type of cargo and weight of the truck. You could file a liability claim and pursue a settlement to compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:
- Past and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Tamaki Law can’t guarantee a specific outcome, but we can estimate the value of your case based on various factors. We’ll calculate your financial costs and intangible losses to determine the maximum compensation you deserve. Our legal team aggressively negotiates with insurance companies to secure the full available settlement. If they deny your claim or provide a low offer, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Washington Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Cases
Washington has a three-year statute of limitations. This is a strict timeframe for pursuing compensation following a truck accident. You must initiate your lawsuit within three years from the crash date if you want to hold the at-fault driver or trucking company liable for your losses in court.
Two exceptions could delay the running of the statute:
- If the defendant is a nonresident or leaves the state temporarily, the clock would stop running. The timeframe would only begin again if the absent party returns to the state. Their absence would not count towards the three-year statute.
- If you were under a legal disability at the time of the accident, you could delay the statute of limitations. The clock would only start once you turn 18 years old or become mentally competent.
Tolling, or delaying, the statute can be confusing. Tamaki Law can review the circumstances of your case to determine whether you’re eligible to extend the deadline and have more time to initiate your lawsuit.
Contact Tamaki Law for a Free Consultation
Truck accidents are often disorienting and scary. They can cause shock and confusion in the immediate aftermath. Significant stress can result from healing your injuries while pursuing a legal case. You don’t have to do both. We can take on the responsibility so you can focus on recovering and moving forward with your life.
The Washington truck accident attorneys of Tamaki Law are here to relieve your burden. You can depend on us to complete each step of the process from start to finish, so you don’t have to worry about adhering to filing deadlines, preparing legal documents, or communicating with opposing parties.
Call us at (800) 801-9564 for a free consultation if a negligent truck driver or trucking company caused your injuries in a motor vehicle accident.