If you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheel truck in Yakima that wasn’t your fault, you have options for seeking compensation. The Yakima personal injury attorneys at Tamaki Law can help you file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation for your injuries and get your life back on track. Don’t let an accident with a truck determine the course of your future. Call Tamaki Law toll-free at (509) 248-8338 for a free consultation, and we’ll show you how we’ve helped thousands of other clients get compensation and how we can do the same for you.
Truck Accidents in Yakima
Washington, and the Yakima valley especially, has no shortage of dangerous roadways. Sections of I-82 can be tricky in good weather conditions, but when the weather gets wet or icy, they can become downright treacherous. The large number of commuters and large trucks that use this interstate to move across the Yakima valley means it’s always a hot spot for accidents, especially between passenger cars and trucks.
A truck accident is different from an accident involving passenger cars for several reasons. To start with, trucks are enormous. A standard over-the-road 18-wheeler can be over 70 feet long, eight feet wide, and can weigh over 80,000 pounds. Maneuvering a vehicle that big is never easy, and sharing the road with cars that are one-eighth the size can be a recipe for disaster. Trucks are notorious for having bad outward visibility. A truck is surrounded by what federal regulators call “no-zones,” or areas where the driver cannot see. These “no-zones” include directly behind the trailer, directly beside the driver, a large area on the passenger side of the cab, and a small area directly in front of the cab. If a passenger car stays in one of these “no-zones” for too long and the driver loses sight of them, an accident is likely to occur.
Circumstances don’t get better when you leave the interstate. Trucks are hard to maneuver on an open four-lane roadway, but when you get to the city streets of Yakima, even though the speeds drop, trucks are just as dangerous. Making a right turn in a truck requires swinging wide to prevent the trailer from striking the corner, which can catch other motorists off guard and result in an accident. When trucks reach their destination and have to back the trailer up to a loading dock to deliver their cargo, they have even less visibility and an even greater chance of hitting another vehicle.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Truck Accident?
Washington state law allows you to file an injury claim on your own, but having a lawyer helps for several reasons.
We know the law. The personal injury attorneys of Tamaki Law specialize in helping people just like you get compensation for losses they suffered due to another’s negligence. We are intimately familiar with the claims process, relevant injury case law, and all Washington statutes and regulations. We have seen all types of personal injury cases and know the best methods for seeking compensation. We can put that knowledge and experience to work for you and your family.
We know insurance companies. Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums from their customers and denying payouts to claimants. They will do everything in their power to either deny your claim outright or offer you the lowest settlement possible. They know that accident victims often have surprise expenses like medical bills or property damage, and they take advantage of you by offering quick cash in the form of a settlement that may be far below what you actually deserve. We are familiar with these tactics and know how to counter them. We will help you negotiate a settlement that not only helps you cover financial losses but helps to restore your sense of well-being.
We know how to do the hard work. If you’re seriously injured in an accident with a truck, the last thing you want to do is speak to endless insurance adjusters asking for proof of your injury or try to gather documentation proving the truck driver was at fault. An experienced attorney will take on this workload for you. We will investigate your accident, gather all relevant evidence, take the calls from the insurance companies, and build an injury claim on your behalf that is based on facts and evidence so that you can concentrate on helping an injured loved one or recovering from your own injuries.
We know how to estimate damages. Compensation for damages is about more than just paying for your medical bills. A truck accident can affect your entire family, physically and mentally, and your compensation should reflect this. We can help you obtain damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish to cover losses to your overall well-being. As well as helping restore your physical health, we can help you get peace of mind.
We know how to use our reputation. Reputation is important in personal injury law. Insurance companies know our name, and they may pay more attention to a demand letter from a reputable attorney than they would to a demand letter from an individual representing themselves. When you hire an attorney for your injury claim, you’re letting the insurance companies know you’re serious about getting compensation for your injuries.
We may be able to get you more. Data shows that hiring an attorney can actually mean more money. A survey from 2016 done by Martindale-Nolo research showed that more than 90 percent of accident victims who retained legal counsel walked away with a settlement or award, compared with just over half of victims who did not hire a lawyer. It also showed that those victims who didn’t have a lawyer got an average of just over $17,000 in compensation, while those who did have a lawyer’s assistance got over $77,000 in compensation. The numbers speak for themselves.
We can sue. If you pursue an injury claim on your own and the insurance company denies it or offers you a small settlement, your only option is negotiating with a company with massive resources and a full legal team whose sole job is to find a reason to say no. Hiring an attorney to assist with your claim brings with it the threat of a lawsuit against the responsible party if the insurance company offers you a settlement that is less than what you deserve. This changes the cost-benefit equation for them. Bringing cases to trial is expensive. Even if the insurance company is confident they can prove their customer isn’t responsible for your injuries, they will still have to expend resources and money on litigation to do so, which may end up costing them more than a fair settlement would have.
Why Tamaki Law for My Truck Accident?
Choosing the right attorney to represent you can be difficult. Tamaki Law specializes in injury claims like truck accidents, and we’ve helped thousands of clients get compensation for their injuries since 1994. We are a small, dedicated group of attorneys and legal professionals who believe personal injury law is about more than just money. It’s about restoring your life after a traumatic experience.
With our three offices in Yakima, Kennewick, and Bellevue, we’ve helped residents in Washington and across the country to get just and fair compensation for their accidents and injuries. We treat our clients with dignity and compassion while they go through this difficult experience because we fully understand the hardship an accident or injury can place on you and your family.
We also take pride in giving back to the communities that have helped us to thrive by supporting several charities, causes, and organizations with monetary donations. See our Giving Back page for more information.
The main reason you should choose Tamaki Law to assist with your injury claim is that we get positive results. Since 1994, we’ve helped our clients obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and awards. We can’t guarantee that we can get you compensation for your injuries, but we can guarantee that we will apply the same skill and determination to your claim as we have to others. Check out our Testimonials page to hear from some of our satisfied clients.
How Much Does an Attorney in Yakima Cost?
No one plans ahead for the day a truck injures you in an accident, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis.
This fee arrangement means our clients pay nothing upfront for our services. We build your claim and negotiate with insurance companies, and if we are successful in getting you some form of compensation, we take payment for our services as a percentage of that compensation. This arrangement is beneficial because unless we get you the positive outcome you need, you don’t pay a dime, and we are given even better incentive to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Responsible for My Truck Accident?
Determining liability for an accident involving a large truck can be more difficult than finding who’s at fault in an accident involving passenger cars. This is due to the increased number of people who bear some responsibility for the truck and its contents.
A truck isn’t always owned by the driver. It can be owned by a trucking or shipping company. There’s also the owner of the freight, contractors that provide services to the trucking company like maintenance, and the manufacturer of the truck itself. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, any or all of these parties may bear some liability.
For example, say you’re driving with your family up Hwy 12 to Rimrock Lake. While en route, you have to brake suddenly for a construction vehicle that’s stopped in the road to repair a pothole. The semi-truck following you is unable to brake fast enough to avoid rear-ending your vehicle, which causes severe damage and injuries. In this scenario, liability may be spread across several different parties. The truck driver may have been following too closely or reading a text message. The trucking company may have asked the driver to ignore federal laws regarding the amount of time they can spend driving to get the shipment delivered on time. The maintenance vendor may not have serviced the brakes on the truck properly, increasing the stopping distance, or the truck’s manufacturer may have missed installing a critical part on the braking system. In this scenario, even the company contracted to complete the road maintenance may share responsibility if they didn’t have adequate signage warning of the work being done. Any or all of these parties could be found responsible for the accident, pending an investigation.
Washington also follows a comparative negligence, or contributory fault law. This law states that any party sharing responsibility for an accident will have any cash settlement or award reduced by the percentage of fault they share. So, in the scenario above, if it’s discovered that you were driving too fast for conditions or distracted from the roadway at the time of the accident, you may share a portion of responsibility, expressed as a percentage. If a judge finds that you are 25 percent responsible for the accident, any award or settlement you are found to be entitled to would be reduced by 25 percent.
Without their hard work, I would have been completely taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Types of Truck Accidents in Yakima
There are many different types of truck accidents, including the following:
Blind spot accidents occur when a truck driver strikes another vehicle sitting in one of their blind spots, or “no-zones.”
Rear-end collisions occur when a truck drives into another vehicle from behind.
Front-end accidents occur when another vehicle drives into the trailer of a truck or rear of the cab.
A particularly dangerous type of accident, jackknife crashes occur when a truck tries to stop suddenly, and the trailer brakes lock, causing the trailer to slide next to or in front of the cab.
Blowout accidents occur when a blown tire causes a truck to veer out of their lane and strike another vehicle.
Underride accidents occur when a truck stops suddenly and the vehicle behind them is forced under the trailer.
Rollover accidents happen when the entire tractor-trailer rolls on its side.
Lane change accidents happen when a truck driver changes lanes into another vehicle despite the vehicle being visible to the truck driver.
Side impact accidents usually occur at intersections when a truck drives into crossing traffic and strikes the side of another vehicle.
Trucks typically carry tens of thousands of pounds of cargo. If the freight isn’t properly secured, it can spill out onto the roadway, causing accidents.
Distracted driving accidents occur when a truck driver doesn’t pay attention to the road and strikes another vehicle.
Common Injuries from Truck Accidents
Because of a truck’s large size, accidents with passenger vehicles can often cause severe injuries. Some of these injuries include the following:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
What Kind of Damages Could I Get?
Damages are designed to cover certain losses that you sustain after an accident. Compensatory damages are meant to cover financial or emotional losses. Washington state has no cap on compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages can be divided into two categories: economic losses, like medical bills, and noneconomic losses, like loss of enjoyment of life or emotional distress.
Damages can cover the following losses:
An accident with a truck can end in a severely damaged or even totaled vehicle or other personal property, such as clothing, cell phones, laptops, or sports equipment.
Severe injuries can mean time away from work and lost paychecks for the accident victim or anyone charged with caring for them while they recover.
Damages for medical bills can cover hospital stays, prescription medication, prosthetics, diagnostic procedures, or ER visits.
Damages for pain and suffering or emotional distress fall into the non economic category and are designed to help you recover peace of mind and a sense of well-being.
If your injury is severe enough to warrant long-term care, you can recover damages to pay for those expenses.
If an injured family member requires more living space for in-home health care or modifications to the home for easier wheelchair access, you can recover damages to help pay for the added costs.
If a family member is fatally injured in a truck accident, you can recover damages to make up for the lost financial support and to ease the emotional impact of the death.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Tamaki Law is standing by to take your call. We understand what you’re going through and want to help you and your family recover what you’ve lost. Call us today, toll-free, at (509) 248-8338 for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us help you get on the road to recovery.