Vancouver Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been involved in a wreck with a commercial vehicle, call Vancouver truck accident lawyers to help you with a personal injury claim. You may be unsure of where to turn after a serious accident, but you don’t have to deal with this situation alone. Call The Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff today at (360) 693-2919.
An average passenger car weighs about 4000 pounds; a fully loaded tractor trailer upwards of 80,000 pounds. In other words, you don’t have to be an expert to predict which vehicle will sustain greater damage in the event of a crash. In addition, other factors are specific to truck accidents, which require the representation of experienced Vancouver truck accident lawyers.
Washington State and Federal Trucking Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) have established guidelines for the operation of commercial trucks and cover a wide range of topics, including:
Driver qualification, training, and ongoing eligibility
Drivers must have proper licensing and training, and there are restrictions regarding criminal history and traffic tickets. The FMCSR wants to ensure drivers have a history of safety.
Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles require regular maintenance in order to remain safe on the road.
Federal regulations have been developed regarding the weight of vehicles, time driving, and more to make sure commercial vehicles are operated safely.
Commercial vehicles that travel between states must have a minimum amount of insurance, and those that operate within Washington also have state-specific regulations.
While personal drivers must report accidents to the police, commercial drivers have many more agencies they must report to.
FMCSR is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), which mandates trucking laws through Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Everyone in the trucking industry must follow these laws in order to legally operate commercial vehicles in the U.S. When rules and regulations are not followed, the trucking company, driver, or others may be responsible for losses caused by their actions or inaction.
Washington has a similar set of regulations that operate exclusively within the state. Part of the complexity Vancouver truck accident lawyers face is determining which regulations may apply. In addition, part of the FMCSR requires each carrier to be given a safety rating based on its history of inspections, violations and crashes.
It’s important to work with a Vancouver WA truck accident lawyer to identify all of the state and federal laws that apply to the driver and companies involved in your case to determine if they were in compliance. If they were not, they may be liable for injuries and other losses they cased you.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Washington
Professional truck drivers are supposed to have extensive experience driving trucks. They are required to adhere to safety regulations and avoid accidents at all costs. However, often when a wreck occurs, the truck driver or company failed to comply with laws and they are at fault. Other times, another organization or agency may be to blame.
Causes of semi-truck wrecks include the following:
- Truck driver error
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Fatigued or sleepy driving
- Speeding or breaking traffic laws
- Inadequate training
- Improper truck maintenance
- Defective equipment
- Dangerous weather
- Broken or damaged roadways
- Dangerous construction zones
It’s important to determine the cause of your wreck. This will allow you to know who should be held legally liable for your damages. A Vancouver WA truck accident lawyer can help you establish cause, as well as hold the person who caused your wreck responsible.
Who Is Responsible for Your Truck Accident?
Determining responsibility for the damages that you incurred can be difficult. It starts with establishing a cause and figuring out who was responsible for that cause. Often, it requires showing that a party had a duty to you, as a driver on the road. A truck driver, trucking company, trucking manufacturer, and others have a responsibility to ensure they put a safe truck on the road and operate it in a legal manner. If they breach that duty, and you suffer damages as a result of their action or inaction, you may be able to collect compensation from the person who breached that duty.
Common Truck Accidents Injuries
Because truck accidents involve tens of thousands of pounds of dangerous mechanical equipment, they can cause serious injuries. Truck drivers, drivers of other cars, passengers, and bystanders can easily be injured in a truck wreck. It’s important to seek medical attention after a truck accident to determine the extent of your injuries. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not show up until days after your wreck. Either seek emergency medical treatment right away or call your primary care doctor for a follow-up appointment to review your condition.
Common truck accident injuries include the following:
- Mild, moderate, and severe traumatic brain injuries (including concussions)
- Head and neck injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Amputated limbs
- Soft tissue damage (including lacerations, sprains, strains, and contusions)
- Seat belt and airbag injuries
- Broken bones
Trucking accidents also are more likely to result in fatal injuries than a typical car accident. A Vancouver WA truck accident lawyer can help you with a wrongful death claim if your loved one was the victim of a truck accident.
When There Are Multiple Parties Involved
More so than most vehicle accident cases, truck accidents involve many players. The driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer of the truck, the company shipping the cargo and in some instances the municipality the controls maintenance of the road where the accident occurred may be individually negligent or share liability. Each party has competing interests and their own insurance companies who will do their best to place responsibility anywhere other than their insured.
Immediate Investigation Will Begin After a Truck Accident
The trucking industry is a very big business with a lot at stake. The truck driver will in all likelihood have had training to begin his or her own report at once. Accident investigators dispatch immediately and sometimes arrive on the scene before removal of the wreckage. It is imperative to avoid an accident investigator before talking to a Vancouver truck accident attorney.
The sooner you call a Vancouver WA truck accident lawyer, the earlier you can begin your own investigation. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that witnesses will forget the details of the situation and evidence will disappear. The trucking company will remove the wreckage as quickly as possible, and they will also do away with the black box, which may record important things like speed, vehicle operation, and more.
Keep Good Records
At the scene of the wreck, you can do the following to record as much evidence as possible:
- Take pictures and videos of the vehicles involved, witnesses, and other drivers, as well as the surrounding road and landscape.
- Sketch a picture of how the accident occurred, including any other cars that were on the road.
- Write down what happened so that you don’t forget minute details.
- Ask the police officer how to obtain a copy of the report.
- Obtain names and contact information for all bystanders and other drivers involved.
Provide all of the information that you collect to your Vancouver WA truck accident lawyer. We will conduct an independent investigation and request information from the truck driver, trucking company, and anyone else with relevant information.
Contact Vancouver Truck Accident lawyers for Legal Advice
The complexity of a truck accident case requires knowledgeable advocacy. If you were in a wreck with a truck, you likely have concerns about medical bills, lost wages, and more. You don’t have to handle the legal issues alone. The Law Offices of Loren S. Etengoff can manage your claim and negotiate with insurance companies and trucking corporations on your behalf. Call our Vancouver WA truck accident lawyers at (360) 558-3680.