An accident of any kind is a traumatic experience, but truck accidents can cause massive damages and catastrophic consequences. It is difficult sometimes even to be the person who was involved in such a disastrous situation.
In the state of Washington, The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported a total of 111,416 vehicle accidents for 2019. One hundred and sixty-two of these accidents involved heavy trucks and tractor-trailers that resulted in death or serious injuries.
Although truck accidents represent a small fraction of the total accidents reported in Washington State, they tend to result in more severe injuries and long-term devastating disabilities that can cause a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Common Causes Behind Truck Accidents
A variety of factors can cause accidents, and the same goes for truck accidents. Some accidents are due to the unfortunate external situation, while others are directly linked to negligence and lack of proper driving behavior.
Below we outline some of the most common reasons truck accidents occur:
- Truck drivers are physically exhausted: Working as a truck driver comes with irregular and long shifts and sometimes requires drivers to work overtime and late hours. Truck driver fatigue can worsen if the driver is on certain medications, suffers from health issues, lacks sleep, or enters a stage of boredom, which prevents them from paying attention while driving. In extreme cases, accidents are caused because the driver could not stay awake while driving the truck.
- Excessive speed: Excessive speed can cause high impact collisions that lead to catastrophic damages and even death. The effects of extreme speed are amplified when trucks drive faster than the recommended speed limit. Trucks require a longer time to come to a stop after breaking.
- Weather conditions: Bad weather increases the chances of road accidents. Icy roads, fog, rain, and snow can have adverse effects when navigating low visibility. Icy roads make it harder for truck drivers to come to a stop and also stay on course.
- Unsecured loads: Trucks transfer big loads of merchandise from point A to point B. If the load distribution is not balanced correctly, it can lead to a loss of control while driving. Unsecured and unbalanced loads can lead to rollovers, especially when the truck needs to take a sharp turn.
- Substance abuse: While truck drivers tend to consume less substance while driving, in comparison to other drivers, some truck drivers do rely on the use of illegal drugs or alcohol to keep them alert during long shifts. Substance abuse can lead to poor reflexes and judgment, which can cause significant accidents.
- Blind spots: While all vehicles have blind spots, trucks, and tractor-trailers tend to have blind spots on all four sides. When a car driving alongside a truck or a tractor-trailer is in the blind spot area, it can increase the chances of a catastrophic collision.
Common Injuries Associated with Truck Accidents
Accidents involving trucks and tractor-trailers result in fatalities more frequently than other motor vehicle-related accidents. The victims are general drivers of smaller vehicles. The massive difference in size between a truck and a car can lead to complete obliteration of a vehicle while the truck remains completely intact.
The most common injuries that can result in a collision involving a truck or a tractor-trailer are:
- Spinal injuries, in many cases resulting in paralysis
- Serious brain injuries
- Severe fractures and broken bones, and other orthopedic injuries
- Amputation of limbs when the injury is catastrophic
- Internal bleeding and other tissue damage.
At TorkLaw, we can help you get the right compensation to cover your expenses and cover income loss and the long-term effects resulting from the accident.
Seattle’s Liable Parties and Compensation
Investigating and concluding what the causes that led to a truck accident were is a highly demanding job for expert Seattle attorneys. During the investigation, we need to identify who is liable for the damages. Identifying the cause of the accident is the first thing that needs to be sorted to start assigning liability to the appropriate party.
Here are some familiar liable parties that can be held accountable in truck accidents in Seattle:
The trucking company: Trucking companies can be liable if they employ a driver who was not suitable for the position. Several factors, such as health conditions and medications, need to be considered as they can cause the driver to suffer from fatigue and cause an accident. Trucking companies are also responsible for maintaining all their equipment according to safety standards. Failure to do proper maintenance can result in accidents.
Tractor-trailer or truck drivers: All drivers, regardless of what vehicle they operate, carry full responsibility to abide by the law and drive safely. Failure to do so can cause accidents, and they can be held liable for the damages.
Government and State: States and the federal government must carry out proper maintenance on the roads. In several cases, road design or wear and tear can be the reason behind a collision.
Equipment manufacturers: The manufacturer who produced the tractor-trailer or the truck has a responsibility to follow manufacturing standard procedures and use approved parts in the equipment production. Failure to do so can hold them liable in the event of an accident.
Warehouses: Warehouses are responsible for balancing the cargo to avoid any shifts that can derail a truck.
Often there is a combination of liable parties. The best way to identify the responsible parties and seek compensation is by working with a Seattle truck accident attorney. Our team at TorkLaw is ready to advise and help you in the event of an unfortunate truck collision.
Damages for Truck Accident Injuries
In Seattle, damages are classified into two categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses associated with an accident fall under the economic damages. These expenses can include:
- Long-term care costs
- Medical bills (un-reimbursed)
- Any home modifications that are needed to accommodate the injured during recovery or long-term
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Loss of income or potential employment opportunities
Under the non-economic damages, the following are included:
- Damage to personal relationships
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Damages to the quality of life of the injured
Other Important Information About Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks collide with many vehicles, but angle collisions carry the most significant risk for severe injury and death.
FMCSA reports that two-thirds of all fatal collisions involving a truck happen on clear days and weather conditions, and the least amount of crashes happens on snowy days.
Work With the Right Legal Team
If you suffered or are suffering from the aftermath of a truck accident, TorkLaw is here to guide you to receive maximum compensation. Lacking legal representation can result in extreme financial distress for a victim. In Seattle and the rest of Washington State, there is a three-year general statute of limitations. While you might believe this is a lot of time, the processes of collecting evidence and building the case can take a long time. Therefore, the sooner you hire legal help, the sooner you can finalize the case and move on with your life.
There is no need to stress about dealing with police, insurance companies, and other bureaucratic procedures while you try to heal. You can focus on yourself and your family while we work hard to get you what you rightfully deserve.