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 contact an experienced Vancouver truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
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.
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:
- a trucking company
- a cargo loader
- a parts manufacturer
- a maintenance provider or repair facility
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
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 Attorney 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 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), inconvenience, and loss of spousal support. 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
- loss of spousal support and consortium
- 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.
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 offices today at (360) 433-9361.