Trucking accidents cause serious injuries, deaths and costly property damage every year. They are devastating collisions that can leave victims with many questions about their rights and legal options. At NW Injury Law Center, our goal is to help truck accident victims get through the aftermath of a crash with sound legal advice and information. We hope these answers to frequently asked trucking accident questions help you. If you have further questions, contact us for a free consultation.
What Are Common Causes of Trucking Accidents?
In Washington, like most other states, the person or party at fault for causing an accident is the person who is financially responsible. For this reason, one of the most common questions asked is, “Who is at fault for the crash?” Trucking accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but they most often involve human error.
Truck drivers can make mistakes just as easily as other motor vehicle drivers, though the outcome can be much more disastrous. Frequent examples of truck driver negligence are speeding, drunk driving, driving while fatigued, aggressive and reckless driving, and failure to yield the right-of-way. Other common causes of truck accidents include equipment failures, dangerous roads and third-party negligence.
Who Is Liable for a Trucking Accident?
Even if an investigation confirms the cause of a trucking accident, determining liability can be tricky. Unlike a typical car accident that involves just two drivers, a truck accident can involve outside parties, such as a trucking company, truck manufacturer, vehicle owner, maintenance company, cargo company and others. However, in many cases, trucking companies are liable for truck accidents. Trucking companies are vicariously liable for most accidents involving their trucks and drivers, even if the drivers are classified as independent contractors.
Is There Evidence I Should Collect?
You are not automatically eligible for financial compensation after a truck accident from the other driver or their insurance company. Injured crash victims must prove fault or negligence based on a preponderance of the evidence to receive damages. You can build a stronger claim by collecting evidence yourself in the early aftermath of a crash. Truck accident evidence may include the driver’s logs, truck company records, truck maintenance history and the truck’s black box. You should also collect information about your injuries and losses, such as medical records and employment documents.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Trucking Accident Case?
If you get injured in a truck accident in Vancouver, you may be entitled to recover damages (financial compensation) for several past and future losses. The available damages under Washington law include:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages and income, including future lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering, such as physical and emotional trauma
- Property damage or totaled vehicle replacement
The specific damages you could potentially recover will depend on the circumstances of your truck accident case. An attorney can assess the value of your claim and help you fight for the financial compensation that you deserve.
What Should I Do After a Trucking Accident?
The steps that you take after a truck accident matter. If you get involved in a trucking accident, protect your legal rights and maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome by taking the following steps:
- Stop your vehicle at the scene of the crash and exchange information with the truck driver.
- Call the police immediately and report the truck accident.
- Do not admit fault or discuss the accident with anyone other than your attorney.
- Gather evidence, such as photos of the crash scene and eyewitness statements.
- Get medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you are injured.
- Contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
It is important to act quickly to bring a personal injury or property damage claim after a trucking accident. Washington has a statute of limitations – deadline for filing – of three years for most truck accident claims. Contact a Vancouver personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your crash to preserve your right to file.