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Commercial trucks make our modern economy possible, but when things go wrong, a truck accident attorney in Puyallup can help. We couldn’t maintain our lifestyles, have food to eat, homes to live in or gasoline for our cars if not for commercial trucks. But this comes at a price. Others in smaller vehicles, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, are victims of accidents with heavy trucks. They pay the price for the abundance around us made possible by commercial trucks.
You or a loved one may have suffered severe injuries, or a family member may have been killed, like thousands of others every year. The accident may have been a living nightmare, leaving you physically and emotionally scarred. With lost work and unpaid medical bills, the financial harm gets worse every day. If this is your situation, a truck accident lawyer at Greene & Lloyd can help.
A Puyallup Truck Accident Lawyer Is Familiar with the Dangers Commercial Trucks Pose
If you’re the victim of a commercial truck crash, you’re not alone.
In 2018, there were 182,008 accidents involving commercial trucks and buses in the U.S., reports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Those collisions left 5,216 dead and 97,272 injured. That averages to about 14 deaths and 266 people injured every day.
In Pierce County, crashes involving 828 heavy trucks killed 9 in 2019, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Injuries were suspected in 53 of the accidents while in another 110 crashes, injuries were possible.
Truck drivers were responsible for a third of the fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles in 2015, according to the FMCSA.
- Speeding, distraction, and inattention were the top problems.
- About sixty percent of commercial truck accidents happened in rural areas.
- A quarter were on interstate highways.
- About a third of fatal crashes happened at night.
- Most accidents occurred on weekdays.
- More than a quarter of fatal work-zone accidents, and 11% of those causing injuries, involved heavy trucks.
Commercial trucks are hazardous to other vehicles for many reasons. There are many types of commercial trucks, from dump trucks to straight trucks to the largest semi-trucks (which, fully loaded, could weigh 80,000 pounds), some more dangerous than others.
Mistakes made by any driver can be dangerous. If made by someone behind the wheel of a large commercial truck, the potential harm is much greater.
- Their heavier weight means that if they’re traveling fast enough when they strike another vehicle, they can easily destroy it.
- Fast-moving trucks can take a much longer distance to stop, compared to a passenger vehicle.
- They have higher ground clearance. A commercial truck might drive on top of another vehicle.
- They’re more likely to flip over because of their high center of gravity.
- If a vehicle is in a truck’s blind spot while it changes lanes, the other vehicle can easily be forced off the road or end up under the trailer.
- If the trailer is hauling a flatbed trailer, if its cargo isn’t secured strongly enough, it might spill onto the roadway.
- Liquids hauled by trucks could spill onto the roadway.
- Flammable cargo could catch fire or explode during an accident.
- Tractor trailers can jackknife if the driver makes a sharp turn or strongly hits the brakes.
There’s a greater chance of a severe injury or death in an accident with a commercial truck compared to one with another passenger vehicle. While an accident involving another car may injure you, you may be able to get out of your vehicle. If struck by a commercial truck, you may be too injured to leave your car. It may be so damaged that first responders must cut it apart to get you out.
With so much at stake, protect your legal rights by hiring a truck accident attorney in Puyallup who will obtain for you the most compensation possible.
A Truck Accident Lawyer Can Hold Responsible Parties Accountable
Commercial trucks are more dangerous than cars, and insurance claims and lawsuits involving their accidents may also be more complicated. There may be several parties responsible for the truck and its driver. If the accident cause was poor maintenance or a defective part, more parties could be liable.
There might be multiple defendants in a lawsuit if more than one contributed to the accident. All the parties should have insurance to cover a potential settlement or jury verdict. A truck accident lawyer will deal with insurance companies so you can focus on recovery and your family.
When a Truck Driver Is Responsible
The driver may have broken the law, caused a problem with the truck, been distracted, fatigued, asleep, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He or she may be an independent hauler, self-employed and contracted to haul a load from one place to another. The driver may be an employee of a trucking company, potentially making it liable for his or her actions.
Holding Trucking Companies Responsible for Truck Accidents
The company hiring a trucker is often the responsible party, but, depending on the facts, this may be difficult to prove.
- The company may own the tractor but not the trailer.
- A safety inspection may have been inadequate.
- It might not have maintained the tractor.
- It could have pushed the driver to ignore safety rules.
- The company may have encouraged the driver to sleep less and driver faster.
The company may dispute its responsibility for the driver’s actions. It may claim that if the driver was speeding or using drugs to stay awake, he or she was acting outside the scope of the job. The driver may also be an independent contractor on paper, but not based on the facts and law.
The company may claim the driver isn’t an employee because of an agreement between the two. But if the facts show that the company had enough control over the driver, the agreement is less important than state law defining who’s an employee.
Truck Owners Can Hold Responsibility for an Accident
The trucking company may not own the truck, but the company uses it and provides it to the driver. The owner might be liable if it didn’t properly inspect, maintain, or repair the tractor. Inspections, repairs, and maintenance could be contracted out to another company, which could be responsible.
Cargo Loaders May Be Negligent and Cause a Truck Accident
If it’s improperly loaded or secured, cargo may cause an accident. If the cargo shifts, it can impact how the trailer handles, even cause it to tip over. If it’s an open trailer, cargo that falls off can strike another vehicle. Vehicles may collide while trying to avoid it on the roadway.
Truck Manufacturers May Create a Defect that Leads to an Accident
The accident’s cause may be a defective part of the truck or trailer. Tires or the brakes may fail. Equipment used to secure the load may be faulty. The manufacturer may be liable for the accident if it put into the marketplace a product that’s unsafe for its intended use.
Why You Should Retain a Truck Accident Attorney in Puyallup
Every successful case involving an accident with a car starts with an investigation. You need to know the facts before you can decide whether you have a valid case, and if so, its value. A Greene & Lloyd truck accident attorney in Puyallup can help you avoid mistakes made by those trying to settle a case on their own.
We know what to look for and how these accidents usually happen. We hire experts to reconstruct the crash to find out what went wrong, why, and who is responsible. You lack the knowledge or experience to do that.What may seem simple may be very complicated. There could be several responsible parties, some you know nothing about. You may settle with one and not pursue others, leaving you with less compensation.
You may say things or sign forms that could end or greatly restrict your rights without realizing it. You may have little or no experience with negotiation. But you want to work out an agreement with experienced insurance employees who settle cases every day? Without a truck accident lawyer, you will be outmatched and walk away with a settlement much less than your case’s value.
Contact a Puyallup Truck Accident Lawyer or a Tacoma Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, or if your family member was killed in an accident with a commercial truck, call our office at 253-770-0808. You and your family deserve to have effective counsel in your corner, fighting for the most compensation possible. We have a team of truck accident lawyers in Puyallup, ready to help those injured in serious accidents. Our team also includes Tacoma truck accident lawyers who serve those in the Tacoma area who need help after an accident with a truck. Our Greene & Lloyd attorneys have helped hundreds of accident victims in Puyallup, Olympia, Tacoma, Kirkland, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Spokane, and Kennewick. We can do the same for you. Wishful thinking and hope won’t protect your legal rights or get you the fair settlement you deserve. We will.