Our Goal: To Assist People Injured by Commercial Drivers
Truck accidents happen so quickly.
We all know what it’s like to drive near a large commercial vehicle: the difficulty of seeing around them, the fear of getting too close to them, and the knowledge that any error on their part could cost us dearly.
Commercial trucks are ever present on the interstates and highways connecting Tacoma and Olympia in Washington state.
Sadly, truck drivers do make errors. If you have recently been injured in a truck accident, or if your loved one was killed in one of these terrible collisions, you may be entitled to substantial financial relief.
Liability for the accident often extends beyond the truck driver to his or her employer (that is, the company that owns or operates the truck).
At the Fuller & Fuller Law Firm, our truck accident lawyers will fight to protect the legal interests of individuals and families who’ve been unfairly harmed by a negligent truck driver or trucking company.
Drawing on our nearly four decades of experience and a long record of success, our family of personal injury attorneys come together to provide our clients with passionate and strategic legal counsel.
We know that trucking companies and insurers sometimes won’t offer a fair settlement until you have experienced legal representation on your side. So let us start working for you as soon as possible. Call our office at (800) 570-4878 and talk to a Washington truck accident attorney today.
How Do Truck Accident Claims Different from Other Auto Accidents?
Commercial trucking accidents are inherently more dangerous than other vehicle accidents. Because they are much larger and heavier than the cars around them, trucks can collide with far greater force and inflict far greater damages.
But the differences between truck and car accidents aren’t limited to the physical impact itself. The claims process can differ too.
Sometimes, the companies that own and operate these trucks carry very large amounts of insurance coverage. For the victim, that can mean two things: there is more money available for covering all your damages, but the insurer can also be extremely aggressive in trying to defend itself against your claim (because it doesn’t want to suffer a large financial loss).
Nevertheless, the law is clear. Victims are entitled to financial compensation from the negligent parties that cause them harm. In fact, the law is another key area in which truck accidents differ from car accidents: there are special regulations and legal provisions that apply to the trucking industry.
For these reasons, it is in your best interest to consult with a truck accident lawyer who has direct experience in handling truck accident claims.
What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries in Washington?
Truck accidents result in a wide range of injuries, sometimes severe. These may include:
- Whiplash or soft tissue injury
- Severe burns, bruising, lacerations, or scarring
- Concussions or other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Impaired senses (e.g. vision loss, hearing loss)
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Partial or total paralysis
- Disability or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
How Much Compensation Is Available After a Truck Accident?
Of course, it is impossible for any court or settlement agreement to undo your injuries, take away your physical pain, or make up for the loss of someone you love.
What the claims process can do, however, is provide you with financial compensation to approximate the magnitude of your loss. Compensation may cover:
- Medical expenses
- Pain, suffering, and/or emotional distress
- Lost wages due to time away from work
- Future loss of income due to disability
- Physical therapy expenses
- Loss of value in property damage
These are only examples. A truck accident lawyer in our law firm can review those details and help you get a better understanding of the compensation that might be available to you.
What Causes Most Commercial Trucking Accidents in Washington?
Almost all commercial trucking accidents are caused by negligence (that is, careless driving behavior). Some of the more common kinds of trucking negligence in Washington are:
Driving faster than the speed limit is always a bad decision. Unfortunately, commercial trucks are sometimes found speeding, despite the fact that their size makes excessive speed especially perilous. Truckers sometimes speed in order to meet unrealistic deadlines imposed by their employers. There is never any excuse, however, for traveling at an unsafe speed.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
Cargo transported inside commercial trucks and vans must be safely secured and should never exceed the maximum weight limit for that vehicle. Companies are responsible for making sure weight is evenly distributed, that cargo is fastened securely inside whenever needed.
Texting behind the wheel continues to be a problem for drivers, including those licensed to operate large commercial vehicles. Even though federal regulation strictly prohibits the use of a cell phone while driving a truck, it still happens.
Cellphones aren’t the only distractions, either. Anything that diverts a trucker’s attention from the road — maps, food, radio controls, etc. — can constitute negligence under Washington personal injury law.
Drowsy driving is one of the greatest dangers facing truck drivers in Tacoma and Olympia. Long hours alone on the road can quickly lead to exhaustion, and drivers may find themselves nodding off by accident.
To help combat that problem, the federal government has passed strict rules about how much rest drivers must get before operating a truck. For its part, the Washington state legislature has gone even further, enacting stricter Hours-of-Service regulations designed to keep sleepy truckers off the road.
Despite these measures, truck driver fatigue continues to be a problem here in Washington State. At the Fuller & Fuller Law Firm, we try to identify cases where drowsy driving played a role in a truck crash, and we are prepared to take legal action against companies that push their drivers to the brink of exhaustion.
Any business that employs truck drivers has a duty to hire, train, and monitor those employees carefully. Any failure to do so can subject the company itself to direct liability for the accident.
Which Parties Are Potentially Liable for a Truck Accident in Washington?
When pursuing a truck accident claim in Washington, you might seek compensation from one or more parties, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. Liable parties can include:
Truck drivers are required to behave responsibly behind the wheel, obeying all traffic laws and treating other drivers with care. Additionally, as outlined above, special rules of law apply to truck operators in Washington and under federal guidelines. Violation of any of these legal standards can result in the driver being individually liable for the injuries they cause.
The Corporate Truck Owner
More often, it is the company that owns or operates the truck (and their insurance provider) that must ultimately pay for the victim’s damages. These companies often times have greater financial resources than the individual driver. But because these companies have such extensive resources, they are also able to put up a fight before paying victims what they really deserve. That’s why it is so important to work with an experienced truck accident attorney.
Other Third Parties
Additional parties in a truck accident matter can include:
- Companies responsible for loading the truck
- Manufacturers of dangerous cargo
- Other motorists whose negligence contributes to the accident
- Truck rental companies
- Governmental organizations
- And more, depending on the facts of the case
An experienced truck accident lawyer at the Fuller & Fuller Law Firm can help you identify each of the potentially liable parties in your legal matter.
How a Fuller & Fuller Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case
At Fuller & Fuller, we’ve been fighting on behalf of injured Washingtonians for more than 47 years. We are family members who went into legal practice together decades ago — and we treat all our clients like part of the family too.
Through hard work, experienced, and tried-and-true strategy, we have made a decisive difference in many of our clients’ cases. We believe we can make a difference for you, too.
Remember: we will not charge you a fee unless we get you a recovery.
Even then, our fee will only be a portion of your overall recovery.
When Does a Truck Accident Need to Be Reported?
Under the Revised Code of Washington (Motor Vehicles) § 46.52.030, you must report a truck accident to the Washington DOT if a police officer has not already reported it and any of the following occurs:
- Property damage of $700 or more
If you need help with any step of the legal process, the Washington truck accident attorneys at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC can help. Contact our office today to discuss your case for free.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Truck Accident Claim in Washington?
All personal injury claims in Washington, including truck accident claims, are subject to strict time limits. Pursuant to RCW 4.16.080, truck accident claims involving negligence are typically subject to a three-year statute of limitations in Washington, with rare exceptions.
It is critical to adhere to the statute of limitations when seeking compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses after a truck crash. Truck accident companies – and their insurers – take these cases very seriously. Because of this, claims that involve collisions with commercial trucks are more likely to go to court. This is just one of the reasons why it is in your best interest to contact an attorney promptly to begin working on your case. A Washington truck accident lawyer can ensure that your claim is filed correctly and on time with the appropriate court.
Is a Truck Driver Tested for Alcohol and Drugs After an Accident?
If a truck crash results in a fatality, testing for alcohol and controlled substances is mandatory. Under Code of Federal Regulations § 382.303, drivers may also be required to undergo testing in situations that involve disabling damage to a vehicle and/or bodily injury.
What Evidence Is Used in a Truck Wreck Case?
Many commercial trucking accidents result in severe, life-altering injuries. If you find yourself seriously injured in the immediate aftermath of a crash, your health and safety should always be your first and only priority – not gathering evidence for your potential claim.
This is where a Washington truck accident attorney can be of great assistance. Your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence to support your claim. This evidence may include:
- Proof of injury: In order to demonstrate the nature and severity of your injuries, your attorney may use expert testimony and medical records. This evidence can be used to prove that you sustained injuries and that the harm you suffered was the result of the truck accident.
- Proof of fault: Like any personal injury claim, your ability to recover compensation hinges on proof of negligence. Your lawyer will gather evidence to prove that the at-fault party or parties acted negligently and that you suffered losses as a result. Physical evidence (such as skid marks, vehicle damage, trucking logs, information from on-board governors and computers, employment records, maintenance reports, etc.) can help to prove who is liable for your damages.
- Proof of damages: In addition to establishing fault and harm, your lawyer must obtain evidence to prove that you suffered losses, which can include both economic and non-economic damages, as a result of the truck accident.
Proving negligence in a truck accident case is not easy. You need an attorney with a proven record of success. The truck accident lawyers at Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys PLLC understand the complexities of these cases and have the knowledge and resources necessary to handle the most difficult claims.
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help My Case?
There are a number of parties who could potentially share liability and there is a great amount of opposition leveraged against victims by trucking companies, insurance carriers, and their legal teams. You don’t want to face the legal process alone.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you in many ways, such as:
- Gathering evidence to support your claim, including pictures of the crash scene, accident reports, medical records, etc.
- Obtaining evidence from the trucking company, including logbooks, truck governor records, employment records, maintenance and inspection reports
- Establishing the cause of the wreck based on the facts surrounding the accident
- Identifying potentially liable parties, including the truck driver, and his or her employer
- Determining the full value of your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering
- Working with experts to reconstruct the crash and evaluate the long-term impact of your injuries
- Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company
If you were hurt in a truck wreck, it is important to contact an attorney right away. The sooner you discuss your case with a lawyer, the sooner your attorney can get to work on building your case.