Russell & Hill, PLLC

Personal Injury EvaluationGetting in an accident with a commercial truck can be a life-altering event with a long road to recovery. Complex Washington laws governing truck accidents add even more difficulty. Having experienced truck accident lawyers to help you through this process will make all the difference. An experienced attorney can help you understand how these laws affect your case, assist in evidence gathering, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court for your truck accident lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, now is the time to act. Russell & Hill is here to provide the legal representation you need. Contact our experienced truck accident lawyers to schedule a free consultation. Don’t delay; every moment counts when you’re fighting for your rights and rightful compensation.

On This Page

  • Types Of Trucks Commonly Involved In Accidents
  • Types Of Truck Accidents
  • Causes Of Truck Accidents
  • Common Locations For Truck Accidents In Everett
  • Truck Accident Liability In Everett, Washington
  • Commercial Trucks And Washington Laws
  • Filing A Lawsuit Or Insurance Claim In Washington
  • Understanding Types Of Damages In Washington
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
  • Don’t Navigate Your Truck Accident Case Alone

Types Of Trucks Commonly Involved In Accidents

Semi-Trucks, Commercial Trucks

Semi-trucks, often called 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers, are the most common types of commercial trucks on the road. Their sheer size and weight make accidents involving them particularly devastating. To help minimize the chances of accidents and injury Washington state heavily regulates semi-trucks, including rules on how long a driver can operate without taking a break. In spite of these efforts, running a report in the WSDOT Crash Data Portal shows just how common truck accidents with serious injuries or fatalities are.

Box Trucks

Box trucks, also known as straight trucks, usually have a cargo area that’s separate from the cab. These are often used for transporting furniture or appliances and are common in cities. Accidents involving box trucks can result in significant damage and injury due to their size and the type of goods they carry.

Dump Trucks

In construction zones or on highways, you’re likely to encounter dump trucks. These trucks are used to transport loose materials like gravel or sand. They pose a unique risk due to the possibility of their cargo spilling onto the road, potentially causing accidents.

Tanker Trucks

Tanker trucks are designed to carry liquids or gases, and they pose a significant risk due to their contents, which may be flammable or hazardous. Washington laws strictly govern the transport of dangerous goods, so any violation in this aspect can be a crucial point in a personal injury claim.

Tow Trucks

Tow trucks are commonly seen on the road helping stranded vehicles. While they are generally considered to be assistance vehicles, they can still be involved in accidents that result in personal injury. Understanding the duties and responsibilities of tow truck drivers under Washington law can help in making a successful claim.

Garbage Trucks

Garbage trucks usually operate in residential areas, making their presence more common but also riskier due to frequent stops and the presence of pedestrians. Their unique structure and function make for specific types of accidents, which can be severe given their size and weight.

Flatbed Trucks

Flatbed trucks have an entirely flat, open bed, and are used to transport heavy or oversized loads. These trucks can pose risks, especially if the cargo is not properly secured, leading to potential accidents.

Refrigerated Trucks

Refrigerated trucks are essentially box trucks but with temperature control. They transport perishable goods and are bound by specific regulations regarding the safe transport of food items. Accidents involving refrigerated trucks can be complicated due to these regulations.

Types Of Truck Accidents

Jackknife Accidents Explained

A jackknife accident is characterized by the folding of the trailer towards the truck’s cab, forming a shape that resembles a folding pocket knife. In Washington, truck drivers are expected to maintain control of their vehicles at all times. If a driver’s failure to control their truck leads to a jackknife accident, they may be held accountable for any injuries or damages incurred.

Understanding Rollover Accidents

A rollover accident takes place when the truck overturns onto its side or roof. These accidents can be extremely dangerous and often result in severe injuries or even death. According to Washington Law, negligence on the part of the driver, such as speeding or taking a turn too quickly, can be grounds for holding them liable for damages resulting from a rollover accident.

The Dangers Of Underride Accidents

Under-ride accidents are especially perilous and they happen when small vehicles collide with trucks and slides underneath them. These accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Washington Law mandates specific safety equipment, like rear and side guards, to prevent or mitigate the consequences of underride accidents.

What Are T-Bone Accidents?

These accidents happen primarily at intersections and involve the front of the truck hitting the side of another vehicle. Washington Laws require all motorists, including truck drivers, to follow traffic signals and rules. Failure to comply with these can make the driver liable for the injuries and damages stemming from a T-bone accident.

Head-On Collisions: A Deadly Encounter

Among the most dangerous of all types are head-on collisions. These accidents usually result in fatalities and severe injuries. In Washington, a driver could be held responsible for a head-on collision if they were driving recklessly, failed to maintain their lane, or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Causes Of Truck Accidents

The Role Of Driver Fatigue

Long hours on the road often lead to driver fatigue, a significant contributor to truck accidents. Washington enforces hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers to counter this issue. A driver found in violation of these rules may be held liable for accidents caused due to fatigue.

Distracted Driving: A Growing Concern

The use of smartphones, GPS devices, or even eating while driving can lead to severe distractions. Washington law explicitly prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. A driver found in violation can be considered negligent, and thus responsible for any resulting accident.

Speeding And Reckless Driving: A Deadly Combination

Exceeding the speed limit or driving recklessly are common causes of truck accidents. Washington Law is quite clear on speed limits and driving behavior. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in the truck driver being held accountable for any accidents that occur as a result.

How Mechanical Failures Contribute

While some commercial trucking accidents are caused by driver errors, others result from mechanical failures like brake malfunctions or tire blowouts. According to Washington Law, both the driver and the trucking company have an obligation to ensure that the vehicle is in proper working condition. Failure to do so can lead to legal consequences.

Impaired Driving: A Serious Offense

Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs is not only illegal but also a major cause of truck accidents. Washington has stringent laws against driving under the influence (DUI). A truck driver caught driving under the influence will likely be held responsible for the accident and could face severe legal repercussions, including the loss of their commercial driver’s license.

Common Locations For Truck Accidents In Everett

Highways And Interstates

Major highways and interstates, such as I-5, are common places where truck accidents happen in Everett. These roadways see high volumes of traffic and often involve higher speeds, making them risky for large commercial vehicles.

Busy Intersections

Busy intersections in and around the city are also frequent sites for a truck crash. Places where there are multiple lanes, traffic signals, and complex turn rules can create confusing scenarios that may result in accidents.

Industrial Areas

Everett is home to several industrial zones where large trucks often operate. These areas can be especially prone to accidents due to the frequency of truck traffic combined with complicated loading and unloading operations.

Near Ports And Harbors

Being a coastal city, Everett has several ports and harbors where commercial shipping takes place. The roads leading to and from these areas often witness a large number of trucks, making them more susceptible to accidents.

Truck Accident Liability In Everett, Washington

The Intricacies of Truck Driver Liability

The most straightforward case for liability often begins with the truck driver. Washington law is explicit in stating that drivers are responsible for operating their vehicles in a safe and lawful manner. Instances where the truck driver could be found at fault include:

Violation of Traffic Laws

This could be as simple as speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield. Washington law mandates that drivers adhere to all posted speed limits and traffic signs.

Reckless or Negligent Behavior

If the driver was operating the truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they would almost certainly be found liable. Similarly, distracted driving, such as texting while driving, is against Washington law and could also lead to the driver being held responsible.

Trucking Company: Another Layer Of Liability

The trucking company itself may also find itself embroiled in a liability case. This can happen in multiple scenarios:

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Washington laws require companies to regularly inspect and maintain their trucks. Failure to do so could lead to mechanical failure and subsequently, an accident for which the company could be held liable.

Inadequate Training

If the trucking company has not provided sufficient training to the driver, and this lack of training contributed to the accident, the company could be held responsible under Washington law.

Overworking Drivers

There are state and federal regulations that specify how many hours a truck driver can be on the road. If it’s proven that the trucking company violated these laws, they could be found at fault.

Manufacturers And Product Liability

Product liability is another avenue for determining responsibility. In Washington, manufacturers are obligated to ensure that their products meet certain safety standards.

Faulty Parts

If the truck accident occurred due to a mechanical malfunction that can be traced back to a faulty part, the manufacturer of that part could be held liable.

Whole Vehicle Defects

Similarly, if the entire truck had a manufacturing defect that led to the accident, the truck manufacturer could be found responsible.

Additional Parties

In some cases, other parties could also share in the liability:

Government Agencies

For example, if a poorly maintained or designed road was a factor in the accident, the government agency responsible for the road’s maintenance could potentially be held accountable.

Contractors Or Third Parties

Sometimes, independent contractors or third parties involved in the loading of the truck or the maintenance of the truck might also be implicated in the liability case.

Commercial Trucks And Washington Laws

In Washington, commercial trucks are governed by a set of rules, primarily outlined in Title 46 of the Revised Code of Washington. These laws cover everything from weight limits to the qualifications needed for a commercial truck driver. Comprehending these laws is vital when pursuing a personal injury claim, as violations can be used as evidence of negligence.

Filing A Lawsuit Or Insurance Claim In Washington

Filing an Insurance Claim

Filing an insurance claim is often the first step victims take. Given that Washington operates under a “fault” system for vehicle accidents, the at-fault party’s insurance is typically responsible for covering damages. However, insurance claims can sometimes fall short in offering adequate compensation, especially if the damages are severe or if the at-fault party is underinsured. This is an area where having a truck accident attorney involved can make all the difference in the compensation you ultimately receive.

Should I File a Lawsuit?

Washington law has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including truck accidents. Typically, victims have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Getting a free consultation from an experienced truck accident lawyer can help answer all of your questions about whether to file a lawsuit.

Understanding Types Of Damages In Washington

In Washington, there are several types of damages a victim can seek following a truck accident.

Economic Damages: The Tangible Costs

These damages cover easily quantifiable costs, such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages due to time off work.

Non-Economic Damages: The Intangible Suffering

Washington law also allows victims to claim non-economic damages. These involve pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.

Exceptional Cases: Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are generally not allowed in Washington. However, in extreme cases where the at-fault party’s actions were particularly egregious, punitive damages may be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents

What Are The Immediate Steps To Take Following A Truck Accident?

The moments following a truck accident are crucial. Washington law mandates that you should first ensure the safety of everyone involved. Call emergency services immediately to report the incident. If possible, remove your vehicle from the roadway to avoid causing further accidents or injuries.

Should I Seek Medical Attention Even If I Feel Okay?

Absolutely. Some injuries manifest symptoms hours or days after the accident. Washington law allows you to claim compensation for medical bills and treatments, so it’s advisable to have a medical record detailing your condition post-accident.

What Types Of Evidence Should I Collect At The Scene?

Collecting evidence is a high priority for any potential lawsuit. In Washington, photographs of the scene, testimonies from witnesses, and any other form of evidence can significantly influence the outcome of your truck accident claim. Make sure to also exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved.

How Soon Should I Contact My Insurance Company?

As per Washington law, it’s generally recommended to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. However, avoid giving extensive statements until you’ve consulted with a lawyer, as what you say could affect your claim.

Who Is Responsible For A Truck Accident?

Washington adopts a comparative negligence approach. This means multiple parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, and even vehicle manufacturers, could be held liable for the accident depending on their percentage of fault.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Truck Accident Lawsuit?

Washington law stipulates a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including truck accidents. This period starts from the date of the accident, and failure to file within this timeframe could lead to your claim being dismissed.

Don’t Handle Your Truck Accident Case Alone, Contact Russell & Hill

If you’ve found yourself the victim of a truck accident, it’s important not to try to work through Washington truck accident laws by yourself. Our Everett injury attorneys are here to offer professional, dedicated legal representation to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. You can contact us for a free consultation at 425-212-9165. The time to act is now; don’t leave your future and your financial stability up to chance. Contact a truck accident attorney today.

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Date published: 2018-09-04
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