Issaquah Truck Accident Lawyers

What to do after a Collision with a Big Rig in Issaquah, Washington

First, make certain that everyone involved is safe and that medical care is provided whenever necessary.

Step two is calling the police.

Next, decide if the vehicles involved should get moved out of the way for the sake of everyone’s safety. Before moving vehicles, take pictures of the scene of the collision if you can safely do so.

Then call your insurance company. If you are in a collision, you are legally obligated to call your insurance company and notify them of the incident. Depending on the coverage you have with your company, this call will initiate certain procedures, such as claims for property damage, medical care and underinsured motorist protection.

Fifth, contact a personal injury attorney. The insurance company for the trucking company will likely be calling to ask for a recorded statement from you about what happened in the accident. They will of course want to minimize their own culpability in the accident if they can. Don’t get left trying to defend yourself here;level the playing field by calling a personal injury attorney, who can consult with you for free about your rights and help you understand what the best next steps are in regard to an accident with a big rig.

Issaquah truck accident attorneys

Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Issaquah, Washington – Wiener & Lambka, P.S.

Proving Big Rig Operator Negligence in Issaquah

Federal rules and guidelines govern the commercial trucking industry. This does not mean in any way that truck drivers don’t have to obey the local laws in Issaquah, however. In the case of a big rig accident, we evaluate anything that could have contributed to operator mistakes. The operators of trucks and big rigs have to follow strict driving rules, including:

  • Not having too much weight on their rig
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Not skipping necessary inspections
  • Not driving for too many hours or days without taking appropriate breaks
  • Failing to keep a proper log or falsifying a log book
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Always checking blind spots
  • Driving while distracted (typically a telephone or CB, but even a passenger or other type of distraction)

Getting Compensation for Any Damages Suffered in a Big Rig Incident in Issaquah

Trucking companies may have their own means of insurance, though some use outside insurers. Either way, it is almost always a difficult journey to obtain fair compensation when a truck accident is the basis for injury. Truck drivers have big incentives to lie about how the accident occurred such that they don’t have an accident on their employment record. If you are trying to prove your case in an accident and need any information from the trucking company itself, you might find yourself with a tough fight ahead of you when working with the company. Also, many trucking injury cases involved greater injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle because of the massive size and forces involved in many trucking collisions. The greater the true value of the case, the more the trucking company, or its insurer, will be willing to fight about it because to do so can save it more money. These cases are litigated more often than other types of vehicle collision cases for these reasons and starting your case off properly, immediately after the accident so that evidence doesn’t get lost or tampered with or destroyed, is important.

What is the Cost of Hiring an Attorney in Washington?

At Wiener and Lambka, PS, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients do not have to pay us up front out of their pocket. Payment is made when cases resolve, and we are compensated by receiving a portion of the proceeds obtained. In most cases, our fee is one third of that which we obtain for our clients. Sometimes this fee will go up to 40%, depending upon the nature of the case and the work needed to be done to obtain the award, but the vast majority of the time our charges are only 33.3%. If no monies are obtained for a client then no fee is charged.

We will also forward the costs needed to move cases forward and then get repaid these monies when the case resolves. Clients in Washington can only hire an attorney with the understanding that all costs are ultimately the client’s responsibility, but attorneys are allowed to front these costs and be repaid out of the settlement proceeds. This means that clients are never out of pocket as their case progresses.

When Should you File You Claim in a Big Rig Accident?

Here in Issaquah, the statute of limitations on truck accident claims is three years. Therefore, it is critical to get an attorney on your side as quickly as you can to protect yourself. When you get an attorney on your side quickly you also get the benefit of knowing the investigation into the incident will go well from the beginning and the trucking company will be more incentivized to cooperate with you and produce the evidence and data you need to win your case.

Your Options When You’re Partially at Fault

If you are at fault in an accident involving a truck then you do not need to worry; it can actually be a good thing. Often, when someone is involved in any kind of car or truck accident where there are injuries, they are protected with more than one layer of insurance. Whether that is automobile PIP insurance or health insurance, Issaquah law allows for the company that pays first for healthcare to be repaid if the injured person then collects the money representing those same bills from the negligent third party. For example, if you were involved in an accident with a truck and a negligent driver’s insurance company paid out $5000 to you in compensation for your medical bills, you could not also get paid $5000 from your own insurance company; you would have to pay back the $5000 if you own insurance also compensated you for the accident.

If you are partially at fault in an accident then the other driver’s insurance will only pay out a percentage of the damage to you and not all the damages. For example, if you had to pay $5000 for medical bills after an accident and were 20% at fault, the other driver’s insurance would only pay $4000. Issaquah law at this point, however, provides a bit of an advantage to the injured party because in instances where one has not received all of their damages from the other driver, they do not incur the same responsibility to repay to their insurance company any of the monies back because they did not receive ALL of their damages from the other side. Therefore, if you are partially at fault but only to a small degree, it can provide some benefit in an accident.

But trucking and insurance companies will both try to say you are more at fault in order to gain leverage when it comes to insurance claims. Do not take these claims of fault at face value. You have nothing to lose, therefore, by consulting with an attorney in the case of an accident to make sure you are not taken advantage of after an accident. We would be happy to go over your case with you.

How Should you Handle a Settlement Offer from a Trucking Company?

First, set up a free consultation with Wiener and Lambka, PS. There is no obligation to become a client afterward. While it is difficult to make a judgement without knowing how the accident was caused or without access to medical records related to the incident, we will do our best to ascertain how reasonable the offer you are getting from the trucking company really is based on our phone call. There is nothing to lose in calling an experienced attorney to go over this question.

It is very common in trucking accidents for the trucking company to offer a lower settlement than they should. The trucking companies are well aware that without full knowledge, a person involved in an accident can be susceptible to accepting an offer that is lower than what they actually deserve. After the claim has been resolved you may come to realize that you deserved a higher settlement in the case, but by then you have probably already signed a release that prevents you from ever asking the trucking company for more money. Because this is a complicated question involving a serious matter, you should never resolve your claim without at least having a discussion with an experience attorney.

Issaquah Semi-Truck and Big Rig Accident Lawyers

How do most accidents involving a truck or big rig occur?

While there is not one set cause, the typical causation facts with these trucks is that they require a great degree of foresight to operate on the roadway and their stopping time and ability to change lanes and make turns is very different than an ordinary car or truck. Operator error in these regards is usually the cause. However, operator error is not the only cause; there are many other ways a truck or big rig could get into an accident. In order to ascertain the exact cause of a trucking accident it is usually necessary to have some amount of information discovery involving drivers’ logs, inspection checklists and other information from the driver or trucking company. Get an attorney on your side early in this discovery process to ensure that you are also protected later on in the case.

Injuries to the occupants of the other vehicles involved in a trucking accident can be severe.

Because of the forces involved truck accidents can involve serious injuries. In our time working with clients involved in trucking accidents, we have seen many types and severities of injuries, including:

  • An Injury to the Spine
  • Closed Head injuries
  • Concussions
  • Injured Legs
  • Broken arms
  • Injured Shoulders
  • Internal injuries
  • Death claims

A Tanker Truck Spill and Accident

There’s no telling what a tanker truck is hauling; it could be something as benign as milk or as dangerous as corrosive chemicals.

Making sure that clients get the appropriate medical care and having a network of expert witnesses who understand the dangers involved with a chemical spill is an important consideration in handling these matters.

Step one in this type of accident is to get any medical attention you need as a result of being exposed to the chemicals inside a tanker truck; step two is to seek out an attorney who understands the ins and outs of this type of accident claim.

Trucking Statistics

There are many means of finding statistics on trucking accidents. We’ve collected some of the highlights and resources below.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute provides extensive information about truck safety and accidents. Read on to learn more about general trucking statistics or go to their information page here: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/topicoverview

General statistics

In 2016, 37,461 people died in crashes in the U.S.

In the past 10 years, the amount of people who have died in motor vehicle crashes has fallen. Since 1975 when the U.S. Department of Transportation began tracking crashes, the death rate has declined, though the rate increased by 6 percent in 2016 (while still being lower in 2005 when a sharp decline began).

The rate of fatalities has declined even more sharply per population and per mile traveled. The crash death rate per population increased 5 percent from 2015 to 2016; however, it has fallen by nearly half since the 1970s.

In a motor vehicle crash, men are more likely to die than women. This is partly because men tend to drive more miles than women on average and also engage in riskier behavior.

Another excellent resource for trucking industry statistics is the United State Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/.

At the FMCSA site, one can find a comprehensive report compiled in 2016 regarding 2015 statistics for trucking accidents. The introduction, entitled “Trends” reads as follows:

The tables in this chapter present crash statistics for large trucks and buses over time. Fatal crash statistics generally are available from 1975, the first year of FARS data, through 2015. In some cases, such as for alcohol involvement, data are available only from 1981 or 1982 through 2015. Nonfatal crash statistics are presented for 1995 through 2015. The statistics shown in this chapter represent crashes, vehicles, drivers, fatalities, and injuries in crashes. Below is a summary of some of the trend information in this section: In 2015, 4,311 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, an 8-percent increase from 2014. Although the number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes has increased by 26 percent from its low of 3,432 in 2009, the 2015 number is still 18 percent lower than the 21st-century peak of 5,231 in 2005. There was a 34-percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses between 2005 and 2009, followed by an increase of 20 percent between 2009 and 2015. From 2014 to 2015, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 5 percent. The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses decreased steadily from 89,000 in 2005 to 60,000 in 2009 (a decline of 33 percent). This decline was followed by an increase of 62 percent from 60,000 in 2009 to 97,000 in 2015. On average, from 2005 to 2015, intercity buses accounted for 13 percent, and school buses and transit buses accounted for 41 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of all buses involved in fatal crashes. Over the past year (from 2014 to 2015): The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent, from 3,749 to 4,050. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased by 1 percent, from 88,000 to 87,000. The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes decreased by 1 percent, from 346,000 to 342,000. The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased from 236 to 261, an increase of 11 percent.

You can read the study in its entirety at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015 Early Release.pdf.

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