The first, most important, step is to check whether everyone involved is OK or if someone needs medical attention.
Next, contact the local police.
Next, decide if the vehicles involved should get moved out of the way for the sake of everyone’s safety. If it’s possible to take pictures of the crash before moving the vehicles out of the way then you should do that.
Next, call your insurance agency. If you are in a collision, you are legally obligated to call your insurance company and notify them of the incident. When you call your insurer, you can get protection against underinsured motorists, open a file for property damage and log any need for medical care, depending on what kind of coverage you have.
This is when you can call an 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. These companies train their adjusters to look for potential ways to eliminate or lessen claims. 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.
The commercial trucking industry is governed by federal law. This does not mean in any way that truck drivers don’t have to obey the local laws in Lynnwood, however. We aim to evaluate all the factors that might have contributed (directly or indirectly) to a trucking accident. Of all the rules that big rig operators need to follow, here are some of the most common:
Trucking companies may have their own means of insurance, though some use outside insurers. Regardless, it can be tough to get a fair deal after an accident that involves a big rig and that requires you to work with them for compensation. Truck drivers have big incentives to lie about how the accident occurred such that they don’t have an accident on their employment record. Because one is sometimes dependent upon the trucking company itself to provide the information and documentation that is needed in order to prove one’s case, these matters are almost always hard fought. On top of all that, it’s possible you will be dealing with serious injuries; big rigs and trucks are much larger and exert much more force than normal, non-commercial vehicles on the road. 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. For all of these reasons, it is critical to get on top of a claim related to a big rig accident in Lynnwood immediately, before evidence can be lost or destroyed, and before the trucking company can mount a defense in order to discredit your claim for damages.
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.
Here in Lynnwood, the statute of limitations on truck accident claims is three years. With so little time to act, you should get an attorney to represent you as soon as you can. 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.
In Lynnwood, being partially at fault for a vehicle accident can actually have some advantages for our clients. In most cases where someone gets injured in a vehicle accident, they will have multiple layers of insurance to pay their bills. Whether that is automobile PIP insurance or health insurance, Lynnwood 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.
In a situation where you are partially to blame for an accident, you will just get a percentage of your bills paid by the other driver’s insurance, rather than the full bill. 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. However, in Lynnwood you as the injured party in the accident do have some extra rights and advantages in this situation; if you do not get fully compensated from the other driver than you do not have the same responsibility to repay the insurance company because you did not receive all your money 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.
Moreover, trucking companies and insurance companies love to allege that the other driver was also at fault because this presents them with leverage. Their claims that you were at fault should not be accepted on face value though. Consultation with an attorney about the particulars of your case is always advised, especially where the consult is free – there is nothing to lose. Please feel free to contact us to go over your individual case.
Wiener and Lambka, PS, provides free consultations. There is no obligation to become a client afterward. While it is not always possible to ascertain the reasonableness of an offer without reviewing the medical records in a case, and in trucking cases, without knowing a great deal about how the accident was caused, we can generally tell if a proposed settlement is one that is unfair by having a telephone conversation about it. A quick phone conversation can mean the difference between a small award and the full award you really deserve.
It is very common in trucking accidents for the trucking company to offer a lower settlement than they should. They have every incentive to do so as sometimes people need the money or don’t know any better and therefore accept a lower than reasonable offer. 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.
Big rigs and commercial transportation vehicles are harder to operate than other vehicles and require more stopping time and more time to switch lanes and stuff, making them prone to accidents. It is easy for there to be operator error involved in an accident. But operator error is not the only possible cause of an accident with a commercial trucking or transportation vehicle on the road. 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.
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:
Tanker trucks haul everything from the benign to the potentially harmful, from ordinary milk to dangerous chemicals.
Appropriate medical and expert insight on how dangerous the material the tanker truck is hauling is vitally important in situations where that truck is involved in an accident with a vehicle that is not a commercial truck.
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.
There are many good resources out there for statistics on trucking. An overview of these sites and their information follows.
One excellent resource for data on trucking safety is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute. 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
In the U.S. in 2016, 37.461 people died as a result of a crash.
Over the past decade, the amount of people killed by a motor vehicle crash has fallen. The death toll increased 6 percent in 2016, though it still is lower than it was in 2005, when it began a sharp decline, or in 1975, when the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping track.
The rate of fatalities has declined even more sharply per population and per mile traveled. Though the crash death rate per population rose by 5 percent from 2015 to 2015, it fell by nearly half since the 1970s.
In a motor vehicle crash, men are more likely to die than women. This data comes partly because men tend to drive in a riskier way than women and partly because men usually drive more miles than women.
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/.
For trucking accident statistics regarding 2015 but compiled in 2016, you can go to the FMSCA website, where you’ll find their report. The following is the introduction to the report on the website:
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.
A complete copy of the study excerpted above can be found at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/LTCF2015 Early Release.pdf.
“A job well done! The staff at Wiener and Lambka made a point of explaining everything to me and if necessary I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.” - O. Yusuf“The Staff at Wiener and Lambka are friendly and understand customer needs. They reduced their fee on my case and didn’t even take any on my son’s.” - M. Ngo“Wiener and Lambka did a good job of keeping me up to date on my case, and I’d definitely suggest their services to someone looking for an attorney.” - L. Lafond"Wiener & Lambka always kept me up to date with my case. I'd certainly suggest them to a friend." - J. Trujillo"It was a stress free experience. I particularly enjoyed when, on my initial call, they sent someone out to my house to speak with me in person. I would certainly use or recommend Wiener & Lambka in the future." - M. Randall“Wiener & Lambka took care of the leg work for me and even managed to get a larger settlement than expected.” - J. Hanson“Calls were returned in a timely manner, and the office staff is friendly. I’d recommend Wiener and Lambka to a friend in the future.” - T. Their“The service and the staff were great. I was happy with everything, and would refer Wiener and Lambka to someone else in the future.” - I. Aleman“Wiener & Lambka helped me through the process, always discussing all of the available options. In particular, I was happy about the ease with which I was able to access my attorneys.”- B. Froton“Wiener & Lambka get the job done. I appreciated their concern and interest in my case, and would definitely recommend them to a friend.” - Y. Martin“Everyone was great. The staff at Wiener and Lambka make a good thing out of a bad situation, and for that, I am very thankful.” - D. Grami“Everything was great. It was the best legal experience I have ever had!” - T. Hoskins“In my moment of Crisis Wiener & Lambka lent me a helping hand. Their dedication to my case was outstanding. They stuck by my side and fought for my rights. Thank you!” - K. Tuazon“I was satisfied by the timely manner with which my case was handled. I would definitely recommend Wiener & Lambka to a friend in the future.” - D. Yusuf“You minimized my stress levels on a process foreign and scary to me. Very professional, caring, and patient with me.” - A. Maas
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