Heightened risks accompany the operation of commercial trucks, especially when they transport hazardous cargo. Although truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow federal and state regulations, they may fail to do so. If you were injured in a truck accident, you may not have the financial resources to pay for treatment and take time off from work to recover. When truck accidents cause fatalities, the burden becomes even greater. Accordingly, you should speak to the Seattle truck accident attorneys of Blair & Kim to understand how to protect your rights.Truck Accidents
When commercial trucks collide with smaller vehicles, the size and weight of the truck can result in catastrophic consequences for the driver and passengers who were struck. Even a collision that occurs at low speeds can result in serious injuries or death. Often there are multiple victims, all making claims against the truck driver. Accordingly, it’s important to look closely at the accident to determine all the parties potentially at fault. It may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to identify the causes and responsible parties, such as the truck driver, the trucking company, a third-party loader, a mechanic, the truck manufacturer and other drivers on the road.
Federal and state regulations, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, govern truck drivers and trucking companies in Seattle who are engaged in interstate commerce. These regulations cover logbooks, hours of service, maintenance, and inspections. Trucking companies are supposed to provide adequate supervision of truck drivers, including supervision over their hours of service and their logbooks. In some cases, logbooks are incorrect. While this can be the result of an errant truck driver, in some cases, it is the result of a trucking company’s negligence or intentional encouragement of falsification. The truck’s black box can contain important evidence about how long and in what manner a truck was operated. An experienced truck accident attorney in Seattle can help you preserve vital evidence from the black box, so that the trucking company will not inadvertently or intentionally delete or overwrite the black box data.
Washington truck drivers and trucking companies must follow state rules related to drug tests, securement requirements, and compliance reviews, which are on-site examinations of a motor carrier’s operations to determine its safety fitness.Liability
In a Washington truck accident lawsuit, recovering damages may depend on you establishing a truck driver’s negligence, which occurs when a defendant fails to use reasonable care to avoid harm to others. To prove negligence, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care, (2) breach of the duty of reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. A Seattle trucking accident lawyer can analyze the circumstances of the accident to see if the truck driver breached the duty to use reasonable care by taking wide turns improperly, drunk or drugged driving, speeding, failing to check blind spots, overloading cargo, or failing to inspect the truck properly.
In most truck accident cases, negligence per se will not apply. In other words, a breach of duty that’s imposed by law, ordinance, or administrative rule won’t be negligence per se, but will merely be treated as evidence of negligence under the Revised Code of Washington section 5.40.050.
Other theories of liability may need to be raised depending on the defendant. For instance, premises liability law may be used if a property owner bears some responsibility for the accident while product liability law may be used to establish a truck manufacturer’s liability.Damages
If you are able to establish liability in your truck accident case, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses can include medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services. Noneconomic damages includes all subjective losses including emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement, loss of society and companionship, injury to reputation and humiliation.Retain a Seasoned Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents can be particularly challenging because multiple parties may be partially responsible and the opposing parties may have significantly more resources than the victim of the accident. If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the Seattle truck accident lawyers at Blair & Kim for a consultation. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us through our online form to understand your rights after an accident.