Of all motor vehicle accidents on our Washington roads, trucking accidents are uniquely dangerous due to their sheer size and weight. And although they represent only a fraction of our total vehicle crashes, the destruction they cause is alarming.
Truck accident data from the Washington State Department of Transportation for the year 2019 is a case in point. There were 111,638 truck accidents reported in Washington in 2019 which resulted in 23,538 injuries and 500 fatalities. These are alarming figures.
At Northwest Law Group, our personal injury team is dedicated to the legal rights of injured parties. Our experienced Bellevue trucking accident attorneys understand the complexities surrounding large truck accidents and take an aggressive approach to hold trucking companies and their drivers or owner/operators liable for the accidents, injuries, and fatalities that they cause.Our Economy Relies on the Trucking Industry
Today, our economy works on the back of the trucking industry. Consequently, many companies and drivers are feeling the stress to move more goods at faster paces. This has led many companies and drivers to forego industry standards and operate outside the laws. It also means that many drivers are driving without adequate sleep and at higher speeds.How Trucking Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
When you consider that the average semi weighs in at an average of 80,000 pounds compared to a car’s 5,000 pounds, you can understand the implications for substantial damage in a crash, often causing catastrophic injuries and fatalities to those in the smaller vehicles. This makes trucking accidents unique in their
- Injuries -- Impact from a semi can result in catastrophic injuries
- Medical costs -- The more extensive the injuries, the greater the medical costs involved.
- Property damages -- When a commercial truck meets a car in a collision, that car and surrounding property will sustain far more damages than in a typical motor vehicle accident
- Increased chances of fatality -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported from 3,000 to 5,000 deaths due to truck accidents annually.
Many circumstances can result in a trucking accident with some that are particularly common to the trucking industry.
- Driver error -- Driver drowsiness, speeding, drug and alcohol impairment, and distraction are common causes of trucking accidents.
- Vehicle maintenance -- Because of the mileage put on these vehicles on a yearly basis, this requires consistent vehicle maintenance. Yet maintenance can require downtime and eat into schedule constraints and profits.
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo -- Cargo that is improperly loaded or secured can shift, spill, or lead to an imbalance and subsequent accident.
- FMCSA violations -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes strict guidelines to ensure trucking safety but trucking companies and drivers will often ignore these in order to meet schedules.
Establishing fault in a trucking accident can be complicated, especially considering that the insurance company involved may have much to lose in the way of a claim. There are also many potential points of responsibility in a trucking accident, including
- The driver
- The company that owns the truck
- A third-party owner of the truck
- The party who has leased the truck or the trailer
- The party who has contracted for the transport
- The truck or tire manufacturer
- The party responsible for the maintenance of the truck
A trucking accident claim must further go on to establish negligence by the responsible party. Was the driver impaired, inexperienced, or was there inadequate training? Was the trailer loaded correctly? Was there a lack of proper maintenance or repairs? Establishing negligence in a trucking accident is often complex and requires the skill of an experienced Bellevue semi accident attorney to get the appropriate supporting evidence for an injury claim.
At Northwest Law Group, our talented Bellevue truck accident law firm offers a customized and strategic approach to every claim and each client that we represent. If you have been injured in a trucking accident in Washington, contact us for a free consultation to understand your rights and options for compensation for your injuries.
Northwest Law Group’s team of commercial truck accident lawyers serves Bellevue and other communities throughout Washington State, including:
- Federal Way
- Maple Valley
- University Place
- Lake Stevens
- Mill Creek
- Mountlake Terrace
- Port Orchard
- Bainbridge Island
- Port Gamble