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We rely on commercial and semi-trucks to deliver goods we need to our homes, businesses, and stores. However, with an increasing number of trucks on road there is also an increase in the number of commercial trucking accidents. The damage caused by an accident with a semi-truck can be devastating to victims and their families. At the Khan Law Firm, we understand the pain caused by a trucking accident and are here to fight for the compensation our clients deserve.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), commercial trucks are more likely to be involved in a multiple vehicle accident than a regular passenger vehicle, with eighty percent of all trucking accidents involving at least one other vehicle on the road. Trucking accidents occur for a number of reasons, but the most common causes of commercial trucking accidents include:
The NHTSA reports that 31 percent of all trucking accidents are head-on collisions with another vehicle, and another 21 percent involve a vehicle striking the back of the truck. Commercial trucks striking another vehicle while that vehicle makes a left or right hand turn accounts for another 23 percent of all trucking accidents on the road today. In addition, one in four fatal truck accidents happens on an interstate and 62 percent occur in rural areas. Trucking accidents happen most frequently on weekdays and during daylight hours between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
The NHTSA reported that 116,000 people in other vehicles were injured by commercial trucks in 2015, while only 30,000 truck drivers suffered some kind of injury. In 2016, 4,317 people were killed in semi-truck accidents nationwide. Given the size and power of a semi-truck, the injuries caused in these types of accidents are typically severe and can last a lifetime. The most common injuries caused by trucking accidents include the following:
Victims of trucking accidents may be entitled to a number of damages for compensatory and non-compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are for tangible harms and expenses, while non-compensatory damages are for emotional distress and other intangible harms suffered as a result of the accident. Restitution for these damages include:
Family members of a victim that died as a result of a trucking accident may also receive compensation for wrongful death. This includes damages for loss of consortium and funeral expenses. The courts in Washington have ruled that caps in personal injury cases are unconstitutional, which means there is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded in a truck accident case.
Washington operates under a pure comparative negligence doctrine for trucking and other accidents involving damages. This means that your overall compensation is reduced by the percentage you are found at fault for the accident. For example, if your damages following a trucking accident were $1,000,000 and you were found ten percent at fault, you would receive $900,000 for your case.
The most important thing for you to do following a commercial trucking accident is to seek medical treatment. Your health and the safety of your loved ones is the top priority, and some injuries are internal that you may not be immediately aware of them. Seeking immediate medical treatment also creates an official documentation of your injuries that can serve as evidence in a later lawsuit. Refusing medical treatment can be used against you later by the trucking company and their insurance agents. The insurance companies will say that you were not really as injured as you claim.
You or someone at the scene of the accident should call the police. Washington state law requires that the police be notified after a serious accident, but they also serve another purpose. The police can write up an official accident report, take witness statements, and document the scene, which can all be used as evidence. If possible, try to also document the scene yourself. Take pictures, record video, and get the contact information of anyone who saw the accident. Your attorney can follow up on any information that the police may have missed in their accident report.
Immediately following a trucking accident you need to secure the services of an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer can start an investigation into the accident immediately on your behalf, and the lawyers for the trucking company as well as their insurance company are doing the same. An attorney can also prevent insurance companies from contacting you and trying to secure a statement against your best interests. They build a case for compensation, so you can focus on your recovery.
It is vitally important that you do not give a statement to the insurance companies, even your own, without an attorney. They may even offer a settlement, but it is almost guaranteed to be lower than what your claim is worth. Their job is to minimize the cost of the accident and are not looking out for your best interests. An experienced personal injury attorney, however, will work to get you the best possible compensation for your case.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident or a loved one has been killed the clock is ticking to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the harm you are suffering. At the Khan Law Firm, we are here to help. Contact us today in our Renton office to schedule a free consultation of your case.