Not all truck accidents are caused by large tractor-trailers. In Washington, many accidents are caused by vans, delivery trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, moving trucks, and courier service trucks. Some are owned by individuals, for example a plumber, electrician, or landscaper. Others are part of the fleets of large companies, such as UPS, DHL, or FedEx.
Truck accidents are different from car accidents
Most trucks are commercial vehicles, which means when a person is injured by a truck, a business entity is often involved. Some trucks are local, while others are subject to federal regulations for vehicles engaged in interstate commerce. Some belong to counties, municipalities, or other government entities.
Because of their size, trucks can potentially cause more serious injuries than are likely in ordinary car accidents.
Driving a truck requires different skills than driving a car because of the truck’s bulk and size. Trucks have larger blind spots than cars, and drivers need to be both skilled and diligent in using mirrors to monitor their surroundings.
Delivery truck drivers often have tight schedules that their companies require them to keep, and they’re frequently under pressure to complete them. This can lead to careless driving.
Many truck drivers must observe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations limiting the hours a truck driver can legally drive without rest, as well as laws that apply to truck maintenance and inspection, prescription drug use while driving, records and driving logs, and liability insurance required.
Many variables are possible in truck accidents, making it essential that those injured by a truck or the survivors of anyone killed by a truck have an experienced Washington truck accident lawyer representing them.
Causes of truck accidents
Drivers of trucks, especially when subject to time pressure, often become careless and make mistakes:
- Not setting the parking brake
- Backing up without checking for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars
- Turning too sharply
- Being lax in vehicle maintenance
- Using drugs and alcohol
- Distracted driving
What to do following a truck accident
- Call the police.
- Get the names of the truck owner and driver.
- Exchange insurance information.
- Photograph the truck, your car, and the scene of the accident.
- Write down names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Avoid discussing who caused the accident; do not apologize, or state that you are unhurt; injuries often don’t become apparent immediately.
- Get medical care. If you are seriously injured, have someone call an ambulance. Otherwise, go to an emergency room, urgent care clinic, or doctor.
- Call an experienced truck accident attorney.
Do I need a lawyer for my truck accident case?
You can try to settle your case on your own, but you should realize that you will likely receive a larger recovery if you hire a Washington truck accident attorney. Truck accident cases require experience and knowledge of state and federal regulations, which few accident victims have. Expertise is needed to investigate an accident and work the case up for trial. Many cases settle out of court, but not all. A seasoned litigator is in a better position to negotiate a higher out-of-court settlement or to win the case at trial, if necessary.
The Seattle, Washington attorneys at Wattel and York represent individuals injured by truck accidents, helping them to receive large recoveries for their losses. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case, and remember, you pay nothing unless we win you money.