Victims of truck accidents in Washington can suffer devastating injuries, especially considering the size differential between a semi and a passenger vehicle.
You may have a claim to recover compensation, but filing a claim is complicated. Not only are the laws complex, but there are also multiple parties involved with a truck crash, including the driver, the trucking company, the insurance provider, and others.
You do not have to face these difficult challenges alone. The Washington truck accident lawyers at Kapuza Lighty, PLLC will aggressively pursue all potential parties to obtain the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Please contact our Yakima, WA office to discuss your case, and read on for some general information about these types of cases.
Yakima, Washington Truck Accident Attorneys Fight for Your Rights
When a truck collision occurs due to the truck driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Our lawyers will assist you in navigating this type of claim, which requires you to prove:
- The truck operator had a duty to drive with a reasonable degree of care so as to not cause a risk of harm to other motorists;
- The driver breached this duty through negligent acts;
- This breach led to the truck accident that caused your injuries; and,
- You suffered losses as a result of getting hurt.
Washington Truck Accident Statistics
Thousands of trucking accidents occur every year. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), there were a total of 98,096 trucking accidents in the state of Washington in 2019. Of these accidents:
- 493 involved fatalities;
- 1,931 left victims seriously injured; and
- 20,594 involved injury of some kind.
In trucking accidents, it is common to suffer injury, whether major or minor. A Washington truck accident attorney can help you fight for your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Washington Truck Accidents
Many factors play a part in trucking accidents. As reported by the WSDOT, out of the 98,096 trucking accidents that occurred in 2019, 6,606 involved drunk drivers. 13,489 of these crashes involved teenage drivers.
According to a large truck crash causation study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers themselves are the top reason for trucking accidents, accounting for roughly 90% of accidents. Vehicle issues account for the other 10% of trucking accidents.
Trucking accidents happen for a variety of reasons, including speeding, brake problems, drug use, driver distraction, or fatigue. Whatever the reason, a truck accident attorney in Washington can help you navigate your lawsuit.
How Truck Accidents Differ From Car Accidents
Larger Insurance Policies
Due to the size and movement of trucks, insurance policies have much greater coverage than automobile insurance policies. This amount of coverage is necessary because of the severe damage and injury trucks may cause.
Because of these significantly larger insurance policies, the insurance carrier may try to find a way out of liability. In this case, a highly experienced truck accident attorney can be of great value to your case.
Commercial trucks travel from state to state making deliveries. Because of the nature of their work, trucking companies and drivers are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation. Trucking companies and their drivers are governed by many more regulations than a typical car and driver.
Because of these particular regulations, trucking accidents are more complicated than car accidents.
More Serious Injuries
Due to a truck’s massive size and heavy weight, trucking accidents may result in more significant injuries. Injuries can range anywhere from broken bones to paralysis.
Along with serious injury, a truck’s size and weight can also cause considerable property damage. When involved in an accident, a truck may destroy anything in its path.
Specialized Attorney Experience
Because trucking accidents are so unique, they require attorneys with extensive experience. A seasoned truck accident attorney fully understands these kinds of cases, including the regulations trucking companies and drivers must adhere to.
A Washington truck accident attorney streamlines this process and will help you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Your compensation in a truck accident claim is based upon the legal concept of damages, which refers to the losses you experience due to your injuries. They include:
- Economic Damages: These are the readily ascertainable losses, often out-of-pocket, that you suffer because of being injured. Medical expenses for treatment, such as emergency care, surgery, and physical therapy, are examples of economic damages. Another is the income you would have earned had you not been hurt in the accident.
- Noneconomic Damages: These losses are more subjective in nature, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or the consequences for your personal relationships. Because it is not easy to prove them by presenting documents, trucking accident lawyers usually retain experts to assist in establishing noneconomic damages.
Laws Affecting Your Compensation
Even if you prove the essential elements of a truck collision claim and can establish your damages, there are laws that can impact your total recovery amount, such as:
- Washington State’s statute of limitations, which only allows you three years from the date of the trucking accident to file a lawsuit; and
- The law on contributory negligence that can reduce your compensation if you were somewhat at fault in the crash.
How Our Washington Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
Truck accidents are among the most challenging types of personal injury claims to bring in Washington. Not only are there complex state and federal regulations that could affect the case, but the large commercial insurance companies that handle these claims tend to be especially aggressive.
If you were hurt in a trucking accident, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC, our attorneys know how to hold these companies accountable and get our clients full and fair financial compensation. Among other things, we are prepared to:
- Listen to your story and conduct an in-depth review of your truck accident claim;
- Answer specific questions and explain your rights under Washington state law;
- Identify all defendants who may bear full or partial liability for your injuries;
- Investigate the tractor trailer collision — securing important evidence, including medical documentation, police reports, witness statements, black box electronic data, and truck inspection records;
- Deal with insurance adjusters, including handling settlement talks; and
- Prepare a strong, well-supported legal claim, should it be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or your family member was injured in a large truck accident in Yakima County, WA, you deserve personalized legal representation.
Many of these claims are eventually settled outside of litigation. Our law firm helps clients maximize truck accident settlement offers. We are also made up of trial-tested Washington truck accident lawyers. Our law firm is always ready to take your case to court to get justice.
Consult with an Experienced Yakima, WA Trucking Accident Lawyer
For more information on truck crash claims and your rights to compensation, please contact the office of Kapuza Lighty, PLLC in Yakima, WA. You do not pay for our legal services unless we win your case, and we also offer a free consultation where we can review your legal options.