We know that an accident with a tractor-trailer can be devastating for the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicle. Because commercial trucks are so much bigger than regular cars and SUVs (both in height and weight), when these vehicles collide, injuries tend to be catastrophic or fatal. As a result, victims and survivors of these accidents can find it difficult to secure full compensation for their injuries and losses. Truck accident claims can be vastly different from a typical car accident claim.
Working with a law firm that understands the ins and outs of truck accident claims can give you an edge in your case. After you’re involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, the insurance company might tell you that your accident is no different than a regular car accident. However, this isn’t really true. Truck accidents can bring along an entire host of complications that don’t come with a passenger car crash.
Some of the differences between car accidents and truck accidents include:
- Amount of damages. Cars and trucks don’t usually have “fender-benders.” An accident with a commercial truck can leave victims with severe or life-altering injuries, and in the worst cases, they may die from those injuries. They may need months, years or a lifetime of medical care and physical therapy, as well as lose the ability to perform their job or even live their life as before. These financial losses can be massive, and victims need experienced counsel to ensure they are compensated properly.
- Evidence involved. All accidents have some evidence in common. Things like photographs of the scene, police reports, medical records and witness statements are all relatively easy to obtain. However, some truck accidents can be so devastating that critical evidence is completely destroyed in the crash. Insurance adjusters don’t have the resources or extended training necessary to uncover crucial evidence like truck cab black box data. An attorney can also work to secure driver toxicology tests and other documentation to prove your case.
- Liable parties involved. When you’re involved in a car accident, it typically goes like this – you file a claim against the person who caused the accident, and the claim goes through that person’s insurance company. Truck accidents, however, can be much more complicated because more than one party may be at fault. Liable parties in a commercial truck accident could include the driver, the trucking company, the driver’s employer, or the truck manufacturer (if the accident was due to a defective part). Keep in mind that all of those parties have their own attorneys, so they also may make claims against each other, which is how these cases get complicated. Experienced attorneys know how to keep your accident case on focus.
- Federal vs. state law. A claim from a vehicular accident falls under Washington personal injury law, but it’s also important to remember that truckers operate under both federal and state regulations. Truck drivers are required to follow federally mandated breaks for sleeping and eating, as well as subjected to regular drug tests. Failure to do so could make a driver for liable for any accident they cause.
The attorneys at Philbrook Law Office protect the rights of those injured in truck accidents. We help our clients secure compensation for their injuries, damages and losses when they’re hurt in an accident that wasn’t their fault. To discuss your case, please call our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA. You can reach us at 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.