Representing injured victims and
their families since 1952

How Does Fatigue Affect Truck Accidents?

Posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022 at 9:52 pm    

An accident with a commercial truck can have deadly consequences. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13 percent of commercial truck drivers were fatigued at the time of their crash. This involved 18,000 trucks and raised the relative risk of a crash to eight percent.

Driver fatigue can also contribute to other factors in a motor vehicle accident, including making illegal maneuvers, reduced attention on the road, and following too closely behind another vehicle. The report found these factors also contributed to commercial truck accidents to a significant degree, with a combined relative risk increase of 66.1 percent. If you have pressing questions about your case, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

tired truck driver

Causes of Trucker Fatigue

Truck drivers may regularly work long shifts, have an inadequate amount of sleep, and may be more likely to drive when they’re tired. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers are mandated to take time off and take breaks during their workdays.

The limits are different for truck drivers carrying property versus those carrying passengers. Truck drivers carrying property must limit the maximum number of hours they drive to 11 hours after having ten consecutive hours off duty. They are required to take a 30-minute break after driving eight continuous hours.

Commercial truckers driving passengers can drive a maximum of ten hours after having eight consecutive hours off duty. A lack of sleep is common among truck drivers. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, truck drivers average 5.18 hours in bed per day and 4.78 hours of verified sleep each day over a 5-day study. If you have pressing questions about your case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team today.

A lack of sleep is an obvious reason for truck drivers to become fatigued. However, other elements that can affect a driver’s drowsiness include:

  • Illness
  • Medication
  • Inebriation
  • Boredom
  • Working unusual hours
  • Poor oxygen supply in the truck
  • Untreated sleep disorder
  • Early Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Driving during naturally “drowsy” hours

According to a survey reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four percent of adults reported they had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the last 30 days. The sheer number of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel is staggering. Contact us today.

Fatigue Has a Significant Impact on Driver Ability

Falling asleep is an obvious concern for truckers who are driving fatigued. However, there are other ways in which sleep deprivation and fatigue can impact a driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you cannot anticipate when sleep will overcome your body.

Although this is dangerous, being sleepy creates other risks. Drivers are less likely to pay attention to the road and will miss early signs of danger ahead. Being drowsy also slows your reaction time and affects your ability to make good decisions.

Studies have demonstrated how going without sleep impairs your ability in the same way as driving and drinking too much alcohol. Being awake for 18 hours creates the same poor reactions as someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent.

Once you’re awake for 24 hours, your reactions are like someone who has a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent. In all states, the legal limit for driving is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Additionally, when you’re drowsy, even low amounts of alcohol can dramatically increase the effect on your coordination, judgment, and reaction time even further.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three factors that are associated with drowsy driving crashes. More frequently, they happen between midnight and 6:00 a.m., when most people are in bed and asleep. They also often involve a single driver running off the road and frequently occur on rural roads and highways.

This means fatigued commercial truck drivers will have a difficult time focusing on the task at hand, which may cause them to drift into another lane or fail to notice changing traffic signals. Poor judgment calls can ultimately place another person’s life in danger. Contact us today.

asleep at the wheel

Contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs Today

If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck that was not your fault, you want an experienced and compassionate Lakewood truck accident attorney at your side. Traffic accidents with a commercial truck are not as straightforward as those with another passenger vehicle.

Often, there is more than one insurance company involved, and there may be more than one entity at fault. Although the truck driver may have been drowsy, which triggered the accident, a shifting cargo load, poor maintenance on the truck, or poor training of the truck driver may all increase the risk of a dangerous or deadly accident.

The legal team at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs wants you to know that you are not alone. You do not have to take on large trucking companies and negotiate with insurance companies by yourself.

We believe you should spend your time recovering after an accident and leave the negotiation and litigation to us. Call our office today at (253) 588-6696, or contact us online to speak with an experienced truck driving accident attorney who can review the details of your case and answer your questions.

When Can I Expect to Get My Settlement?

Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 at 5:17 pm    

After you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, when medical bills are mounting, and you’ve lost time at work, it’s a common question to ask – how long will it be before I get my settlement? The reality is that it can take a varying amount of time depending on several factors. After a personal injury case has settled, it can take several weeks or several months to get your final check.

If you have pressing questions about your case, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately.

The Steps Involved in Receiving Your Settlement

You may be entitled to compensation after a variety of different types of personal injury cases. This can include car accidents, product liability, premises liability, medical malpractice, or slip and fall accidents.

When you’re injured and have tangible expenses related to the accident, such as medical care, lost wages, or lost earning capacity, you may recover compensation through negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company or through a civil personal injury lawsuit.

Once the settlement has been agreed upon, the defendant’s insurance company will ask you to sign a release form. This promises them that no further legal action will be taken on this particular incident. The insurance company must then process the document before it issues a settlement check.

In most cases, the check is sent directly to your attorney and made payable in both your names. The personal injury attorney will have a special trust or escrow account. The check is deposited into this account, and once it’s cleared, the money can be distributed.

In some cases, your attorney may be legally obligated to put a portion of that money toward paying outstanding debts or liens. Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, their fee is also deducted from the settlement check.

The settlement money may also be used to pay any subcontractors used to gather evidence in support of your case, such as expert witnesses or private investigators. Contact us today.

settlement check

What Factors Can Delay My Settlement Check?

There are several steps in the process that can delay the date when you receive your settlement check. Usually, you can expect payment within roughly six weeks after a settlement has been negotiated or the court has awarded you compensation.

This can be delayed if the victim is a minor or if the claim is for wrongful death. The insurance company can also delay the payment for a variety of reasons, including the company’s internal processes. For example, they may only write settlement checks on certain days of the week or process payments a few times a month.

Although your claim is processed in one state, the insurance company may be sending the check from another state. A bank holiday or the financial institution’s internal policies can also add a couple of days’ delay to receiving a check.

If it is a large payment, the bank will have internal policies that require an extensive review to ensure that the check is legitimate. This means that if the check arrives late on Friday, it may not be possible to deposit the funds until Monday.

Is Money Deducted from the Check?

Once the check has been paid and cleared in the attorney’s account, the attorney must pay off any liens and reimburse other payments before your settlement check can be sent to you. For example, there may be an outstanding medical lien, court costs, and other legal costs.

A medical lien is the third-party medical provider’s legal right to the proceeds from the injury case to pay for medical costs. A third party can file a request for a lien, which a judge can decide to approve or deny. However, once a lien is approved by a judge, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the decision.

This is another example of how an experienced personal injury attorney can protect your rights and help prevent another party from wrongly taking part of your settlement. Other costs that may be deducted from your settlement or award can include court reporting costs, expert witness fees, and legal fees for your personal injury attorney. It is crucial that you understand the fee structure for your case before engaging your attorney.

person in wheelchair

Call The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs Today for Help with Your Case

If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact the Washington personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today for help. Our attorneys understand that compensation cannot make up for the physical injury or property loss you may have incurred during the accident.

However, compensation can help pay your medical bills and make up for lost wages if you were not able to return to work. Our attorneys are aggressive negotiators and skilled litigators. This means that our professionals can fight to protect your rights and your future, whether negotiating with the insurance company or arguing your case in court.

Call our office today at (253) 588-6696, or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation and case evaluation. An experienced attorney will review the details of your case and advise you on your next best steps.

4 Ways to Prevent Car Accidents

Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2022 at 3:43 am    

4 Ways to Prevent Car Accidents

When you hit the road, the unsettling thought of being the victim of a car accident is probably not what you want to keep at the front of your mind. Unfortunately, data from the Washington State Department of Transportation estimates that in a recent year, a car accident occurred every 4.5 minutes.

The consequences of a car accident can be catastrophic. While we never want to think the worst can happen, being prepared can save your life. At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we have compiled four ways you can help prevent car accidents. Take these tips to heart, and help keep yourself safe on Washington’s often wet, but always busy streets.

If you have any further questions or have recently been in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today.

Avoid Distractions

distracted driver

The number one cause of car accidents is driver error, with distracted driving being the prime culprit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving tragically claimed 3,142 lives on U.S. roadways in a recent year.

Distracted driving is any behavior that diverts your eyes or attention span away from the road. Making phone calls, texting, and eating behind the wheel are common distracted driving culprits. However, grooming, loud music, and using a GPS can also divert a person’s attention and lead to significant accidents.

Keep yourself and others safe by avoiding distractions and focusing on the safe operation of your vehicle. Keep your cell phone in the backseat or put it in airplane mode. You can also download apps that will automatically send out a message to people informing them that you are driving if they try to contact you. Always keep your hands on the wheel and avoid grooming, eating, drinking, and daydreaming while driving. If you feel your attention drifting away, pull over and take a short break.

Slow Down

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 6,616 speeding citations were issued in a single year. Speeding is dangerous and can cause significant and life-altering accidents. Life moves at a fast pace for all of us. There are places we all need to be every day, but according to studies, speeding doesn’t actually get you where you are going much faster. On average, going 10 miles over the speed limit only saves six minutes during a typical trip. Far more noteworthy is that speeding can endanger your life and the lives of those around you.

In a rush? Set an alarm, and leave a few minutes early. Also, try to avoid the temptation of speeding to avoid traffic congestion or other obstacles. Slow down and take your time. People would much rather see you show up late than never show up at all.

Plan Ahead

plan ahead

One way you can help avoid an accident is to plan in advance. If you are traveling, review your route ahead of time so you know what to expect. The Washington State Department of Transportation offers travelers real-time alerts that include construction zones, incident reports, and inclement weather advisories.  

Let someone know about your plans and when they can expect you to arrive. Be sure to also give them the details of your planned route. If the worst happens and you do not arrive as expected, someone will know to contact help.

Planning also means making sure your vehicle is in good condition before you hit the road. Check your tires and fluid levels. Also, keep up-to-date on the latest recalls or product defects that may impact your automobile.

Be Confident, Don’t Be Aggressive

It is one thing to drive assertively. It is another to drive aggressively. Operating a vehicle in a way that may endanger people or property is generally categorized as aggressive driving. Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failing to yield
  • Failing to signal
  • Passing in no-passing zones

While being confident behind the wheel can help prevent accidents, aggressive driving can cause accidents. One study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that as many as 54 percent of all fatal car accidents are the result of aggressive driving. Even in stressful situations, try to remain calm and don’t let road rage get the best of you, as the risks are never worth it.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

Everyone has the duty to be responsible and safe while driving. While you may follow the rules of the road, not every driver is as courteous as you. Hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions and seek the compensation you deserve after an accident by calling the experienced car accident team at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs.

Since 1952, our knowledgeable attorneys have been helping clients just like you seek justice and pursue the financial compensation they need to recover from their injuries. For a free consultation to review your car accident claim, contact our office online, or at (253) 588-6696. 

What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster

Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2022 at 9:45 pm    

Many people file an insurance claim after an accident. If someone’s negligence caused your injuries, you likely want to seek the compensation you’re entitled to so you can cover your medical bills and other expenses. You might think you can handle the claims process yourself, but many factors could prevent you from securing the money you’re owed.

Insurance adjusters often seem caring, friendly, and willing to help claimants. However, insurance companies want to avoid paying large settlements whenever possible. The adjuster you work with could find a valid reason to deny your claim or intimidate you into accepting a low offer. If you don’t know the maximum available coverage and your rights, you might feel tempted to take any amount of money you can get.

The things you say could negatively impact your insurance claim. It’s critical to communicate with the insurance adjuster carefully. Saying the wrong thing could result in much less compensation than you deserve.

Below are the phrases you should avoid when talking to an insurance adjuster. If you need to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

man calling his insurance company

“I Think…”

It’s a good idea to be respectful of the insurance adjuster. You should be polite and accommodating while they’re working on your claim. However, avoid making speculations about the accident. Unless you’re 100 percent sure of what happened, refrain from providing information the adjuster requests.

Speculating about the events leading up to the accident could backfire in the future. If you offer your opinion of the circumstances and change your story later, the adjuster will likely assume you’re lying. They might think you’re providing made-up information to secure a higher settlement.

“I’m Also Responsible”

Never admit partial fault for an accident. Even if you believe your actions somehow contributed to your injury, the insurance adjuster doesn’t need to know that. Your words could come back to haunt you later, especially if the insurance adjuster finds evidence of shared fault. They could deny any liability on their policyholder’s part and reject your demand for a settlement.

When you talk to the insurance adjuster about your claim, your statements become evidence. The adjuster can use whatever you say against you if it works in their favor. Admitting even one percent of the responsibility for the accident is enough reason for the adjuster to determine you’re not entitled to the full insurance coverage amount.

“I’m Not that Hurt”

Not all accidents result in severe or life-threatening injuries. Sometimes, there’s a minor injury that might not require much medical attention. However, you shouldn’t tell the insurance adjuster you didn’t get hurt or don’t feel injured even if you don’t have serious symptoms.

It could take days before the adverse effects of the accident arise. You might think you suffered a mild concussion or sprained your ankle but find out later from your doctor that the accident caused something more severe. The adjuster will likely assume you’re exaggerating your condition or pretending you’re hurt if you make conflicting statements about your injury.

“I Will Provide a Recorded Statement”

It’s common for the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster to reach out to the accident victim to discuss the case. They could ask you for a recorded statement so they can ask you questions about the incident and record your responses. They might tell you it’s the law or try to convince you it would be in your best interest to comply with their request.

However, you don’t have to provide a recorded statement to someone else’s insurance company. You are not in a contract with them, so you’re not obligated to discuss anything regarding the accident with them. You should politely decline and avoid discussing the matter further.

“I Accept Your Offer”

If the insurance company offers a settlement, you shouldn’t accept it until you consult a personal injury lawyer. It might not be the maximum amount available. Many times, adjusters will start settlement negotiations with a low offer and hope the injured party will accept. If you don’t know whether you’re entitled to more money, you might feel tempted to resolve your claim so you can pay for your incurred costs.

Most people don’t realize they can negotiate an insurance settlement. You don’t have to accept the first offer presented to you. It’s usually not the highest number. You might feel pressure from the insurance company to take whatever they say they’re willing to give. However, it would be beneficial to discuss all options with your lawyer first. Contact us today if you have pressing questions about your case.

car crushed by tree

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs has represented accident victims like you since 1952. We know how to handle personal injury cases and recover the maximum possible compensation for our clients in Washington.

You won’t be alone during the complicated process of seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. We can take over your insurance claim and communicate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. Our legal team will be here to fight for your rights and the justice you deserve.

If you suffered injuries in an accident someone else caused, do not hesitate to call The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs at (253) 588-6696 for your free consultation.