Representing injured victims and
their families since 1952

Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents?

Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2022 at 5:17 pm    

When you’ve been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you likely find yourself in pain and shock. It’s even worse if the accident wasn’t your fault. Because so many people and companies are involved in getting a commercial truck onto the road, there are many potentially liable parties.

In a truck accident, multiple parties may be held liable, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and the company responsible for maintaining the truck. If a defect in the truck or its parts played a role in the accident, the manufacturer of the defective equipment might also be held liable. Additionally, if a third party, such as another driver, contributed to the accident, they may also be held liable. Ultimately, the specific circumstances of the accident will determine who can be held liable.

Identifying All Liable Parties

Most people don’t have a lot of experience with the legal system or even with the insurance claims process. After you’ve been injured in a crash with a truck, it can be confusing to try to figure out what to do first.

Your best bet is to hire an experienced truck accident attorney. Your attorney will know how to identify the parties responsible for your accident and how to pursue compensation from those parties. Liability is not as simple as, “the truck driver was driving, it’s their fault.” A number of other factors must be evaluated to determine liability.

Employer Liability for Truck Accidents

Usually, truck drivers are in the employ of a company. When they are involved in an accident while working, their employer may be liable if the truck driver’s negligence caused a crash. The driver may have exceeded their allowed Hours of Service. Whether the driver drove more hours than required because they wanted to make more money or because their employer pushed them to do so to get more deliveries made in less time, the employer could be responsible.

The employer could also be responsible if they hired inexperienced or unqualified drivers or if they failed to check references that might have turned up poor driving records. Employers are meant to provide adequate training for drivers on the specific trucks they use, as required. If the driver was negligent while working for the employer, they were acting as an agent of the employer, and the trucking company could be found liable for the injured party’s accident-related losses.

Maintenance Company Liability

Trucking companies are required to frequently and adequately see to the maintenance of their fleet. Sometimes, trucking companies take care of this routine maintenance in-house, but many companies contract this work to maintenance companies. If a truck accident was caused by a recent repair or by a part or system that should have received maintenance attention but was overlooked, the maintenance company could be liable for the injuries and losses from the accident.

Truck Manufacturers’ Liability for Accidents

When a manufacturer produces a truck, and a trucking company buys it, the company expects the truck to operate as intended. Truck manufacturers have various layers of quality control, but sometimes a defective part falls through the cracks. If a faulty part or system on the truck causes an accident, the manufacturer of the specific part or of the truck could be held liable.

Third-Party Liability

If another driver caused the crash that involved the truck and the injured party’s vehicle, that person could be held liable for the resulting costs. Whether the person pulled out in front of the truck and caused a pile-up or jackknife that impacted other vehicles or they took some other action that caused a crash, they could be liable.

Government Entities’ Failure to Maintain the Roads

Government agencies and municipalities have a duty to properly maintain streets and intersections. If, for example, the city failed to post signs at a dangerous turn or clean up debris that would result in a pile-up, the municipality could be liable for accidents that result. Other failures may involve:

  • Unmarked detours
  • Train track barriers
  • Fallen electrical lines
  • Broken streetlights

Contact Truck Accident Lawyers to Hold All Parties Liable

Thus, everyone from manufacturers to municipalities could be at fault for truck accidents. Your lawyer would conduct a thorough investigation, aided by police reports, witness testimony, and other evidence, to determine which parties were ultimately responsible.

If you were injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, get help untangling the web of at-fault parties and their respective insurers. For decades, the Lakewood truck accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs have done just that, recovering multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for injured victims throughout Washington. Call (253) 588-6696 today for a free case evaluation.


What Are Truck Driver Training Requirements?

Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 at 6:06 pm    

Not just anyone can get behind the wheel of a big-rig truck. Truck drivers are professionals, meaning they must adhere to specific state and federal training requirements. Maneuvering an 80,000-pound, fully loaded vehicle is both challenging and stressful. State and federal requirements are in place to ensure that professional drivers have the training and resources they need to handle the job.

Truck accidents are devastating events that can cost you your health and livelihood. At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we believe you deserve to know what truck driver training requirements are in place. Knowing what a truck driver must go through to become qualified puts you in a better position to understand whether a careless or inexperienced driver caused a significant accident.

Washington State CDL License Requirements

One of the first things a driver must do to be able to operate a semi-truck is earn their Commercial Driver’s License. In Washington, those over 18 years of age with a valid Washington state driver’s license can apply for a CDL license. However, to operate a commercial vehicle, drivers in Washington must be at least 21.

The minimum requirements for obtaining a CDL include:

  • 18 years of age
  • Valid Washington state driver’s license
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence
  • Pass the knowledge examination
  • Earn a Commercial License Permit or CLP
  • Submit all training documentation for approval
  • Pass a skills test

There are also physical requirements for earning a Washington CDL. Drivers must submit required medical documentation proving they meet all necessary physical requirements:

  • Vision in both eyes must be 20/40
  • Ability to distinguish colors
  • Ability to perceive a forced whisper at a distance of at least five feet
  • Maximum blood pressure of 160/100
  • If diabetic, the condition must be controlled through diet or medication. Diabetics who manage the condition with insulin injections are prohibited
  • Blood sugar no higher than 200
  • No use of any Schedule I substance or narcotics

Washington Minimum Training Hours

Depending on the CDL license a driver is seeking, the state also requires a set of minimum training requirements.

To apply for a CDL Class A license, you must have 160 total hours of training, including:

  • 40 hours of classroom instruction
  • 18 hours of street driving training
  • 16 hours of backing maneuvers
  • 16 hours of proficiency development
  • 70 hours of combined lab and range training, plus observation

For a Class B license, the minimum training requirements are 80 hours total of at least:

  • 40 hours of classroom instruction
  • 14 hours of street driving training
  • 8 hours of backing maneuvers
  • 8 hours of proficiency development
  • 10 hours of combined lab and range training, plus observation

To secure a Class C license, an individual needs 80 total hours of instruction:

  • 40 hours of classroom instruction
  • 14 hours of street driving training
  • 8 hours of backing maneuvers
  • 8 hours of proficiency development
  • 10 hours of combined lab and range training, plus observation

Federal Truck Driver Training Requirements

Different states have different regulations, meaning the U.S. has traditionally taken a hodge-podge approach to truck driver education and training. This approach poses a significant problem since many commercial truck drivers must cross state lines. However, as of February 7, 2022, the federal government stepped in to establish a more consistent baseline education for entry-level truck drivers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established new rules outlining a more cohesive training strategy for truck drivers. The rules set a baseline for those seeking to apply for:

  • A Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • Upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A
  • Obtaining a school bus, passenger, or hazardous materials endorsement for the first time

Entry-level drivers must now complete mandatory FMCSA training programs. The agency also established a registry containing the records of CDL applicants who have met all the new training and certification guidelines. While the rules are not retroactive, the federal agency hopes the new regulations will provide more consistent training to new truck drivers and those looking to upgrade their licenses.

The Washington State Department of Licensing provides a comprehensive list of locations offering CDL training schools for those who want to earn their CDL license.

Contact an Experienced Lakewood Truck Accident Attorney

Truck driver training requirements have become more rigorous thanks to the efforts of the FMCSA. However, that doesn’t mean that all drivers have the skills necessary to avoid a potentially significant collision. If a careless truck driver has injured you or a family member, talk to an experienced Lakewood truck accident attorney today.

At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we have the resources to thoroughly investigate truck accidents and seek meaningful compensation from those at fault. Let our team pursue the compensation you deserve. Call our office at (253) 588-6696 to set up a free legal consultation.

How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Auto Accidents?

Posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2022 at 6:18 pm    

vehicles at traffic stopGetting injured in a road accident is always a shock, and it can change your life in an instant. However, some accidents are more inherently dangerous than others. Being in a collision with a commercial truck is significantly more dangerous than being in a crash with any other type of motor vehicle, whether they’re SUVs, motorcycles, or cars.

If you have been injured in an accident with a large commercial vehicle and it was not your fault, you may be eligible to claim compensation for your losses. Knowing the differences between truck accidents and other auto accidents can help you understand the factors that will affect your claim.

Enhanced Dangers of Truck Accidents

Trucks can cause much more severe damage and far more serious injuries than collisions involving only passenger vehicles. One of the main reasons for this difference is that a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 40 tons, while the average car weighs just over two tons. Regardless of its speed, the momentum of a truck will create the potential for devastating results if a crash occurs. Damage to the smaller vehicle can be irreparable in many cases, and the injuries for occupants of the passenger car can often be life-threatening.

Understanding the Causes of the Collision

In addition to the increased danger, another thing that distinguishes truck accidents from other auto accidents is that there tend to be different factors that contribute to the collision. Most car accidents occur because of human error or negligence, whether that be a distraction, speeding, or intoxication. Truck accidents may also occur for these reasons, with the added difficulty of the size or the weight of the trucks, which can make them difficult to stop or maneuver when a road hazard appears.

Truck collisions can often occur due to equipment failure as well. Trucking companies and their drivers have a duty to inspect and maintain their vehicles regularly. If they neglect to perform these duties, the vehicle might malfunction. The trucking company could be held liable if the malfunction leads to an accident. Similarly, if a malfunction occurs due to a manufacturer’s defect, the manufacturer would be considered the at-fault party in your claim.

A seasoned truck accident attorney will investigate the accident in order to determine its cause. This generally involves inspecting the scene of the crash as well as documents such as:

Your attorney’s experience will allow them to notice whether anything is amiss in these documents that could help strengthen your claim.

Challenges of Fighting a Trucking Company

large truckWhen it comes to filing your accident claim after a truck collision, one of the great challenges is the need to deal with trucking companies. When you seek compensation for losses you have suffered in a truck accident, you are not just filing a claim against an individual driver. You will have to enter negotiations with the powerful lawyers and insurance companies of the company that owns or manages the vehicle.

Trucking companies are generally adept at surrounding themselves with other professionals who will work aggressively to protect their profits and do everything in their power to avoid paying out large settlements.

Knowing this, working with an experienced truck accident lawyer is vital when you’re filing a claim for your injuries. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will know how to protect your interests against these trucking companies, insurance adjusters, and lawyers.

Contact a Lakewood Truck Accident Attorney

While all accident claims have their challenges, truck crash claims can be particularly tricky. This is because these cases often involved multiple parties, more serious damage, and more significant injuries. Assessing the cost of your losses can be a complex matter. While the at-fault party’s insurance company may attempt to get you to quickly accept a “lowball” offer that will not cover the extent of your losses, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fight for what you are truly owed.

If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident in Lakewood that wasn’t your fault, contact the skilled and knowledgeable Lakewood truck accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today for a free consultation about your case. Our lawyers will give you and your case the individual attention you deserve, and we will aggressively protect your best interests every step of the way. Call us now at (253) 588-6696 or contact us using our online form for a free consultation about your situation.

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.

What Is a Truck Driver’s Travel Log?

Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 at 3:56 pm    

Truck accident claims involve many pieces of documentation and evidence. The government requires truck drivers and trucking companies to keep many different types of records. One of the types of records that truck drivers are required to keep is a document known as a travel log. If you have a truck accident claim, you should learn more about truck driver travel logs and how they may be useful in your case. Reach out to us today.

What Is a Logbook?

A logbook, sometimes called a driver’s log or travel log, refers to the records that commercial truck drivers are required to keep to log the hours they spend on duty and actively driving their vehicles. State and federal laws limit the hours that a commercial truck driver may spend on duty or driving. Drivers are limited in the number of consecutive hours they may drive, the total number of hours they may spend driving and on duty each day, and the number of hours they may spend on duty during a workweek. These laws also specify the minimum amount of time drivers must spend off duty and resting in between duty and driving periods.

Logbooks also contain other information such as:

  • When each 24-hour day begins for recording purposes
  • The total miles a driver has completed in a 24-hour window
  • The trucking company or companies the driver is working for
  • The driver’s home terminal, as well as the main office for the carrier or carriers they work for
  • The locations where any changes of duty occurred

The logbook allows a truck driver’s employer and state and federal officials to confirm that a driver has been following their hours of service limitations. Drivers (and the companies that employ them) may be subject to disciplinary action for drivers’ violations of the hours of service rules, including being removed from service until the mandatory off-duty/rest periods have been completed, fines, or even suspension of licenses.

truck driver behind the wheel

How Do Truck Drivers Keep Their Travel Logs?

Historically, truck drivers kept paper logs of their hours. However, since 2018, most commercial truck drivers are required to have electronic logging devices (ELDs) that record the hours they spend on duty and driving. These devices log when a truck’s engine is running and when the truck is moving, as well as some other data. The ELD is not a complete record, though, so a trucker is still required to maintain a paper logbook, as well. If you have pressing questions about your case, contact us immediately.

Why Are Truck Drivers’ Travel Logs Important?

Truck drivers’ travel logs allow regulators to ensure that truck drivers are following the hours of service rules and getting sufficient rest and sleep. Truck driving can be physically and mentally taxing for any driver, especially because drivers already spend hours per day on the road, often for multiple days at a time.

A truck driver who exceeds the hours of service limits runs the risk of becoming drowsy or fatigued while behind the wheel. A drowsy or fatigued driver poses a hazard to others on the road, since tiredness and fatigue can impair a driver’s reaction times, perception, and judgment, or may even cause them to nod off or fall asleep. Thus, truck driver travel logs help ensure that commercial trucks continue to be safely operated on public roads.

Using a Truck Driver’s Travel Log in a Truck Accident Case

In addition to ensuring that truck drivers safely operate their vehicles, truck driver travel logs may also play an important role in a truck accident claim. While violating the hours of service rules by itself does not necessarily constitute negligence, a travel log may constitute evidence that a truck driver may have been drowsy or fatigued at the time of a crash if the driver had exceeded their hours of service limits.

Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies may try to conceal evidence that a driver’s fatigue caused or contributed to a truck accident by altering or destroying travel logs. Although electronic logs can make it difficult for drivers and trucking companies to alter the evidence, if evidence of tampering is found that may constitute spoliation of evidence. When that occurs, if your truck accident case goes to trial you may be entitled to an adverse inference, or a legal presumption that the logs would have included evidence unfavorable to the truck driver or the trucking company.

trucks at a truck stop

Contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs If You Were Involved in a Truck Crash

If you have been injured in a truck accident in Washington state that wasn’t your fault, call the Lakewood truck accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs at (253) 588-6696 or fill out our website contact form for a free initial consultation. Let our truck accident attorneys help you understand your legal rights and options and discuss what our firm can do to help you pursue financial recovery and accountability from the trucking company at fault for your injuries.

Why Is the Black Box Important in Truck Accidents?

Posted on Friday, October 15th, 2021 at 2:20 pm    

Each year, hundreds of people across the nation are injured in large truck accidents. Because it takes them longer to stop and they have large blind spots on all sides, large trucks can often cause devastating accidents. In order to keep truck drivers and the trucking companies that hire them accountable for a driver’s behavior behind the wheel, many trucks now contain black boxes.

There are several important things to know about black boxes installed in large trucks. From the way they function to the data they collect, these devices can be an important element in determining negligence and liability in a large truck accident case. If you or someone you love has been injured in a large truck accident, seek medical attention for your injuries and contact one of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs’s personal injury attorneys to discuss your circumstances.

headon truck accident

What Does the Black Box Do?

The black box is a device installed in large trucks in order to collect data. There are two types of black boxes, an ELD (Electronic Logging Device) and an EDR (Event Data Recorder). Trucks are required to contain an ELD, but not an EDR.

The data from a black box can be helpful in an investigation, should you or your attorney seek to prove a truck driver or trucking company was liable for an accident. Some examples of the metrics the black box gathers include:

  • The truck’s speed
  • The driver’s breaks
  • The length of a driving period (both in time and in distance)
  • The truck’s tire pressure
  • The driver’s use of a seatbelt
  • The truck’s GPS location
  • The vehicle tilt
  • The truck’s braking activity

Crash Liability

Determining liability is contingent upon several factors, one of which is negligence. In most cases, negligence is defined by an action, or lack of action, that can bring harm to another party. Negligence in large truck accidents can occur in several ways.

Any of the following parties may be considered negligent in a large truck accident:

  • The truck driver whose failure to obey traffic laws caused an accident
  • The trucking company whose insurance covers an at-fault driver
  • The trucking company that hired an underqualified driver
  • The cargo loading company whose lack of proper loading caused cargo to fall
  • The company responsible for maintaining the truck who failed to ensure fully functioning equipment
  • The municipal body responsible for road and roadside conditions which caused an accident

In many cases, a party will be considered liable to the same degree to which they are found to have been negligent. In the state of Washington, parties are able to pursue as much compensation as they are entitled to. Even if you were 99 percent at fault for the accident, you could still recover one percent of the damages the accident caused you from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

For example, if you are entitled to $90,000 for damages sustained in a large truck accident but are found to have been 30 percent liable, you’d be eligible to collect only $60,000.

wrecked truck

Tampering with Black Box Data

Even though a black box is intended to collect enough data to be informative in the event of an accident, trucking companies can attempt to hide or even destroy this evidence. As you might expect, this data can be an important part of a truck accident case, as it may prove a truck driver or trucking company’s liability in an accident.

Trucking companies may attempt to tamper with this data in several ways. They may have the black box reset or the truck repaired before the injured party is able to gather evidence. The company may even attempt to destroy the box and its data.

How The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs Can Help

Dealing with injuries and damages from a large truck accident can be an extremely difficult process. If you or someone you love has been injured in one of these accidents, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Fortunately, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are prepared to help you through the process of communicating with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and strategizing so that you can build a compelling truck accident case.

Don’t allow one more thing to stand between you and the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in a large truck accident, call The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today at (253) 588-6696, or reach out to us online. We’ll connect you with one of our personal injury attorneys so that you can determine the best course of action in your truck accident case and begin your journey towards justice today.