If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you already know how challenging the recovery process can be. Collision-related injuries and vehicle damage are often just the beginning–you may now find yourself dealing with outsize medical bills, high physical therapy costs, loss of work, or a decreased quality of life. The Lakewood truck accident lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are here to help you through this challenging time. As a personal injury firm serving Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton for over sixty years, we are dedicated to fighting hard for truck accident victims. Call (253) 588-6696 to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.
Lakewood Attorneys Serving Victims of 18-Wheeler Accidents
Mid-size cars generally weigh three thousand to forty-five hundred pounds. A fully loaded semi can weigh up to eighty thousand pounds, and even a semi with an empty trailer weighs 35,000. When a sedan or SUV is hit by a truck twenty-five times heavier than it is, the results are often catastrophic. Roughly one-fifth of truck-involved traffic accidents result in severe injury or death, a dramatically higher rate than is found in accidents involving only passenger cars.
Trucks are unwieldy beasts with many moving parts and many ways driving one can go wrong. Some of the typical truck accident cases we handle include:
Rollover accidents: When truck drivers take difficult maneuvers too quickly, their trailers or entire vehicles can roll over, blocking off the road and hitting nearby cars.
Jackknife accidents: A jackknife occurs when the trailer swings out and creates a 90-degree angle with the cab of the truck, blocking off part of the road and often causing drivers to run into it before they can stop.
Rear-end accidents: Trucks have a lot of momentum because of their weight, and as a result, they are difficult to stop. Truckers who misjudge distance may not have enough time to stop before they hit the car in front of them.
Underride accidents: When a smaller car is in the back of a rear-end accident with a truck, it may, in some cases, slide under the trailer. These accidents can be especially deadly.
Mechanical failure: Trucks are complicated vehicles, and many are in almost constant use on long, cross-country trips. When companies fail to maintain their fleet properly, trucks can break down and cause accidents simply because engines, brakes, or other parts are damaged.
Many of these accidents have the potential to be deadly and to impact multiple cars. Whatever type of truck accident you have suffered, the lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you build a case against the party responsible.
We will focus on your case so that you can can focus on your recovery
Identifying the party or parties at fault for a semi-truck accident is almost always complex and can be difficult without consulting an expert on liability in these types of accidents. First of all, because of their sheer size and weight, truck accidents are much more likely to involve multiple cars, and determining the relative responsibility of all parties involved isn’t always easy. Traffic accidents often involve multiple drivers failing to obey traffic laws.
Washington is a comparative negligence state, meaning that each driver can be found a certain percentage at fault, and awards in personal injury cases will be reduced by that percentage. What this means is that if a personal injury claim is taken to trial, the court will try to determine to what degree each party is at fault and adjust the amount awarded in the case accordingly.
To complicate matters further, the truck’s side is generally divided between a number of actors. Do you sue the driver or the trucking company? Or both? What about parts manufacturers? Deciding whom to sue can easily become a major headache.
Truck companies are generally held responsible for their drivers’ negligence on the job, except in rare cases when the trucker is using the truck to conduct personal business, such as visiting friends or family. The trucking company may also be found liable for negligent business practices. If the truck is owned by a trucking company, they may be responsible for mechanical failures that contributed to the accident. The company that built the part that failed may also be liable.
If a trucker has been pressured by their employer to drive more hours than federal law allows or carry extra weight, this can further increase the trucking company’s responsibility. There are strict federal guidelines that regulate truckers’ drive time and non-driving hours, but truckers are sometimes pressured by the companies they work for to ignore these laws to meet shipping deadlines.
Washington’s comparative negligence laws mean that multiple parties may be held responsible for the same accident. As a result of the size and weight of semi-trucks, the accidents which they are involved in are more likely to involve multiple vehicles. If another driver is found to have been wholly at fault for the truck-involved accident, then they are legally responsible. If both they and the trucker are found to be responsible, then it may be expedient to file claims against the trucker (and trucking company) and the other driver responsible for the accident.
Drivers have fewer assets than companies in almost all cases, meaning that you would not be able to get as much money from suing the driver alone. However, in some cases, you can sue both the company and the driver. If there is ever any uncertainty as to whom you should sue, a personal injury lawyer will be able to clear it up and get your case on track.
Understanding What You’re Up Against
Trucking companies run huge and hugely profitable operations across multiple states. As a result, they tend to have many resources at their disposal, including top-of-the-line insurance policies and large and powerful legal teams. These companies can mobilize their insurance and legal operations quickly and may have their adjusters and investigators at work before you even think to call a lawyer.
Because the insurance policies on semi-trucks are many times larger than those on passenger cars, insurers fight much harder to prevent full payout on claims. They will often pressure truck accident victims to accept quick settlements worth only a fraction of what they are owed. Studies have consistently shown that accident victims who file personal injury claims receive on average greater compensation than those who accept initial settlement offers from companies.
As an experienced personal injury firm, The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs is up to the challenge of taking on negligent trucking companies, but for the most significant chance of success, you will need to act quickly. You should begin collecting evidence, such as pictures and witness statements, immediately after the accident. As soon as you have decided to take legal action, contact us.
We serve truck accident victims in the Lakewood area
How Much is My Case Worth?
The value of a personal injury claim against a trucker, trucking company, or other party after a truck-involved accident depends on a variety of factors. The severity of the injuries you or your family sustained and their long-term effects can impact the claim in a number of ways. You can be compensated for both lost wages due to injury and pain and suffering caused by lasting effects of the injury.
The circumstances surrounding the accident play a major role in determining the value of a claim. Determining whether, and to what extent, a trucking company is liable for an accident caused by one of its drivers is something that should be established before filing a personal injury claim. Unlike in a claim with another auto, the trucking company’s policy on the truck will have higher liability limits, so you may be able to obtain full value for your claim from the insurance company without having to file a lawsuit.
The lasting effects of the collision also play a major role in determining the value of a claim. Often the cost of vehicle repairs or replacement represents only a small part of the value of a claim. The cost of treatment for injuries and rehabilitation also makes up part of the claim. Lost wages due to injury may also be factored in if your injuries have substantively impaired your ability to work.
If the injuries are such that it is impossible to fully recover, this may represent a substantial portion of the claim’s value. Long-term injuries that are frequently seen in truck-involved collisions include partial or complete paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and chronic back or neck pain, as well as many other types of chronic injury.
One of the most variable parts of a personal injury claim’s value is the pain and suffering component. While some states place caps on non-economic damages, the state of Washington does not, which means that pain and suffering experienced as a result of an accident are part of your personal injury claim’s value. The physical pain of a serious injury, the psychological pain of a long recovery, the emotional pain of losing a loved one–all of these can be factored into a personal injury claim and often make up the biggest part of the claim.
Figuring out what your claim is worth can be daunting. The personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs have the experience needed to determine the value of your case. When preparing a claim, our attorneys consult investigators and experts and check precedential cases involving similar accidents in order to establish just how much our clients are owed.
Recovering Compensation For Your Truck Accident Claim
Truck accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and destroy your car, upending your life and draining your finances. Thankfully, a successful personal injury suit can help you recover damages for many accident-related costs, including:
Car repairs or replacement
Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Lost wages while recovering from your injuries
Future loss of income due to accident-related disability
Other miscellaneous, recovery-related costs, such as transportation
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine which types of damages to seek in your case. If your partner or relative was killed in a truck accident, you might be able to seek damages in a wrongful death claim as well.
Are you in need of a lawyer for a recent Lakewood area truck accident?
All human beings want justice. Studies show that even small infants have an inherent sense of fairness. If you or a loved one have been injured in a crash with a negligent truck driver, it is only fair that you get just compensation for the trials you have had to endure as a result.
The physical, emotional, and financial pain that can result from a truck collision is significant, and victims are owed significant restitution for their suffering. Loss of work can cost victims and their families thousands of dollars, while the medical bills involved with the serious injuries that can result from truck collisions are often staggering.
Additionally, the mental toll of dealing with injuries and lost wages can’t be ignored. The psychological and emotional strain of recovering from an injury imposes costs as well, and just because those costs aren’t financial doesn’t mean they aren’t serious. It is important that they are factored into any compensation you receive for your accident.
If truckers and trucking companies aren’t punished for negligent behavior, then they’ll have no incentive to change that behavior. The way the American justice system works, for better or worse, depends on accident victims seeking appropriate restitution for their injuries. Accepting preliminary settlements offered by insurance companies essentially lets these companies get away with behaving badly.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we know it’s important that you and your family get the compensation you deserve. We realize that your personal injury claim may be your only chance to be compensated for injuries that will affect you and your family for the rest of your life. It is of paramount importance to our attorneys that our clients get what they are owed.
Recovering from a truck accident is hard. From medical bills to a painful recovery to the strain on your relationships, you may feel as if your life has rolled over. No one should have to go through this difficult time alone. If you believe the truck driver or company was responsible, you may want to consider legal action.
However you are handling the aftermath of your truck accident, The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs is here to help. Our experienced Lakewood truck accident lawyers will handle your case with care and respect, and we will fight aggressively to increase your chances of winning a large settlement or judgment against the party responsible. With lawyers serving Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton, we are ready to help wherever you are. Don’t hesitate and let the trucking company get out ahead of you. For more information on how we can help, call us now at (253) 588-6696.