Knowledgeable Bellingham Truck Accident Attorneys Ready To Help You
In 2017, there were 61 fatalities stemming from truck accidents in Washington state and another 19 were due to bus accidents. These accidents represented approximately 11.4% of Whatcom’s 114 fatal crashes in 2017, according to WSDOT data. While this number is much lower than the number of accidents stemming from other types of automotive accidents, collisions with large trucks are more likely to lead to serious injuries and deaths due to the sheer weight and power behind diesel trucks.
If you were involved in a collision involving a commercial truck, it is essential that you seek qualified legal representation. Trucking operations are part of a multibillion-dollar industry and you can expect the full weight of their ample resources to be immediately deployed after an accident. A qualified Bellingham truck accident lawyer from the team at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help level the playing field and fight to protect your right to a full recovery.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents in Bellingham and Whatcom County can be caused by any number of factors, but some of the leading causes of accidents include the following:
- Driver fatigue — The federal hours of service rules limit the number of hours that truck drivers can work in a given day and week and also require mandatory breaks after a certain number of hours. Federal authorities recognize that these drivers often travel long distances without taking many breaks and may get tired on the job, so they passed these important laws. However, many trucking companies still encourage or require employees to violate these rules in the interest of profitability. This often results in tragic truck accidents that could have been avoided if the trucking company and driver simply followed the rules.
- Impairment – Truck drivers may rely on drugs, alcohol, or caffeine to keep them awake or to ease boredom on long drives. They may also use over-the-counter or prescription medications that impact their driving ability and reflexes. Truck drivers who use these substances place others on the road at risk.
- Truck maintenance – Commercial trucks have thousands of different components. Problems with brakes, tires, suspension systems, and other components can lead to mechanical problems that cause a truck driver to lose control. Although trucking companies are required to inspect vehicles and properly maintain them, they may avoid this responsibility so that they can get the vehicles back on the road faster, which can place other motorists at risk.
- Speeding – Truck drivers are usually paid by the load, so traveling more miles in less time allows them to make more money. This makes speeding a common driving behavior of commercial truck drivers due to the pressure they feel to make it to their destination by a certain time. When commercial truckers are speeding, they may not be able to brake in time to avoid a collision and the resulting damage may be more severe.
- Distracted driving – Because commercial truckers drive on long roads for an extended period of time, they may get bored during their trip. This may result in the driver using a cell phone, looking out the window, or otherwise not paying attention. These behaviors can be particularly dangerous when the driver is not familiar with the road.
- Inexperience – Truck driving is a difficult job that often requires drivers to be away from home for days or weeks at a time. This makes it difficult for trucking companies to find workers who are willing to live this lifestyle. They may become desperate to find workers and hire someone with little experience. Trucking companies may put these drivers out on the road before they are really ready to take on this responsibility. Poorly trained truck drivers with little experience can cause a collision with others on the roadway.
Our skilled legal team will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the factors that contributed to your accident and identify all parties responsible for it.
Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner – Bellingham Truck Accident Attorneys
Frequently Asked Questions
Without question, large commercial trucks play an essential role in our economy today. In fact, it would be hard to imagine our highways and roadways without them. However, along with the important role they play in commerce, large trucks also pose a certain amount of risk. Those who have, unfortunately, been involved in an accident with one have experienced this firsthand. We often receive questions from those who have been involved in an accident with a large truck or from their loved ones. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions we receive:
- How long do I have to file my claim if I’ve been the victim of a truck accident? Under Washington State law, truck accident victims technically have three years from the date of the accident or from the discovery of injuries caused by the accident. While three years is the maximum time limit, it is, of course, always advisable to consult with a lawyer and to file your claim earlier, if possible. Doing so reduces the risk of important evidence being lost in the meantime.
- How much money should I expect to receive from my truck accident claim? We receive this question often, and our answer, as with the majority of all cases, is, “it depends.” Every accident and every set of circumstances is different. As a result, the compensation you ultimately receive will be different, too. Damages are often determined in a manner similar to that for car accident claims and can depend upon the extent of your injuries, personal pain, and suffering, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and more. As semi-trucks can cause even more damage than regular cars in an accident, it is not unusual for damages to be more extensive and for compensation to be higher as a result. Consulting a knowledgeable attorney, who will be able to advise you as to potential damages in light of your particular circumstances, is always a wise decision.
- What if I was partially at fault in the accident? Can I still file a claim? Washington follows a legal doctrine known as “comparative negligence” in truck accident claims. This essentially means that damages are awarded “compared” to the fault of the other parties in the matter. Thus, for example, if a jury found you were 25% to blame for the accident in which you were involved and you were issued a $100,000 award, the amount you ultimately received would be reduced by $25,000 to account for your fault in the matter.
At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, our Bellingham truck accident lawyers understand that being involved in a truck accident can be overwhelming, to say the least. That is why we are happy to answer these and any other questions you may have regarding your potential truck accident claim. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you and to learn how we may be able to help. Call us today. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Contact an Experienced Bellingham Truck Accident Attorney for Help with Your Case
Being involved in a truck accident is a devastating experience that can change the rest of your life in an instant. The experienced legal team at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC can discuss your case during a free consultation and advise you of your legal rights and options to pursue compensation for the damages that you have sustained. If we don’t successfully settle or win your case, you will owe us nothing for our legal services. So you have nothing to lose by contacting us to learn more about your rights.