After a Washington accident with a semi-truck upends your life, you and your loved ones will require time to rest and heal. You may need to grieve. You’re probably still in shock. And you or your family are almost certainly juggling the logistics of keeping your work and home life running while you recover. What you’re likely not doing is feeling up to a series of difficult negotiations with an insurance company. Reach out to a Federal Way truck accident lawyer.
As soon possible:
- Make sure your doctor carefully documents each of your injuries.
- Gather whatever information you can about the accident.
- Retain a practical, compassionate truck accident attorney.
Your truck accident lawyer can handle the insurance company negotiations. They’ll file your claim and submit supporting documentation, manage the investigation, and handle tough conversations for you.
What’s At Stake: The High Cost of Semi-Truck Accidents
Semi-trucks are ubiquitous on Washington roads and highways. If you’ve spent any time on I-5 near Tacoma or Route 99 near Federal Way, you’re used to seeing these 50,000-pound behemoths barreling along. Of course, most truckers drive them responsibly and safely—and they play a valuable role in our lives by transporting the things we need to local businesses. But in an accident, they can obliterate smaller vehicles.
Semi-truck accidents with passenger vehicles happen more often than you might think. In just one year, 122 crashes involving heavy trucks took place in Federal Way. Nearly 200 happened in Tacoma. Washington as a whole saw 6,282 truck accidents that year.
These accidents cause chaos—and eye-watering financial damage. A truck accident claim needs to cover lost income, property damage, medical bills, and more. The total cost of a crash involving large trucks can range into the millions of dollars.
Calling a lawyer now will make your road to fair compensation after a collision with a semi-truck much more manageable.
Truck Accidents Cause Steep Medical Bills, Loss of Income, and Other Expenses
Truck accident victims often sustain life-changing injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Psychological injuries such as PTSD
Any of these injuries can cause a person (and their loved ones) immense physical and psychological trauma. The costs for immediate and ongoing medical care only add to that burden.
If you require an ER visit with critical care and life-saving surgeries in Washington, those could cost at least $20,000. Further, any required physical therapy or therapy for PTSD can cost over $100 per session.
Fortunately, you may recover the compensation you require to cover your immediate and long-term needs.
The Compensation Available in Washington Truck Accident Cases
With the support of an experienced Washington truck accident lawyer, you can file a claim for the resources you need to heal properly.
In truck accident claims, the resources due are called damages. Generally, you can claim economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
|Economic Damages||Non-Economic Damages||Punitive Damages|
|Specific monetary losses||Intangible and unmeasurable yet serious losses||Punishes particularly egregious behavior|
|Past and future medical expenses |
Loss of future income
Home healthcare fees Transportation expenses
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium
Disfigurement or scarring
|Awarded if the responsible parties: |
Drove under the influence
Conducted themselves recklessly
Ignored known maintenance issues or safety hazards
These examples are just the beginning of what you may recover. Depending on the severity of your case, the damages you may claim can add up.
The Unique Challenges of Filing Washington Truck Accident Claims
No vehicle accident claim is completely straightforward, but truck accidents pose distinct obstacles.
A semi’s sheer size and weight mean any collision it’s involved in can cause catastrophic injuries. The longer braking distance, unwieldy trailers, and potentially volatile payloads of semi-trucks can also contribute to devastating damages.
In addition to these concerns, semi-truck crashes come with other complications.
- Semi-truck crashes usually involve multiple parties. When truck accidents occur, the subsequent claim involves the victim, the truck driver, the trucking company, other drivers, and other entities such as the truck’s manufacturer or servicer. Each party’s insurer is part of the picture as well. Determining fault and handling negotiations with so many interested entities can entail extremely difficult analysis.
- The state and federal governments heavily regulate the trucking industry. Agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publish regulations to increase semi-truck safety. These regulations limit driver hours of service and mandate resting hours. In reality, trucking companies or individual drivers may not follow these rules. If your lawyer can demonstrate that this was the case in your accident, it may affect liability or the value of your claim.
- Trucking companies have dedicated legal teams at their disposal. Since semi-truck accidents happen so regularly, trucking companies constantly prepare to protect themselves. Within minutes of your accident, the trucker and trucking company involved in your accident will have an experienced legal team working to minimize the company’s liability or responsibility for damages. Usually, the only way to file a successful claim is to hire an experienced legal team of your own.
Washington State also has laws and requirements that all parties must observe:
- The statute of limitations for personal injury: Washington’s statute of limitations gives you three years from the accident date to file a truck accident lawsuit.
- Washington’s comparative fault laws: According to state law, even if the victim partially caused an accident, they may still recover compensation, though the amount available may decrease.
- Washington-specific reporting requirements: Either the persons in the accident or local law enforcement officers must report truck collisions causing bodily injury or more than $1,000 in property damage to the Washington State Patrol within four days of the collision.
You need a lawyer with an effective, reasoned, well-researched, and airtight legal strategy to recover compensation under Washington’s detailed and complicated truck accident laws. Call a semi-truck accident lawyer.
Moving Forward After a Washington Semi-Truck Accident
Park Chenaur & Associates has fought for justice for semi-truck accident victims for over 20 years. Here’s what we recommend for your path toward the compensation you deserve.
What You Can Do After a Semi-Truck Accident
Don’t overestimate your capabilities after a semi-truck crash. Whether you’re the victim or a family member, you likely experienced significant stress and trauma in addition to your physical injuries. If you’re not in the hospital, you’re probably at home dealing with missed work days, a badly damaged or even totaled car, and serious limitations on your ability to manage your daily life.
You don’t have to go it alone.
Here’s how to get the help you need:
- Keep up with your doctor’s appointments. You may have received treatment for your immediate injuries at the crash scene or at the hospital. But complications can develop later, and things like whiplash and traumatic brain injuries can take a while to show up. If new symptoms emerge, see your doctor right away. If you have follow-up appointments, keep them.
- Start an evidence file. When you see your doctors, save copies of their after-visit summaries and store them in an electronic or paper folder. Likewise, obtain a copy of the police report on the accident and store that in a folder along with any pictures you took of the accident scene or damage to your vehicle. If you have contact information for witnesses, store this in an easy-to-find location, too.
- Call a semi-truck accident lawyer. Whether you’re one day or one week from your accident, you need a lawyer immediately. Do your research: You’ll want to find a lawyer with a track record of successfully resolving semi-truck accident cases and a reputation for care, tenacity, clear communication, and empathy. As soon as you can, call for a consultation and tell them everything you can.
Your lawyer will take action from there.
What Your Lawyer Can Do After Your Semi-Truck Accident
With your legal team on board, you can take your next steps—or rely on your team to take them for you:
- Reporting the truck accident to your own insurance company. Even though this may seem like a simple phone call, your insurance company will look for any reason to deny giving you money. Your lawyer can hold those conversations for you to protect you and your claim.
- Investigating the truck accident. Your evidence file will come in handy here, as your legal team gathers and verifies the facts in the case and puts them together in a coherent narrative. They’ll also work with the police and any other agencies or individuals who might have information about the accident or can provide expert forensic insight. With a total picture of the accident and its consequences for you, they’ll determine the value of your claim.
- Filing your truck accident claim. Once your attorney has determined the value of your claim, they’ll prepare the paperwork and file it with the truck driver’s—or truck owner’s—insurance company, and any other involved parties. In addition to a full understanding of the accident and its aftermath, filing a claim requires a thorough understanding of Washington personal injury law, state and federal trucking rules, and scrupulous attention to detail.
- Negotiating a settlement. If all of the involved parties and insurers can reach a settlement that works for everyone, your route to compensation may simplify. Your lawyer will handle the several rounds of negotiation involved and can help you determine whether a proposed settlement is fair.
- Filing a lawsuit. If the insurance companies and other entities won’t agree to a fair settlement, you may choose not to accept it. Your lawyer may recommend pursuing a lawsuit. This will involve more preparation, detailed documentation, deft handling of the discovery or mediation phases, and strategic representation in court.
Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer can do more for you than make your life easier: It’s the best way to protect your rights throughout your journey to fair compensation, and the best way to provide the time and space you need to be with your loved ones.
Possible Insurance Issues to Know About (and What to Do About Them)
Insurance companies can leave minefields between you and the compensation you deserve.
In over our 20+ years of injury law experience, we’ve seen:
- Lowball offers. Insurers swoop in immediately after an accident to surprise victims with generous-seeming offers. These offers are almost always for less than fair compensation.
- Comparative fault disputes. Insurers may argue about the degree to which the victim contributed to the event, which can reduce the amount of compensation available. Washington is a comparative fault state, but insurers may take these disputes to an unhelpful level as they delay or deny your claim.
- Pre-existing condition disputes. In other cases, insurance agents may try to demonstrate that a victim’s pre-existing condition caused their injuries or influenced the severity of their injuries. If this succeeds, it can reduce the value of the victim’s claim.
- Bad faith practices. You may even see insurance companies delaying payment, making manipulative statements to goad victims into accepting lowball offers, or denying entirely valid claims. Your lawyer can help you see through these actions (and may help you claim additional damages, such as emotional distress, in your claim).
Let your truck accident attorney represent you when communicating with insurers or tackling any aspect of your truck accident claim. Reach out to a compassionate, experience-driven legal team today. Allow a truck accident lawyer near you to support you as you rest, heal, and move forward after your truck accident.