Seattle Truck Accident Lawyer
Tractor-trailers can be seen constantly plying the highways of Seattle as interstates like I-90 and I-50 link the United States with Asia and the world via Seattle-area airports and seaports. Millions of big rigs come in and out of Seattle every year, increasing the odds of a catastrophic truck crash. While less common than car accidents, collisions with 18-wheelers happen thousands of times a year in Washington, ending in dozens of deaths and dozens upon dozens of serious injuries. Truck wrecks are complex events that can be difficult to sort out, and the insurance companies representing trucking companies don’t make it easy to settle claims for an appropriate amount; quite the opposite. That’s why you need experienced accident and injury attorneys like the ones at Emerald Law Group on your side. We’ll use our decades of knowledge and experience handling cases like yours to find out how and why the accident happened and who is liable, and we’ll work to get you maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other legal damages. Don’t try to take on a truck injury claim on your own and miss out on the compensation due to you. Contact our experienced Seattle truck accident lawyers for a free consultation to find out how we can help.
Why Truck Accidents Are so Dangerous
Despite their additional hours of training to become commercial truck drivers, truckers are prone to making the same mistakes as other drivers – speeding, texting while driving, drinking and driving, not paying attention, and driving recklessly or aggressively – but with much worse results. Tractor-trailers are more than 20 times heavier than passenger vehicles when loaded with cargo, so the force of their impact is often disastrous to the occupants of the smaller, lighter car. The size and weight of an 18-wheeler also make it harder to maneuver so that they need more stopping distance and reaction time to avoid a collision. For their part, negligent auto drivers not only make mistakes like speeding and distracted driving, but when it comes to driving around tractor-trailers, they don’t always give truckers the time and space they need to merge lanes or stop safely.
In addition to these “normal” driving mistakes, truck drivers and trucking companies face additional challenges that put their drivers and others on the road at risk of catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death in a negligent truck accident. Some of these dangers particular to the trucking industry, discussed below, include:
- Drowsy Truck Driving
- Truck Maintenance Safety Violations
- Cargo Loading Errors
Hours of Service Violations
Driving long hours on the interstate can be dangerously fatiguing, and federal laws limit how long truckers can stay behind the wheel or be on duty for a given stretch. These regulations are highly favorable to the industry, however, and allow truck drivers to lawfully put in 14-hour days with 11 hours of driving time for 60 or 70 hours over six or seven consecutive days before having to take less than a day and a half of rest. Truckers can drive for eight hours before taking only a 30-minute break, and these rules can be relaxed if traffic conditions put the driver behind schedule. And even these lax regulations are routinely ignored by drivers who falsify their logs to hide the fact they are putting in more hours than the law allows. Truckers and trucking companies maximize profits by pushing drivers to their physical limits, but they do so at the expense of traffic safety and the lives of others on the road.
Unsafe Rigs on the Road
Federal regulations are also extensive and specific when it comes to requiring trucking companies to maintain their fleets safely, but these safety laws are ignored as well. In fact, annual roadside inspections conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance routinely result in more than 20% of vehicles inspected being discovered to have out-of-service violations that must be immediately pulled off the road. These aren’t surprise inspections either. International Roadcheck is an annual three-day event announced well in advance across North America, but trucking companies still don’t bother to repair, replace and maintain their fleet safely, instead hoping they won’t get selected for inspection.
Overloaded and Off-Balance Trailers
Loading the trailer properly is critical to avoiding a rollover or jackknife accident from an unbalanced or overloaded trailer, or cargo spilling off of or out of a trailer due to being improperly secured. Drivers are required to inspect their load before every trip and ensure the load is properly balanced, but many parties may be responsible for loading errors. Uncovering the cause of a truck catastrophe and identifying all the responsible parties is a monumental task that requires skill, patience, and the experience of seasoned, dedicated truck accident attorneys like the ones you will find at Emerald Law Group in Seattle.
Contact Emerald Law Group Today
If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer in the Pacific Northwest, Emerald Law Group is here to provide you with compassionate and high-quality legal service to help you get compensation for the harm inflicted on you by a negligent truck driver or trucking company. Call our experienced Seattle truck accident lawyers today for a free consultation. There’s no fee unless and until we win compensation for you.