Oregon Truck Accident Lawyer
Life after a semi-truck accident will never look quite the same as before. From long-lasting pain and suffering to financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, few people feel like they ever really have the opportunity to return to “normal” after a commercial vehicle crash.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we know that truck accident victims deserve better.
Commercial truck drivers, along with trucking and insurance companies, should be held responsible when their negligence causes harm to passenger vehicle drivers and occupants. Our Super Team of trucking injury experts is ready to make sure that every at-fault party involved in your accident is held fully liable for all that you’ve suffered.
Ready to speak with an Oregon truck accident lawyer? We meet with injured parties and their families on a completely free, no-obligation basis. Contact our law group today to schedule your no-cost case evaluation.
Trucking Accident Statistics for the State of Oregon
The trucking industry plays an integral role in Oregon’s economy, transporting more than 88% of all goods manufactured in the state. Another 75% of all goods in the state are moved by truck. This means that the average driver likely shares the road with a semi-truck driver on a fairly regular basis. Anytime this happens, there is the potential for a trucking crash to happen.
Not convinced of the dangers that tractor-trailers pose? Let’s take a look at some 2020 truck accident statistics for both Oregon and nationwide:
- There were 1,989 truck accidents on Oregon roads.
- Nationwide, 4,965 people lost their lives in fatal accidents involving trucks.
- 76% of deadly truck accidents happened on weekdays.
As Oregon truck accident lawyers, we believe that staying informed on the latest data trends regarding semi-truck accidents is a crucial aspect of our jobs.
Most Common Types of Trucking Accidents
Due to their size, weight, and shape, accidents involving large commercial trucks are likely to fall into one of a handful of formations. Truck accidents in Oregon most commonly occur as:
- Rollover accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Head-on accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Underride accidents
- Override accidents
- T-bone (broadside) accidents
- Blind spot accidents
- Wide-turn (squeeze play) accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
In the majority of these accidents, the most serious injuries are suffered by other drivers and occupants in passenger vehicles—not by truck drivers.
Most Common Types of Truck Accident Injuries
Personal injuries associated with big rig crashes tend to be much more serious than those caused by wrecks only involving smaller cars. It is not uncommon for truck accident cases to involve a variety of severe and catastrophic injuries, including:
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Chest injuries
- Torso injuries
- Deep cuts and lacerations
Life-threatening injuries are shockingly par for the course in truck crash cases. If you’ve suffered serious or severe injuries in a trucking accident, you may be owed financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, property damage, and more. Speak with a semi-truck accident lawyer today to learn more about your rights.
What To Do After a Commercial Truck Accident
When truck accidents happen, the most important thing you can do is to seek and receive prompt medical treatment. Whether that looks like being evaluated by paramedics at the scene of the accident, going to the emergency room, or scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor, do not overlook this crucial step.
Not only is your health and well-being on the line, but any delay in seeing a doctor or failure to follow a treatment plan could be misconstrued by the insurance company to mean that you are not seriously hurt and are therefore not entitled to as much compensation.
Other steps to take after a truck accident include:
- Contacting Oregon law enforcement officers to make an accident report.
- Collecting evidence at the scene of the crash, such as taking pictures and videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, property damage, any apparent injuries, time of day, weather conditions, skid marks, debris, and more.
- Exchanging information with the truck driver and any other drivers involved in the crash. Be sure to get the trucker’s employer information.
- Reporting the crash to your insurance company. Check your policy to be sure of the timeframe in which you must make this report.
- Saving all documents and information related to the crash, including billed medical expenses and documented requests for time off work.
- Scheduling a free consultation with an Oregon truck accident attorney.
Trucking Injury Law Group is a joint venture law group made up exclusively of lawyers who handle injury claims for trucking accidents. We hold trucking companies accountable for the harm they’ve caused, and we can do the same for you.
How To File a Truck Accident Claim
Ready to file a trucking accident case? The process for doing so may initially seem straightforward, but it can be deceptively complicated. Insurance adjusters from the at-fault party’s insurance company will contact you soon after the wreck with the sole intent of finding out anything they can that may impact your right to collect the compensation that you are otherwise rightfully owed.
Injury claims involving semi-trucks are not something that can be handled without experienced legal representation.
Every truck accident attorney at Trucking Injury Law Group is well-versed in the state and federal laws that apply to the trucking industry, and we know how to investigate accidents involving semi-trucks to determine whether any regulations were violated. To file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for what you’ve been through, we will:
- Examine the details of your wreck to identify all at-fault parties.
- Value the worth of your claim, making sure that no areas of potential compensation are overlooked.
- Collect, document, analyze, and evaluate all evidence, including truck black box data and the photos you took at the accident scene.
- File a claim with the insurance companies of all liable parties.
- Negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf, ensuring that you receive compensation that fully addresses all of your economic and non-economic damages.
Although most truck accident cases are settled without ever going to court, a small percentage may require taking matters to trial. If your case requires filing a truck accident lawsuit that is heard before a judge and jury, you’ll have the backing of our legal team every step of the way.
Addressing the Complicated Matter of Liability in Truck Accidents
Part of what makes truck accidents so incredibly difficult is the complicated matter of liability. Unlike in motor vehicle accidents involving smaller vehicles like passenger cars and SUVs, there are often multiple at-fault parties in semi-truck accidents.
The commercial trucking industry operates with multiple moving parts, with several companies that play a role in the delivery of a single shipment. This leaves many accident victims asking:
Who Can Be Liable for My Truck Crash?
Your Oregon truck accident attorney will not stop until they have correctly identified every party that played a role in your wreck. Although we cannot say with any certainty who might be liable for your damages until we have met and discussed your case in detail, we can go over some of the most common at-fault parties and how they cause crashes.
The Truck Driver
Examples of truck driver negligence that can contribute to or cause accidents include driving while:
- Drowsy or tired
- Using a phone or handheld device
- Under the influence of drugs (prescription or illicit) or alcohol
Drivers can also be found liable for an accident if they were speeding, driving too fast based on the weather or visibility, tailgating, acting aggressively, or changing lanes without ensuring that there was no one in their blind spots.
When truck drivers engage in dangerous, negligent, or reckless behavior, they put you and everyone else in Oregon in harm’s way.
The Trucking Company
In our state, trucking companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Commerce Compliance Division. Regulations set forth by these agencies are intended to protect everyone who travels through the Beaver State, whether driving on I-5, Oregon Coast Highway 101, or any other interstate, highway, urban street, or rural road.
Common trucking company violations that contribute to accidents include:
- Hiring unqualified drivers
- Hiring drivers with poor driving histories
- Providing inadequate training
- Enforcing unreasonable delivery schedules
- Pressuring drivers to violate hours-of-service (HOS) regulations
- Adhering to insufficient maintenance schedules
Big companies are good at hiding their tracks—Trucking Injury Law Group is better at uncovering them.
The Shipping Company
The parties responsible for loading the cargo that truckers haul are often different than the driver, the owner of the truck, and the trucking company. If a shipping or loading company incorrectly loads or secures cargo in the trailer of a semi-truck, they can be held financially liable for any resulting injuries or damages in an accident.
However, it is important to note that a truck driver is still responsible for ensuring that the cargo they are transporting has been loaded correctly and is safely secured. Trucking accidents involving loose, unbalanced, or poorly secured cargo requires careful investigation to determine who all could potentially be held responsible for crash-related damages.
Other Potential Liable Parties
As Oregon truck accident attorneys, we are astutely aware of the physical, emotional, and financial pain our clients are dealing with. We know that in many cases, the only way to truly address these damages is to ensure that they have access to the compensation they need to continue receiving medical care, pay their bills, and focus on their recovery.
To do this, we have to make sure that every party who had a hand in a trucking accident is correctly identified and held responsible for their actions. This includes looking at:
- Mechanics responsible for servicing semi-trucks
- Other drivers on the road
- Designers, manufacturers, or distributors of defective auto parts
Your truck accident case is important to you, so it’s important to us. We’ll leave no stone unturned during our investigation, giving you the greatest chance of securing the total compensation you need to get your life back on track.
What if I Was Partially at Fault for the Wreck?
The truth of the matter is that semi-truck accidents are complicated. Even as a careful and cautious driver, we understand that it is possible to make mistakes or engage in a small act of negligence.
If you believe that your actions contributed to the truck accident in which you were injured, do not give up hope. You may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses.
- 31.600 of Oregon Revised Statutes states that “contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in an action by any person or the legal representative of the person to recover damages for death or injury to person or property.” So what does this mean for you and your injury claim against the trucking company?
You can still file a truck accident case even if you were partially at fault.
There are limitations to this, though. As a modified comparative negligence state, Oregon only permits you to move forward with an action so long as your percentage of fault is no more than 50%.
As soon as we take on a case, our truck accident attorneys launch a powerful defense to prevent trucking companies from unfairly placing a larger percentage of blame on our clients than is warranted.
The Role of Improper Maintenance in Oregon Truck Accidents
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we know that it takes a deep and thorough understanding of the mechanics of truck accidents to be an attorney that successfully stands up and fights for crash victims.
Compared with the annual 14,000 miles that a typical person drives, truckers cover approximately 125,000 miles each and every year. This means that the average semi-truck goes through a significant amount of wear and tear, requiring frequent maintenance to ensure that it remains roadworthy.
FMCSA maintenance regulations require truck companies to “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain” every motor vehicle that is under its control. Companies must also ensure that all vehicle accessories and parts are in safe and good working order at all times. Additionally, the following must be inspected once every 90 days:
- Emergency doors
- Emergency door marking lights
- Pushout windows
Drivers are required to conduct daily inspections, which must then be documented in post-trip inspection reports. This report must clearly identify any deficiencies, defects, or problems as noticed by the driver. Problems that affect the safety of the semi-truck or that may cause it to suffer a mechanical breakdown must be addressed and fixed before it may be driven again.
Proper maintenance is essential for preventing truck accidents. Unfortunately, many carriers within the trucking industry prioritize making money over the safety of their fleets. Negligent maintenance may cause:
- Tire blowouts
- Unexpected trailer decoupling
- Faulty brakes
- Powertrain failures
We want to make our state a safer place for everyone to travel. When an Oregon truck accident attorney holds a trucking company liable for inadequate maintenance, they are sending a powerful signal: You cannot negligently contribute to truck accidents in Oregon and get away with it.
Underride and Side Guards—What Are They and How Do They Help in an Accident?
Part of what makes a semi-truck accident so dangerous is the possibility of a smaller vehicle becoming lodged underneath the body of the truck. This can happen in an underride accident, in which a car slides under the trailer.
Underride accidents occur because, although the clearance between a trailer and the road is typically lower than the average car, it is still enough room for a vehicle to become lodged underneath it in an accident. These are often fatal crashes, as the tops of smaller vehicles tend to be sheared off in the process.
This type of semi-truck accident is, at least in part, preventable with the proper use of the correct guards:
- Underride guards – Steel bars in the shape of a “U” that are suspended from the rear of trailers, blocking cars from sliding underneath in the event of a rear-end collision.
- Side guards – Also called lateral protective devices, these are panels positioned to cover the gap between a truck’s front and rear wheels, protecting other vehicles from being crushed between them in side-impact crashes.
The FMCSA requires that every trailer have rear impact guards (underride guards), but there is currently no regulation that requires trucks to be equipped with side guards despite evidence that they are effective at preventing death.
Injured in a Truck Accident? You’re Not Alone
You deserve to have someone in your corner after a truck accident. That’s what Trucking Injury Law Group is here for. Whether you’re located in Portland or elsewhere in the state, we’re ready to find out if we may be able to help you. We are passionate about the work we do, and we are proud to stand up time and time again for those who have been injured in what should have been preventable accidents.
If you’re watching your medical expenses grow larger and larger while dealing with dwindling savings and a long road to recovery, know that you are not alone. A completely free meeting with an Oregon truck accident lawyer is just a call or click away.