Seattle Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks cause serious damage when they collide with cars a fraction of their size. As a truck accident victim, you deserve justice. But filing a claim to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages is no easy task—especially when recovering from serious injuries.
If you were injured in a Seattle trucking accident, we have the legal resources you’re looking for.
Only File a Claim With the Help of the Best Seattle Truck Accident Attorneys
The trucking company will have its own team of high-paid attorneys shielding them from liability. Who’s on your side?
Trucking Injury Law Group is not like most personal injury law firms. We focus exclusively on truck accident cases. Our passion is giving truck crash victims the future they never thought possible after a serious collision upended their life.
Nationally-Recognized Truck Accident Lawyers Who Put YOU First
Most major trucking corporations don’t play fair. One of the fundamental reasons the Trucking Injury Law Group was formed was to make sure that truck accident victims have a voice.
We are a joint venture law group, a Super Team of accomplished attorneys who realized we could do the most good together. We know the trucking industry inside and out. We know how insurance companies operate. We have what it takes to win you fair compensation—and we put our hard work where our hearts are.
Let us know how we can help you take control of your future. A compassionate Seattle truck accident lawyer is ready to hear your story. Call or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
How Common Are Truck Accidents in Seattle?
In Seattle, truck accidents occur at a higher rate than in other parts of the state. In 2022, the Washington State Department of Transportation compiled the following statistics for the City of Seattle:
- 530 total crashes involving at least one large truck
- 5 fatal truck crashes
- 14 truck crashes involving suspected serious injuries
The same year, King County experienced:
- 1,855 truck crashes
- 19 fatal truck accidents
- 45 truck collisions with suspected serious injuries
And in 2022, Washington state as a whole suffered:
- 5,902 trucking accidents
- 81 fatal truck accidents
- 154 heavy truck accidents with at least one suspected serious injury
Last year, Seattle saw more large truck accidents than Tacoma, Spokane, and Vancouver combined—easily making our city the most dangerous in the state for commercial trucking accidents.
The Most Dangerous Roads and Highways for Truck Crashes in Seattle
King County is the 13th most populous county in the nation. As the home of Amazon, Microsoft, and an ever-growing population of some of the nation’s leading startups, Seattle attracts a great deal of business and tourism. And it’s also notorious for an aging infrastructure of roads and highways that make morning commutes in the city a thing of dread and frustration.
When these factors are combined with a booming manufacturing, trade, warehousing, and transportation sector, it’s easy to see why passenger vehicle drivers need to remain at all times vigilant when navigating our area’s thoroughfares.
Exercise extra caution when traveling these truck-heavy routes in the Seattle metropolitan area:
- Interstate 5 (I-5)
- State Route 99 (the Pacific Highway)
- Interstate 405 (I-405)
- State Route 509 (SR 509)
- State Route 522 (SR 522)
- State Route 167 (SR 167, the Valley Freeway)
In March 2023, a semi-truck overturned while rounding a curve on SR 167 just south of Ellingson Road. At least four were injured, and the truck driver was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI. A month earlier, one person was killed in a collision with a semi-truck on West Valley Highway in Auburn.
Sadly, these recent examples are no exception in a region highly populated with large trucks. It is accidents like these that strengthen our commitment to bettering the lives of those who call the Emerald City home.
What Injuries Do Truck Crashes Cause?
When you’re traveling in a small passenger vehicle, a collision with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) like a semi-truck or tractor-trailer is life-threatening. No other type of vehicle accident has the potential to cause the large-scale destruction that a trucking accident can cause.
As Seattle truck accident lawyers, we know all too well how catastrophically devastating a semi-crash can be to a truck accident victim—leaving survivors with weighty physical, emotional, and financial injuries.
A truck-related accident is likely to result in more serious injuries than car accidents or other types of vehicle crashes.
This fact can be primarily attributed to the size of large vehicles like semi-trucks. A fully-loaded truck can weigh as much as 40 tons—which is 20 times or more the weight of a typical passenger auto. In addition to weight, other factors that increase the severity of a truck crash include:
- Length (a standard tractor-trailer is roughly 70 feet long)
- Vulnerability of joints and hitches between the tractor and trailer components
- Loads that can come loose during transit
- Tire weakness due to heavy loads (especially when a truck is overloaded)
- Susceptibility to vehicle failures due to a high number of miles traveled, the complex mechanical structure of trucks, and heavy cargo
- The high level of skill (and narrow margin of error) required to safely operate commercial trucks
- Hazardous, flammable, or explosive cargo
Because of the dangers large trucks pose, fatal crashes are not uncommon. And when fatalities and serious injuries occur, they are most likely to affect passenger vehicle occupants rather than truck drivers themselves.
In 2020, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that, for all vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger car and a large truck, 97% of those killed were occupants of the passenger car. Only 3% were occupants of the large commercial vehicle.
In an accident involving such a disparity between vehicle sizes, a crash victim riding in the smaller car may suffer a serious injury such as:
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis caused by spine or nerve injuries
- Broken ribs and chest trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck injuries
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Burns, abrasions, and lacerations
- Bruising and broken bones
- Injuries to the face, eyes, and jaw
- Loss of limb or amputation
Injuries that have a severely detrimental effect on the victim’s ability to lead a normal life are considered catastrophic injuries. These may include paralysis, permanent brain damage, or amputation that limits the victim’s capacity to hold gainful employment.
Cases like these create enormous medical expenses for families struggling to gain financial stability in the aftermath of the collision. Individuals facing a permanent disability need an experienced lawyer to make sure their personal injury claim can successfully give them the means to afford the medical care they need, for as long as they need it.
The Seattle truck accident attorneys from Trucking Injury Law Group focus specifically on helping injured clients win full and fair financial compensation for their injuries. Please contact our law office for a free case evaluation to discuss how we can help ensure your medical bills are compensated by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Emotional and Psychological Injuries
Truck accident injuries are not always strictly physical in nature.
After a traumatic event like a CMV crash, it’s not uncommon for survivors to experience:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Fear of driving or riding in vehicles
- Grief due to the loss of a loved one
- Crippling feelings of guilt, shame, or fear
- Other mental health concerns
Psychological injuries are very real injuries. Never dismiss any mental health issues you may be experiencing as insignificant. We know how debilitating PTSD and other disorders can be, preventing many patients from enjoying the life they led prior to the traumatic event.
If you are experiencing any troubling symptoms after a crash, contact a mental health care professional right away. Despite what some people say, these issues do not simply disappear on their own. Many trauma survivors continue to experience a deteriorating state of mental health for years after a crash if a condition is left untreated.
The cost of psychiatric care and counseling can be covered through a successful trucking accident injury claim. Your Seattle truck accident attorney from Trucking Injury Law Group will devote the time to understanding the many ways your life was impacted by the crash. In this way, we can make sure that all of your injuries are fully addressed in your legal claim—not only the physical ones.
The National Safety Council (NSC) puts the average economic cost of a motor vehicle accident, per injury or death, at:
- $1,750,000 for a fatality
- $101,000 for a disabling injury
- $29,200 for an injury
Keep in mind that these are the average economic costs for all motor vehicle collisions. The average truck accident injury tends to be more severe than most other types of car accidents.
Additionally, the costs above reflect only purely economic costs like medical expenses and lost wages. They do not account for the comprehensive quality of life losses, which, when considered, raise the average financial loss per injury or fatality to:
- $11,449,000 for a fatality
- $1,252,000 for a disabling injury
- $345,000 for an injury
This data makes it abundantly clear just how financially devastating a truck accident can be to the victim.
Most truck accident victims incur severe financial injuries stemming from:
- Physical health care costs
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Mental health care
- Missed work time
- Loss of job prospects
- Pain management
- Vehicle and home accommodations after disability
- Transportation costs
- Expenses for repairing or replacing a vehicle and valuable items
- Domestic services
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Other incidental costs related to the truck accident injury
When trucking industry negligence caused you to incur such severe physical, emotional, and financial injuries, it is not your duty to pay the bills out of your own pocket.
Trucking companies are required by federal law to carry insurance coverage with minimums much higher than those required of other vehicles’ drivers. The trucking industry is regulated this way because the cost of a commercial truck accident is so much higher than that of a typical car accident.
If negligence caused your accident, the trucking company or other at-fault party has a legal obligation to take financial responsibility for your losses. As your truck accident attorneys, we are here to make sure your rights are upheld.
Compensation for Seattle Truck Accident Victims
The Seattle truck accident attorneys on our Super Team know that tractor-trailer accident victims usually suffer both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages address financial losses (like hospital and auto repair bills), while non-economic damages are the less-tangible losses (like emotional distress) many survivors of catastrophic events incur.
An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to get you full compensation for the various ways your life has been altered by the truck crash. You may be entitled to damages for economic and non-economic losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional anguish
- Permanent disability
- And more
Accidents involving fatality may entitle surviving family members to file wrongful death claims on behalf of lost loved ones. This type of legal action can help families hold wrongdoers accountable and recover from the steep financial burdens left behind by fatal truck accidents. Compensation in a wrongful death claim may go toward expenses such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and lost financial support.
Trucking Injury Law Group represents individuals and families seeking justice after both injury crashes and fatal crashes. Our experience in the field of commercial truck accident litigation gives us a deep understanding of just how challenging and emotional this time period is for survivors. Your truck accident lawyer will be sensitive to the needs of you and your family while working tirelessly to secure the best possible future after your Seattle truck accident.
The Top Causes of Truck Accidents in Seattle
Collisions involving commercial trucks can be caused by a wide variety of factors. In addition to the direct actions of the driver, the condition of the truck, the trucker’s training and experience, the actions of other drivers on the road, weather, and road conditions can all play a role.
Some of the most common causes of accidents involving heavy trucks include:
- Distracted driving (including texting and handheld phone use)
- Speeding or recklessness
- Tailgating (following too closely)
- Driver fatigue
- Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo
- Driver misconduct
- Poor navigation of turns, steep grades, and sharp curves
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driver inexperience or lack of training
- Violation of federal or state trucking regulations
- Failure to adjust driving to weather conditions
- Poorly maintained trucks
- Defective truck parts
- Scheduling drivers to violate hours of service (HOS) laws
- Other forms of trucking company negligence
What You Need To Know About Truck Accident Investigations
In many ways, the job of a truck accident attorney is significantly more complicated than one focusing on other types of personal injury claims. One of the reasons a commercial truck accident is so challenging to litigate is the number of parties that may be liable.
Truck collisions may involve the negligent actions of:
- Trucking companies
- Truck drivers employed by the company
- Independent contractor drivers
- Shipping, loading, and warehouse personnel
- Vehicle manufacturing companies
- Maintenance technicians employed by the truck company or a third-party entity
- Drivers of other vehicles on the road
- Government agencies responsible for road and highway design and maintenance
Negligent actions that took place months or even years prior to the accident may be a key causal factor in the crash. As you can imagine, investigating accidents involving CMVs is a time-intensive task that demands experience, skill, industry knowledge, and the ability to navigate a number of roadblocks.
It also demands swift and targeted action, as attorneys often have to send a letter of spoliation to the company or file a motion with the court to secure vital documents or prevent the destruction of evidence.
For these reasons, there are many personal injury law firms—even those handling other types of traffic accidents—that decline to take commercial vehicle crashes altogether. Understandably, most of us in the legal field recognize that a truck collision investigation should only be handled by a highly-trained truck accident lawyer.
Let’s take a closer look at the investigations that must take place after a commercial trucking accident.
Investigating Truck Drivers
The most public-facing figure in a truck accident case is the driver. To determine if driver error caused or contributed to your collision, we will need to scrutinize data and information that can paint a full picture of the driver’s actions prior to the crash. This may include:
- Video footage of the cab’s interior
- GPS data
- Truck “black box” or event data recorder (EDR) information
- Driver cell phone records
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) validity
- Drug and alcohol test results
- Electronic logging device (ELD) data showing hours worked and traveled
- Traffic or surveillance camera footage
- Documents detailing driver training and education
- Eyewitness statements
- Photos of the crash scene
- Physical damage to vehicles and nearby objects
- Testimony from expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists
- Driver physical fitness examination results
- Records of past violations or disciplinary action against the driver
- Any traffic citations issued at the accident scene by responding police officers
- Details of the police report
Investigating Trucking Companies
Every commercial truck agency has a duty to ensure its drivers are well-equipped with the knowledge, resources, and equipment to transport goods safely.
Crashes are more likely to come out of a company culture that pushes for faster deliveries and more cargo on a haul while sweeping deficits and mistakes under the rug.
When investigating trucking agencies, we look for evidence of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) violations, misconduct, and negligence on the part of dispatchers, hiring staff, supervisors, and other personnel at the managerial and administrative levels. Our investigations may lead us to analyze evidence such as:
- Hiring and training records
- Hours of service logs
- Records of past FMCSA violations
- Employee background check findings
- Truck maintenance and inspection reports
- Safety review findings and ratings
- Status of licenses and permits
- Inspection audits
- Driver work and dispatch schedules
- Witness statements
A truck accident is bad for business. So it’s no surprise that commercial motor carriers will often take active measures to complicate investigations and evade liability.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we don’t let companies get away with wrongdoing that harms others. We’ve devoted our careers to standing up for victims’ rights when those who harm them fail to take responsibility for their actions.
Is Team Truck Driving or Solo Truck Driving Safer?
The life of a long-haul trucker can be isolating, exhausting, and mentally draining. Some drivers have turned to team driving to combat some of these issues. Team driving is a tactic for completing a route using two or more drivers. While one driver rests, the other can take a turn at the wheel, and vice versa.
The FMCSA has limited the amount of time that cargo carrier drivers can travel to 11 hours following 10 consecutive off-duty hours. By giving drivers more rest time, team truck driving can help mitigate preventable errors that result from driver fatigue.
Although seasoned truck drivers may be accustomed to the long hours alone and hesitate to take on a partner, there are certainly benefits to team driving, such as:
- Decreased loneliness and improved mental health
- The potential for more regular sleep cycles
- Reduced risk of fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel
- The ability to cover more ground in a day
Whether a driver chooses to drive solo or with a partner, they are responsible for making wise choices behind the wheel. Pushing through exhaustion or bad weather to make a deadline is never a smart decision—and it’s the cause of far too many truck accidents that could have been prevented.
We look forward to a future in which the commercial trucking industry is safer for both truck drivers and the over 4 million Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metro area residents who share the roads with them. By holding truck drivers and their employers accountable for negligent behaviors, we send a strong message that safety should always be prioritized over company profits.
The Most Common Types of Trucking Accidents
Big rigs, substantially larger and heavier than passenger cars, are vulnerable to several unique types of crashes.
The most common types of accidents involving large commercial vehicles include:
Semi-trucks may roll over on a sharp curve, when a load is unbalanced, or when drivers lose control and drive off the roadway. If a truck rolls into traffic or spills hazardous chemicals, the collision can be particularly dangerous to nearby vehicle occupants.
A jackknife accident is unique to tractor-trailers because there can be movement between the two components of the vehicle. When the tractor swings wide, forming an “L” or V” shape with the cab of the truck, it is known as a jackknife. Improper braking is often a factor in these crashes.
Underride and Override Accidents
Underrides and overrides are both situations in which a smaller vehicle becomes trapped under the truck. Underrides happen when the car slides beneath the truck, and overrides happen when the truck drives over the top of the smaller car.
These crashes can result from rear-end collisions, sudden braking, or slippery conditions. Trucking companies are required by law to install underride guards on commercial vehicles to prevent smaller vehicles from becoming stuck under the trailer.
Wide Turn Accidents
Trucks need a significant amount of space to complete turns, especially right-hand turns. When executing a turn, the truck may shift into the adjacent lane. Wide-turn accidents occur when traffic becomes caught in a truck’s path during a turn.
One of the most dangerous types of truck accidents is a head-on collision, a crash that happens between two vehicles traveling toward one another.
Head-on truck crashes may result when a trucker enters the highway on an exit ramp, loses control of the vehicle and travels over the median into oncoming traffic, or travels in the wrong direction down a one-way street. Truck driver intoxication or distraction may be a factor in head-on collisions.
Blind Spot Accidents
Large 18-wheelers have blind spots that extend roughly:
- 20 feet in front of the truck cab
- 30 feet behind the trailer
- One lane to the left and behind the driver’s seat
- Two lanes along the truck’s right side
If a truck collides with another vehicle in its blind spot while turning or merging, it is considered a blind spot accident.
Remember: If you can’t see a truck driver’s face, they can’t see you.
These blind spots are considered “No Zones” because they are areas you should take all measures to avoid. Unlike some other types of truck accidents, a blind spot accident is something passenger vehicle drivers can actively help prevent.
Truck Accident FAQs
Our truck accident attorneys have put together a short list of some of the most frequently asked truck accident questions.
We encourage you to bring any individual questions you may have to a Seattle truck accident lawyer at our law group. There is no cost to discuss your legal rights and options with a member of our team.
What Can I Do To Avoid Truck Accidents?
Here are some tips for avoiding truck accidents:
- Never “hang out” in a truck’s blind spot
- Leave plenty of room before and behind a large truck on the highway
- If you need to, pass a truck quickly and move on, but don’t cut in too close after passing
- Beware of any erratic driving behaviors and report any trucker you feel may be a danger
- Watch for parked trucks on highway shoulders and on and off ramps, especially at night
- Never try to pass (on the right or left) a truck that is turning
What Steps Should I Take if I Get in a Truck Accident?
If you are involved in a commercial truck accident, follow these steps to the best of your ability:
- Call 911
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Take pictures and video of the accident scene
- Get the name of the truck driver, the commercial trucking company, and their insurance company
- Keep any medical records and other documents you have related to your accident injuries
- Avoid social media while your case is open
- Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer and schedule a case evaluation
Who Can I Sue for Damages After a Trucking Accident?
If you sustained injuries in a Seattle truck accident, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the party liable for the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the liable party may be the truck driver and their employer, the trucking company, or another party like a shipping company, vehicle manufacturing company, or another driver on the road who contributed to the accident.
How Do I Know if I Have a Legal Case?
The best way to know if you have a legal case is to meet with a truck accident lawyer who can assess the details of your collision and advise you of your legal options.
Being involved in a truck collision does not automatically mean you have a legal case. But if you were injured by the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of an involved party, it may be well within your right to hold that party accountable for damages.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we offer free consultations to truck accident victims exploring their legal options. You would only need to contact our office to schedule a time to have your case evaluated by an experienced truck accident lawyer.
What Evidence Do I Need To Prove a Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accident claims require strong evidence that proves the plaintiff’s right to recover compensation. While the evidence needed in your particular case will vary based on the circumstances, common sources of evidence in truck accident claims include:
- Medical bills and documents proving your injuries
- Pay stubs and bank statements proving lost income
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Records and other evidence proving driver misconduct or trucking company negligence
- Bills showing the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicles
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Seattle Truck Accident Lawyer?
Each personal injury law firm has its own method of handling attorney’s fees. Across Seattle, you will find widely-ranging costs and payment structures among law offices.
At Trucking Injury Law Group, we believe that cost should never bar a deserving client from justice. Therefore, our Seattle truck accident lawyers take most cases on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee model allows us to represent you without any upfront costs. We only get paid if and when we win your case for you. When you receive your financial compensation, our fee will come out as a small percentage of your settlement or verdict award amount.
Our truck accident lawyers find this is the best way to align our goals and ensure that money does not stand in the way of your right to high-quality legal representation.
Find Out What Trucking Injury Law Group Can Do for You
We’ve been training for decades to handle your trucking accident case.
The Super Team at Trucking Injury Law Group is now available to take new clients in Seattle and throughout the Greater Puget Sound region.
There is no risk, obligation, or cost to speak with a Seattle truck accident lawyer. We’re ready to help. Are you ready to take the next step?