Vancouver Truck Accident Lawyer
When truck accidents that never should have happened destroy the lives of real people right here in Vancouver, Trucking Injury Law Group is here to make things right.
The truck accident attorneys on our team started our careers at other law firms, handling all types of personal injury cases. But we each came to the realization that there was one place we were needed the most.
Pooling our resources, skill, and experience handling complex truck accident cases, we formed Trucking Injury Law Group. We’re devoted solely to helping trucking crash victims find healing and justice after injury.
If you were injured in a commercial vehicle crash in Clark County, contact the Vancouver, WA truck accident lawyers at our office for a free case consultation.
Why Do Truck Accidents Happen in Vancouver?
As Visit Vancouver WA markets our region, we are the city in between—”north of weird and south of Sound.” This central proximity to the best of the Pacific Northwest brings a lot of benefit to local residents: culture, commerce, community, events, history, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the nation.
But our in-betweenness also positions us squarely at the crossroads of a good deal of commercial trucking travel. Big rig trucks are a common sight on I-205 and the Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge spanning the Columbia River, connecting Vancouver and Washington state to Portland. And when commercial trucks are present, so are truck accidents.
Why do truck accidents happen?
A big part of our job is figuring out the answer to that question. In our careers as Vancouver, WA truck accident lawyers, we’ve seen a multitude of serious accidents involving tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks. We know that almost all accidents come down to one thing: negligence.
Negligence means that someone failed to exercise reasonable care and hurt another person through their carelessness, reckless, or willful wrongdoing. Many trucking companies, in an effort to cut costs, save time, and boost profits, give in to negligence on a regular basis in the form of:
- Violating federal and state regulations
- Hiring underqualified drivers
- Overloading trucks
- Skipping necessary truck inspections
- Forcing truck operators into driver fatigue with unreasonable schedules
- Failing to make sure trucks are maintained properly
If your truck accident in Vancouver was caused by negligent actions such as these, the legal team at Trucking Injury Law Group may be able to help you file a personal injury claim against the responsible parties. After a serious injury or wrongful death of a family member, you may be entitled to financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering damages, and more.
Your Vancouver truck accident lawyer will be able to advise you of your right to compensation based on the details of your case.
Filing Truck Accident Claims in Vancouver
Accident victims should know that they have rights and legal options, no matter how difficult the future may look after a Vancouver, WA truck accident.
Although a personal injury claim can never undo the harm that has been done, a successful truck accident case can help make sure:
- Harmful trucking industry negligence is not allowed to continue
- Responsible parties are held accountable for their actions
- Awareness is brought to serious issues that can be addressed through better legislation
- Future accident victims are protected from harm
- Injured parties are able to afford the medical treatment they need
- Victims are fairly compensated for both economic damages (like medical bills) and non-economic losses (like pain and suffering)
- Surviving families of fatal accidents are not left financially responsible for damages resulting from a loved one’s passing
Large trucks cause severe damage. You should never be forced to pick up the bill for a truck driver’s or company’s negligence.
Your Vancouver truck accident attorney from Trucking Injury Law Group will guide you through every step of the claims process with compassion, expertise, and understanding.
It all starts with a completely free consultation to discuss how we can help. If you have legal standing to move forward with your truck accident claim, you can be assured that there is no better law group to take on the challenge than ours.
Vancouver, WA Truck Accident Statistics
Data collected by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) showed that, in 2022, Vancouver, WA suffered a total of 111 crashes involving large trucks. Clark County as a whole experienced 232 truck collisions.
The only fatal truck accident to occur that year happened on I-205 in Vancouver.
Semi-Truck Accident Injuries and Fatality
Any crash involving a 40-ton tractor-trailer is likely to lead to wrongful death or catastrophic injuries for those in the smaller passenger car. Common truck crash injuries may include these and other injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and brain trauma
- Broken bones
- Vital organ injury
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Permanent disability
- Burns and lacerations
What You Need To Know About Federal Trucking Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that is responsible for regulating the commercial trucking industry. The FMCSA issues rules and regulations that all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators are required by federal law to follow.
The goal of these laws is to make commercial ground-based transport as safe as it can possibly be for all involved—including passenger vehicle drivers who share the roadways with big trucks.
These laws are based on data and research. They exist for a reason. So when they’re broken, it spells danger for truckers and other drivers alike.
Violating an FMCSA regulation is illegal and negligent behavior. And when accidents result, personal injury victims have the right to hold trucking companies and other negligent parties responsible for damages.
Here are just a few of the federal trucking regulations that owners and operators of commercial vehicles must follow.
Hours of Service Regulations
Hours-of-service (HOS) regulations limit how long a truck driver can work and drive without taking a rest.
The FMCSA has instituted the following HOS laws for property-carrying truck drivers:
- 11 hour driving limit after 10 consecutive off-duty hours
- 14 consecutive hour limit after coming on duty following 10 consecutive off-duty hours
- Mandatory 30-minute non-driving break after driving for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least 30 minutes of break time
- 60/70 hour on-duty limit in 7/8 consecutive days; a 7/8 consecutive day period may be restarted only after 34 or more consecutive hours off duty
Cargo Securement and Overloading Regulations
Big rigs carrying heavy loads leave no room for negligence. One of the most dangerous situations involving a tractor-trailer is when cargo comes loose on a crowded highway at top speed.
For this reason, there are strict federal regulations regarding how to load and secure cargo, weight restrictions, and what types of vehicles and license endorsements are required in order to carry certain types of hazardous cargo.
Requirements for Truck Inspections
The DOT and FMCSA require that all motor carriers “systematically inspect, repair, and maintain” all the vehicles in their fleet. This includes:
- Ensuring all parts and accessories are in safe and proper condition at all times
- Maintaining required inspection and maintenance records
- Meeting federal criteria for safety standards
- Performing roadside inspection reports
- Writing daily post-trip inspection reports at the end of each driving day
- Performing comprehensive annual inspections on all fleet vehicles
- Meeting qualifications for inspection personnel, including special qualifications needed for brake inspectors
Truck Driver Physical Exam Laws
Truck drivers must be in adequate physical condition to successfully maneuver a multi-ton vehicle for days or weeks on a long-haul. A driver who suffers from a condition like sleep apnea may be highly susceptible to driver fatigue. A driver with limited vision is a risky driver, especially at night. Drivers with risk of heart failure may have their condition worsened by stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and long hours on the job.
To protect against the risk of these and other physical and mental health conditions, all CMV operators must undergo a fitness exam to determine whether they are physically qualified to drive a large commercial truck.
Drivers are required to undergo this DOT physical exam every two years, unless they have a medical condition (such as high blood pressure) which requires them to be monitored more frequently. The exam must be administered by a licensed medical examiner listed on the FMCSA National Registry.
Truck drivers are required to follow both local traffic laws and the Requirements While Operating CMVs established by the federal regulatory agency. The FMCSA cites some of the most common violations many drivers commit while operating a commercial vehicle as:
- Tailgating (following other vehicles too closely)
- Improper lane changes or turning
- Driving recklessly
- Failing to wear a seatbelt
- Handheld phone use
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Railroad crossing violations
- Violating traffic signals (like running a red light or stop sign)
- Possessing alcohol while on duty
- Texting and driving
The truck accident attorneys on our team are skilled and experienced investigators who can track down the evidence to determine if these or any other FMCSA violations contributed to your crash.
Types of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Compared to crashes between two cars, certain types of semi-truck accidents are more likely—and more likely to be severe or fatal—for several reasons:
- Trucks are 20 times or more heavier than cars by weight
- Trucks are more likely to lose balance and rollover due to a high center of gravity
- Smaller cars can become lodged under trucks in override and underride accidents
- Truck tires are susceptible to blowouts
- Hitches and couplings in semi-trucks can loosen or unhitch and lead to lost loads or jackknife accidents
- Braking distances are almost twice as long in big rigs than passenger cars
- Semi-trucks are surrounded on all four sides by large blind spots
- Commercial trucks require much more skill and experience to operate safely
Steps To Take After a Vancouver, WA Truck Accident
If you were involved in a commercial truck accident, there are measures you can take to prioritize your health and gather important evidence that can support your claim.
Although it’s difficult to think toward the future in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic trucking accident, the moments following a crash is the best time to secure evidence that will soon disappear.
For example, pictures and video of a recent accident scene can show the position of vehicles, skid marks on the roadway, the behavior of the CMV driver, and traffic and weather conditions at the time—critical evidence that will not exist in a matter of hours.
From our experience working with semi-truck crash survivors, the Vancouver truck accident attorneys from Trucking Injury Law Group know that thinking critically in an emergency situation is almost impossible. Even if you’ve never been involved in a trucking accident, it’s helpful to memorize the following steps, so you’ll know what to do if you or someone else is involved in a collision:
- Call 911
- Get to safety
- Never move a person with severe injuries (especially possible spinal cord injuries)
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Obtain name, contact, license, employer, and insurance information from the truck driver
- Take down name, contact, and insurance information for any other drivers involved
- Seek medical attention
- Contact a group of Vancouver attorneys who focus on semi-truck accident cases
Do You Need To File a Police Report After a Truck Crash?
According to Washington state law, you must make an accident report if there is injury, death, or property damage of at least $1,000.
Keep in mind:
- If a police officer makes a report at the accident scene, you do not need to submit another report.
- If a police officer does not make a report, you have four days to submit a report. If there are multiple parties involved, each driver must submit their own report.
Why Trucking Companies Don’t Want You To Have Legal Representation
Trucking companies care about one thing: profits. After all, a trucking company is a business, and paying out settlements to injured truck accident victims is not good for business.
Our Vancouver truck accident lawyers have made the decision to exclusively litigate trucking accidents. Our mission is fighting for crash survivors’ rights, partly because we know that crash victims doesn’t usually get fair treatment from the parties that injure them.
When you have an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side, the trucking company and insurance company takes your claim much more seriously. They know you know your rights and won’t allow a profit-minded corporation to take advantage of you.
Trucking Injury Law Group Has Your Future in Mind
Your life may never look the same after serious injuries. But we want you to have the security and peace of mind knowing that there is someone who cares about your future as much as you do.
Handling truck accident cases isn’t just work to us. It’s our life’s passion. Each truck accident attorney on our team has committed their legal career to helping people just like you.
We’re ready to meet you during your free consultation. Get in touch with our office to schedule your first step on the road to recovery.