Logging Truck Accidents
Whether you live in a suburban area that’s undergoing deforestation to make way for new developments or a rural one that’s constantly being cleared for planting crops, it’s likely that you see your fair share of logging trucks hauling timber from where a tree was cut down back to the mill for further processing.
The more rural the area, the more likely it is that there will be 2-lane roads, which may have no shoulder and significant drop-offs, which can present a problem if a log truck driver happens to lose control of their vehicle or a passenger car operator feels the need to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
It, therefore, shouldn’t come as a surprise that logging truck accidents are often deadly. In situations in which they don’t result in a wrongful death, they tend to leave victims with catastrophic injuries, some of which leave a lasting impact on victims’ lives. A logging truck accident lawyer from our law group may be able to help you in these situations.
How Common Are Logging Truck Accidents?
A study published in the International Journal of Forest Engineering in 2019 cited Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data when chronicling how fatal logging truck accidents in a few western states, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, increased by 41% from 2011 to 2015. As for tractor-trailer-involved crashes in general, while there was a 16% increase in crashes involving all types of large trucks during that same time frame, the increase in logging ones was more than double that amount at 33%.
What Are Typical Reasons Logging Truck Accidents Happen?
Factors that result in most any tractor-trailer accident can also cause a log truck collision, such as:
The actual driver of the logging truck is not generally the same person or people who load the log trucks. The problem with this is that a load may unknowingly be placed on the truck in such a way that puts the tractor-trailer operator and other drivers of passenger vehicles at risk of getting hurt in serious accidents if loads aren’t properly secured in place.
Additionally, tree trunks come in all different shapes and sizes. Many logging industry accidents occur because inadequate safety equipment was utilized by the trucking company or its employees before attempting transport.
Just like any other tractor-trailer, a log truck must undergo preventative maintenance and as-needed repairs. One of the dangers in hauling timber is that their weight puts a lot of pressure on the truck’s axles, suspension system and shocks, brakes, tires, transmission, and other components.
While logging truck drivers are required to perform a multi-point inspection on their tractor-trailers to identify any potential mechanical flaws before hitting the road like any other trucker, they seldom do, which can cause an accident involving them and other vehicles.
Driver Inexperience or Errors
In terms of requirements, scarily, there isn’t any special training or endorsements needed to become a logging truck driver when compared to any other trucker on a federal level. In most jurisdictions, a prospective log truck operator needs only to be at least 18 years old and to have obtained a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be allowed to drive such a tractor-trailer.
As you can likely imagine, the lack of requirements means that there is a strong chance of a logging truck driver being highly unfamiliar with the nuances associated with a tractor-trailer at all, especially an open-bed one that carries super heavy cargo like tree trunks. These inexperienced drivers may not have the necessary know-how to:
- Restore steering when they lose control of their trucks if improper loading of timber cargo becomes an issue
- Respond to a situation when there’s a mechanical failure because proper maintenance hasn’t been performed on the log transport vehicle they’re assigned to drive
Plus, newer truckers have a stronger tendency to engage in reckless driving early on in their careers anyway.
Know that trial and error operation of a logging vehicle equates to negligent driving. And our logging truck accident lawyers don’t believe in letting such negligence slide. Instead, our Trucking Injury Law Group attorneys take on legal matters like these on behalf of our logging truck accident victims, including surviving family members of those who died in these preventable crashes.
We see these cases through from start to finish, holding truck drivers involved in causing the crash, trucking companies, and all other potentially responsible parties liable for the harm they caused. We do this because our clients often suffer major injuries in these crashes, racking up significant medical bills and current and future lost wages.
Our advocacy on behalf of our clients ensures they receive the financial compensation they need to pay for their accident-related expenses. A logging truck accident attorney would be happy to meet with you for a free case evaluation and do the same for you.
Common Types of Log Truck Accidents
The different types of crashes that may stem from a logging truck colliding with other vehicles include:
- Rear-end collisions: These often occur because an inexperienced trucker underestimates how much time or distance they need to allow to come to a complete stop at a traffic sign or signal.
- Rollover crashes: According to a study previously published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), these accidents may occur because a trucker speeds around a corner too quickly or their load shifts, causing a weight imbalance.
- Front-end accidents: These can occur if a log truck driver loses control of their truck due to speed, oversteering, distractions, substance abuse, drowsiness, and more. The trucker may cross the center median, colliding head-on with other vehicles involved.
Injuries That Stem From Logging Truck Accidents
There are some unique injuries that victims often suffer in crashes involving logging trucks that are different from the typical harm any other victim may suffer, some of which include:
- Blunt force trauma head injuries: Logs that come loose often serve as projectiles, crashing through windshields and making contact with crash victims’ heads. Blunt force trauma injuries may result, which can leave victims with fractured skulls, a bleed on the brain that can prove fatal if left unaddressed, and also traumatic brain injuries. In the case of the latter, it can affect their ability to regulate their emotions, behaviors, cognitive functions, and more long-term.
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis: While it’s possible for any collision to cause a victim to suffer a spinal cord injury, the potential for it to happen in a logging truck accident is perhaps quite realistic. All it takes is for a log to break free from a trailer, crash through the rear window of a vehicle, and strike its occupant to sever their spinal cord. While a small handful of spinal cord injury victims aren’t left with lasting functional impairments, countless others aren’t as fortunate and receive quadriplegia or paraplegia diagnoses.
- Crush or compression injuries resulting in amputations: A crush injury occurs when a body part becomes stuck in between objects, for example, a heavy tree trunk and a center console in a vehicle, resulting in shattered bones. A compression injury occurs when blood is impeded from circulating, which causes the death of nearby tissue. Either one of these conditions may lead to a patient needing to undergo a surgical procedure or, at worst, the amputation of an affected limb.
- Facial injuries: The more weight is piled onto a logging truck, the more forceful a rear-end crash is likely to be if it occurs. The quicker a truck driver is traveling in a head-on crash, the stronger the impact will be if it crashes into the front windshield. The dispersal of broken glass or contact with an air bag, the dashboard, and other objects can leave logging accident victims with significant cuts on the face that leave behind physical signs of injury such as disfigurement.
Understanding Liability in a Log Truck Accident Case
All motorists owe one another a duty of care, which means that they’re not supposed to do anything that would potentially put another individual’s life at risk while operating their automobile. When forwarding a civil case, such as a personal injury one, the onus falls on the victim that asserts that a trucker’s negligence harmed them to prove they breached their duty of care, resulting in the crash. It’s also the log truck crash victim’s responsibility to show that the injuries they suffered were a direct result of their involvement in the crash.
Potential Liable Parties in Logging Truck Accident Cases
It’s worth noting that multiple parties can be held liable for a crash involving a logging truck. You may be able to file a truck accident claim against the following parties depending on the circumstances surrounding your case:
- The trucker who struck you
- The trucking company who owns the logging trucks
- The individuals who loaded the truck and their employer
- Auto or parts manufacturers
A Trucking Injury Law Group attorney can help you determine who is responsible for what happened to you so that you can hold them accountable. Contact us for a free case evaluation to get that process underway today.
What Are Logging Truck Crashes Like Yours Worth?
Our logging truck accident lawyers often get asked this question during an initial no-obligation consultation, but it’s an easy one to answer. No two truck accident cases are the same, and thus, assigning a single value to claims isn’t really an option.
We can share with you that some of the following factors figure into the valuation of a logging truck accident claim:
- Costs for past and anticipated (future) medical treatment
- Any lost wages you’ve already incurred, plus any future lost earnings you may have
- Whether the serious injuries you suffered in the log truck accident are recoverable or permanent (along with their type)
- How much in property damage costs you sustained
An accident that resulted in your loved one losing their life in a logging truck accident may necessitate the filing of a wrongful death claim. In cases like these, additional damages beyond the ones listed above, including funeral costs or losses of consortium or companionship, may also be reimbursed or compensated for in a settlement.
How Logging Companies Evade Responsibility for Log Truck Accidents
Know that however simple or straightforward filing truck accident claims with an insurance company may seem, it’s a far more complex process than what meets the eye. An insurer representing the truck driver or trucking company responsible for causing the logging truck accident will fight tooth and nail to minimize their liability with the goal of making it challenging for you to recover compensation to keep their costs low.
What Is the Role of a Logging Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Case?
Logging trucks are notoriously dangerous vehicles. Even logging truck drivers are in danger hauling timber themselves—oftentimes at no fault of their own.
The role of your logging truck accident lawyer is to:
- Determine liability necessary to confirm whether you have a viable claim
- Identify contact and insurance policy and coverage information for those at-fault parties
- Notify insurance companies representing negligent parties of their representation of you in your claim (so they’ll contact your attorney instead of you with questions and case status updates)
- Compile all your medical records and bills, pay stubs, and any other statements documenting accident-related injuries and costs
- Submit a demand letter or motion on your behalf requesting a settlement amount that’s been mutually agreed to by you and your attorney
- Negotiate an amenable settlement with an insurance company or escalate the matter by taking a case to trial and letting a judge or jury decide what’s a fair resolution
As you can tell, a lot goes into building a strong crash case before an eventual settlement offer is made. Here at Trucking Injury Law Group, we’re suited up and ready to shepherd your case for the long haul to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Schedule a free legal consultation with a logging truck accident lawyer to find out what your next steps should be in your legal matter.