Being involved in an auto accident is traumatic enough when only standard vehicles are involved. When you throw a truck into the situation, the consequences are much more tragic and often end in fatalities. Many parties can be liable for truck accidents in Seattle, Washington including drivers, truck owners, logistic companies, and manufacturers.
Seattle Truck Accident Statistics
The Washington State Department of Transport found that there were 300 truck accident fatalities in Washington between 2016 and 2020, and large trucks were present in more than 5,000 collisions across the entire state. Out of all of these incidents, more than 450 of them took place in Seattle and the surrounding areas.
Commercial trucks are allowed to weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is around 75,000 pounds more than the average vehicle. Given the sheer size of trucks, accidents are much more catastrophic.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many factors at play when a truck is involved in an accident in Seattle, Washington, and the leading cause isn’t always immediately obvious. For example, truck drivers often operate vehicles fatigued, but this may be a result of their employer breaching federal working hours regulations. Other driver-related truck accident causes include:
- Recklessness. This includes actions like tailgating, speeding, dangerous overtaking, and ignoring road signs/traffic signals.
- Poor maintenance. All trucks are required to be well-maintained, but this isn’t always the case. For example, worn tires can lead to loss of control. The driver isn’t always responsible for maintenance, which makes this issue much harder to investigate.
- Intoxication. Many truck drivers use alcohol or drugs – prescription and illegal – to cope with the demands of the job. Any form of intoxication can impair judgment and cause accidents.
- Distraction. Long truck journeys can get boring, which can lead truck drivers to use mobile phones or other equipment like stereos.
When Manufacturers are Liable for Truck Accidents
Truck manufacturers are responsible for ensuring all products are designed to the highest standards, and they’re held accountable by federal regulations. However, this doesn’t mean every truck that makes it onto the road meets such standards, and the consequences can be devastating. Common manufacturer defects include:
- Defects leading to tire blowouts
- Defective brakes
- Insufficient lighting and other features
As well as errors within the assembly line, a truck’s design can be flawed from the outset. Typical flaws resulting in vehicle product liability include:
- Inadequate supportive structure
- Uneven weight distribution
- Poor safety features including rollover protection
Determining manufacturer product liability is challenging because it involves tracing issues all the way back to the point of origin. To file a successful compensation claim, you will need concrete evidence that the manufacturer was to blame. When you have one of our competent Seattle truck accident lawyers on your side, you don’t need to worry about any of this because we will conduct a thorough investigation.
Who Else May be Liable for a Truck Accident?
Aside from truck drivers and manufacturers, other parties may be liable in a truck accident. To start with, truck companies can breach safety regulations, make poor hiring choices, and fail to maintain vehicles. However, like all other liabilities, a successful compensation claim relies on the following elements:
- Duty of care
- Breaching duty of care
Essentially, this means that for a trucking company to be liable, we have to prove that they are required by law to provide a duty of care, and that this duty was breached. Additionally, we have to prove that their actions were directly responsible for the collision, which is the tricky part. As well as this, we have to seek evidence to demonstrate that the truck company knew about the issue and had the opportunity to put suitable measures in place.
Other parties that may be responsible for a truck accident include cargo loaders, contractors, and truck owners. Every party that has contact with a truck during the entire supply chain can act negligently and cause horrific accidents.
We work tirelessly for our clients to investigate every possible angle, which allows us to put together a solid compensation claim. With offices in more than 32 locations across 19 states, including Seattle, Washington, Phoenix, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado, our team is equipped to tackle any case that comes our way.
Typical Damages Claimed in a Vehicle Product Liability Case
Truck accidents can leave victims with catastrophic injuries, which typically have a lasting impact. The most obvious things covered by a compensation claim are property damage and medical expenses because they can be seen by anyone, but the impact runs much deeper than that. Here is a list of damages that you can collect following a truck accident caused by a manufacturer:
- Medical expenses. Initial treatments and ongoing recovery, including any home adjustments to be made.
- Property damage. Vehicle repairs or replacements and damage to any belongings inside of the vehicle.
- Pain and suffering. Mental and physical anguish that isn’t physically measurable, including anxiety, depression, and relationship distress.
- Loss of earnings. Injuries may leave you unable to work or return to the same employment.
- Loss in quality of life. Some injuries may lead to disabilities that reduce quality of life. For example, if you enjoy playing soccer and lose mobility in your legs, it’s an experience you may never have again.
These are the damages that can be claimed by a surviving victim, but what happens if the collision is fatal? In such cases, surviving members of the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit, which seeks to recover expenses for funeral costs and pain and suffering. However, this type of compensation can only be claimed by certain members of the family in Seattle, Washington, including children, spouses, and parents in cases where there is no marriage.
We understand that being involved in a truck accident in Seattle, Washington is truly devastating, whether the manufacturer is liable or another party. Acting with compassion for each individual case, our team of lawyers will support you in both legal and emotional matters.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, call now for a free consultation on 800-421-0174.