In the United States, we depend heavily on tractor-trailers and other large trucks to move everything from household goods to entire houses from point A to Point B. Our dependence on the trucking industry means that, at any given time of the day or night, it is virtually impossible to travel on a major roadway without traveling alongside an 18-wheeler.
Unfortunately, the sheer number of large trucks on the roadways increases our likelihood of being involved in an accident with one. In the State of Washington, large trucks were involved in 4,673 collisions in 2013, 36 of which were fatal with another 62 causing serious injuries. An experienced Washington State trucking accident attorney can help you secure fair and full compensation for your damages.
Truck Accident Causes
When tractor-trailers are involved in a collision, several factors commonly contribute, such as:
- Fatigued driving – despite federal “Hours of Service” rules intended to limit the hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel between rest periods, some drivers, and even trucking companies, ignore the rules and push on long past the point of fatigue in an attempt to make impossible delivery schedules and/or score a larger paycheck.
- Impaired driving – although drug use among truck drivers has decreased over the past several decades, impaired driving remains a problem. Drivers often abuse prescription or even over-the-counter medications in an effort to stay awake while on the road.
- Distracted driving – federal law prohibits truck drivers from texting while driving; however, other handheld electronic devices, such as GPS devices, cell phones, and even DVD players, can still distract a driver.
- Aggressive driving – most truck drivers are respectful and obey the rules of the road; however, some take advantage of the size and weight of tractor-trailers to intimidate other drivers.
- Equipment failure – required inspections should catch serious equipment failures. Unfortunately, some drivers (or companies) hurry through their pre-trip inspections, or even skip them altogether, in an effort to save time.
Compensation in a Washington State Trucking Accident
The victim of a trucking accident could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate a victim for things such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, while non-economic damages are commonly known as “pain and suffering” damages. Before a victim can collect damages, he or she must prove that another party caused, or contributed to, the accident.
Several factors make litigating a trucking accident more complicated than litigating an accident involving only passenger vehicles. Protect your rights to fair and complete compensation by calling our Colville, Washington trucking accident attorneys now at 509-685-3675.