Large commercial truck accidents remain a serious public safety hazard in our region. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) estimates that 6,100 large truck accidents occur in the state every year.
For injured victims, the truck accident claims process can be confusing. Aggressive commercial insurance companies may try to take advantage of that confusion—fighting to resolve claims for as little as possible, reducing and denying liability whenever they can get away with it.
If you or your loved one was involved in a crash a tractor trailer, you need a top-rated Washington truck accident lawyer in your corner. Truck accident attorneys have unique experience investigating these claims, handling insurance companies, and navigating the claims process.
Four Unique Attributes of an Experienced Washington Truck Accident Lawyer
A Deep Understanding of State and Federal Trucking Regulations
As a starting point, commercial trucking operations are regulated by an interconnected web of state and federal safety rules. Washington has adopted the federal regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—meaning commercial trucks operating wholly within our state must comply with these rules.
A top truck accident lawyer will have a comprehensive understanding of all relevant laws and regulations. In many cases, these safety regulations form the basis of a trucking company’s liability for an accident. If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident, you need a lawyer who understands these rules.
Knows How to Handle the Investigative Process
Under Washington law (RCW 4.22.005), traffic accidents are subject to a comparative fault standard. In effect, this means that each party to any accident will be held liable for their “share” of the fault for any resulting damages. As fault is based on negligence, it is crucial that a collision is comprehensively investigated and that all relevant evidence is saved and documented.
However, the investigative process is both different and more complicated in commercial truck accident cases. One of the primary reasons for this is that much of the relevant evidence is held in the possession of the trucking company itself.
Among other types of evidence, a trucking company may hold inspection records, driver safety records, trucker service hour records, and black box recording data, which could all be relevant to your case. An experienced Washington truck accident attorney will know how to use legal tools to ensure that you are able to access and review these records.
Experience Dealing With Commercial Insurance Companies
Commercial truck insurance policies are quite different than the standard policies that are purchased by most non-commercial drivers. To start, these policies have vastly higher limits. With so much at stake in a personal injury claim, commercial insurers tend to be far more aggressive in their response—quickly conducting their own investigation and building their defense. Remember, insurers want to settle claims for as little as possible. They are not interested in what is best for injured victims.
Beyond the higher policy limits, multiple insurance policies are often implicated in the same commercial truck accident case. As an example, the trucking company and the trucker may actually be insured by different policies. Dealing with all the paperwork and navigating the web of insurance policies can be a serious burden for injured victims and their family members. An experienced Washington truck accident lawyer will have unique experience dealing with these complex commercial insurance policies.
Prepared for a Catastrophic Injury Claim
Due to their incredible size, truck accidents are far more likely to end up causing catastrophic injuries, including very serious brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. A top-rated Washington truck accident lawyer will have experience handling catastrophic injury claims. While the process is similar to other types of injury cases, there are also some unique considerations that must be addressed. For instance, if your loved one suffered a severe injury in a crash, it is imperative that you hire a truck accident lawyer who can ensure that the settlement or verdict fully accounts for all future medical bills, rehabilitative care, and permanent injuries/impairments.
Contact Our Washington Truck Accident Attorneys Today
At Premier Law Group, our Seattle, WA tractor trailer accident lawyers fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of our clients. Our truck accident attorneys know how to hold large companies and their insurers accountable. For a no fee, no obligation initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today. With offices locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, and Renton, we represent injured victims throughout the state of Washington.