When cargo isn’t properly loaded or secured onto a large truck, a shift in the weight can cause a serious accident. An accident of this type can—and often does—endanger other drivers on the road. If this has happened to you, here’s what you need to know about your rights following a truck accident caused by unsecured cargo and truck driver negligence.
Your Right to Investigate
Whenever you’re involved in an accident, you are entitled to know what caused the crash, and who should be held liable for your damages.
- Interviewing witnesses
- Obtaining a copy of the police report
- Talking to the driver or trucking company
- Conducting an investigation into the shipper or cargo loading company
Conducting an investigation and collecting evidence will be crucial in getting your full damages amount.
Your Right to File a Claim
Just as significant as your right to investigate the cause of the accident is your right to file a claim for damages. Typically, your claim will be lodged with the trucking company’s insurance company. Washington State is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning that the at-fault driver’s insurance handles paying for damages.
Furthermore, commercial vehicles are required to carry higher insurance amounts than are passenger cars in Washington: up to $1,000 for hazardous waste vehicles and $75,000 for vehicles over 10,000 pounds.
In some cases, you may be filing a personal injury lawsuit against another negligent party, such as a third-party shipper.
Your Right to Seek Compensation for all Damage Types
When filing a claim for damages, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re only able to recover damages for your economic losses, like property damage and medical bills. Instead, know that you have the right to seek compensation for all types of harm that you’ve sustained. This includes the right to damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Cost of future treatment
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
In other words, you’re entitled to the full value of both economic and noneconomic damages incurred.
Your Right to Hire an Attorney
Finally, know that you have the right to hire an attorney to assist you in filing your claim/suit and recovering damages. An attorney can lead the investigation into the cargo accident, can request data and documents about the truck/cargo, and can ensure that your claim is filed in time. Depending upon the details of your case, an attorney may be the difference between a full settlement amount and a compromised one, especially if the other party tried to argue that you were partially at-fault for the accident.
At Max Meyers Law PLLC, we want to represent you! For a team of lawyers you can trust, contact us today at 425-399-7000.