The majority of the nation’s semi-truck drivers are responsible individuals who take their jobs seriously and respect the rules of the road. However, there can be enormous pressure on truckers to get their loads delivered quickly, which may cause some to speed, drive while fatigued and irregularly maintain their vehicles. In 2012, there were 4,453 commercial vehicles and heavy trucks involved in accidents in Washington, 43 of which ended with a fatality, according to the Washington Department of Transportation. Additionally, there were nearly 1,000 semi-truck collisions that resulted in personal injury.
If you have been involved in a Tacoma semi-truck accident, a lawyer can help you protect your rights when filing a claim against the trucking company.
What to Do if You Were in an Accident with a Semi-Truck
You have to act quickly because serious commercial vehicle accidents may result in large claims. Large, heavy trucks may total smaller passenger vehicles involved in the accident. Due to the amount of money involved in this type of collision, the trucking company and the insurance company may attempt to hide certain evidence or likely will destroy evidence when permitted to do so. They may destroy hours of service records – which detail the driver’s compliance with federal standards dictating how long he can drive and be on-duty – after six months, for example.
Ask the police for a copy of the accident report or ask how to obtain one. This may contain valuable information about possible causes of the collision. Federal regulators may investigate a serious or fatal collision involving a federal violation, so be sure to obtain a copy of the report as well. An attorney can help you collect this and other evidence and may send a spoliation letter to prevent destruction of evidence like the hours of service records, the driver’s personnel file, alcohol and drug testing results, and even the truck itself.
Who is liable for damages in a semi-truck accident?
Even if you are 100 percent positive you are not at fault for the accident, there can be some confusion over which party is liable for the accident and its resulting damages. It might be evident that the driver is to blame for the collision, but the trucking company actually could be liable for damages as well.
A trucking company could be directly liable for hiring an unqualified driver or failing to inspect cargo prior to allowing the driver to leave the facility. Depending on how the accident occurred, the shipping company, truck manufacturer or cargo loaders may be at fault. For these reasons, it makes sense to hire a lawyer after a semi-truck accident in Tacoma.
Consult a Tacoma Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
If you were in a semi-truck accident, it is important to take prompt action. These types of accidents not only leave property damage in their wake, but also may leave passenger vehicle occupants with serious injuries. Speak to an attorney shortly after the accident to start preserving important evidence, especially evidence in the trucking company’s possession.
If you have been involved in a serious Tacoma semi-truck accident, a lawyer at Max Meyers Law can help. You can call us at 888-230-4970 to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation or submit a request to be contacted online.