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We Handle Motor Vehicle Claims Involving Semi Trucks, 18-Wheelers & Other Large Trucks in Portland and Throughout Oregon
truck accident cases
As the second-largest city in Washington County, Beaverton is a very busy place. The city is known for being home to the global footwear corporation, Nike, and has been listed as one of the best places to live in the country in America by Money magazine. With the many boutique wineries, natural wonders of the Chehalem Mountains and Willamette Valley, there is a lot to see and do in Beaverton. Unfortunately, with so much to see and do, it also means an increase in commercial truck traffic.
As more trucks start to crowd the roads in Beaverton, more accidents are bound to happen. When they do, they result in some of the most serious injuries. Trucks are much heavier and larger than the average passenger vehicle. As such, the impact of the accident may remain with victims for weeks, months, and even years. If you have been injured, it is critical that you speak with a Beaverton truck accident attorney who can help you claim the full damages you are entitled to.
The Difference Between
Car Accidents and Truck Accidents
As commercial trucks share the road with passenger vehicles, it is natural to think a crash involving one is similar to an accident involving another. Truthfully, though, there are many differences between truck accidents and car crashes. These are as follows:
- Severity of injuries: A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. According to theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA), the weight of the average passenger vehicle is just a fraction of that, with these vehicles weighing approximately 4,000 pounds. This weight difference means that occupants of passenger vehicles are going to sustain the most serious injuries when they are involved in a crash.
- Insurance disputes: Due to the fact that truck accidents cause such serious injuries, victims are often entitled to large settlements. Insurance companies do not want to pay out on these claims because they prioritize their own profits over the safety and well-being of accident victims. Negotiations with insurers are typically much more difficult after a truck accident.
- Determining liability is complex: Determining which party is at fault for any accident is never easy. After a truck crash, it is even more complicated. There are many potentially liable parties for truck accidents, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the loading company, and maintenance and inspection companies. A full and comprehensive investigation is needed to determine who is liable for a truck accident, which is challenging for victims who are trying to recover from serious injuries.
Attorney Marc Johnston’s innovative tactics and on-the-ball response to insurance defense can press for your deserved compensation in negotiation or at trial for the following recoveries:
What Violations of the Law Cause Truck Accidents?
There are many state and federal laws in place regarding trucks that are meant to keep everyone on the road safe. Unfortunately, truck drivers and trucking companies do not always comply with these laws, which can result in serious accidents. These violations are not always clear during an initial police investigation, and it requires a full analysis of the accident scene. Some of the most common violations of the law a Beaverton truck accident attorney will investigate are as follows:
- Hours of operation violation: Truck drivers are limited by a number of laws that dictate how many hours they can be on the road without taking time off for a meal or to sleep. Truck drivers do not always comply with this law, as they are under immense pressure to deliver their cargo on time. As a result, many truck drivers are incredibly drowsy while they are behind the wheel, which takes their focus from the road and can cause a crash.
- Driving while impaired: Truck drivers are responsible for controlling the largest vehicles on the road. To try and ensure this goes smoothly, truckers are held to much higher standards than other motorists when it comes to driving while impaired. A trucker’s blood alcohol content (BAC) cannot exceed 0.4 percent. However, many truck drivers believe that drinking or using drugs will help keep them awake and so, they drive while impaired quite often.
- Negligent hiring practices: Trucking companies often skip important steps during the hiring practice in an effort to take shortcuts and save time and money. They may not perform background checks on their drivers, or they may fail to train them properly. When trucking companies prioritize their own bottom line over the safety of others, they can be held liable.
- Improperly loaded cargo: It is essential that cargo is loaded properly in the truck. If it is not, it will shift during transport and could throw the entire truck off balance. It then becomes very difficult for the truck driver to control, and could cause a crash.
What to Do
After a Truck Accident
Although truck accidents do differ significantly from car accidents, the steps you take are largely the same. While still at the scene, you should exchange information with all other drivers involved and take pictures of the vehicles involved, as well as your injuries. There are three other steps to take that are critical to your health and to any future claim you may file. These are as follows:
- See a doctor: Your well-being is the most important priority after a crash. You must see a doctor to ensure your injuries receive treatment and that they do not become worse. Additionally, if you do not see a doctor, the insurance company will use that fact to argue that you are not injured.
- Do not speak to the insurance company: The insurance company will contact you shortly after the crash. They will act as though they are your friend and that they want to act in your best interests. They do not. Do not speak to them, as that could hurt your claim.
- Contact an attorney: When working with an attorney, you can direct the insurer to them and the lawyer will speak to them on your behalf. A lawyer will also handle every other aspect of your claim so you have the best chance of success with it.
Don’t miss out on these common personal injury mistakes.
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Call Our Truck Accident Attorney
in Beaverton Today
If you have been in a crash, do not file a claim on your own. At Johnston Law Firm, our Beaverton truck accident attorney will take the necessary steps to preserve evidence that proves another party’s liability so you claim the full damages you deserve. Contact us now at 503-272-6108 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What To Do If You Are
Injured In A Truck Accident
Truck accident injuries have the potential to be severe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that they claim the lives of more than 5,000 people each year while leaving tens of thousands of others suffering serious personal injuries. Victims may be unable to work for weeks or even months after while facing mounting medical expenses.
Rather than having to pay out of pocket for these costs, you have the right to hold those at fault accountable in a claim. Steps to take to protect yourself and your rights if a truck accident in Portland happens include:
- Report it to the police immediately;
- Exchange personal and insurance information with the trucker and any other drivers involved;
- Make note of the trucking company they work for;
- Gather evidence, such as the names of witnesses and photos or videos of the scene;
- Seek medical attention right away, regardless of the severity of your injuries;
- Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding follow-up care and work restrictions;
- Speak to our Portland truck accident attorneys before making any statements to the truck company or accepting a settlement.
Common Injuries from
Truck Accident Cases
Among the most common types of truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones and multiple fractures;
- Burn injuries, due to contact with hot engine parts or fluids;
- Crushing injuries, causing damage to body limbs and internal organs;
- Head injuries, which can result in traumatic brain injuries;
- Injuries to muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues;
- Spinal cord injuries, result in partial or complete paralysis.
When these and other types of truck accident injuries happen, you have the right to hold those at fault accountable. This includes the truck driver, the trucking company they work for, and other motorists on the road who may all share a portion of the blame.
Know What To Do If You
Encounter a Truck Accident
In Oregon, drivers regularly encounter trucks of all sizes on the road, and accidents involving these vehicles can happen in a number of ways. Whether you are involved in a collision with a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or another big rig, or happen to witness one, serious personal injuries can occur as a result and you should know what to do in such an event.
Recognizing Truck Accidents
While accidents involving large trucks may seem infrequent, the fact is that it is challenging to control a truck of any size and even a minor problem the driver experiences could end up impacting numerous others. Among the most common, and potentially dangerous, truck accidents include:
- Head-on collisions: These often occur near the highway exits and entrance ramps. Being unfamiliar with a specific area is a contributing factor.
- Rear-end collisions: Considering the massive weight of most trucks, they require more time to come to a stop. Rear-end collisions are common in heavy traffic or when truck drivers engage in tailgating.
- Rollover accidents: These can happen to pick-up trucks, delivery vans, and large 18-wheelers, impacting other drivers on the road. Uneven loads and going too fast around curves are common causes.
- Side swipe accidents: Visibility is reduced when driving a truck. Swerving into another driver’s lane or attempting to pass can cause these crashes.
- Side-impact accidents: These are common when truck drivers run red lights or stop signs, often leaving other motorists with life-threatening injuries.
How to Handle a Truck Accident
The Oregon Department of Transportation warns drivers that truck accidents in Portland happen on a regular basis. If you are involved in this type of crash, take the following steps to protect yourself and your rights in filing a claim:
- Report the accident immediately to police;
- Get the name of the driver and the company they work for, if applicable;
- Take pictures of the damages you suffer at the scene;
- Get contact information for any witnesses;
- See medical attention immediately, regardless of your symptoms;
- Follow your doctor’s advice regarding treatment and activity restrictions;
- Consult our Portland truck accident attorneys before making any statements about accepting any settlements.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have driven on the roads in Oregon, you know that large commercial trucks are a common sight. All of the trucking companies using our roads have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. Unfortunately, that does not always occur. When semi-truck accidents do happen, the consequences can be truly catastrophic.
At the Johnston Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling truck accident injury claims. Our law firm holds negligent trucking companies liable. Here, our experienced portland semi-truck accident attorney answers some of the most frequently asked questions that injured victims have regarding truck crashes.
According to the most recent data from the Oregon Department of Transportation, there were 2,174 semi-truck accidents reported in the state in 2015. Altogether, these crashes resulted in at least 880 injuries and 54 fatalities. The commercial truck crash rate is similar in Washington. With more total traffic on the roads, the Washington State Department of Transportation reported that more than 6,000 ‘heavy’ trucks were involved in wrecks in 2015.
Following a truck crash, you need to take immediate action to protect your health, your safety, and your legal rights. Specifically, you should:
- Seek immediate medical attention;
- Report the accident to law enforcement officers;
- Exchange information with the truck driver;
- Try to take photographs of the crash; and
- Consult with a truck accident lawyer before talking to an insurance company.
Under the Oregon state statute of limitations (Oregon Revised Statutes section 12.110), injured semi-truck accident victims have two years to file their legal claim. In Washington state, victims have three years to bring their claim. In either case, there is no benefit to waiting: you should initiate your truck accident claim as soon as possible.
When Can Trucking Companies Be Held Liable for a Crash?
Semi-truck accident claims are typically brought under state law. If you were involved in truck wreck in Portland, your claim will be controlled by Oregon law (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 31.600). On the other hand, if you were involved in a truck crash in Vancouver, your personal injury claim will be governed by Washington law (R.C.W.A. §§ 4.22.005-015). In both states, victims must prove that the trucker, trucking company, or some other party was negligent, and that their negligence contributed to the accident in order to prevail in a personal injury claim.
Yes. Trucking companies must follow strict federal and state safety rules. If a trucking company violated safety regulations, and an accident occurs as a result, the company must be held accountable for their misconduct. As trucking regulations are notoriously complex, it is crucial that injured victims work with a personal injury lawyer who can conduct a thorough investigation of their crash.
Semi-truck accident victims are entitled to financial compensation for the full extent of their damages. If you were hurt in a trucking crash in Portland, OR, Vancouver, WA, or any of the surrounding communities, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Medical bills;
- Rehabilitative care;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Wrongful death.
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– Michelle E.
Mr. Johnston and his firm were incredibly thorough in getting us a fair settlement from our insurance company with little to no pressure. We really appreciated having someone who truly cared about us every step of the way. I would highly recommend the Johnston Law Firm to anyone in need of personal injury representation.
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The Johnston Law Firm, LLC proudly represents clients in all cities and counties in Oregon: Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas.
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