Portland Trucking accident attorney

Portland Truck Accident Attorney

Heavy trucks can become extremely dangerous on roads and highways when drivers or trucking companies act negligently or when vehicle parts fail. Improper maintenance, negligent hiring practices, improper loading of trucks and defective truck parts can cause devastating accidents. In particular, semi-trucks or 18-wheelers, when fully loaded, weigh about 20 times the weight of the average passenger car. The momentum of a logging truck, construction truck, delivery or dump truck, combined with its greatly increased stopping distance, decreased maneuverability and top-heavy weight distribution make it a recipe for catastrophe in emergency situations and poorer road conditions.

If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, such as a semi truck, it is critical to consult with an experienced Oregon truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

At Johnston Law Firm, P.C., we work with independent accident scene investigators, accident reconstructionists, other medical experts and economic experts to establish the full value of your case. We can dispatch our investigators to the scene of the accident, document, photograph and collect evidence, including witness statements and law enforcement evidence with professionalism and expedient work.

Contact us today before speaking to insurance companies. Unlike insurance representatives, your needs, goals and recovery are our top priority. We can pursue the maximum compensation we think you can achieve for your injuries and damages.

Do not fall into the trap of common personal injury case mistakes. Seek the immediate assistance of a compassionate semi-truck accident attorney at Johnston Law Firm.

Extensive Experience in Handling Oregon Truck Accident Cases

We have handled more than 1,000 personal injury cases, developing the strongest cases possible for our clients based on advanced legal knowledge and strategic application of the unique facts of your case.

We will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation possible for any type of commercial vehicle or trucking accident you have been involved in. We will carefully look at the facts of your case, and do our best to successfully hold responsible parties accountable in cases involving:

  • Distracted drivers
  • Fatigued drivers
  • Drunk drivers
  • Traffic violations
  • Negligent hiring practices
  • Drivers with poor driving records or criminal records
  • Poor maintenance/improper inspections
  • Improper safety equipment
  • Improper application of reflective taping (conspicuity tape)
  • Defective vehicle parts
  • Inadequate supervision

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:

  • Loss of expected future earnings/wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reimbursement for medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Any other costs applicable to your case

Types of Truck Accidents in Portland & Throughout Oregon

Semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs require skill and experience to operate. Their massive size and bulk makes them difficult to maneuver in traffic and increases the risks of truck accidents. It is important for other motorists to be aware of potential dangers and common types of collisions so that they can take the necessary precautions to avoid them. 

Truck accidents happen on a regular basis and frequently involve nearby drivers. The large size of most big rigs serves to protect the trucker against serious injuries. It is these other motorists involved who typically suffer the brunt of the harm. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), truck accidents kill close to 5,000 people each year while leaving tens of thousands of others with serious personal injuries. It is important for drivers to know the risks and the ways they can protect themselves. There are four common types of truck accidents all motorists need to be alert for: 

  1. Rollover Truck Accidents

These are one of the most common types of truck accidents. They typically happen due to going too fast around curves, making sharp turns, and carrying uneven loads. Drivers should be wary of traveling alongside truckers at any time, but particularly on curvy roads. Use caution in adverse weather conditions as well, when rollovers are more likely to happen. 

  1. Jackknife Truck Accidents

Jackknife truck accidents happen when the truck driver slams on their brakes, causing the trailer to ride up alongside the cab. This often happens on highways and interstates, when truckers are driving at high rates of speed. Traffic tie-ups or accidents ahead increase the odds of jackknife accidents. Always pay attention to what is going on ahead and give truckers plenty of room on the road.

  1. Rear End Collision Truck Accidents

Rear end truck accidents are common in heavy traffic and when drivers are going downhill. They pose some of the biggest threats to motorists, who often suffer life-threatening injuries as a result. Avoid cutting truck drivers off when attempting to pass, give plenty of indication before braking, and move out of the way if a trucker is tailgating or otherwise following you too closely. 

  1. Side-Swipe Truck Accidents

Side-swipe accidents often happen when truck drivers attempt to pass or swerve to avoid objects in the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) warns motorists to be aware of the large blind spots, referred to as ‘no-zones’, which extend out both sides, in front, and behind the truck. Driving in these areas makes side swipe truck accidents more likely to occur. 

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

Top causes of truck accidents

Infographic courtesy of Blair & Ramirez

Truck Accidents: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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.

How Common are Semi-Truck Accidents?

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.

What Should I Do After a Truck Accident?

Following a truck crash, you need to take immediate action to protect your health, your safety, and your legal rights. Specifically, you should:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention;
  2. Report the accident to law enforcement officers;
  3. Exchange information with the truck driver;
  4. Try to take photographs of the crash; and
  5. Consult with a truck accident lawyer before talking to an insurance company.

How Long Do I Have to Bring a Legal Claim?

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.

Are there Special Rules or Laws that Govern Truck Accidents?

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.

What Compensation is Available for Injured Victims?

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;
  • Disability;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Mental distress;
  • Permanent disfigurement;
  • Loss of quality of life; and
  • Wrongful death.

Know What to Do if a Truck Accident in Portland Happens

In Portland, 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 pick-up truck or a major accident with a semi-truck, tractor trailer, or other big rig, serious personal injuries can occur as a result. Know your risks and find out what you should do if a truck accident in Portland does happen.

A recent truck accident in Portland highlights the various ways these crashes can happen and how even a smaller truck poses risks. According to an April 7, 2021 KATU News report, a pick-up truck left a trail of damage in a Southeast Portland neighborhood when the driver lost control, crashing into six different cars and a local resident’s house. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. Police have not revealed the underlying causes. 

While this type of truck accident may seem relatively rare, 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 highway exit 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 of accepting any settlements. 

Contact an Experienced Portland, Oregon Truck Accident Lawyer

Call us at the Johnston Law Firm today at 503-546-3167, toll free at 888-342-7252, or fill out our free confidential case evaluation form on our website. We offer a free initial consultation and flexible hours by appointment. For directions, click here.

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.

Marc Johnston
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