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Oregon Truck Driver
Negligence Accidents

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Were You Struck By a Negligent Truck Driver in Oregon? Johnston Law Firm Would Like to Hear From You!


The average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds. In contrast, a tractor-trailer with a full load can weigh 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. When a truck driver behaves negligently on the road, he or she could cause devastating harm and even loss of life. 

If you were injured in a trucking accident in Portland, Oregon, or elsewhere in the state, you can rely on the experience and resources of Johnston Law Firm. Our truck accident lawyers want to help as many Oregonians as possible by determining whether negligence caused their injuries and by taking legal action to recover their financial losses.

Every case deserves individual attention, compassion, and professionalism – all of which you will find at our law firm. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation regarding your truck accident.

Duties Truck Drivers Owe You

Every motorist is responsible for operating vehicles in a safe manner. This duty of care prevents accidents and preserves the well-being of everyone on the road. 

In Oregon, truck drivers must demonstrate their ability to safely operate their vehicles in a variety of traffic circumstances, including:

  • Turning left and right
  • Traversing intersections and railway crossing 
  • Maneuvering on curves, single and multiple-lane roads and highways

Of course, truck drivers must live up to their duty of care by following the basic rules of the road for all motorists:

  • Obey and yield to traffic patrol members
  • Stop for railroad signals and follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles 
  • Follow speed limits
  • Safely pass slower vehicles and bicycles
  • Avoid using handheld mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle

Dozens more regulations restrict when, where, and how truck drivers can operate their rigs. They might have different speed limits and scheduling requirements.

Due to the complex nature of trucking crashes, make sure to consult a truck accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you obtain essential proof of the at-fault driver’s negligence, including truck driver logs, police reports, and vehicle maintenance and inspection records.

Truck Driver Negligence Can Cause Severe Harm

Serious traffic offenses can also result in the suspension or cancellation of a CDL. Oregon laws and statutes define reckless and careless driving as behaviors that “endanger the safety of persons or property.” 

Unsecured cargo

2023 report reveals that trucking has become the predominant way to transport freight in recent years. In 2022, trucks carried 12.6 billion tons of cargo worth more than $13.6 trillion. 

Freight transportation is a more delicate operation than some might realize. Federal laws require commercial motor vehicles to secure their cargo. 

In general, truckers must:

  • Load and equip cargo in such a way that it does not leak, spill, blow, or fall from the vehicle onto public roads
  • Immobilize or secure transported materials in such a way to minimize or eliminate shifting, so the vehicle’s stability or maneuverability is not compromised 
  • Ensure that the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarps, spare tires, and other parts are securely fastened
  • Ensure that the cargo does not block the truck driver’s view, interfere with his or her movement, or prevent access to emergency equipment

Trucking companies are responsible for securing cargo properly, training their employees on the best methods, and inspecting loads. A truck accident lawyer can investigate to determine whether the driver was negligent, such as by failing to secure equipment. Your attorney can also determine whether unreasonable deadlines impeded the driver from securing, inspecting, and delivering cargo safely. 

An unstable semi-truck could tip over and the falling unsecured cargo could cause harm to people and property. If you were hurt due to a truck driver’s negligence regarding transported materials, you could be due a considerable payout.

Distracted driving

In Oregon, 3 distracted driving offenses can result in a $2500 fine, criminal charges, and several months in jail. Despite the penalties, some truck drivers continue to take risks with human life by letting distractions divide their attention. 

After enacting stricter laws on cellphone use in 2017, monthly collision rates fell in Oregon. The fall in crashes indicates a strong relationship between distracted driving and traffic accidents. Getting distracted on the road is an all-too-common danger.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

Truck drivers risk losing their commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) if they engage in high-risk behaviors such as:

  • Operating a CMV while having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.4 percent or higher
  • Operating any vehicle at any time while having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 percent or above or under the influence of cannabis, psilocybin (fungi), inhalants, or other controlled substances or intoxicants
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using a vehicle to commit a felony 
  • Driving a CMV on a suspended CMV license
  • Refusing a blood, breath, or urine test when requested by a traffic enforcement officer 

The danger of negligence is all too real. Over 1,100 of Oregon’s traffic crashes in 2021 named “drinking” as a contributing factor. 

Underride accidents

An underride accident occurs when a car goes underneath the body of a truck, usually at the rear or the side of the larger vehicle. In this particular instance, negligence on the part of the truck driver can contribute to accidents through factors such as failure to maintain proper equipment like rear underride guards, mandated by federal laws, or inattention while driving. Unfortunately, the results of such reprehensible driving are sometimes severe injuries, property damage, and death. 

Since trucks are often taller than cars, the point of impact is often the hood or windshield of the smaller vehicle. An impact in these areas may not trigger airbags or other safety protection, and the resulting injuries could be substantial.

Some federal laws govern the use of rear underride protection, such as rear underride guards. Agencies are also investigating the effectiveness of side underride guards

Don’t miss out on these common personal injury mistakes.

Get the legal counsel you need to guide you through the process of filing an injury claim.

Recover Truck Accident Damages

In Oregon, you can pursue compensation for losses incurred due to truck driver negligence. Most trucking companies carry insurance to protect them financially in the case of collisions. 

Common truck accident damages are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Repair or replacement of property
  • Household services
  • Funeral and burial costs

When an insurer resists paying a fair sum, or when a lawsuit otherwise becomes necessary, some truck accidents will go to trial. If so, the victims must prove their truck accident cases to a judge or jury. Most of the time, however, claims are resolved out of court. 

If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you have limited time to file. States set deadlines to ensure that evidence is fresh and at-fault parties don’t have to live under the threat of legal action indefinitely. 

Meeting these time constraints is easier with guidance and assistance. A legal professional can explain your rights and options for seeking compensation. What’s more, working with a truck accident lawyer helps you keep on top of deadlines to ensure you don’t forfeit your right to claim financial compensation.

Trucker Negligence
Frequently Asked Questions

At the Johnston Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling truck accident injury claims. Our law firm holds negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and other parties liable for their actions or inactions. Here, our experienced Portland semi-truck accident attorneys answer some of the most frequently asked questions that injured victims have regarding truck driver’s negligence.

To obtain evidence proving the truck driver’s negligence, start by collecting information at the accident scene, including photos of vehicle damage, skid marks, and road conditions. Obtain contact details and statements from witnesses. Request the police report, which may contain crucial observations and details. Additionally, seek maintenance records and the truck driver’s logbooks to check for violations of Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Surveillance footage from nearby cameras can also be valuable. An experienced truck accident attorney can issue subpoenas for the truck’s black box data, which records speed, braking, and other operational details before the crash. Medical records documenting your injuries and their severity are also vital in supporting your claim.

Whether you can sue the truck driver personally for negligence or if the lawsuit must go through their employer depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Typically, if the truck driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, their employer may be held vicariously liable for their actions. However, in certain situations where the driver’s conduct goes beyond the scope of employment or involves intentional wrongdoing, a lawsuit against the driver personally may be appropriate. Consulting with a qualified attorney can help determine the best course of action based on the details of your case.

Fatigue significantly contributes to truck driver negligence, as it impairs reaction times, judgment, and alertness, increasing the risk of accidents. Federal regulations limit driving hours to prevent fatigue, but violations of these Hours of Service (HOS) rules are common. If a truck driver was fatigued at the time of the accident, it could be strong evidence of negligence, potentially holding the driver and their employer accountable for resulting damages.

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Seeking Justice for Truck Driver Negligence in Oregon

To hold the negligent party accountable for their ruinous actions, you must prove negligence contributed to the truck accident. Gathering evidence and filing legal motions on time – while also attending to your physical and emotional recovery – requires professional experience.

Marc A. Johnston and his personal injury law team have taken on this challenging task and won life-changing settlements for clients. Driven by Marc’s strong sense of justice, we are determined to help you get the compensation you deserve as well. 

Find out if significant compensation could be on the horizon for you. Schedule your free consultation to share the facts of your truck accident claim. We look forward to speaking with you to see how we can get you back on your feet ASAP.


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