With major container ports in both Tacoma and Seattle and a number of nationwide firms headquartered in the area, the Puget Sound area sees a tremendous amount of truck traffic on its roads and highways. When accidents occur due to negligent or reckless driving or trucking company negligence, the Washington truck accident lawyers at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler devote their skill and experience to obtaining full and fair compensation for the injured victim, while holding the responsible party fully accountable for the damages that have been caused.
For many reasons, 18-wheelers pose a significant danger of serious injury or wrongful death to other drivers on the road. Due to their enormous size and weight relative to most other vehicles, even a low-speed impact can cause serious harm to the occupants of the smaller automobile. In addition, the limited maneuverability and visibility of big rigs requires that drivers be alert to their surroundings, allow for increased stopping distance, and clearly signal their intentions.
Car drivers may not fully appreciate the risk factors associated with semis and may find themselves involved in a collision if driving aggressively or recklessly around a truck without considering the truck’s limitations regarding visibility and maneuverability. Both the automobile and truck driver are charged with the duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care.
Unfortunately, the nature of the trucking industry encourages truckers to get their load to their destination as quickly as possible. This pressure leads to drivers operating their rigs when they are fatigued, and promotes speeding and reckless or aggressive driving. Truckers may also be tempted to take stimulants to help them stay on the road longer. Whether over-the-counter or illegal controlled substances, the use of stimulants has been shown to decrease alertness and awareness, hampering reaction time and the ability to drive safely. A truck driver who negligently or intentionally drives without due care may be liable for any accidents or personal injuries that occur as a result.
Besides the driver, the trucking company may bear some responsibility as well. The proper loading and balancing of the load may initially be the responsibility of the company. Training the driver and other workers and providing proper inspections and maintenance on the vehicle may also be required. This duty may include supplying the cab with fire extinguishers and other necessary safety equipment, which may help in the event of an accident to reduce injury to the driver and others. If the truck, its parts, or equipment are defectively designed or manufactured, the manufacturer may potentially be held liable in a products liability claim as well.
The law recognizes the dangers and hazards associated with trucking and sets forth extensive regulations designed to increase the safe operation of semis on the nation’s highways and roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has promulgated regulations covering everything from length, width, and weight limitations of trucks to inspection, repair, and maintenance. The law also regulates the maximum hours of service for truck drivers.
The law also requires that records and logs be kept documenting that the driver and trucking company are in compliance with the rules. After an accident, it is important to obtain a copy of these records, as they may provide evidence of negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company. It is not unheard of for such records to be altered or completed after the fact, so these records may need to be carefully scrutinized.
Truck accident cases are often more complex and more vigorously defended than car accidents. It is important to trust your case to an attorney who is experienced in handling collisions involving commercial vehicles and dealing with trucking companies and their insurance carriers. The law firm of Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler has been handling civil litigation claims and commercial vehicle accidents in Washington State for over 50 years. Our experienced attorneys possess an in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations covering 18-wheelers and understand the steps necessary to obtain a fair recovery on behalf of clients who have been injured by a dangerous semi truck. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a commercial vehicle accident, contact Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler for sound advice and effective representation.
"Client was disabled from working in prior profession after sustaining a severe closed head injury and brain trauma in an automobile accident on Interstate 5. $7,845,000. "
"Pedestrian client was struck by semi-truck, and the trailer wheels rolled over client’s body causing severe injury. $1,145,000. "
"Client was involved in a head-on collision when a bus crossed the center line. Client suffered a severe closed head injury preventing him from returning to his previous employment. $884,998. "
"Client was involved in serious head-on collision with uninsured motorist while on-the-job, resulting in physical injury and posttraumatic stress disorder. Client can no longer work as a commercial truck driver. $708,000. "
"Client was a rear seat passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an automobile accident. Client was severely injured as the result of a defective seatbelt, while the other three occupants of the vehicle sustained only minor injuries. $650,000. "
"Client was killed in automobile accident caused by defendant’s failure to yield the right-of-way. $650,000. "
"Minor client was on his way to school and was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. Defendant driver had pulled into oncoming lane to pass another vehicle and struck client, causing serious injuries. $500,000. "
"Client was killed as a result of an in-cab fuel tank, which caught fire after an automobile accident. $350,000. "
"Client riding a bicycle was struck by a motorist who failed to yield the right-of-way. Client sustained numerous injuries, including a closed head injury. $120,000. "
"I have been a client of Dan Kyler’s since 1996. Having had numerous car accidents, I rely upon Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler to help me through them. The most obscure questions have been answered and help is given on all levels. Thanks."
"John Wilson demonstrated his professionalism by keeping us current on our case, explaining our options, giving us realistic expectations and demonstrating the highest level of ethics and integrity beyond reproach. We have the highest confidence that we were well represented."
"Dan Hannula’s hard work helped to settle my auto accident case. "
"Having a motorcycle accident was bad enough, let alone dealing with insurance companies. John Wilson and his staff made everything easy to understand and hassle free. "
"I am extremely satisfied with the service I experienced with this firm and I would recommend them to anyone that needs legal representation. Michael Fisher and his staff are great people. "
"Vern Harkins perseverance and hard work made it possible to get the maximum settlement from the insurance company. I know he had my interest in mind as demonstrated by his actions. "
"The office staff were courteous, pleasant and kept me informed as to what was going on throughout the whole ordeal. "
"Molly Crowley is a very professional and knowledgeable lawyer. I felt I was very well represented!! "
"Molly Crowley was knowledgeable, kept me informed every step of the way and just did a great job! "
"We got a fair settlement and were treated with respect and dignity throughout the whole process. -Blake W. "