Tacoma Truck Accident Attorneys

Dedicated to Justice for Truck Accident Survivors
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Tacoma or anywhere in Washington, the road to justice and compensation begins with experienced legal representation. Experiencing an auto accident can be life-altering and overwhelming, but the team at Freeman Law Firm, Inc. is dedicated to guiding you through every step. Don’t let your rights be compromised. With our experienced truck accident lawyers by your side, you’ll have the confidence to leave matters in our hands, while you focus on healing and moving forward.
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Trucking accidents are among the most devastating types of road accidents, often resulting in severe injuries and, in some cases, fatalities. When you or a loved one is involved in a crash with a commercial truck in Washington State, you may not be aware of your legal rights, but our Tacoma truck accident attorneys will help you understand how truck accident lawsuits work, including how we can assist you in getting the justice and compensation you deserve.

On This Page

Types of Truck Accidents

Causes Of Truck Accidents

Types Of Injuries Sustained from Truck Accidents

Who Could Be Liable for A Truck Accident?

Potential Compensation in Truck Accident Lawsuits

Filing A Truck Accident Lawsuit or Insurance Claim

Bringing A Truck Accident Wrongful Death Claim

A Lawyers Role in An Insurance Claim or Lawsuit

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Proven Success in Truck Accident Cases

Types of Truck Accidents

Jackknife Accidents

A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer of a truck folds inward toward the cab, creating an acute angle similar to a folding pocket knife. This kind of accident may be caused by a truck operator suddenly hitting the brakes or failing to successfully navigate slippery road conditions. In Washington State, the law recognizes that both truck drivers and trucking companies have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition (RCW 46.37.010). If the brakes were faulty and this led to a jackknife accident, you might have a strong case against the responsible party.

Rollover Accidents

In rollover accidents, the truck tips over onto its side or roof. These accidents are typically caused by high speeds, sharp turns, or unstable loads. Washington State law mandates that all vehicles must be loaded such that none of its cargo drops, sifts, leaks, or otherwise escapes (RCW 46.61.655). If a rollover occurs because of improperly loaded cargo, both the driver and the trucking company could be held accountable.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions unfold when a truck with a vehicle traveling in front of it. Tailgating, distracted driving, and poor weather conditions are common causes. According to Washington State law, a driver should not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent (RCW 46.61.145). In rear-end collision cases, it’s often easier to prove the truck driver’s fault.

Blind Spot Accidents

Blind spots on trucks are much larger than those on passenger cars. Accidents occur when a truck driver changes lanes or turns without noticing a vehicle in their blind spot. Washington State law requires all drivers to ensure that lanes are clear before making any moves (RCW 46.61.305). Truck drivers are also required to have mirrors that provide a certain field of view (RCW 46.37.400), and failing to adhere to these rules can make them liable in a blind spot accident case.

T-Bone Accidents

A T-bone accident unfolds when a truck collides with the side of a car or truck, forming a “T.” These accidents often play out at intersections and can be the result of running a red light or failing to yield. Washington law specifically states that vehicle operators must obey traffic control devices (RCW 46.61.050) and must properly yield right-of-way when required (RCW 46.61.180). A violation of these laws could be used to support your claim.

Under-Ride Accidents

In under-ride accidents, a smaller vehicle slides under the rear or side of a truck. These are particularly dangerous and often fatal. Federal law requires trucks to have under-ride guards, but Washington State also mandates safety precautions such as reflective tape and lighting on trailers to prevent under-ride incidents (RCW 46.37.517).

Head-On Collisions

This type of crash is when the front end of a truck collides with the front end of another vehicle. Often caused by negligent driving or loss of control, head-on collisions often lead to fatalities. Washington law prohibits driving on the opposite side of the road from the flow of traffic (RCW 46.61.150), and a violation could support your claim in a head-on collision.

Types of Injuries Sustained from Truck Accidents

When it comes to motor vehicle collisions, truck accidents often result in the most devastating outcomes. Due to the sheer size and weight of commercial trucks, the injuries sustained can be far more severe than those in a typical car accident. In Washington State, the severity of injuries from truck accidents can directly influence the compensation you receive from your claim. Serious injuries often lead to higher compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys are experts in putting together a case that secures the best possible outcome for your case. 

Physical Injuries

One of the most immediate impacts of a truck accident is physical injury. The force of a collision involving a commercial truck can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor to fatal.

Broken Bones and Fractures

Bone fractures are common in truck accidents. Whether it's a simple fracture or a compound break, the recovery time and medical costs can be extensive. This can affect your ability to work and carry out everyday activities.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Another severe injury is damage to the spinal cord, which can lead to paralysis in the worst cases. Washington law recognizes the lifelong suffering and costs associated with spinal cord injuries, and you may be entitled to compensation under Washington's personal injury statutes, specifically RCW 4.16.080, which sets the statute of limitations for such cases.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can result from the violent jolts often experienced in truck accidents. These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage. Cognitive and physical functions could be permanently affected.

Emotional And Psychological Injuries

Less visible but equally damaging are the emotional and psychological injuries that can result from a truck accident.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Accident survivors often experience PTSD, affecting their ability to drive or even ride in a vehicle again. Emotional distress is also recognized under Washington law, and you can claim compensation for psychological treatment.

Anxiety And Depression

The impact of an accident can lead to long-term anxiety and depression, especially when coping with physical injuries or the loss of a loved one. These conditions can require ongoing therapy and medication.

Financial Implications: The Added Burden

Medical bills pile up quickly for truck accident victims when treating these types of severe injuries. Moreover, you may find yourself unable to work, either temporarily or permanently. Washington's wrongful death and personal injury laws allow for the recovery of lost wages and medical expenses.

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Who Could Be Liable for A Truck Accident?

Identifying liability in truck accidents is more complex than in standard car collisions because negligence can involve multiple parties beyond just the truck driver, such as the trucking company. Our attorneys understand all of these nuances and will ensure that all negligent parties are identified and compensation is pursued from the correct entities.

The Driver

Obviously, the truck driver will be one of the first people to be investigated for liability in a truck accident. Under Washington law, every driver on the road owes a “duty of reasonable care” to others. If a truck driver engages in negligent actions like speeding, driving under the influence, or failing to obey traffic signs, they can be held directly liable for injuries caused.

The Vehicle Manufacturer

In some cases, the truck accident might occur due to a mechanical failure that is no fault of the driver or the trucking company. If a defect in the truck led to the accident, the vehicle manufacturer could be held liable under product liability laws. Washington has adopted product liability laws that allow for the manufacturer to be held responsible if their product is found to be defective and leads to injuries.

Maintenance Providers

If a third-party maintenance provider was responsible for keeping the truck in safe operating condition, they could also be held liable if their negligence led to a mechanical failure that caused the accident.

Other Drivers

In some multi-vehicle accidents involving a truck, other drivers may share some of the blame. Washington honors a “pure comparative negligence” legal theory. This means that even if your actions or inactions contributed to the cause of your collision, you can still pursue damages from others, although your recovery would be reduced by your percentage of fault.

The Trucking Company

Trucking companies are often held liable for the actions of their drivers under the principle of “vicarious liability.” In Washington State, if an employee is acting within the scope of their employment when they cause an accident, the employer could also be found liable. Additionally, trucking companies have specific responsibilities to maintain their fleets and ensure that their drivers are adequately trained. Failing in these areas could make them liable.

Cargo Loaders

Improperly loaded cargo can make a truck unstable and prone to tipping over or shedding its load onto the roadway, causing an accident. The parties responsible for loading the truck could be held liable for any injuries resulting from their negligence in ensuring that the cargo was safely and correctly loaded.

Government Entities

Although less common, in some circumstances, government entities could be held responsible for a truck accident. If the accident was caused by poorly maintained roads, lack of adequate signage, or other failures of infrastructure, a government entity could be liable under Washington’s Tort Claims Act. However, claims against government entities are subject to strict filing deadlines and other procedural requirements.

Filing A Truck Accident Lawsuit or Insurance Claim

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in Washington State, you’re likely going through physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Whether you’re considering filing a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim relating to a truck accident, our team will support you through every step and work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.

Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the first steps to take after a truck accident is to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who is well-versed in Washington State law. Lawyers can assess your case, guide you through the complex legal process, and help you understand whether it’s better to file an insurance claim or go straight to a lawsuit.
Relevant Washington Laws: RCW 4.16.080
Under Washington law, you have a specific timeframe, known as a statute of limitations, within which you must file your lawsuit. According to RCW 4.16.080, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Collect Vital Evidence

The evidence you collect is crucial for both insurance claims and lawsuits. Police reports, medical records, and photographs of the accident scene can significantly impact your case’s outcome. If possible, gather testimonies from eyewitnesses, as they could prove useful later.
Relevant Washington Laws: RCW 46.52.030
Washington law, under RCW 46.52.030, mandates that drivers involved in an accident resulting in injury or death must report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency. These reports may serve as critical evidence in your case.

Filing An Insurance Claim

After a truck accident in Washington, you’ll likely start by filing an insurance claim by contacting your insurance provider and providing them with the evidence and details of the accident. Insurance companies will typically try to settle, but don't accept any offer without consulting your attorney, as the initial offer is often far less than what you’re entitled to.
Relevant Washington Laws: RCW 48.18.545
Washington State requires insurers to settle claims promptly and fairly. Failure to do so could be considered bad faith, which could make the insurance company liable for more than just the claim amount.

Preparing For a Lawsuit

If you can’t reach an agreement through the insurance claim process, or if your damages far exceed what an insurance claim can cover, then a lawsuit may be your next course of action. One of the first steps your attorney will take will be drafting a complaint to outline your allegations and the damages you’re seeking. This complaint is then filed with the appropriate court to initiate the lawsuit.

Legal Process and Trial

Once the lawsuit is filed, both parties engage in a discovery process to exchange evidence. Negotiations often continue in parallel to see if a settlement can be reached before trial. If no agreement is reached, the case goes to trial, where both sides present their arguments and evidence. The judge or jury will then decide the outcome, including the compensation amount, if any.
Relevant Washington Laws: RCW 4.44.090
In Washington, according to RCW 4.44.090, jurors in a civil case like a personal injury lawsuit are typically instructed to determine the facts based on a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means it’s more likely than not that your allegations are true.

Hiring the Right Tacoma Truck Accident Lawyer

Understanding Washington State law can be intimidating when you’re already dealing with the impact of a truck accident. From understanding the statutes of limitations to knowing where to file your lawsuit, each step carries its own set of challenges. Hiring a qualified Tacoma truck accident attorney can make all the difference in securing the compensation you deserve and it's best to consult a Washington truck accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident.

Bringing A Truck Accident Wrongful Death Claim

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If you’ve lost a loved one in a truck accident, the emotional and financial toll can be devastating. You’re not alone. In Washington State, you may have the option of bringing a wrongful death claim to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The following explains the specifics of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Washington State, particularly relating to truck accidents. 

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

In Washington State, wrongful death is defined under RCW 4.20.010. According to this law, when a person’s death is caused due to the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person, a personal representative of the deceased may bring a legal action against the responsible party. This lawsuit is to recover economic and noneconomic damages sustained by the beneficiaries of the deceased. The law applies regardless of whether the death was caused under circumstances that amount to a felony.

Types Of Damages You Can Recover

In Washington State, you can claim both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include tangible costs such as medical bills and loss of income. Noneconomic damages pertain to intangible losses, like pain and suffering, loss of love and companionship, and loss of emotional support.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to RCW 4.20.010, the personal representative of the deceased person is authorized to bring a wrongful death action. The economic and noneconomic damages are then distributed to the beneficiaries listed in RCW 4.20.020. These beneficiaries may include the deceased person’s spouse, children, or parents if the deceased is a minor.

Death Of a Child: Special Considerations

If the deceased is a child, RCW 4.24.010 provides specific rules for filing a wrongful death claim. A parent or legal guardian who has regularly contributed to the child’s support or had significant involvement in the child’s life may bring or join a wrongful death claim. “Significant involvement” is defined as providing emotional, psychological, or financial support to the child near the time of death or the incident causing death. This action may be maintained only if the child has no spouse, state-registered domestic partner, or children.

The Role of a Truck Accident Lawyer in An Insurance Claim or Lawsuit

Why You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer in Washington State

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident on top of the impact of the accident on your life you'll be facing a complex web of legal issues as well as a potential fight with trucking companies or insurance companies. Your attorney will help you get through all of this with expertise and compassion.

Gathering Evidence: The Groundwork for A Solid Claim

The first thing an experienced truck accident lawyer does is gather evidence. They dig deep into accident reports, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimonies. Through this investigation, your attorney can determine the cause of the accident, whether it was due to truck driver fatigue, equipment failure, or other reasons. This is important for establishing liability under Washington’s comparative negligence law (RCW 4.22.005), which could potentially reduce your compensation if you are found partially at fault.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies: The Art of The Deal

The next significant role that a personal injury lawyer plays is in negotiating with insurance companies. Keep in mind, insurance companies are for-profit entities, and their primary objective is to minimize their payouts. Without legal representation, you could receive a settlement that’s far below what you deserve. The lawyer employs negotiation tactics,

Understanding The Medical Aspect: An Overlooked Factor

Your lawyer understands the complex medical considerations that come with injuries sustained in a truck accident. They can consult medical professionals to gauge the severity of your injuries, long-term impact, and estimated future medical expenses. This information will be key in quantifying the damages in your personal injury claim.

Drafting Legal Documents: Putting It All in Writing

Once the information is gathered and negotiations are underway, your lawyer will draft the necessary legal documents. These can range from initial demand letters to the insurance company to filing a formal lawsuit if an amicable settlement isn't reached. Knowing how to draft these documents, in compliance with Washington's civil procedure rules can make or break your case.

Navigating The Court System: From Filing to Resolution

If your case goes to trial, your truck accident lawyer will take on the role of your advocate before the judge and jury. They'll present your case in the most compelling way, using evidence, expert testimony, and legal arguments to convince the court of the other party's liability. They’ll also keep you abreast of deadlines, like Washington State's three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims under RCW 4.16.080, ensuring you don't lose your right to legal recourse.

Calculating Damages: What Is Your Claim Worth?

Calculating the true extent of your damages is a difficult process. It includes not just your medical expenses and property damage, but also non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In Washington, there’s no cap on these types of damages, but having an experienced lawyer who understands how to make these calculations can help you get the maximum compensation.

Get the Best Truck Accident Lawyers on Your Side

As your advocate in your claim, a truck accident lawyer in Washington State can gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, understand the medical implications, draft essential legal documents, guide you through the court system, and calculate your damages accurately. Given the complex laws and high stakes involved, working with a good personal injury attorney highly impact the success of your claim.

At Freeman Law Firm, Inc., our experienced truck accident lawyers will be with you every step of the way, from investigating the incident to fighting for you in court. Time is of the essence in accident claims; don’t delay in securing the representation you need to navigate this complex legal terrain. Call us today at (253) 383-4500 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.
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