Whether they are called semi truck accidents, trucking accidents, or any other names, an accident involving a large commercial truck should not be confused with car accidents. The sheer size and mass of an 18-wheeler means the impact from a trucking accident can be exponentially worse. The damage to both your own vehicle and your body can be unimaginably severe.
The damage doesn’t stop when the tow trucks drive away; an accident with a commercial truck continues wreaking havoc on your wallet in the form of mounting medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, not to mention the psychological trauma and emotional upset.
To make matters worse, when you file an insurance claim, you’re likely to be low-balled by the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster, whose job it is to pay out the minimum they can get away with in order to preserve the profits of the insurance company. It’s salt in the wound after a traumatic event.
If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident in Oregon, don’t settle for whatever the insurance company offers. Contact Peton Law to discuss your case with our expert staff so we can help you make an informed decision about your case.
What's different about semi truck accidents?
Unlike a regular private passenger vehicle, there are vast and complex driving regulations that govern semi trucks, both on the federal and state level. Understanding those rules and regulations is important to successfully pursing your claim.
The process of discovery, litigation, and negotiation is complex. Your attorneys must work to reconstruct the accident and the events leading up to it in detail. They also examine other issues which may affect the case—such as restrictions on driving time, weight limits, or certain things that must be done regarding the load. They must also painstakingly collect and manage medical records, secure expert medical testimony from doctors and surgeons, discover all relevant evidence, and only then do they take on the big insurance companies to recover damages.
Trucking accidents are more complicated to resolve than motor vehicle accidents because the driver of the truck may only be partly at fault. The trucking industry consists of numerous other people, facilities, manufacturers, and other parties—all of which could have contributed in some way to your crash.
In a trucking accident case, identifying the correct at-fault parties is critical for a successful claim. Failure to identify the at-fault parties correctly could severely impact your claim.
Common factors used in identifying the at-fault parties in your truck accident include:
- Following too closely. Some drivers will follow other trucks far too closely, sometimes just one car length behind. They do this through either carelessness or possibly even intentionally in an effort to improve fuel economy. Such actions are extremely dangerous. For example, at 60 miles per hour, vehicle travels 88 feet per second. The average length of a vehicle is just under 15 feet, so at one car length traveling distance, that gives a semi truck driver 0.20 seconds to start slowing down. When you take into account that the average reaction time to visual stimuli for humans is .25 seconds, odds are an accident is likely to occur.
- Drowsy driving – It’s common knowledge that many truckers drive on too little sleep. Often they are rushing to get to their destination to receive a time bonus. Some trucking companies even demand drivers stay on the road for too long at a time without adequate rest. Driving while drowsy causes accidents and drivers as well as trucking companies can be held responsible.
- Speeding – We’ve all seen the truck drivers who act like speed limits don’t apply to them. The danger here is that 18-wheelers and semi-trucks require more time and distance than cars to stop—even at normal speeds. Excessive speed needs even more time to stop safely.
- Road Hazards – Recapped tires are old, worn-out tires that are made "like-new" again and are much cheaper than new tires, which is why some trucking companies use them. When subjected to heavy loads and excessive heat, they can blow out, sending shards of rubber in all directions. Your vehicle might also be damaged if it hits the remnants of these tires in the roadway.
- Intoxicated Driving – Truckers sometimes make the negligent decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, just as other drivers do. But the risk of injury due to an accident caused by intoxication is exponentially worse when the driver is behind the wheel of a loaded semi.
- Trucking Regulation Violations – Federal agencies regulate the trucking industry and set truck weight limits, height restrictions, and other factors. If these regulations are violated, they could be a factor in your truck accident, and either the truck driver or the trucking company could be accountable.
- Cargo Loading Practices – Most drivers don’t load their own trucks; there are teams that load the cargo. If improperly loaded, cargo may shift within the trailer causing the driver to lose control of the truck. Regulations require that a driver check his or her load after the trip has started and confirm it is properly secured. Some loads are sealed by the shipper which prohibits the driver from performing that inspection. Often the company that loaded the cargo will blame the driver, and vice-versa. If a driver is hauling such a load and has an accident, it is critical to learn who loaded it to establish fault.
Serious injuries demand serious compensation
When tens of thousands of pounds of metal, rubber, and cargo crash at speed, the damage can be unbelievable. Trucking accidents have a greater likelihood of causing serious injury. The average cost of a ICU (Intensive Care Unit) room at a hospital is over $10,000 per day. That’s just for the room—it doesn’t include the doctors' fees or cost of services, medicine, or supplies. With rising medical costs, it is critical that your settlement provide compensation for your medical bills.
The most common serious injury types that result from trucking accidents in Oregon are:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Spinal injuries, including paralysis
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Face and eye damage
- Internal organ damage
These are just the physical injuries. There can also be severe emotional and psychological trauma following a trucking accident. You may be entitled not only to recover your medical costs, but also to receive compensation for the pain and suffering that can remain long after the physical wounds have healed.
WHAT IS YOUR CASE WORTH?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked. But every personal injury or accident case is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all compensation guide for seeking settlement. At the end of the day our goal at Peton Law is to get you the compensation that covers every expense and hardship you’ve had to face because of your trucking accident.
Damages You May Be Eligible To Receive
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the following expenses and damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost Income
- Future medical bills / ongoing health care
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement / dismemberment
- Emotional injury
- Wrongful death
- Property damage
In many cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages, meant to punish the negligent party for their wrongdoing and to deter future negligence.
What Our Clients Say About Us
“My husband was in an accident and we reached out to Neal Peton for legal representation. We were very fortunate to have found Neal and his team. We had never been involved in any type of litigation until this accident. We were nervous and naive about the process but couldn’t have felt more at ease with Neal’s representation.”
“I was referred to Neal for my accident and he made my life so much easier. I didn't have to stress over talking to the insurance company deadlines or dealing with paperwork. Definitely worth it and I highly recommend him!”
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If you’re in need of representation in a personal injury or bankruptcy case, Peton Law can help. Our legal professionals are experts in personal injury and bankruptcy law. We advocate for the best possible outcome for our clients—and we get results. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.