Oregon Truck Accident Attorneys
Fighting for You When the Stakes are High
After an accident with a commercial big rig, anyone in a smaller vehicle often suffers significant injuries that can cause lifetime of complications. The costs of treatments, rehabilitation, and more can be significant, not to mention the impact a truck accident can have on a victim’s wages due to missing work. When so much is on the line, only an experienced truck accident lawyer should be trusted with any related injury claims.
The Gatti Law Firm has more than 45 years of collective legal experience taking on difficult injury claims in communities throughout Oregon. We know that our clients are depending on us to do a great job for them, securing as much compensation as possible on their behalves. Taking every truck accident claim to heart, we explore all options and go above and beyond what you might expect a law firm to do for you.
See The Gatti Law Firm difference for yourself. Call our Oregon truck accidnet lawyers at (503) 543-1114 today.
What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
The cause of your truck accident is important when preparing a truck accident claim. Knowing the cause can strengthen your statements and point liability to the correct parties. Our Oregon truck accident lawyers can investigate and analyze the evidence collected regarding your truck accident to either find the cause or prove it.
What are some of the worst causes of truck accidents in Oregon?
- Exhaustion: Truck driver exhaustion is a notoriously dangerous and widespread problem on highways across the nation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows most truckers to work 14-hour shifts with only 3 hours of breaks during it. Towards the end of an average shift, a trucker could be completely fatigued and barely able to pay attention to the road.
- Intoxication: Commercial truck drivers must not operate their big rigs or tractor trailers after drinking even a slight amount of alcohol. It is illegal for a trucker to get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of just 0.04, half the usual 0.08 limit for adult drivers.
- Speeding: Some truck drivers may be tempted to end their shifts sooner by completing deliveries faster. By speeding to end routes quickly, they put everyone else on the road in serious danger of a high-speed crash.
- Overloaded trailers: The FMCSA has a strict set of rules regarding how heavy different tractor trailers can be when on the road. Going above those limits will make it more difficult to steer the truck and bring it to a complete stop.
- Lack of experience: Lack of experience is a big problem for truck drivers. All new truck drivers must pay close attention to speed limits, scan the roads and highways ahead of them, understand where their blind spots are, and follow laws and regulations.
- Maintenance failures: Trucking company owners, truck drivers, and others play a role in ensuring that a truck is safe for operation. Inspection and maintenance are critical parts of the process because they allow the company to recognize any potential defects and failures.
- Employer negligence: Even when drivers operate longer than they should or speed, it’s not always of their own accord. In many cases, employers may pressure drivers to meet deadlines, threatening their jobs if they don’t. Even more, some employers may try to save money by utilizing more inexperienced truck drivers.
Various Liable Parties to Consider
Who might be liable for your truck accident on the highways of Oregon? Unlike a typical car accident in which the other driver is often the only liable party, there could be several accountable for your truck accident. Our Oregon truck accident attorneys will want to take the time to identify all possible liable parties to bring your claim against them all, which can help ensure you get all the compensation owed to you.
Liable parties that we may need to consider for your truck accident claim:
- Truck driver: Nearly all truck accident claims will involve the truck driver as a defendant since they are quite often liable for the crashes that they are in. Depending on the terms of their employment, a truck driver’s individual insurance company might be answering for them.
- Trucking company: The companies that hire or contract truck drivers can be partially responsible for accidents they cause based on the details behind it. For example, a trucking company that hires a trucker with no commercial driving history and a long DUI record could be blamed through professional negligence.
- Load crews: Oftentimes, people who load the trailers of big rigs are not associated with the truck or trucking company. If these third parties misload a trailer in a way that contributes to a crash, they or their employer could be liable to an extent.
- Mechanics: Another third party that plays a significant role in the safe operation of a commercial truck is the company that repairs and maintains the trucks. With each defect unrepaired, the risk of a truck accident rises.
- Manufacturers: Companies that make the parts for large commercial trucks can be responsible for a crash if there’s a defect. Brake failure is a common product defect. Large commercial trucks already have a challenging time stopping; a defect can make it nearly impossible.
What Makes Truck Accidents So Dangerous?
Truck accidents tend to be much more devastating than a typical car accident. What about these types of traffic collisions makes them prone to causing catastrophic injuries? The answer lies in physics.
A heavy object going at a high speed has much more power behind it than a smaller object going at the same speed. When a multi-ton big rig hits a smaller car, it will exert all of its force on it.
With the heightened dangers of truck accidents comes worsened injuries. With worsened injuries comes increased damages. To this end, you could be facing steep medical bills and other damages after a crash, so you will want your claim on the desk of an experienced law firm like ours.
What are Common Injuries Suffered in Truck Accidents?
Due to their immense size and weight, commercial trucks in motion build up a greater amount of force than their smaller counterparts. Therefore, at most any speed, a truck accident has the potential to cause severe injuries to people in smaller vehicles like passenger cars.
Catastrophic injuries often reported in truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Neck injuries like whiplash
- Permanent disfigurement
- Broken bones
Common Types of Truck Accidents
While roughly 500,000 truck accidents occur each year, very few of them are similar. Different types of crashes can occur involving commercial trucks, each causing significant damage.
We already know that commercial trucks are more difficult to stop. When a truck driver approaches traffic and slams on their brakes unexpectedly, it can cause the trailer to skid out from behind the rig and create a 90-degree angle with the cab. It forms a jackknife, and all nearby vehicles can be in the collision course.
Unevenly loaded trailers and inexperienced drivers are often the most common causes of rollover accidents. If a driver loses control of their truck, it can cause the trailer to topple over onto its side, with nearby motorists becoming innocent victims.
Wide Turn Accidents
Large commercial trucks have a much wider turn radius than other vehicles. As such, they may swing out to make a tight turn. In the process, they can crash into vehicles in the next lane. Motorists should be sure to stay clear of truck drivers whenever possible near a turn.
Lost Load Accidents
Overloaded trailers or cargo that is not properly secured can cause numerous dangers for those who drive behind a commercial truck. Unfortunately, if a truck loses its trailer or the load within it, motorists can’t prepare properly. Stopping may be nearly impossible to do, and it can cause a severe crash.
Truck Accident FAQS
What Makes a Truck Accident Claim More Complicated?
For the most part, personal injury firms see truck accident claims as inherently more complicated than the average car accident case. The reasoning is that regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will apply to most truck accident cases, so there is an added element of legal rules and expectations. Truck accident claims are also more likely to be contested by insurance companies because they are more likely to trigger significant damages. To try to avoid their responsibilities to injured parties, insurance companies like to try to claim another party was liable for the accident, like the trucking company, another motorist, or even the claimant.
Should You See a Doctor After a Truck Accident If You Feel Fine?
Yes, you should always arrange to see a medical provider the same day as a truck accident, no matter the apparent extent of your injuries. Your truck accident claim will be severely weakened if there is no medical record to back your statements. Also, seeing a doctor soon after a crash will help catch underlying injuries that could worsen later. For example, whiplash is a severe neck injury that often starts as a dull ache but gradually worsens until the victim cannot move their neck.
Should You Talk to the Trucking Company’s Insurer?
No, you do not owe anything to the trucking company’s insurance provider. There is no law in Oregon that says you must speak with an opposing insurance adjuster directly. Instead, you can direct them to talk to your attorney when they want information. Keep in mind that insurance adjusters only have one goal: reducing your damages as much as possible. They are not there to make you feel better, help you get a fair compensation amount, or do anything else they might advertise in commercials.
Should You Sign the First Settlement Offer?
Beware of any settlement offer sent to you by the truck driver’s insurance company. It is likely going to be much less than you need and deserve. In fact, initial settlement offers from insurance companies are usually created before the true extent of the claimant’s injuries is fully understood, so it’s impossible for the settlement amount to be a fair reflection of the total damages.
Each time you are offered a settlement amount, you should instruct the insurer that you will review it with your attorney and get back to them soon. Your truck accident lawyer in Oregon can help you decide to take the amount or push for more. Also, your attorney can call the insurer and tell them to send all future offers to them directly, which makes it less likely that you’ll be coerced into signing an inadequate agreement.
Can You Sue If You Were Hit While in a Truck’s Blind Spot?
Every driver should do their best to stay out of a semi-truck’s large blind spots. However, lingering in a blind spot does not make you automatically liable for a crash. Truck drivers still owe a duty of care to all other motorists around them, which includes using extreme caution whenever changing lanes, merging, or turning. If a crash happens while your car is in a truck’s blind spot, then you should still explore the option of filing an injury claim.
There are four blind spots on a big rig:
- Front: Extends for about 20 feet directly in front of the cab.
- Back: Extends for about 30 feet directly behind the trailer.
- Left: Covers about one car in the next adjacent lane and slightly behind the trucker’s seat.
- Right: Covers at least two adjacent lanes in a wide cone that extends from the right side of the cab.
Do Truck Drivers Carry Expensive Insurance Policies?
Yes, commercial trucks that operate in Oregon are often required to carry insurance policies that cover far more than the typical policy. For example, most general freight carriers like tractor-trailers that haul retail products carry a bodily injury policy that provides up to $750,000. Hazmat carriers are likely to have the largest insurance policies due to the dangers posed by their cargo.
Going Toe-to-Toe with Trucking Companies
The Gatti Law Firm is not a name that shies away from a tough legal battle. Our Oregon truck accident attorneys are capable of closing claims through out-of-court settlements that more quickly bring compensation to our clients. If the responding insurance company does not want to cooperate or accept liability, though, then you do not need to worry. We can confidently take cases to court for litigation.
Let us uphold your rights in the face of adversity. Contact us now.
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