At The Gatti Law Firm in Oregon, we know that accessing reliable information is a crucial step in creating an effective truck accident claim. That is why we have prepared a helpful truck accident FAQ list here. Even if you decide you don’t want to work with our truck accident attorneys for your claim, we still want you to feel informed and ready for anything that comes your way.
If you still have questions about truck accidents after browsing our FAQ, then we encourage you to call us at (503) 543-1114. You can also use an online contact form if you prefer.
What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
Safely operating a large commercial truck requires a truck driver’s full attention and talents. If there is even a slight issue with one of the many things that comprise safe truck driving habits, then an accident can follow, which is why there are so many different causes of truck accidents.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Oregon are:
- Truck driver exhaustion
- Intoxication or drug impairment
- Inadequate truck maintenance
- Improperly loaded cargo
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
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 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.