Compassionate Legal Advice Following A Distressing Collision
Trucking accidents are one of the most terrifying and devastating highway collisions that can occur, often leading to multiple serious injuries and disabilities. Given the size and weight of most semi-truck trailers, these vehicles collide with nearby traffic as they roll and create a massive road hazard for oncoming traffic. After a violent event like this, victims deserve compassionate and fair treatment from at-fault insurance companies, however, many are only interested in minimizing liability and compensation.
Do not settle for anything less than you deserve after an accident. If you or a loved one were injured by a negligent truck driver or company, contact the Seattle trucking rollover accident attorneys at Pendergast Law Personal Injury Lawyers. With nearly 30 years in practice, our firm has the knowledge, expertise, and skill to launch a detailed investigation into your case and determine if negligent actions led to your injuries. If we take you on as a client, we will aggressively pursue compensation through a settlement negotiation or jury trial. Contact us toll-free at 888-539-9211.
How Do Rollovers Occur?
Unlike rear-end accidents or head-on collisions, rollovers are often the product of a series of reckless events. Large trucks have a high center of gravity, meaning the weight of the truck and trailer is higher than the average passenger vehicle. When this weight shifts to either side, the driver can lose control, leading to the truck tipping on its side, often striking other vehicles or objects in its path. In addition, because of the speed of the vehicle and the time it needs to stop, the trailer and truck can skid across the road for some time before fully stopping.
Several events can influence the chances of a rollover occurring, including:
- Speeding into a sharp turn
- Overloading a trailer
- Improperly secured cargo that moves around in the trailer
- Swerving between lanes, such as from fatigue, inattention, or substance abuse
- Faulty brakes
- Braking too late and swerving to avoid an object or another vehicle
- Colliding with an object in the road or a pothole
- Weather conditions such as rain, ice, or snow
Often, these horrific events are avoidable if the truck has an attentive driver at the wheel and the trucking company obeys all federal regulations. Sadly, when they neglect proper procedures, other drivers can suffer the consequences of their poor decisions.
Consequences Of Rollover Accidents
The sheer force and energy involved in a rollover can lead to catastrophic injuries and multiple fatalities. Very few individuals walk away from a rollover injury-free, and they are often left with extensive medical bills, physical therapy, and possibly disabilities. Depending on the weight of the truck, the vehicle you were in, and the point of impact, you may have suffered:
- Damage to the spinal column, back, or neck
- Head trauma, including fractures and brain damage
- Serious lacerations, scarring, and even the loss of a limb
- Soft tissue injuries that leave you with pulled or torn ligaments
- Broken bones and fractures
- Chemical burns if the truck was transporting hazardous material
Sometimes, the damage done to someone’s body after a rollover is fatal, either taking their life at the scene of the accident or afterward at the emergency room. Nothing is more devastating than losing a loved one and you may feel at a loss as to how to proceed without them. While we cannot turn back time, our attorneys can pursue a wrongful death claim on your behalf with the goal of recovering compensation that can assist with any financial burdens brought on by your loss.
Proving Negligence After A Rollover
Almost all major trucking companies have extensive liability policies to cover the cost of medical bills and trauma inflicted in an accident. However, for victims to successfully recover compensation from these policies, they must first prove that the driver or trucking company was at fault. The policy will apply in either situation, as truck drivers are considered an extension of their parent company and victims can pursue a claim against the policy if either party was at fault.
A key element of liability insurance is the concept of negligence. This means that the at-fault party caused injury to another person through careless or reckless behavior. But proving this is not so simple. Semi-trucks and big rigs are complicated pieces of machinery and go through multiple stages during a delivery route, including inspections, repairs, loading and unloading, and, of course, the actual driving part. If at any one of these stages an individual failed to identify a mechanical error or overloaded a vehicle or a driver drove recklessly, and this negligence caused injury to another person, you may have a viable trucking accident claim.
In order to prove negligence occurred, you will need the aid and resources of a skilled attorney who can collect and analyze evidence on your behalf. The types of evidence an attorney can utilize in a rollover accident case can include:
- Accident reports filed with the Seattle Police Department or Washington State Patrol
- Witness statements, both at the time of the accident and before it
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage
- Photos of the accident that catalogue property damage, skid marks, and other road conditions
- Black box data pulled from the truck’s hard-drive
- Maintenance and inspection reports
- Records pulled from Washington weight inspection stations and trucking scales
- Cargo logs
- Driver records and drug/alcohol tests, including past violations
- Expert opinions from accident reconstructionists, mechanics, and medical professionals
Securing this information requires an in-depth investigation into your accident and many attorneys will do as you are recovering from your injuries. To fully understand the amount of compensation you can seek from the insurance policy, we need to determine the extent of your injuries. Thus, it is imperative that you contact us as soon as possible. The state of Washington’s statute of limitations provides victims up to three years to file an auto accident claim. While this may seem like a long time, you also have to factor in the time you need to recover, the total amount of wages you lost while recovering, any additional medical expenses you may incur, and the time needed to collect evidence.
Pursuing Compensation In A Seattle Trucking Accident
The trauma caused by rollover accidents is astronomical, often affecting multiple drivers, pedestrians, and their families. Trucking companies understand the dangers of these accidents and the factors that contribute to them. When they fail to take steps to mitigate these risks or place profit over the safety of other drivers, they risk causing catastrophic, and sometimes fatal, accidents.
Immediately following a rollover accident, the at-fault insurance company may tempt you to accept a quick settlement offer. However, these offers are often extremely low and do not cover the total range of the costs you have suffered. Instead, contact a team of experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who can advocate for your best interests. At Pendergast Law, our Seattle truck accident attorneys can thoroughly review your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation. Reach out to us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to ensure you receive a fair shot at proper compensation.