What Is at Stake in a Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit?
At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP, we know the pain, financial pressure, and extreme distress that result when you or someone you love is involved in a semi-truck accident. Semi-trucks are unquestionably the most dangerous motor vehicles that occupy Oregon’s highways. The aftermath of an Oregon trucking accident almost inevitably involves excruciating pain, weeks or months of grueling physical therapy, astronomical medical expenses, and permanent changes in victims’ ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Many victims of semi-truck accidents in Oregon are also never able to work again.
Our dedicated legal team will meticulously investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, engage in hard-nosed negotiation with any insurance companies, and passionately and zealously advocate your best interest in court. We see our job as easing your recovery and helping you obtain the financial compensation that you need to rebuild your life and move past this tragic accident.
Dwyer Williams Dretke Accident Injury Attorneys Has Offices in the Following Locations:
Why Are Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits Unique?
Trucks accidents are no ordinary personal injury cases. State rules, federal laws, science, industry practices and trucking experts revolve around them. Accidents with heavier and larger trucks pose more hazards against truckers, other trucks and small vehicles. Worse, their aggressive insurers also immediately contact victims to quickly settle for an amount that won’t answer to the long-term needs.
Trucking accidents involve complex and highly specialized litigation that requires:
- A thorough understanding of the complex regulations that govern the commercial trucking industry
- An awareness of unethical industry practices, which include destroying and altering critical evidence
- Access to trucking accident experts who can quickly be dispatched to the scene of a semi-truck accident
- Years of experience and specialized training in handling commercial trucking accidents
- An intimate familiarity with trucking industry customs and practices
Oregon Semi-Truck Accidents are Fatal
Oregon is unfortunately a place prone to trucking accidents. With cars having to share its interstates and major state and US highways with semi-trucks and tractor-trailer trucks, there are reasons to fear the distressing number of truck accidents in the state. According to the 2011 Summary of Oregon Truck Safety, half of these trucks accidents are due to driver or mechanical fault. Half of these trucks accidents also result to injury or fatality. Semi-truck accidents account for 12 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities and the occupant of the other vehicle is killed in about 98 percent of those cases.
Major regulatory changes have been recently introduced to the trucking industry. Standards and processes for accident documentation, violation reporting, employment screening, working hours, driver training and safety requirement have been improved. Still, last year’s statistics noted that 5000 Americans lives were lost and some other 100,000 people were injured because of truck accidents. And though more and more are opposing trucks in roadways, large trucking companies are still pushing Congress to increase the national cap on truck size from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds.
Any claim that commercial trucking accidents in Oregon are deadly is a drastic understatement. The primary reason for this deadly outcome in semi-truck accidents is the massive weight and size differential between an 80,000 pound loaded semi-truck and a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle.
Common Causes of Oregon Semi-Truck Accidents
There are many different causes of semi-truck accidents including but not limited to the following:
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks
- Negligently designed or maintained highways
- Inattentive semi-truck drivers
- Improperly-loaded trucks
- Inexperienced drivers
- Lack of maintenance
- Intoxicated truck drivers
- Defective parts
- Failing to respect weather and traffic conditions
Proving Negligence in Semi-Truck Accidents
Every insurance company has a team of adjusters, investigators, and semi-truck accident attorneys whose primary responsibility is to limit the liability of the insurance company and minimize the amount of money paid to injured parties. It is imperative for the semi-truck accident victim to have a similar team watching out for his or her needs, preferably one which includes an experienced semi-truck accident law firm, such as Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP.
A truck accident can be classified into a rear end collision, sloshing, battery fire, fuel oil fire, rollover, among others. As is the case in any type of motor vehicle accident, in order to make a recovery in your trucking accident case it will be necessary to prove negligence on the part of the semi-truck driver and/or the trucking company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Oregon state law heavily regulate the trucking industry. A violation of these regulations can constitute negligence so it is critical that you work with an experienced Oregon semi-truck accident law firm rather than a law firm that only occasionally handles trucking accidents. You need and deserve the best.
The Problem of Disappearing Evidence
Semi-truck accident cases can be complex because critical evidence often conveniently “disappears”. Trucking companies have been known to send their investigators and experts to the scene of a semi-truck accident within minutes of a collision. Big-rig trucks can be moved and evidence at the scene can be altered, which can make it harder to prove what caused the accident. When you are involved in a semi-truck accident it is crucial that evidence can be preserved. At Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP, we have our own team of experts and investigators that we can dispatch to an accident scene so that we can gather the evidence needed to reconstruct the accident and build your case.
Tampering With Logbooks and Data Records is Common
Other evidence that is commonly tampered with in truck accident injury cases are drivers’ “logbooks” and trucks’ on-board data recorders. Driver logbooks are maintained by drivers to record the number of hours that they have been on the road and compliance with mandatory rest period requirements. There are specific “hours of service” regulations that a driver is not supposed to violate, which require drivers to rest for mandated periods of time. A truck driver’s violation of these rules may be important to establishing negligence and proving that driver fatigue was a cause of the semi-truck collision.
Logbooks are routinely manipulated or altered. Drivers abuse these rules to increase their earnings and trucking companies often look the other way in the name of profit. The result of logbook manipulation is that Oregon’s roads are filled with fatigued semi-truck drivers. Fatigue is the cause of many semi-truck accidents.
Data from trucks’ on-board data recorders can also provide valuable information regarding hours of service, sudden braking, maintenance issues, and more. This data will typically be erased unless your Oregon semi-truck accident lawyer takes immediate steps to put the trucking company on notice that the data must be preserved.
Semi-Truck Accidents Cause Catastrophic Injuries
The injuries that the victims of semi-truck accidents suffer usually impact the rest of their lives. Semi-truck and tractor-trailer accidents often result in fatalities or catastrophic injuries including the following:
- Head and Neck Injuries
- Serious Brain Injuries
- Permanent Debilitating Spinal Cord Damages
- Loss of Function of Internal Organs
- Compound Fractures and Crushed Bones
The medical and other economic costs of these injuries easily exceeds hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to physical and emotional tolls. The attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP will seek to compensate you for the full measure of your loss including lost earnings, life-long medical care and support, permanent disability from employment, substantially impaired quality of life, pain and suffering, and loss of services or support of a spouse.
Call an Expert Today
When you are a victim in a semi-truck accident it is important that you have a team of insurance adjusters, investigators, and semi-truck accident attorneys looking out for your best interests. Trucking companies have enormous resources and experts at their disposal. The attorneys on our team here at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP have extensive knowledge of and experience with trucking regulations, trucking industry practices, and trucking litigation defense strategies.
Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, LLP, handles claims and cases arising from trucks accidents throughout Oregon. Our truck accidents lawyers have produced significant results for many clients through quality legal representation. We measure our success not only by winning in negotiating tables and courtrooms, but also by the number of lives we’ve touched. We can do the same for you! If you or a family member has suffered because of a truck accident.