Oregon Trucking Accident
We often deal with a large number of trucking accidents. These are cases involving big rigs and 18-wheelers throughout the state of Oregon — usually on the main freeways where truckers frequent most. As you can imagine, accidents that involve trucks and pedestrians in smaller vehicles can be quite catastrophic. These cases can often be quite complex when you start mixing in all of the rules and regulations that are related to trucking accidents.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example
Let’s say you are in a passenger car on the highway. It’s raining and many vehicles are starting to hydroplane. You notice that the traffic ahead of you is coming to a stop due to the weather. Unfortunately, there is an interstate trucker behind you that does not see the halting traffic ahead. The truck rear ends your vehicle (which is now at a full stop) at 65 miles per hour. As you can imagine, there would be immense damage done to the vehicle and the passengers that are inside.
In a case like this one, a person should consult with a lawyer. There are many different factors that need to be considered in relation to the accident. Some of these factors include the inner-workings of the insurance policy of the truck company, regulations and laws related to truck drivers in Oregon, and witnesses that need to be gathered to help gather facts. These are just a few factors that come into play with these types of accidents. If you are looking for compensation to help support the damages that occurred during an accident like the one that we described above, a personal injury lawyer is your best bet.
What will a lawyer bring to the table?
The first thing that you need to know is that truck accident insurers are highly aggressive. They usually deal with large policy limits. As a matter of federal law, the minimum limit of insurance for a big rig is $750,000. For those trucks that are not licensed to haul hazardous material, it goes up to $1,000,000. So not only are these insurance companies insuring large vehicles that can do a lot of damage, they have these high insurance limits to deal with if an accident occurs. When you deal with these aggressive truck accident insurers, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to handle their tactics.
Watch out for these insurance company tactics
Let’s talk about some of the tactics that these truck company insurance carriers will carry out. First, they get an entire team involved when an accident takes place. The minute a truck accident takes place, the truck driver is instructed to immediately call their dispatcher and the insurance carrier. If the accident is bad enough, the insurance company will fly in investigators to the scene while the truck is still on the freeway. They want to be the first one to take photographs and document the scene. They want to be the first people to interview witnesses in an attempt to minimize their liability.
It’s not uncommon that they will hide evidence or deny certain facts that were readily available at the scene. Unfortunately, this type of corrupt system puts you up against a difficult case to win if you do not have a lawyer to represent you. Experienced lawyers will be able to catch these tactics and help you fight back against them.
Complicated rules and regulations
In addition to some of the tactics that we mentioned above, the rules and regulations are very complicated related to truck drivers. Again, these are rules and regulations that an experienced personal injury lawyer will understand when dealing with a truck accident case. For example, there is a federal motor carrier safety act that requires truckers to only work a certain number of hours per week. There are also pre-trip inspections that also come into play. You also have truck data that can be very useful in many cases. Most trucks have on-board computer systems that record a wide variety of data like acceleration and braking input.
Utilizing different types of studies
A personal injury attorney will be able to identify additional studies that can help prove the liability of the truck driver. For example, our firm had a case where a pedestrian was walking across the street with the light in his favor. A truck driver turns onto the road and unfortunately kills the pedestrian. The insurance company claimed that the truck driver was unable to see the man crossing the street from his position. The insurance company claimed that the pedestrian should have known that the truck driver could not see him and therefore, should not have crossed the road. This is where a viability study came into play.
Our firm engaged an expert to do a visibility study. After inspecting all of the details (such as the height of the driver, the seat positioning and the height of the pedestrian), it was concluded that the truck driver could see the pedestrian on the sidewalk, including a view of his head as he crossed the road (and all the way to the point where he was hit). Through this visibility study, we were able to prove liability and ultimately force the insurance company to settle with the family for the loss of their loved one. This example shows you the extent of work that an attorney must perform to prove liability against the truck company’s insurance carrier — even in a case that seemed so clear cut from the beginning regarding the liability of the truck company!
The value of a lawyer with truck accident experience
Now that you understand the different components of truck driving accidents, you can see why it’s so important to have a lawyer that is knowledgeable in this area of the law, understands the rules and regulations of truck drivers, and understands what experts are needed for various studies (like visibility studies, scene studies or accident reconstructions).
An experienced lawyer will also have the ability to understand the person’s injuries that resulted from the accident. It’s essential that the person is seeing the correct practitioners and receiving the proper medical care. These medical evaluations will also aid in calculating the true value of the amount of damages that a person is entitled to in his or her case.
Keep in mind, these cases are difficult for lawyers that are not specialized in personal injury. Truck accident cases are very specific and unique in their relation to liability, the accident investigation, insurance policies and the damages that were caused. For these reasons, it takes a lawyer who specializes in personal injury to properly handle these types of cases.
If you or anyone you know was involved in a truck accident case here in the state of Oregon, contact us today at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Accident Injury Attorneys for a free case evaluation. You can also reach us directly at: 1-800-285-8678. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will work hard to ensure that you receive the justice that you deserve!