A Truck Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case
Injured following a crash involving a semi-truck? The Advocates can help.
A semi-truck accident is a frightening, devastating event. Commercial vehicles are so much larger than passenger vehicles that a collision with one causes significantly more damage than an ordinary car accident. Truck accident victims are often left with serious injuries, damaged vehicles, and a lot of physical and emotional pain.
The Advocates are ready to answer any questions you may have about your situation, such as:
- How will my medical bills get paid?
- Who is liable for my accident?
- What will happen if I can’t return to work because of my injuries?
- Or do I even have a personal injury case at all?
We represent accident victims in Portland, Eugene, and throughout Oregon. We have been helping injury victims with their truck accident cases for decades and we are ready to help you too.
Our Attorneys Truly Care About You and Your Family
We don’t call ourselves Advocates without reason. We truly care about the clients we represent and will go the extra mile to help them fully recover. As a client of The Advocates, we will treat you as if you are our one and only client. Your needs will always be our first priority. After The Advocates accept your case, you’ll never be just one more case among thousands.
The Advocates and their staff are exceptional. Their attorneys are prepared and dedicated to help you meet your needs. They will communicate with you throughout your entire case. If you’ve been in a car accident, I highly recommend The Advocates.
Why Do You Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
It is possible to negotiate a settlement on your own, however, by doing so you may be leaving money on the table. Insurance companies use a wide variety of tricks to avoid paying out a full settlement. Not only do you risk settling for less than you deserve, fighting with insurance providers is often an incredibly frustrating experience.
The Advocates’ legal team has been negotiating settlements for more than 20 years, and we can help you avoid the mistakes accident victims often make when settling on their own. We will be your voice throughout the legal process.
Studies have shown that injury victims who hire a personal injury attorney can receive settlements up to 3.5 times larger than if they had settled on their own. The Advocates are your Oregon truck accident lawyers, and we will go above and beyond to get you the compensation you deserve.
Below are just a few ways an Advocate can help you:
- Negotiate for you with insurance adjusters
- Build a sure-fire auto injury claim
- Compile your complete medical records
- Help you find a reliable rental car
- Speak to your employer if you need to miss work due to injury
- Fight for your right to a fair settlement
- Listen to your story and provide you with a voice in your recovery
A Team of Truck Accident Professionals Ready to Help You
If you’re unsure of what to do after your commercial truck accident, The Advocates are here for you. We will guide you through every step of the claims process. We will do everything we can to take stress and anxiety off your plate, so you can concentrate on your physical recovery.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to provide you with fierce legal representation as well as personal attention and care. We will help you build your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. We will provide you with open, honest communication regarding your case, and will always be there to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Trucking Accident in Oregon (The Next Steps in Your Case)
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a big rig, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This will quicken your recovery process, as well as help your case along. Your case cannot be settled until you have finished treatment, because the total sum of your damages cannot be known until then.
Once you’ve contacted an attorney, they will begin investigating your accident and gathering evidence for your case. The more proactive you are about documenting your accident, the easier this step in the process will be. By filing a police report, taking photos of the scene, and getting contact information from the truck driver and witnesses to the accident, you can help build an airtight case.
When you’ve finished treatment and evidence has been compiled, your Advocate will send a demand letter to the trucking company’s insurance provider. The letter will outline the damages you are seeking in your case.
At this point, negotiations will begin. Your Advocate will do everything they can to obtain a fair settlement for you. Typically, an agreement can be reached during negotiations.
If the other party refuses to make a fair offer, your case will go to court. A judge and/or jury will hear your case and determine who was at fault and how much is owed in damages.
What Damages Can You Seek After a Truck Accident?
Every personal injury case is different, so the damages you will be able to seek after your accident will vary depending on your circumstances. The Advocates offer free case evaluations to help you determine what losses your injury claim can include. Below are some damages that are commonly sought after a truck crash.
Often, one of the largest expenses after a commercial vehicle accident are medical bills. Every time you receive treatment or see a medical professional, you will be required to pay the associated bills, even if you are planning to file a claim.
Your health insurance will likely cover some of your bills, depending on your coverage. You will be responsible for taking care of whatever is left over. Once you have received your settlement, it can be used to reimburse you and your insurance provider for the expenses you paid for treatment.
Some common truck accident injuries include:
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Lacerations and bruising
Property damage and repairs
After colliding with a semi-truck, it is likely that your car isn’t in great shape. A body shop can assess the damage and give you an estimate of the repair costs. These repairs can be included in your damages.
If your car is declared a total loss, you may be reimbursed for the current market value of the vehicle.
Lost wages and loss of future earnings
If your injuries require you to miss work, or even quit your job due to an inability to perform your role, the financial effects can feel catastrophic. Losing wages when faced with growing medical bills may leave you feeling hopeless. These missed earnings can be included in your settlement to help mitigate the effects of the accident on your finances.
Pain and suffering
The monetary expenses you incur after an accident with a tractor-trailer are likely not the only damages you will face. Lasting injuries, lost opportunities, and a diminished quality of life can all be factored in when considering your losses.
If a loved one has been killed in an accident with a negligent truck driver, you may be able to seek damages for their funeral expenses and other associated costs. A wrongful death settlement can help reimburse you and your insurance company for your economic and non-economic losses.
A Team of Truck Accident Professionals Assigned to Your Case
In addition to competent legal representation, The Advocates take pride in providing our clients with assistance throughout their entire recovery. Depending on your needs, our group of professionals will help you:
- Access the medical care you need
- Find a local body shop for vehicle repairs
- Get into a rental car
- Communicate with your employer regarding your injuries
- Understand any bills and paperwork that come your way
When you hire an Advocate, you don’t just get an attorney. You get an entire team ready to help you with whatever you need to get your life back on track.
Trucking Laws in Oregon
In order to keep everyone on the road safe, large trucks operate under different laws than regular motor vehicles. Below are some common questions regarding laws that truckers in Iowa must abide by while driving.
What is required to obtain a CDL?
In order to operate a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds in Oregon, a driver must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. CDLs are also required for anyone operating a vehicle that can carry 16 or more passengers or to transport hazardous materials.
To qualify for a CDL, a driver must be at least 18 years old (21 to cross state lines), reside legally in the United States, and pass vision and medical screenings. Qualified applicants must pass a knowledge test to receive a Commercial Driver’s Permit. Permit holders may then take a skills test to obtain a CDL.
What condition must a truck be in to drive?
Prior to any trip, a truck driver must complete a pre-trip inspection of their vehicle. They are required to verify that all parts of their truck are in good working order. This includes the brakes, wheels, lights, mirrors, wipers, mud flaps, horn, engine components, and safety features, such as the airbags and seatbelts.
“Good working order” means that each component of the truck must be able to perform its designated function safely and reliably. If any of these parts malfunctions or breaks, the truck can turn into a major safety hazard for the trucker and anyone driving around them.
How large can a commercial truck be?
The maximum legal gross weight for a truck in Oregon is 80,000 pounds. However, a truck must meet certain specifications to carry that amount of weight.
In general, the size restrictions on large commercial vehicles are as follows:
- Length: 60 feet
- Width: 8 feet 6 inches
- Height: 14 feet
There are exceptions to these restrictions depending on the roads the truck will be traveling on.
In some cases, operating a truck over these sizes requires the trucker to obtain certain endorsements and permits, and may require one or more escorts.
Can truckers in Oregon use the left lane?
State law requires that in most cases, semi-trucks, campers, and trailers should be driven in the right lane. The left lane is reserved for passing for all drivers. However, there are a few exceptions to this law.
A large vehicle may be driven in the left lane if they are:
- Safely passing slower traffic
- Turning left
- Safely moving to allow space for vehicles on the right shoulder
- Allowing space for vehicles merging onto the highway in the right lane
- Following traffic control devices indicating that traffic should merge left
Driving a large vehicle in the left lane for any other reason is considered a Class B traffic violation.
What is the speed limit for semi-trucks in Oregon?
In most cases, semi-trucks and other large vehicles have a speed limit of 55 miles per hour on Oregon roads. There are certain stretches of interstate and rural highways where speed limits are slightly higher, so it’s important that truck drivers are familiar with the roads they will be driving.
Speeds should never exceed the posted speed limit, and at certain times, conditions may require that all vehicles drive more slowly than the speed limit.
Truck Accident Claims and Time Limits
The sooner you contact an attorney after your accident, the better. Not only will it make it easier to gather evidence for your case, it will prevent you from missing important deadlines.
The statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents in Oregon is two years. After this point, you lose your right of action to file a suit. If you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s best to contact an attorney right away, so they can begin working on your case immediately.
How Many Hours Are Truckers Allowed to Work?
Commercial truck drivers are subject to a federal law put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called the hours of service rule. This law states that truckers may work 11 hours at a time after 10 hours off-duty. Every 8 hours of driving, a trucker must take a 30-minute break.
In adverse driving conditions, when it may be necessary to drive slower than the posted limit, a truck driver may drive two additional hours on top of the 11 permitted on-duty hours.
This rule is put in place to prevent driver fatigue. It is common in the trucking industry for drivers to be paid per mile driven, which provides incentive for them to drive as much as possible. The hours of service law requires them to take breaks to sleep, enabling them to drive more safely during on-duty hours.
No one should ever drive when tired, but when the driver of a commercial truck becomes fatigued while driving, serious injuries and fatalities become much more likely to occur.
Truck Accident Facts
Knowing the statistics behind truck accidents can help everyone drive more safely. Below are some facts regarding truck accidents throughout Oregon and nationwide.
What are common causes of truck accidents?
In many cases, the most common causes of semi-truck accidents are similar to the causes of regular car accidents. However, the size of semi-trucks and the nature of long-haul trucking create additional hazards that all drivers should be aware of.
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Improper lane changes
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Driver fatigue
When do truck accidents often occur?
Most truck accidents occur in dry conditions, but around 28% happen when roads are wet, snowy, or icy.
Most accidents occur when both vehicles involved are in motion, and of these accidents, around 83% happen when both vehicles are moving in the same direction. Another large percentage of truck accidents happen when one vehicle rear-ends another.
Another high-risk situation involving semi-trucks is when the truck makes a right turn. Large trucks often have to make wide right turns, sometimes from the left lane. This can confuse some drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. These drivers and riders occasionally crash into the right side of a right-turning truck. Whenever a large truck has its turn signal on, assume that it will be moving in that direction, even if it doesn’t seem in a position to do so.
How many truck accidents occur in Oregon each year?
On average, more than 2,500 truck accidents happen each year throughout Oregon. Just under 2,000 of these accidents involve another moving vehicle. The second most common type of truck accident occurs when a semi-truck collides with a fixed object, including parked vehicles.
More than 50 people are killed in truck accidents in Oregon each year. Around 1,500 people are injured as a result of these accidents.