We have all seen vehicles parked alongside the highway, oftentimes in precarious situations. It may be due to a mechanical issue, or because a truck driver needed to rest. Abandoned semi-trucks in particular take up a critical space alongside our roadways, and in some cases may even protrude into lanes of traffic.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, abandoned trucks or vehicles is among the top 26 leading unsafe driving acts that statistically increase the chances of an accident. Clearly these avoidable wrecks — which are often serious and even fatal — happen far too often.
It is illegal to abandon vehicles on roadways. Victims injured in accidents involved abandoned semi-trucks or vehicles should know that they have legal options for holding the at-fault parties responsible, and that by hiring a semi-truck accident lawyer they can focus on recovery while the attorneys fight for compensation.
Abandoned Vehicles: The Legal Definition
States have various laws pertaining to when vehicles or trucks are deemed “abandoned” by their owners. In Washington state, RCW 46.55.010 defines abandoned as, “a vehicle that a registered tow truck operator has impounded and held in the operator's possession for 124 consecutive hours.”
Factors Involved in an Abandoned Truck Crash
Abandoned trucks and vehicles cause collisions when they take up parts or all of a traffic lane. This can be some of the most devastating types of semi truck accidents. But crashes can also occur due to the conditions of the road, the actions of other drivers, and countless other factors.
The following are circumstances that lead to an abandoned truck accident:
- The truck is abandoned on a single-lane road that lacks dividers separating lanes of oncoming traffic.
- The truck is taking up most of the slow lane of traffic because there is no shoulder.
- The truck is abandoned on a curve in the road so that drivers cannot see it until too late.
- Other motorists are distracted, drunk, on drugs, drowsy, and otherwise negligent, causing accidents with abandoned trucks.
A lawyer can help you identify all of the potential responsible parties involved in an abandoned truck accident, including:
- Truck drivers: Abandoning a truck on the road is illegal and dangerous. That constitutes an act of negligence, making them liable for damages in the event of an accident.
- Trucking companies: The company that employs the driver may be liable if the company did not take proper actions to recover the abandoned truck.
- Other drivers: If other drivers caused an accident involving an abandoned truck, they may be liable.
- Municipalities: If the abandoned truck was not retrieved in a reasonable amount of time, the entity responsible for the safety of the roadway may be held liable.
It’s important to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney in your area to learn about your legal rights after an accident.
Washington Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been in an accident involving an abandoned truck, contact a truck accident lawyer at Davis Law Group, P.S., for a free legal case evaluation. If we believe we can help you, we'll schedule you for a free legal consultation with our team of personal injury attorneys.
There are time-sensitive pieces of information that are important to your claim, so it is crucial that you contact a lawyer right away. We handle cases across Washington state and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.