Serious and fatal trucking accidents are all too common. Every day nearly there are, on average, eleven (11) semi-truck accidents, and commercial vehicle collisions are responsible for killing nearly 4,000 people each year, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally more than 100,000 people are injured every year in truck crashes. Semi-truck accidents happen quite frequently in Washington state. Truck drivers are often required to deliver their cargo on a very strict schedule which can result in long hours on the road with little or no sleep.
Exhausted or distracted truck drivers often cause major accidents that leave victims with life-threatening and permanent injuries. Poorly maintained trucks and those with unsecured loads are also causes of trucking accidents. Semi trucks can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds, which puts regular commuters at a serious disadvantage when it comes to their overall safety.
Common Trucking Accident Legal Questions
- What kind of financial compensation can I receive after an accident involving a semi-truck?
- What is a fair settlement value for my trucking accident case? Is there a trucking accident settlement formula?
- How common are semi truck accidents?
- What are the most common causes of semi truck accidents?
Top Semi-Truck Accident Lawyers In Washington
Davis Law Group has more than 20 years of experience representing injured victims of semi truck accidents in Washington state. In fact, our firm has represented the victims of Washington's most famous trucking accident in which a semi-truck crash caused the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge.
Davis Law Group founder Chris Davis is one of the most respected and recognized civil litigation lawyers practicing in Washington State. Davis Law Group has been named Best Injury Law Firm in Washington State by AI Dispute Resolution Awards.
Attorney Chris Davis has also been named one of the Top 10 Trucking Accident Lawyers in Washington State by the Trucking Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA). Membership into this select group is determined by a strict selection committee based on the attorneys’ reputation among their peers as well as experience and achievements in the area of trucking accidents.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, big-rig, or other commercial trucking vehicle in Washington State contact attorney Chris Davis and the team at Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 to schedule your free legal consultation.
There are many causes for semi truck accidents but some of the most common causes are:
- Driver Fatigue
- Substance Abuse
- Failure to adhere to the rules of the road
- Failure to properly maintain trucks
- Improperly loaded trucks or cargo shifting / Illegal, over-sized loads
- Under-inflated tires
- Over-height trucks attempting to pass under lo overpasses or bridges
- Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator (P/EVO) error
- Trucks following other traffic too closely
Low Clearance Collisions Caused by Over-Height Vehicles
There are a often number of different terms used to describe an event in which an over-height commercial trucking vehicle strikes low-clearance bridge, tunnel or overpass. Very often states, such as Washington State, lump these kinds of collisions into a category called “fixed-object crashes” or stationary roadside object crashes” which also include items such as utility poles and guardrails.
It is therefore difficult to get an accurate measure of the size of the problem. These types of accidents present a danger to other drivers on the road that may get hit by falling objects; may rear-end the truck when it comes to a sudden stop after striking an overpass; or when the roadway becomes littered with debris.
- Over-height Vehicle Accident
- Inadequate Vertical Clearance Accidents
- Low Clearance Accidents
- Bridge Impacts
- Bridge Strikes
- Collision With Overhead Structure
- Stationary Object Strikes
- Stationary Object Hits
Tanker Truck Accidents Spills: Danger On The Highway
When a tanker truck hauling toxic and or flammable chemicals is involved in an accident which is so severe that it causes the truck to overturn and its cargo to spill out onto the highway and surrounding landscape, the risk of injury to the community at large increases dramatically.
Toxic Chemicals on Washington State Roadways & Highways
- Gases (flammable, nonflammable, inhalation hazard/poison, or oxygen)
- Liquids that burn (flammable and combustible liquids, based on their flashpoint)
- Flammable Solids, Spontaneously Combustible, or Dangerous when wet materials
- Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides
- Poison/Toxic Solids and Liquids, Infectious Materials
- Radioactive Chemicals
- Corrosives (acids and bases)
Dangers of Chemical Truck Accidents
- Explosions caused by ignighted flammable liquids.
- Toxic chemical exposure to humans and animals causing burns, injuries to eyes and lungs, and neurological damage.
- Contamination of local ground water.
These types of accidents are far more common than is generally known.
Over-Height or Wide Load Tractor Trailer Accident Accident Statistics
A 2004 research study reported that 62% of states that participated in the study indicated that they consider over-height collisions to be a significant problem. Washington State reported that overheight collisions were not a problem.1
In a survey conducted for a similar 2012 study Washington State officials responded that bridge strikes were a serious problem reporting a total of 84 reported bridge strikes during 2005 to 2008.2
Research estimates that nearly one-third of the nation’s 600,000 highway bridges are currently in need of repair or replacements, making applications for innovative bridge concepts and construction methods vital to both traffic safety and cost-effective maintenance. Because of this pressure issue, researchers are addressing a growing need for over-height impact protection and detection systems.3
Underride Accidents With Semi Tractor-Trailer
It is the most terrifying and deadly scenario imaginable. A car, typically a sedan, collides with the side of a tractor-trailer and is pulled underneath. The top of the vehicle is often sheared off and the occupants are fatally injured, often decapitated.
Government statistics show that more than 200 people are killed in semi tractor-trailer underride accidents every year. According to the Department of Transportation, over 4,000 people were killed in accidents involving underride between 1994 and 2014.4
Experts say that underride accidents could be prevented if trucks were required to have side guards to deflect cars. Semitrailer underride guards are designed to prevent injury and death caused by rear-end passenger car collisions with long-haul trucks.
But for decades standards for underride guards have been grossly deficient. Research shows that tougher standards would protect car drivers and passengers susceptible to preventable death in these types of accidents.
Use of GPS Navigation Systems in Trucking & Commercial Transport
There is a dangerous practice in the commercial transportation industry that is causing an increase in accidents involving large trucks. Many small transportation companies and independent truckers are purchasing consumer GPS systems rather than GPS systems created specifically for truckers. All GPS systems can help define the quickest route between two locations. But systems designed specifically for commercial use go one step further by factoring the height, width, and weight of the load and determine the safest route--avoiding low-clearance overpasses, narrow roads, and the weight restrictions of bridges.
According to ABI Research, global shipments of commercial GPS navigation systems, such as those used in large trucks, will climb from 3 million in 2010 to 7.5 million by 2015.
In a survey in which common carriers 33% described situations in which they believed that GPS navigation systems errors contributed to crashes. Of those 34% reported that they had been navigated to roads with inadequate bridge/overpass clearance.5
National Trucking Accident Injury & Fatality Statistics6
- In 2014 there were 3,903 people killed in crashes involving semi-trucks/big-rigs/large trucks.
- In 2014 there was a 17 percent increase in the number of people injured in crashes involving big trucks. An estimated 111,000 people were injured in crashes involving semi-trucks/big-rigs/large trucks in 2014.
- In 2014 seventy-three percent of people killed in large-truck crashes were occupants of the other vehicles.
- Two percent of the truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 g/dL or higher.
- Large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had the highest percentage (14.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (motorcycles, 13.6%; passenger cars, 12.6%; and light trucks, 12.0%).
Washington State Semi Truck Collision Statistics7
There are over 500,000 truck accidents in the United States every year. A large number of semi truck accidents result in fatalities, primarily because of the difference in size between semi trucks and standard motor vehicles.
Traffic safety experts estimate that approximately 5,000 people are tragically killed in trucking accidents annually. Ninety-eight percent of the time, the passengers or driver in the other vehicle is killed as opposed to driver or passengers in the truck.
2016 Semi-Truck Accident Statistics - Washington State
- Fatal Truck Crashes - 32
- Suspected Serious Injury Collisions - 61
- Possible/Suspected Injury Accidents - 695
- No Apparent Injury Incidents - 3,152
- Total Large Truck Involved Crashes - 3,940
- Tractor Semitrailer
- Semi Truck
- Tractor Trailer
- Commercial Truck
- Big Truck
- Big Rig
- 18 Wheeler
"Commercial Driver License (CDL)." WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site. Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL), n.d. Web. <http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/cdl.html>.
Javers, Eamon, and Jennifer Schlesinger. "A Family Lost: The Risk of Trucks on US Roads." CNBC. NBCUniversal, 30 July 2014. Web. <http://www.cnbc.com/2014/07/30/truck-accidents-surge-why-no-national-outcry.html>.
"Large Truck Accidents." Highway Loss Data Institut. Nsurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. <http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/topicoverview>.
"Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts." Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. United States Department of Transportation, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. <https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts>.
Rafter, Michelle. "Truck Driver Is Among the Deadliest Jobs in the U.S." Trucks.com. Trucks.com International, 28 Dec. 2016. Web. <https://www.trucks.com/2016/12/19/truck-driver-deadliest-job>.
Below are just a few of the many semi truck accident cases that have been successfully resolved by Davis Law Group.
- $3,000,000 Wrongful Death of Bicyclist Hit By A Truck (Case No. 201018, Insurance Company: Travelers)
- $2,000,000 Motor Vehicle Accident Involving A Dump Truck (Case No. 200511, Insurance Company: Sentry Insurance)
- $2,000,000 Settlement for Victim of Semi-Truck Accident Read The Client Story
- $1,550,000 Rear-End Accident Caused By Delivery Truck (Case No. 200696, Insurance Company: Liberty Mutual)
- $600,000 Vehicle Struck By Commerical Vehicle (Case No. 201114, Insurance Company: Canal)
- $600,000 Vehicle Rear-Ended By Semi Truck (Case No. 200393, Insurance Company: Great West)
- $450,000 Rear-Ended By Semi Truck (Case No. 200516, Insurance Company: Confidential)
- $360,000 Semi Truck Hits Car On I-90 (Case No. 200497, Insurance Company: Northland)
- $335,000 Construction Truck Causes Car A Accident (Case No. 200269, Insurance Company: Confidential)
- $300,000 Settlement in Asleep-At-The-Wheel Delivery Truck Accident
- $298,365 Delivery Truck Causes Accident (Case No. 200306, Insurance Company: The Hartford)
- $250,000 Settlement For Semi Truck Accident Victim That Lost Testicle Gets
- $245,000 Injured By Mail / Postal Truck (Case No. 200101, Insurance Company: Confidential)
- $200,000 Semi Truck Strikes Low Clearance Overpass Causing Crash (Case No. 200573, Insurance Company: Allstate)
- $150,000 Rear-Ended By Rented Moving Truck (Case No. 200624, Insurance Company: Allstate)
- $150,000 Commercial Truck Backs Into Car (Case No. 200342, Insurance Company: The Hartford)
- $150,000 Settlement for Victim of Semi-Truck Accident
- $102,856 Stopped At Intersection, Struck By Red-Light Running Car (Case No. 200585, Insurance Company: State Farm)
- $100,000 Rear-Ended Twice By Same Truck (Case No. 200225, Insurance Company: Safeco)
- $100,000 Rear-Ended By Freight Truck In Stop-And-Go Traffic (Case No. 200697, Insurance Company: Liberty Mutual)
- $84,000 Car Rear-Ended By Semi Truck (Case No. 200759, Insurance Company: State Farm)
- $70,000 Commercial Truck Turns Into Car (Case No. 201098, Insurance Company: Nationwide)
- $68,000 Delivery Truck Hits Another Commercial Vehicle (Case No. 200636, Insurance Company: State Farm)
- $65,000 Rear-End Crash Pushes Truck Into Oncoming Traffic (Case No. 200432, Insurance Company: State Farm)
- $50,000 Truck Turns Left Into Oncoming Vehicle (Case No. 201268, Insurance Company: Kemper Specialty)
- $50,000 Rear-Ended By Semi Truck (Case No. 200490, Insurance Company: Great West)
- $50,000 5-Car Accident Caused By Semi Truck (Case No. 200536, Insurance Company: United Insurance Group)
- $40,840 Utility Truck Side Swipes Vehicle On I-5 (Case No. 200325, Insurance Company: State Farm)
- $40,000 Semi Truck Fails To Yield Causes Crash (Case No. 200868, Insurance Company: Western National Assurance)