Portland Truck Accident Attorney
Take action after a truck accident by contacting the team of Portland truck accident lawyers at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC. Federal regulations restrict and direct the actions of truck drivers. We are familiar with these regulations, allowing us to identify when a trucker’s negligence or wrongdoing contributed to an accident.
We protect truck accident victims and stand up for them against negligent truckers and their employers. Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC has been able to secure many successful verdicts and settlements for truck accidents in Portland and throughout Oregon, and for our efforts, have been voted to the list of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News in the practice area of personal injury litigation – plaintiffs.
Our Truck Accident Victories in Portland
We have been able to secure many successful settlements and verdicts for our clients involved in trucking accidents, including:
- Verdict for client who was run off the road by a semi-truck and suffered a bleed on his brain
- Verdict of $1.3 million after our client’s wife was killed and he lost a leg in a head-on collision with a semi-truck.
- Settlement for passenger in improperly loaded semi-truck that fell over on the freeway
- Confidential settlement for father killed by semi-truck going too fast and losing control.
- Scott Busch v. McInnis Waste Systems: $13.9 million dollar verdict for a pedestrian hit by a garbage truck who suffered a leg amputation.
Our Portland Truck Accident Lawyers Have over 50 Years of Legal Experience
Semi-trucks can be up to six times larger than passenger vehicles in terms of size, weight, and engine size. While most cars weigh approximately 5,000 pounds, big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This size disparity highlights the risk large commercial vehicles pose to other motorists.
Trucking regulations require truckers to follow guidelines such as:
- Taking regular rest breaks to avoid driver fatigue
- Not driving over the maximum number of miles allowed
- Maintaining the vehicle according to standards
- Observing weight and loading restrictions
- Strictly following the zero drug and alcohol policy for drivers
If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck accident, taking the first step to protect your rights is as simple as calling Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC. Our lawyers are passionate about protecting the rights of the injured and holding irresponsible truck drivers accountable. We are always available to discus your legal options, deal with your insurance company, and fight for maximum compensation. We’ve seen firsthand the carnage that can occur when truckers don’t follow safety regulations. We can help you stand up to the trucking industry.
How often do truck accidents happen?
Semi trucks are all over the highways of Oregon. They are an essential part of our economy, ensuring our residents have the goods and services they need each day. What many people do not realize is that accidents involving these trucks happen regularly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were around 148,000 people injured and over 4,700 people killed in truck crashes during the latest reporting year in the United States.
During the latest reporting year in Oregon, there were 2,833 total truck crashes. Out of those incidents, there were 50 fatalities and 1,556 injuries.
What are the most common truck accident injuries?
Truck accidents often cause much more severe injuries than we see in traditional vehicle car accidents. According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Considering the weight and size of these vehicles, it is not surprising that serious injuries are common with these accidents. It is not uncommon for our Portland truck accident attorneys to help client secure compensation for the following injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Significant disfigurement
These injuries all require immediate and significant medical care. Victims of truck accidents often face major medical bills and lost income if they cannot work while they recover from their injuries. Trying to stand up to a trucking company or deal with their insurance companies can seem like an uphill battle. In many ways it is. We have handled enough truck accident cases to understand this.
What are the common causes of truck accidents in Portland?
Just like regular vehicle accidents, truck crashes have a variety of causes. However, due to the possibility of severe injuries from these vehicles, the FMCSA strictly regulated truck drivers and trucking companies. Trucking companies must employ the following safety regulations:
Commercial Driver’s License
Truck drivers should always have their commercial driver’s licenses and be properly trained to operate the vehicle they are in. They must follow FMCSA regulations regarding how many hours they are allowed to operate in a day and during the week to prevent fatigued driving. Under no circumstances should a truck driver operate while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while distracted by a cell phone or other device.
Commercial Truck Safety
Truck companies have a duty to ensure their vehicles are safe on the roadway. This means they must perform regular inspections and maintenance on each vehicle to prevent any part from failing. A failure of the brakes, drivetrain, steering, suspension, lighting, or other vital system can lead to serious accidents. The onus is on truck companies to ensure their drivers are trained and qualified.
Truck and part manufacturers, like any other product manufacturers, have a duty to ensure they do not sell defective vehicles or parts, or they could be held liable for damages in a crash.
Determining who is legally responsible for a truck accident can be complicated and often requires extensive investigation. Trucks may be owned by one company, operated by another, maintained by a third company, and driven by someone who may be an employee or an independent contractor.
Statute of limitations for Oregon truck accidents
All states put certain time limits on how long a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Oregon, truck accident victims have two years from the date the accident happens to file a lawsuit against a negligent party.
If a person dies as a result of a truck accident in Portland, OR, the victim’s family members have three years from the date of the crash to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Our truck accident lawyers can help you every step of the way.
The value of a truck accident
There is no set amount for how much a truck accident settlement is worth, and it will depend on the fact of the case. Victims of truck accidents can generally recover various types of economic and non-economic compensation. This includes:
This is considered an economic damage and accounts for all medical expenses a person incurs due to the truck crash. These damages are generally calculated using the victim’s medical bills. It may be necessary to get assistance from medical experts when calculating the expected cost of future medical care for a truck accident victim. This could include rehabilitation and physical therapy, as well as possible in-home care.
This is also considered an economic damage. This is designed to help truck accident victims recover the wages and benefits they lose if they cannot work due to their truck accident injuries. These damages are generally calculated by gathering a person’s payment history. Lost income could also include calculations of a person’s future income lost if their injuries have temporarily or permanently disabled them.
Pain and suffering
This is considered a non-economic damage. These damages are not always as easy to calculate as medical bills and lost income because they do not come with receipts. Generally, a jury will be asked to assign a dollar value to the following:
- long-term physical pain
- emotional distress
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of consortium
If the at-fault party was grossly negligent or the incident was caused by their intentional actions, they could be held liable for punitive damages as well. These damages are assigned as a punishment to the at-fault party and to act as a deterrent to them committing the same acts in the future.
There are no limits on what a person can be awarded in damages in an Oregon truck accident case. Previously, the state had a cap of $500,000 placed on non-economic damages, but the Oregon Court of Appeals struck down the law.
The total value of each case will vary based on the medical treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering a person experiences.
How much insurance are truckers required to carry?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that interstate truckers (which includes most of the truckers on the roadway) maintain minimum levels of insurance coverage depending on the type of cargo they carry.
- $300,000 for non-hazardous cargo that is transported in vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds.
- $750,000 for general freight carriers. The requirement can go up to $5,000,000 depending on what is being transported.
- $1,000,000 for private carriers of oil and some types of hazardous waste.
- $5,000,000 for carriers of different types of hazardous substances.
Being prepared on the roadway
One of the best ways to stay safe around large trucks on the roadway is to practice defensive driving. Anticipating what can go wrong is a great crash preventative. One of the most important things you need to be aware of is that a large truck’s blind spots are much larger than regular vehicle blind spots and they are on all four sides of the truck (right in front of the truck, behind the truck, and along both sides of the truck). A general rule of thumb is that if you cannot see the truck driver in their mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
- Stay away from the sides of the truck. If you have to pass a truck, make sure you have a clear path and ensure the driver has not signaled their intention to turn.
- Be patient around trucks. They take longer to speed up and to slow down. On city streets, these vehicles will not go as fast as other cars.
- Be careful around a truck that is turning or backing up. This is when motorists are most vulnerable to being involved in a truck crash.
- Stay well behind a large truck. Tailgating a truck is dangerous and can result in serious underride accidents.
Request Your Free Consultation Today
We have been serving injury victims and their families in Oregon, Washington, and throughout The Pacific Northwest for many years. We carefully examine each case that comes to our office, accepting only those we believe in. Our high standards of integrity and our experience set us apart.
We are ready to speak with your insurance company, deal with the trucking company, and stand up to the powers in the commercial trucking industry.