Seattle Reckless Truck Driver Accident Lawyer
As of 2016, there are over 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States.
A lot is at stake for these professionals given that the vehicles they drive can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, be as tall as 18 feet, and as wide as 8.5 feet. In addition to their size, these vehicles transport all types of hauls, including hazardous materials. And while there are federal rules and regulations in place to protect others on the road, a reckless and aggressive truck driver can cause devastating damages.
While truck drivers face long work hours and tight schedules, that does not give them the right to drive in such a way that they place others in harm’s way. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has noted that reckless and aggressive driving are among the top causes of commercial truck accidents.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident caused by a truck driver’s reckless conduct, know that there may be compensation available for you. To get in touch with the dedicated Seattle reckless truck driver accident lawsuit attorneys of The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee, contact us today at (206) 899-5415 for a FREE, zero-obligation consultation.
Employee Drivers VS Independent Contractors
As per the legal theory “respondeat superior,” a truck company is responsible for accidents caused by their employees as if the accident was the result of their own actions. This is, of course, if negligence was unintentional and occurred under the ‘scope of employment.’
Assessing the ‘scope of employment’ varies by state but generally takes into account the following conditions:
- The employee’s intent in conduct.
- Location, time, and nature of the conduct.
- Job duties of the hired employee.
- Employer’s expectation of the execution of job duties.
- Flexibility in completing job duties.
- Time allotted for employee’s personal duties.
A company is not liable, however, for an employee who exhibited intentional acts of negligence such as assault, battery, or other purposeful torts. This may imply criminal conduct.
On the other hand, if a driver is an ‘independent contractor’, it generally signifies that no employer has direct authority or responsibility over them. A driver may be considered an independent contractor under these conditions:
- The driver uses their own vehicle.
- The driver pays their own costs of operation and repairs.
- They pay their own liability insurance.
- They receive no employee benefits.
- Procedures and operations are not supervised by an employer.
- The driver is compensated on a “per route” method.
- No funds are withheld from a driver’s paycheck by another person.
Our seasoned Seattle truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee can help you to determine the driver’s employment status in order to assign liability for the damages. Regardless if the employer’s insurance or the independent driver’s insurance is going to pay for your losses, you should be compensated appropriately.
Common Examples of Truck Driver Recklessness
When commercial truck drivers violate traffic safety laws or fail to uphold a duty of care to other drivers, accidents which cause catastrophic injuries – or even death – can occur. Here at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee, some of the most frequent examples of reckless driving we have seen truck drivers participate in include:
- Driving while intoxicated/under the influence: This type of negligence is unacceptable for any driver. The risks are intensified when the individual is behind the wheel of a gigantic 18-wheeler. Drivers should NEVER drink and drive or get behind the wheel after consuming drugs.
- Speeding: Tractor-trailers are even more difficult to control when traveling at high speeds. A truck driver traveling at excessive speeds will have trouble stopping or yielding when necessary. A speeding commercial truck can easily cause a deadly accident.
- Fatigued driving: If a driver works overtime or does not get required rest, they may be fatigued to the point where they are not able to react in time to changing road conditions. Truck drivers are restricted to driving only a specific amount of hours per day and week. The aim of this restriction is to ensure they get adequate rest. Unfortunately, while it is illegal for them to do so, some drivers may violate these conditions in order to meet the demands of their employers.
- Improper lane changing: Drivers that do not use proper signals, fail to check for cars during lane changes, or make a lane change when unsafe to do so, can cause them to overtake a lane of oncoming traffic.
- Failure to maintain truck: A truck driver is responsible for examining their truck, reporting truck part malfunctions to their employer, and performing maintenance as necessary in order to correct things that are evidently unsafe and which can lead to dangerous incidents.
- Distracted driving: This can include anything from texting to eating while driving. Even the slightest deviation of attention to the road can have fatal consequences.
- Aggressive driving: Road rage, or entitled driving, is dangerous on busy highways. Truck drivers owe a duty to maintain their composure and care for other vehicles.
- Tailgating: Just as cars should maintain a safe distance from these massive vehicles, trucks should keep a safe distance from cars just the same. That also means they should give reasonable time and distance in braking to avoid overcoming smaller vehicles.
If evidence can be obtained that shows the truck driver failed to follow industry regulations, violated Washington state traffic safety laws, or other federal truck standards, then you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries and financial losses you have suffered.
Don’t trust just any law firm with your claim. Trust in The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee to get you the results you need to begin healing. Contact us today at (206) 899-5415 for a FREE case evaluation.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover?
With the help of a knowledgeable Seattle truck accident lawyer, like those at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee, you can determine which party is responsible for your losses. Washington does not currently have a cap on damages or restriction to the amount of compensation that a victim of a truck accident can recover. Therefore, all your losses should be assessed and paid appropriately.
Compensatory damages are available to victims of truck accidents. These damages are designated to paying victims for their economic (financial-related) and non-economic (non-financial related) losses.
Victims of truck accidents can recover compensation for the following types of damages in a personal injury claim:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Cost of prescription drugs, medical devices, on-going treatment
- Vehicle repairs
- Loss of future earnings
- Permanent disfigurement
- Pain & suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of care/ companionship
- Wrongful death
In instances where intentional misconduct or gross negligence was exhibited, guilty parties can face punitive damages (non-compensatory damages) as well, which aims to deter other parties from acting in the same negligent manner.
Wrongful Death Caused By Truck Driver Negligence
If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, know that you, too, may be eligible to recover damages. We know this time can be very emotionally difficult, but when you are ready, compensation may be awaiting to assist the family of the decedent to help them better cope with their losses.
In the state of Washington, family members who can file a claim against the responsible party and who can secure damages include the following:
- The spouse of the deceased individual.
- The domestic partner of the deceased individual.
- Parents of an unmarried child.
- The child, children, or stepchildren of the deceased.
- The representative of the deceased person’s estate.
Damages which maybe pursued by these parties include the following:
- Final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages or income which creates a household financial loss
- Damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased person
- Property damage
- Loss of care/ companionship
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee, we are able to effectively investigate your wrongful death claim and establish whether the truck driver’s recklessness directly caused the loss of life. Our Seattle truck accident attorneys can help you explore all your legal options. Contact us today at (206) 899-5415 for a FREE consultation.
The Importance of Hiring An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
If a truck driver faces losses in a legal claim or lawsuit, that means so do their employer and their employer’s insurance provider. These other parties will fight with everything they have to ensure that YOU do not recoup the recovery that is owed to you.
They do NOT want to lose, so you need to make sure you have a qualified legal team who can effectively handle your claim for you.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee, we work hard to earn your trust and deliver results. Our team will:
- Provide excellent customer care and legal guidance.
- Work with a supporting team of professionals to secure evidence.
- Investigate all avenues of potential financial recovery.
- Represent you in your dealings with the truck driver, their employer, and any insurance company.
- Take your claim to court if necessary.
- Fight to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered.
With the legal guidance of our reputable truck accident attorneys by your side, you will have all the tools and resources necessary to secure maximum compensation from your reckless truck driver accident.
Individuals who are ready to obtain justice and financial recovery should contact the skillful Seattle truck accident attorneys of The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Caffee at (206) 899-5415 for a FREE consultation today.