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Logging Truck Accidents

Logging trucks serve an important role for Seattle, Kirkland, and Olympia residents. This is because the logging industry in Washington State is a huge part of the Washington State economy. Certain parts of the state, especially Forks and communities on the Olympic Peninsula, are dependent upon logging for their economies.

Unfortunately, logging accidents do happen from time to time. And when they do, they can be deadly because logging trucks are very large. Weights can range anywhere between 80,000 to 88,000 pounds. Just loading the logs can be dangerous as the semi-truck hauling them must be equipped with a crane just to load the logs onto the truck.

Washington State Logging Truck Laws

There are two main types of logging trucks you see on the road today. The first is the kind you see on logging trails. These are the trucks used where the roads are rough, typically in the forest. The second kind that you see the most often are the ones that are on the highways, transporting the logs from the forest to their intended destination.

Logging truck are commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. In order to drive a commercial vehicle, such as a logging truck, you have to special requirements as well.

There are two sources of fault when there is an accident with a logging truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the logging truck company’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both.

Common reasons for logging truck accidents when the driver is at fault:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver inexperience
  • Driver inattention
  • Driver distraction

In order for a commercial driver to be on the road in Washington State, driving a logging truck, they need to have what is called a CDL or a commercial driver’s license. This kind of license is not easy to obtain. A driver must pass a background check and pass several fitness tests as well. In addition, responsible companies should also have internal background and fitness checks with which they screen their applicants. However, as you can imagine, companies do not always do their due diligence in hiring a trucker for their company.

While the majority of logging truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the truck company is at fault. Common reasons for logging truck accidents when the company is at fault:

  • Tire blowouts
  • Brake problems
  • Vehicle maintenance issues
  • Logs falling from truck

Sometimes logging truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in logging trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons, ranging from brakes that are aging and faulty, tires that are bald and need replacing, and other mechanical issues that need addressed and fixed. If this is the case, the utility company shares responsibility for the accident they caused.

There are times, however, the insurance company for the logging truck company will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the company has been in properly and safely maintaining their logging truck, depending on how many they have in their fleet.

Aberdeen, Forks, and Shelton are very popular areas, among others, in Washington State for logging. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has very specific regulations on how contents on a large semi-truck or 18-wheeler should be tied down. For logging truck, 393.116 applies, and it states in part:

The rules for the transportation of logs apply to moving almost all logs with the following exceptions:

  1. Banded or secured logs may be transported in accordance with the general cargo securement rules.
  2. Loads that consist of no more than four processed logs may be moved according to general cargo securement rules.
  3. Firewood, stumps, log debris and other such short logs must be transported in a vehicle or container enclosed on both sides, front, and rear and of adequate strength to contain them. Longer logs may also be transported in an enclosed vehicle or container.
Common Logging Truck Accident Injuries

If you have been in an accident with a logging truck, chances are you facing serious injuries. These vehicles are usually quite large, larger than normal cars or SUVs most commonly on the road. The most common injuries associated with tow truck injuries are:

  • Death
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken bones

If you have suffered any of these injuries, the likelihood is not good that these injuries will resolve on their own. In most instances, you will have to see a medical professional to help you recover. Aside from primary care doctors, the most common kinds of healthcare providers to treat people who have been in accidents with utility trucks are osteopaths, physiatrists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists.

Any of these healthcare providers can render quality care to you and they likely know the appropriate specialist who can treat you if you have been injured by a logging truck.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If you have been injured by a logging truck, either because logs fell off the truck or because the truck struck your vehicle, then you are likely in one of the more difficult times of your life.

You may be getting many phone calls from insurance companies, medical appointments, you may be losing money from work since you are unable to work, and many phone calls from insurance companies. If this is the case, why go through this process alone? The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover:

  • Money for lost wages
  • Money for pain and suffering
  • Money for medical bills
  • Money for lost wages

The Jackman Law Firm can assist you with all of these things. In addition, we can stand between you and the insurance company for the logging truck company. While it is not common, there are also instances when the logging truck company’s insurance company may try to argue that you caused this accident, or they may argue that you contributed to this accident in some way.

If this unfortunate and untrue allegation is brought against you, then you need an attorney who can help you.

The Jackman Law Firm can assist you by sending subpoenas for any video footage that may have captured the accident, interviewing witnesses and bystanders, and speaking to the police, assuming an investigation was done.

If it is clear that the logging truck was not properly maintained, then the Jackman Law Firm has the resources and experience to investigate the company internally and find out if the company was failing to properly maintain their logging vehicle, such as not checking and fixing their brakes, making sure the tires are properly maintained and inflated, and making sure that they used the proper securing and fastening mechanism to make sure the logs were properly installed and secured on the truck.

If you have questions about your logging truck accident, feel free to call for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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