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Runaway Truck Accidents

A runaway truck occurs when a semi-truck or its trailer loses the ability to stop or keep itself under control. These are without a doubt the most dangerous conditions a driver of a car, truck, SUV, or even another semi-truck, can face on the road.

These accidents are typically rear-end collisions and can lead to death of those who are in the path of the truck. These accidents also typically happen when a truck is going down a hill or mountain. Given how hilly and mountainous the areas in and around Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and all of Washington State, there are many opportunities for runaway truck accidents to happen.

The Cause of Runaway Truck Accidents

Many new or modern 18-wheelers or semi-trucks have advanced braking systems, but despite this, accidents can still happen. This is typically the case when the brakes fail on the truck or when the driver takes a turn too fast on a road that is curvy and has a steep slope. Loss of friction of the tires and heating can make runaway trucks or their trailer also both common and make them worse.

There is also a condition known as brake fade or brake effectiveness, which is just what it sounds like: the brakes’ effectiveness starts to decline, especially when the truck goes down a hill or curve. There are different kinds of fade in brakes. The first is friction fade. Friction fade can be stopped entirely if there is the right kind of maintenance done.

The second is mechanical fade. This happens when heat created by friction allows the drum to expand, which is not good, because if the drum increases to a certain extent, the brakes are not as effective. Eventually, this expansion can lead to brakes that fail, which in turns leads to out of control runaway trucks.

The third is called fluid fade. Most rigs now have what are called hydraulic braking systems and they need fluid to get the pads to work when the driver pushes the pedal. When friction caused by the brakes leads to fluid inside the system to boil and eventually vaporize, then fluid fade can lead to braking issues, and eventually an out of control truck that cannot stop.

Domino fade is the fourth kind of fade. The brakes can become overheated from being used too much and this is especially true if the brakes are not in proper adjustment, which causes a load that is too heavy on one or two of the wheels and not as much on the other wheels. If this happens, then you can have a domino effect where the brakes fail, and the truck goes out of control.

Washington State Runaway Truck Laws

Semi-trucks are normally considered commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government places stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. Semi truck vehicles that are not considered commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, are much freer to enter residential neighborhoods and streets, because 18-wheelers and more traditional commercial vehicles are prohibited from entering such streets and neighborhoods.

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

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

  • Tires that explode or blow out
  • Brakes that do not work properly
  • Not screening drivers
  • Vehicle maintenance issues

Sometimes runaway truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons are:

  • brakes that are old and not working
  • balding tires that need replaced
  • and other mechanical issues that need addressed and fixed.

If this is the case, the trucking company shares responsibility for the accident they caused. There are times, however, the insurance company for the truck company will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the company has been in properly and safely maintaining their truck, depending on how many they have in their fleet.

Common Runaway Truck Accident Injuries

If you have been in an accident with a runaway truck, chances are you have been left with serious injuries. These trucks are huge, larger than normal cars or SUVs most commonly on the road. The most common injuries associated with runaway truck injuries are:

  • Brain damage
  • Whiplash
  • Death
  • Broken bones
  • Bulging discs

These injuries do not normally just go away. 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 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 runaway truck.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

If you have been injured by a runaway truck, then you are likely in one of the more Difficult times of your life. You are likely facing 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 truck. While it is not common, there are also instances when the truck company’s insurance company may allege that you were either partly or completely at fault for the accident. 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 vehicle 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 vehicle, such as not checking and fixing their brakes, making sure the tires are properly maintained and inflated, and making sure the vehicle is safe to be on the road.

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

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