U-Haul Moving Truck Accidents
U-Haul and Penske trucks are very common on the roads and highways in Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and throughout Washington State. They are important for helping people move residences, businesses, or equipment from one location to the other. They can also be deadly to those people on the road. An empty U-Haul trucks weighs approximately 12,600. It weighs even more when it is loaded weight freight. A fully-loaded U-Haul truck could weigh up to 20,000 pounds fully loaded.Washington State U-Haul Truck Laws
U-Haul trucks are involved in 145 accidents that have led to deaths of people on the road in the USA. This was over a five-year period as determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also known as the FMCSA. This is not too surprising given how many U-Haul trucks are on the road today and the risk they pose to people in them.
There are two sources of fault when there is an accident with a U-Haul truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the U-Haul truck company’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both.
Common reasons for U-Haul truck accidents when the driver is at fault:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inexperience
- Driver inattention
- Driver distraction
Unlike drivers who are behind the wheel of similarly-sized semi-trucks or 18-wheelers, driver who get behind U-Haul trucks do not, in most cases, have commercial driver’s licenses. What is a CDL—commercial driver’s license? It is not easy to get this license. A driver must pass a background check and pass several fitness tests as well. In order to drive an 18-wheeler or semi-truck for a company, a driver normally must possess this license first. However, U-Haul does not place a similar requirement on their drivers. Thus, there are drivers on the road who are operating a 26,000 pound truck who simply are not qualified to operate them.
In many cases, accidents occur simply because the person behind the wheel of the U-Haul has only operated a truck, SUV, or car their whole driving life, and they are not experienced and prepared to drive such a large vehicle. Given the relative inexperience of U-Haul truck drivers, other reasons for accidents are:
- Failure to yield
- Too wide of a turn
- Not understanding how long it takes to brake a 26,000 pound truck
- Improper passing of another car
Braking improperly is a huge reason for accidents in U-Haul truck accidents.
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 for truck accidents when the company is at fault:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake problems
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Failing to properly screen or vet drivers
Sometimes truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in 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 u 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 or trucks, depending on how many they have in their fleet.Mechanical Problems with U-Haul Trucks
If you are operating a U-Haul truck and an accident occurs because of a mechanical problem, then you are not fault. In this instance, the fault lies with either U-Haul or the manufacturer of the truck, depending on the circumstances of the case. While mechanical issues are rare, they do occur. U-Haul has a duty, before they loan a vehicle to a customer, to make sure the U-Haul moving truck is in good working order and has no known defects.
In order to prevail in a claim against U-Haul for a mechanical problem that caused the accident, you would have to show that U-Haul either knew or should have known—in other words, that it was foreseeable—that their truck would a mechanical issue that would eventually cause an accident. This may not be easy to accomplish. Through your attorney, you may have to hire an expert to prove that there was a mechanical issue with the truck.Insurance Issues with U-Haul Trucks
U-Haul has its own self-insured coverage. It is called SafeMove and SafeMove Plus.
This is offered to the customers who purchases this coverage at the time they rent the U-Haul. Drivers who get this coverage have $1,000,000 for liability coverage. There is cargo coverage that will cover a rental up to $25,000 of goods and an in-town coverage that goes up to $15,000. There is also medical and life coverage.
If you lease the truck and you are killed while operating the U-Haul, your beneficiary can receive up to $25,000. If you have a passenger that is killed while operating the U-Haul, the passenger’s beneficiary can receive up to $15,000 in insurance coverage. There is coverage of up to one million dollars for property damage or bodily injury that is brought against the driver of the U-Haul through what is called Supplemental Liability Insurance.Common U-Haul Moving Truck Accident Injuries
If you have been in an accident with a U-Haul moving 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:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- ACL or MCL tears
- 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 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 truck.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
If you have been injured by a 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. It is not a good idea to go through this process alone.
The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover:
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for medical bills
- Money for lost income at work
In addition, The Jackman Law Firm can help you negotiate with the insurance company for U-Haul. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, this could be a long and drawn out process that you will need help with. After all, the insurance company for U-Haul is not incentivized to offer you a fair and reasonable settlement for your injuries and losses. They are there simply to protect their own interests, which means not paying you a fair settlement.
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.