Utility Truck Accidents
Utility trucks serve an important role for Seattle, Kirkland, and Olympia residents. They help provide power to millions of people. While they are important, and while accidents with them are not as common as with other, smaller vehicles such as cars, when accidents do occur they can be very serious, even deadly. Drivers have to be very careful when they are on the road with them.Washington State Utility Truck Laws
What is a utility truck? A utility truck is a large, heavy-duty truck that is outfitted with heavy equipment designed for a specific use. Utility trucks can be owned and operated by cities, states, and municipalities, but they can also be owned and operated by private companies. The most common utility trucks on the road today are owned by cities, states, and municipalities are:
- Sewer trucks
- Water trucks
- Gas trucks
- Snowplows and de-icers
The most common kinds of utility trucks that are owned and operated by private companies are:
- Cable and phone companies, such as AT&T, Comcast, CenturyLink, Cox
- Construction companies
- Lawn and tree trimming/removal services
Utility trucks are normally considered commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. Utility 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 utility truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the utility truck company’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both.
Common reasons for utility 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 utility 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 utility truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the truck company is at fault. Common reasons for utility truck accidents when the company is at fault:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake problems
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Failing to properly screen or vet drivers
Sometimes utility truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in utility 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 utility truck company will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the company has been in properly and safely maintaining their utility truck or utility trucks, depending on how many they have in their fleet.Common Utility Truck Accident Injuries
If you have been in an accident with a utility 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 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 utility truck.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
If you have been injured by a utility 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 utility truck. While it is not common, there are also instances when the utility 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 utility truck accident, feel free to call for a free consultation to discuss your case.