Oregon Truck Accident Attorney

How Unique Are Truck Accident Cases in Oregon

Were you injured in a tractor-trailer crash in Oregon that was caused by another driver’s negligence?  Contact Portland truck accident attorney Bart Herron at The Herron Law Firm immediately for a FREE legal consultation. Why? A personal injury case involving a crash with a tractor-trailer presents unique legal issues. Tractor-trailer drivers must follow several state and federal regulations. It is extremely important to protect and preserve all-important evidence, find and interview every witness, photograph and measure roads and distances, etc. You will not believe how fast that important evidence will be lost or just simply destroyed. The trucking company and their insurance representatives will be working hard to protect themselves, so should you. If the evidence is lost, so could be your case. 

State and Federal Laws Establish Standards for Insurance and Conduct


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates there are 333,000 trucking accidents per year in the US, with approximately 3,900 killed and 104,000 injured. People who have been injured in trucking accidents have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit to compensate them for their damages. But a personal injury case involving a crash with a tractor-trailer presents unique legal issues. Tractor-trailer drivers must follow several state and federal regulations and are required to have liability insurance with much higher limits than conventional auto drivers. Also, parties other than the truck driver may share liability and owe you compensation.

For the above reasons, a person hurt in a trucking accident has better odds of reaching a personal injury settlement that is equal to their damages than a ‘regular’ car crash. If you have been hurt in a trucking crash, this page has the critical information you should know.

Types of Trucking Accidents


Because of their size and weight, tractor-trailers will sometimes cause devastating injuries to drivers and passengers in regular vehicles. Below are the most common types of trucking crashes:

  • Jackknife: The truck folds itself so the tractor creates a 90-degree angle with the trailer. This is usually caused by the trucker slamming on the brakes too hard.
  • Truck Rollover: If the trucker loses control of the rig due to speeding or turning too quickly, it can roll onto passenger vehicles.
  • Tire Blowout: Blowouts are common with tractor-trailers because of their weight. Some trucking companies like to save money and skip replacing tires when they should.
  • Rear-End: Trucks weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If a truck slams into a small vehicle in front of it, the results are catastrophic.
  • Wide Turn: When a truck driver swing left to make a right turn, it is called a wide turn. If the driver does not see traffic around the rig, deadly accidents may result.
  • Under Ride: If a truck stops quickly, a passenger vehicle coming from behind can get stuck under the trailer. These accidents are often fatal.
  • Lost Load: Freight that is improperly loaded can lead to freight falling out, leading to hazardous conditions for other drivers.
  • Head-On: A head-on crash with a truck is almost always fatal. These crashes can occur if the truck goes the wrong way on a highway.
  • T-bone: These deadly crashes happen if a truck runs a stop sign or red light and hits another vehicle.

Types of Trucks on the Road


Oregon’s population is growing, and our roads are getting more congested by the year. That means more tractor-trailers are driving in the state. All large, commercial vehicles present greater risk to passenger vehicle drivers and passengers. Common types of large trucks that cause major accidents are:

  • Dump and Garbage Trucks
  • Tractor Trailers
  • Tanker Trucks
  • Flatbed Trucks
  • Tow Trucks

Common Causes of Trucking Accidents


Oregon has plenty of rainy driving conditions. Some truck drivers may lack the skill and experience to drive safely in wet weather. Fog also can cause many serious accidents. It is the responsibility of a commercial trucking license holder to drive carefully in poor weather.

  • Severe Weather: Oregon has plenty of rainy driving conditions. Some truck drivers may lack the skill and experience to drive safely in wet weather. Fog also can cause many serious accidents. It is the responsibility of a commercial trucking license holder to drive carefully in poor weather.
  • Road Construction: In an area under construction, a large tractor-trailer could change lanes, speed, or engage in other hazardous behavior that leads to serious or fatal accidents.
  • Poor Training: Truck drivers are required to have extensive training to drive safely, but some companies cut corners. The driver may have poor skills that lead to a major accident.
  • Inexperience With Roads: Truckers drive all over the US, and maybe unfamiliar with local roads. Confusion can lead to driver error. Regardless, the truck driver must drive in a safe manner and will be liable for your injuries if he violates the standard of care.
  • Driver Distraction: Truck drivers can be distracted by cell phones, computers, GPS devices, radios, and other passengers.
  • Overloaded Cargo: Trucks are only allowed to weigh up to 80,000 pounds by federal law. If the truck is overweight, it can make the rig difficult to stop or handle.

Trucking Accident Injuries


People hurt in truck accidents often have terrible injuries. They may face huge medical costs, months or years of recovery, and possibly permanent, life-changing injuries. In addition, truck crash victims may miss work for months, and some may not be able to work again.

Some common injuries from truck crashes:

  • Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash and spinal disc rupture or herniation.
  • Spinal cord injuries. This devastating injury can cause partial or total paralysis of the lower body or torso.
  • Head and brain injuries, from a mild concussion to permanent brain damage.
  • Burns, as large fuel tanks can rupture and cause devastating fire and burns to many accident victims.
  • Amputation or disfigurement that can be caused by impact or fire.
  • Internal injuries, including organ damage, torso and rib injuries
  • Broken bones, cuts, and bruises. Even ‘minor’ cuts and bruises can cause permanent injury.

Multiple Defendants and Your Settlement


One of the challenges with truck crashes is when there are multiple defendants. When there are several defendants in a personal injury lawsuit, they all could responsible for paying your damages. Or, they may only be liable for the damages they caused.

For instance, a fatigued truck driver could share responsibility for a crash with the manufacturer of the truck’s tires. You could sue the driver, the trucking company, AND the tire manufacturer, theoretically. If it is unclear how much the three defendants are at fault, the tire manufacturer might be required to pay more than its share of the damages if the trucker or company does not have enough insurance to pay their share.

With multiple defendants in a trucking accident, a settlement can be harder to obtain. Determining the degree of fault for each entity can be tough, making a trial more likely. The defendants in a big rig crash may opt for a trial because each thinks their share of the blame is less than what is being determined in settlement negotiations.

A trial could take months, which means you are waiting for money to pay for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc. If you hire Herron Law to represent you, our attorneys will give you advice about how to deal with your current expenses as you wait for a trial verdict.

IMPORTANCE of Establishing Liability for a Trucking Accident


Liability is based on the idea that every person on the road has a certain set of responsibilities while driving. As a car driver, you are liable for ensuring that the way you drive is ‘reasonable’ according to state and federal laws. It also means you have a legal duty to all drivers and pedestrians to exercise ‘reasonable care’ for their safety.

A tractor-trailer driver has an even higher level of responsibility. He or she has a commercial driver’s license, so they have a higher obligation to drive in a safe manner. Your Oregon trucking accident attorney will determine if the truck driver was negligent and caused your injuries.

If your accident happened in Oregon, it is important to understand this state’s negligence laws. Oregon has a modified comparative negligence standard. If you are partially responsible for the trucking accident, the damages you recover will be reduced by your degree of liability. But you can still collect damages as long as the fault attributed to your is not 51% or more.

Your attorney will determine who is at fault in the accident and to what degree. Once this information is obtained, you can determine if it is in your interest to file a claim against the trucking company.

What To Do After a Trucking Accident


After a truck accident, you first need to be seen by a doctor. Truck crashes are violent, and you may have serious injuries. Some injuries you may not be aware of for hours or even days. Remember as a victim of a truck crash, you have legal rights. But obtaining compensation for your injuries is challenging in truck crash cases because trucking and insurance companies have deep pockets and can afford to defend themselves aggressively. Even if the truck driver or trucking company was to blame for the accident, defense attorneys may try to downplay or even deny this fact. They might even blame you for the accident! 

The best way to protect your interests and be compensated is to hire an experienced lawyer if you are hit by any type of commercial vehicle that causes your injuries.

When To Call a Trucking Accident Lawyer


Tractor-trailer crashes are a bit different than a regular accident with passenger vehicles. A trucking company usually has a big liability insurance policy and deep pockets. These big companies can be motivated to make a trucking crash go away.

But that might not be in your best interest if you have major injuries and rehabilitation. In most tractor-trailer accidents, passenger vehicle crash victims have major injuries. That is why you almost always want a personal injury attorney representing you in a trucking accident claim.

You should find a good Oregon trucking accident attorney as soon as you can after the crash. Remember that your insurance adjuster cannot provide you with legal advice. Your insurance company wants to make money and compensate you as little as possible. Sometimes you will need to fight with insurance adjusters for coverage of expenses for medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, etc. Retain one of the best attorneys to be on your side. 

Talking to a good trucking accident lawyer immediately is wise because your attorney will move quickly to preserve evidence, secure the scene of the wreck, take photos, and witness statements. By waiting to hire a lawyer, your case could be compromised.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Trucking Accident Attorney?


Most truck crash attorneys, including The Herron Law Firm, charge clients a contingency fee. This means we are only paid if we win damages for you in a settlement or lawsuit. With this type of financial arrangement, it is possible for all financial means to afford to hire a lawyer. A contingency fee also provides all Americans with equal access to justice and representation of the same quality as trucking and insurance companies.

The contingency fee can range from 33% - 40% in most legal cases, depending on when and how the case is concluded. Even when a client pays a contingency fee at the end of a case, the skill of the trucking accident attorney almost always results in much higher compensation than if the injured party attempted to take on the case alone.

Hurt In a Trucking Accident? Call The Herron Law Firm Today


If you were hurt in a trucking accident because of the wrongdoing of another person, preserve your case. Contact Herron Law at 503-699-6496 today to set up a complimentary legal consultation. You also can fill out our Free Case Evaluation form or Text us at 503-367-0829.

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