Truck Accident Liability in Oregon: When Multiple Parties Are Responsible

Due to the weight and size of large commercial vehicles, truck accidents can have devastating consequences. These cases are complex, and it’s not uncommon for multiple parties to share truck accident liability. At Johnson and Taylor, our Salem truck accident attorneys help personal injury clients throughout Oregon understand their rights and options for recovering compensation. We explain how multiple parties may be liable after a crash.

Truck Accident Cases are Complex

Cases involving commercial trucks are very different from auto accident claims, as car crashes typically involve a couple of vehicles and maybe only one or two insurance policies. Multiple entities are typically involved in the operation of a semi-truck, which means that more than one person or organization could be liable if their negligence caused an accident. In addition to the driver, the trucking company, maintenance company, shipping and lading company, parts and vehicle manufacturers, and others may be liable in a truck accident.

Establishing Fault After a Truck Accident

Determining fault and assigning truck accident liability is challenging. It requires extensive investigation, collection of relevant evidence, and legal acumen. Evidence that can be used to demonstrate fault can include accident reports, cell phone records, electronic logging device (ELD) data, and witness testimony. A truck accident lawyer may also hire experts such as accident reconstructions to determine how a crash happened and who is at fault. The experience and knowledge of our personal injury attorneys with a track record of success winning truck accident liability claims is invaluable in these types of cases.

Potentially Liable Parties in Truck Accident Cases

The Truck Driver

In many cases, truck drivers are primarily responsible for accidents. Factors such as reckless driving, distraction, driver fatigue, or operating a truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be major contributors to truck accidents. If a driver fails to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines, such as how many consecutive hours they can be on the road, they could be liable for damages.

The Trucking Company

The trucking company that employs a driver, including the driver’s own company if they are self-employed, may also be liable for damages after an accident. For example, if the company failed to provide adequate training to drivers, enforce safety protocols, or properly maintain vehicles, they could be deemed negligent and held responsible for damages.

Mechanics and Maintenance Providers

Shoddy repair work or poor maintenance of commercial trucks can be a danger to everyone on the road. If a mechanic or maintenance provider didn’t properly inspect or repair a truck and it led to mechanical failures that caused an accident, they may be liable for damages.

Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer

Defective design, parts or components, or manufacturing can contribute to truck accident liability. If defective tires, brakes, steering, or other truck parts malfunction and cause an accident, the manufacturer, designer, and even the parts supplier could be on the hook for damages.

Shippers and Cargo Loaders

When cargo is improperly loaded or secured, fatal accidents can occur. Poor loading practices can cause a truck to become unbalanced and tip over or result in cargo falling off onto the road. A shipper or cargo loading company may be liable for damages if failed to properly secure the load or adhere to weight limits and a truck accident occurs.

Government Agencies

Design defects and poor road maintenance can also contribute to serious truck accidents. If a crash occurs due to improper road maintenance, bad signage, or traffic signals, or because the agency or municipality failed to take care of known hazards, they may be liable for damages. However, many government agencies enjoy special protections from liability and have strict processes for filing claims against them, so it’s vital to consult a truck accident lawyer in Oregon before initiating a claim.

Other Negligent Drivers

In some instances, other drivers on the road may also contribute to truck accidents. Sudden lane changes, distracted driving, speeding, and failure to yield are just a few negligent behaviors that can play a role in crashes.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident

It’s important to know what to do to protect your rights after a truck accident involving multiple parties. Trucking companies and their insurers may send investigators to the scene. Drivers and trucking companies have insurance policies with high limits and will do anything they can to avoid truck accident liability and large payouts.

Do not give a statement, answer any questions, sign anything, or accept a settlement without speaking to our truck accident attorneys first. We can evaluate your case, conduct our own investigation into the crash, identify potentially liable parties, and pursue all possible sources of compensation on your behalf. If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal accident, our attorneys can determine whether you may have a viable wrongful death claim.

Our truck accident lawyers in Salem, OR know how to accurately value your claim and provide straightforward legal advice you can trust. We don’t make empty promises about gigantic settlements, but we do fight to hold negligent parties accountable and help you get the maximum compensation you need and deserve.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Salem, Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, we know that the trauma of being hurt in a truck accident can be life-changing. Our compassionate, tenacious team is here for you. In addition to litigating personal injury cases, we handle probate and estate planning, and divorce and family law matters. To schedule a free consultation with a truck accident attorney in Salem, OR, contact us online or call 503-990-6641. We can meet with you at home, by phone, or via Zoom if your condition makes it difficult to travel. Our personal injury attorneys serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout Oregon.

Your Rights When Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident in Oregon

Being injured as a passenger in a car accident can be stressful and confusing. However, you have certain legal rights that enable you to pursue compensation for any damages you suffered as a result of a crash. At Johnson and Taylor, our car accident attorneys help injured passengers throughout Oregon understand their rights and options. We believe that it’s important for injured victims to know their rights under the law so they can better understand how car accident lawsuits and claims work.

You Have a Right to Seek Compensation for Damages

Regardless of who was at fault, the PIP coverage on your driver’s policy should cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. If your medical bills exceed the amount of PIP coverage on their policy, you may be able to use PIP benefits through your own auto insurance if you have it.

If you’re hurt as a passenger in a car accident, you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, whether it was the driver of your car or that of another car, for damages such as medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other accident-related damages.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident

Determining who’s at fault for a crash is essential in car accident claims. If liability for the accident is obvious, the negligent party may easily accept responsibility for damages. However, if liability isn’t clear or both drivers are partially at fault, your car accident lawyer will likely advise you to file claims against all potentially negligent parties. They will conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is at fault and help you pursue every possible avenue of compensation.

What if the Driver is a Loved One?

If the person driving is a friend or family member, an injured passenger may be hesitant to file a claim. However, it’s vital to remember that you are not bringing a claim against the person, but their auto insurance company. The purpose of your loved one paying for insurance is to ensure that if someone is hurt in an accident, their insurer will provide compensation for any damages they incur.

Insurance issues can be tricky to sort out, especially in cases involving multi-car accidents. Dealing with multiple insurers can sap your time and energy when you’re trying to focus on healing. An experienced car accident lawyer can advise you on the best path forward to maximize the compensation you receive and handle all negotiations with insurers.

What is Subrogation?

If you file a claim for compensation from an at-fault driver’s insurer, the settlement you receive may be subject to subrogation in certain cases. This means that the insurance company that paid your PIP benefits may be able to recoup some of their money from any award you receive from the at-fault party’s insurer. However, your car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate a subrogation claim so that you can keep more of your car accident settlement or award.

What to Do If You’re Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident

Knowing your rights and taking certain steps after a car accident can empower you throughout the claims process. If possible, gather evidence such as photos of vehicle damage, your injuries, and the scene. Get contact and insurance information from other drivers and the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. If available, obtain a copy of the police report at the scene as well.

It’s also critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Going to the emergency room or seeing your doctor ensures your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated. Medical records provide essential documentation of your injuries, which you’ll need for insurance claims or car accident lawsuits. If any insurance adjusters contact you, do not sign anything or accept a settlement offer without speaking to an Oregon car accident lawyer first.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Oregon

If you’ve been hurt as a passenger in a car accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your case, explain your rights, and advise you on the best course of action for recovering compensation.

Our car accident lawyers give you a straightforward assessment of your case and the potential value of your claim. Our attorneys tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear, and won’t waste your time with empty promises of huge settlements.

In addition to litigating auto accident cases, our team handles probate & estate planning and divorce and family law matters. Our personal injury attorneys serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout the state of Oregon.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney in Salem, Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, we know that as an injured passenger in a car accident, you may be unsure of where to turn or what to do next. Our team is here to offer legal guidance and protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Salem, OR, contact us online or call 503-990-6641. We can meet with you at home, by phone, or via Zoom if your condition makes it difficult to travel.

How Pre-existing Conditions Can Impact Car Accident Claims in Oregon

Auto accident claims are multifaceted and can be particularly complex when an injury aggravates a pre-existing condition. At Johnson and Taylor, our car accident attorneys help personal injury clients throughout Oregon understand how pre-existing conditions may affect their case and how our lawyers can maximize their chances of a successful claim.

New Injuries and Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions

One key factor that has an impact on a car accident claim is determining whether an injury existed prior to a crash or was a direct result of the collision. Although people with pre-existing conditions may be more susceptible to certain types of injuries, if an accident aggravates existing injuries or causes new ones, they may be entitled to compensation for damages.

For example, if a whiplash injury sustained in a car accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition such as a herniated disc, you may be able to recover compensation for treatment of both the whiplash injury and the aggravation of the herniated disc. Proving that a crash aggravated a pre-existing condition can be challenging, so it’s important to have an experienced car accident lawyer in your corner.

Proving Causation

Although proving causation is part of any personal injury claim, it can become especially complex when pre-existing conditions are involved. Insurance companies do whatever they can to minimize payouts and deny claims, so they may argue that injuries sustained in an accident were mainly due to pre-existing conditions rather than the accident itself.

To dispute this claim, you must demonstrate that the crash was the proximate cause of your injuries. This means that it was the direct and foreseeable outcome of the negligent party’s actions. Medical evidence that documents the nature and extent of your pre-existing condition and the treatment or management of it can help show that a collision caused it to worsen. Medical opinions and expert testimony can also provide compelling arguments to establish a causal link between the crash and an aggravated pre-existing condition.

Disclose Pre-existing Conditions to Your Car Accident Attorney

Always be honest with your personal injury attorney about any pre-existing conditions you may have. Insurance companies often conduct extensive investigations and may explore your medical history. If you fail to disclose a pre-existing injury, your claim could be denied and you could even be sanctioned by the court. However, it’s important to speak to a car accident attorney before giving insurance adjusters any access to your medical records. Your auto accident lawyer will know the best course of action to work toward a successful claim settlement.

Mitigation of Damages

After a car accident, injured victims have a duty to mitigate their damages. This means that they must seek proper medical treatment for new injuries and aggravated pre-existing conditions. Failure to do this can impact the amount of a potential settlement or result in your claim being denied.

Insurance companies usually scrutinize your medical records to determine whether you’ve taken action to mitigate damages. It’s critical to follow your doctor’s recommendations, attend all medical and rehabilitation appointments, and keep detailed records of treatment and medical expenses.

How an Oregon Car Accident Attorney Can Help with Claims Involving Pre-existing Conditions

An experienced auto accident lawyer can provide invaluable guidance throughout the personal injury claims process. They can assess your case and advise you of your options for recovering compensation. If you move forward with your claim, they will conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and put it all together to support your case. Your car accident attorney handles all negotiations with insurers and advocates for your rights.

Each case is unique, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive will depend on the specific circumstances. Personal injury attorneys are well-versed in the complex process of calculating damages in claims involving pre-existing injuries. They may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

Our personal injury lawyers give you an honest assessment of your case and the value of a potential car accident settlement or award. We tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear, which is critical to having realistic expectations in claims involving preexisting conditions.

In addition to litigating personal injury cases, we handle probate estate planning and divorce and family law matters. Our personal injury attorneys serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout Oregon.

Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers to Schedule a Free Consultation

At Johnson and Taylor, we care about you and your family and work toward the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been involved in a car accident that has aggravated a pre-existing condition, our team is here for you. To schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Salem, Oregon, contact us online or call 503-990-6641. If your condition makes it difficult to travel, we can meet with you at home, by phone, or via Zoom.