Truck crashes are not the same as car crashes.
Due to their massive sizes and heavy weights, semi-truck and trailer combinations cause serious and fatal injuries to about 130,000 people every year.
Determining fault in a trucking crash is more complicated than most car crashes. It is important to understand the trucking industry and the players involved.
- Insurance: Insurance carriers for truck drivers and trucking companies have a lot of money at stake, and defend these cases very aggressively.
- Investigation: Trucking companies have crash response teams ready to investigate incidents as soon as they happen. These teams are generally on-call 24 hours a day, and include an investigator, a company safety person, and a risk management team.
- Attorneys: Usually, trucking companies have a lawyer involved immediately after the crash is reported.
You need to act quickly after a truck crash
Trucking companies respond immediately and aggressively to crashes: you need your own attorney to protect you and your family.
Your attorney will investigate the collision, and force the trucking company to preserve valuable evidence. Attorneys can work with a truck crash reconstructionist to determine the dynamics and cause of the incident.
Experience matters in trucking cases
An experienced trucking attorney will know both federal and state laws, in addition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), including:
- Licensing requirements for truck drivers;
- Required documentation;
- Limits on consecutive work hours by hours;
- Training requirements;
- Weight, size and route limitations; and
- Trucking insurance minimums.
Kevin Coluccio has been handling truck crashes for the nearly thirty years. A member of several legal organizations focused specifically on trucking claims, he is a member of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATTA).
See The Trucking Watchdog for more information and details on Kevin Coluccio’s work on trucking law and safety.
Featured trucking cases
Wright v. Trucking Company
$3,150,000 settlement after 10 days in trial
While traveling to a family Christmas gathering, the family was struck head-on by a semi-truck and trailer that had crossed the road to avoid hitting a car that had come into the trucker’s lane of travel. Two of the family members suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.
At first glance, the trucker had tried to avoid hitting the car that had traveled into his lane.
But a through investigation and expert analysis determined that the trucker was going too fast for conditions – and that he may have been distracted by his cell phone. The trucker had also violated the defensive driving standard, which means that a trucker should never turn into the oncoming lane of travel.
Kevin Coluccio’s experience and knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Motor Carrier standards of care were crucial to resolving this case for the family.
Qamar v. Leonard Trucking, Inc.
$1,850,000 (maximum result – policy limits)
A University of Washington professor and his passenger suffered a tragic death when an overloaded logging truck lost its cargo.
Both the truck and the truck driver had been cited for multiple violations – but they were still on the road.
After the professor’s death, a law sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi of Shoreline was signed expanding the number of commercial trucks in Washington State that can be tracked for safety violations.
The new law expanded safety tracking to include garbage trucks, in-state charter buses and vehicles registered by the Utilities and Transportation Commission. By summary, the law:
- Authorizes the Washington State Patrol to take trucks with safety violations off the road until violations have been corrected.
- Increases penalties for commercial vehicle safety violations.
- Allows the Washington State Patrol to use data-driven analysis to prioritize motor carriers for inspection and compliance reviews.
- Requires certain in-state motor carriers to have United States Department of Transportation numbers.
- Increases trip permit fees by $5: the additional amount is dedicated to commercial vehicle inspections.
- Increases the registration fee for vehicles subject to highway inspections and terminal audits form $10 to $16.
This law, and other litigation on behalf of trucking accident victims will make Washington roads and highways safer.