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Truck Crash Law

We help people who were hurt or killed by commercial motor vehicles.  (To keep it simple, we use truck). 

There are different rules and laws that apply to these vehicles.

Semi-truck and trailer

A combination of a tractor unit and one or more trailers (tractor trailers), likely the most common commercial vehicles.

Tanker truck

A large truck and/or trailer for hauling liquids, fuels and gases, which may be hazardous materials.

Flatbed truck

An open bed truck that hauls various, often oversized loads. Sheer size of a fully loaded truck can contribute to brake failures amongst other things.

Dump truck and trailer

Vehicles for hauling dirt, rock and debris, usually associated with construction.

Garbage truck

Single truck units run by companies contracted by local governments or municipalities for hauling waste or recycling.

Tow truck

Vehicles with tow bars or flatbeds used to remove disabled vehicles.

Logging truck

Flatbed truck modified with rails on one or more trailers to transport logs.


Private operators or common carriers used to transport passengers.

Your Legal Rights

You have the right in Washington State to talk to an experienced truck accident lawyer before talking to an insurance adjuster.

You need to be careful, even when it seems very clear that the truck driver caused the wreck. Trucking companies respond immediately and aggressively to crashes. If you have been involved in a Seattle truck crash we strongly suggest you get your own truck accident lawyer to protect you and your family.

You have the right to choose where, and how, your vehicle is repaired.

The odds are that your vehicle is a total loss. But often people will find that the insurance company recommends repair, and suggests a “preferred” auto repair shop. You are under no obligation to use the insurance company mechanics.

You have the right to have an attorney review any offers of settlement.

Even if the insurance adjuster makes an offer to settle your truck accident claim, you can talk to a lawyer about it first. Sometimes, people sign something and waive their rights to fair compensation without realizing it.

Never consider an offer of settlement until you have fully recovered from your injuries. If your injuries are permanent, then talk with your doctors about long term care needs.

Experience matters in cases of trucking accidents. You need to talk to a lawyer who has experience with both federal laws and state laws, in addition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). These regulations include:

  • 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 accident claims for nearly 35 years. He is a member of numerous legal organizations focused specifically on trucking claims, such as the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATTA)—and the only lawyer based in Washington State to have achieved Board Certification in Truck Accident Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you are looking for the best truck accident lawyer, schedule a free consultation and let Coluccio Law help you get fair financial compensation.

Contact Kevin Coluccio about a truck accident case, or see The Trucking Watchdog for more information and details about his experience in trucking law and safety.

What to do after a Truck Crash

Get the medical care you need.

The most important thing you can do is get the recommended medical treatment, and take care of yourself. Take the time for recommended physical therapy, get counseling for any emotional distress, and seek any other recommended medical attention to get yourself well again.

Don’t push yourself too hard. Sometimes, people who return to work or stop medical treatment before they are healed have terrible relapses.

If a loved one or loved ones were killed in a crash, read about wrongful death claims.

Open an insurance claim.

Even if the crash was not your fault, you need to contact your own car insurance company and open a claim.

Then, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim.

Because of the complex legal issues in trucking cases, we recommend that you do not give a recorded statement without speaking to a truck crash lawyer.

If you are concerned about paying the medical bills, then speak to a representative from your insurance provider about your policy benefits.

For more detailed information, review this guide to understanding your car insurance.

Educate yourself on truck crash claims.

Filing an insurance claim for injuries and damages is a complicated process. It helps to understand the trucking industry and the players involved.

  • Insurance Companies: Insurance carriers for truck drivers and trucking companies have a lot of money at stake. They defend these cases very aggressively.
  • Investigators: Trucking companies have crash response teams ready to investigate incidents as soon as they happen. They often send a lead investigator, a company safety person, and a risk management team to the scene of the collision.
  • Lawyers: The trucking company can assign a lawyer immediately. The legal team can start work before you’re even out of the hospital.

Our Process for Truck Crash Cases

Most accidents involving truck crash cases are settled without going to trial. But there is always the possibility of a trial – and we are always ready for it. We will examine the police reports, assemble medical evidence for the clients injured documentation, investigate possible equipment failure, and investigate driver error.  We gather evidence to support your truck accident claim and prepare to recover compensation.

After a settlement or trial verdict, we prepare a financial statement for you. We negotiate on outstanding medical expenses or liens, and make sure everything is covered.

We will present you the facts and your options simply and honestly. You have the final say in how your case is resolved.

Professional truck drivers and trucking companies have insurance – just like you have insurance on your own car.

There are usually a few different insurance policies involved. Each one has their own insurance adjusters and lawyers.

Remember: these folks don’t work for you. Their job is to protect the insurance company’s money.

When we get involved, they have to deal with us – and leave you alone.

The simple truth is that you need a lawyer to negotiate with the trucking company’s lawyers.

If they make an offer to settle your case, we will contact you to discuss it.

In some cases, we have to file a lawsuit in court before the insurance companies will actually negotiate.

You are always in charge of whether or not you want to accept a settlement. We are here to advise you.

We can prepare and file official complaints with the court. This is the legal process of suing the people and companies responsible for the truck crash.


After the complaint is filed with the court, it must be served, or officially delivered, to everyone involved.

The court sets a trial date and deadlines for exchanging information, and formal negotiations. A trial is supposed to be the final option, used only when other methods of resolution have failed.

Most truck crash cases are settled without going to trial. But there is always the possibility of a trial – and we are always ready for it.


After a settlement or trial verdict, we prepare a financial statement for you. We negotiate on outstanding medical bills or liens, and make sure everything is covered.

We will present you the facts and your options simply and honestly. You have the final say in how your case is resolved.

Truck Crash Frequently Asked Questions

What are common causes of big truck crashes?

It’s no secret that the amount of truck crashes have been on the rise over the past few years. In fact, since 2009, we have seen a 52% increase in these types of collisions. The common causes of truck accidents involving commercial trucks include but are not limited to:

  • Truck Driver Fatigue – falling asleep
  • Impaired or Distracted Driving
  • Poor Judgement – Lose Control of Vehicle
  • Speeding or Disobeying Traffic Guidelines
  • Poor Training and Maintenance
  • Falsified Log Books
  • Truck Driver Deadlines
  • Overweight/Improper Loading – Overloading Cargo

Most insurance policies have strict guidelines about filing collision claims. You should contact your own car insurance agent as soon as possible. Even if you were not at fault, you will likely need to access your own insurance benefits for medical care, lost wages, and other expenses.

If you were involved in a collision with a semi-truck, or any type of commercial truck, the trucking company’s insurer will start preparing a defense very soon after the crash. It is your right to talk to a lawyer before talking to their insurance adjuster.  It’s best to speak with a law firm that has truck accident lawyers with a deep understanding of the laws around commercial trucks and commercial trucking regulations.

It depends on where you could file a lawsuit if your injury claim can’t be resolved. All personal injury lawsuits have a “statute of limitations”, which varies by the state and the cause of the lawsuit.

In Washington State, most personal injury claims must be filed within 3 years after the date of the incident. However, there are exceptions depending on the type of claim, or the age of the victim, or other factors.

And in some cases, an injured person has to give notice of their intent to file a lawsuit in a very limited amount of time.

That’s why most attorneys recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Simply put, yes. There are different rules and laws that apply to commercial motor vehicles—semi-trucks, garbage trucks, buses—than apply to a regular “car accident.” They have teams of insurance adjusters and lawyers who start working on a defense within hours of a serious truck crash.

It’s important that you speak to a lawyer, so that you know your legal rights. Too often, injured people believe that the insurance company will take care of their expensive medical bills and wrecked vehicle—and they wait too long to call an experienced truck crash lawyer.

  • Do you have experience with truck crashes like mine?
  • How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
  • How would you keep me updated on the status of my case?
  • Would I be responsible for advanced case costs if my lawsuit is not successful?
  • Would you be the attorney actually handling my case if it goes to trial?

While situations may vary, we usually advise that you do not accept a settlement from the trucking company without speaking to an experienced truck crash attorney. Considering the severity of the situation, you may be faced with unexpected medical expenses and may be unable to return to work, or forced to spend an extended amount of time in therapy. Make sure you have all your bases covered by hiring a personal injury lawyer who will account for any potential bills and expenses before accepting any kind of offer from the negligent party.

Talk to an experienced Truck Crash Lawyer

Contact Coluccio Law for a free consultation on your truck crash claim.

A Family’s Christmas Truck Crash Nightmare

Case:  Wright v. Trucking Company
Result: $3,150,000 settlement after 10 days in trial

The Wrights were on their way to a Christmas party when the family vehicle was struck head-on by a semi-truck and trailer.

Two of the family members suffered serious injuries. They were airlifted from the crash scene to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

In the initial crash reports, it looked like the trucker had swerved in to the Wrights to avoid hitting another car.

But a thorough investigation and expert analysis found 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.

The family’s lawyer, Kevin Coluccio, used his experience and knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and motor carrier standards of care to resolve this case. After two weeks in trial, Coluccio resolved the case for more than three million dollars.

Truck Crash Lawyer Blog