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2019 Washington Truck Accident Statistics

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According to statistics from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), there were 111,416 vehicle crashes in the state of Washington in 2019. Five hundred seven of those crashes resulted in fatalities and more than 9,000 resulted in minor to severe injuries. Out of all crashes that resulted in death or injury, 162 involved heavy trucks or tractor-trailers. While this only represents a small fraction of the total number of Washington vehicle accidents, it is vital to remember that large trucks can cause massive damage in an accident far greater than a typical passenger car could.

If you’ve recently been involved in a truck accident, contact our Seattle truck accident lawyers right away to learn more about how you can fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. 

Truck Accident Causes in Washington

The WSDOT crash data report also includes details for the types of truck accidents that occur in the state.

  • Out of the 162 truck accidents in Washington in 2018, 51 resulted in fatalities.
  • 137 of those 162 accidents resulted in suspected serious injuries.
  • Alcohol was a contributing factor in 14 of these accidents and drugs played a role in three.
  • Driver distraction and inattention led to more than 40 of these truck accidents, including both inattentive truck drivers and other drivers.
  • Drowsy driving accounted for about eight of the 162 truck accidents in Washington in 2018.
  • Speeding was a contributing factor in about 40 of all 2018 truck crashes in Washington.

The WSDOT report lines up with other statistics gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency responsible for oversight of the U.S. trucking industry. The FMCSA identifies the most common cause of trucking accidents as driver error, which can include non-performance, failure to recognize road hazards, unsafe driving, or distraction. Driver-related causes result in about 90% of large truck accidents while vehicle defects account for nearly 10% and the remainder occur due to road or environmental issues.

Determining Liability for a Truck Accident

A truck accident can cause catastrophic injuries and damages and involve several vehicles. Determining liability for these accidents is often complicated, and different causes can potentially lead to different types of legal claims.

  • If truck driver error causes an accident, the elements of the error influence the liability determination. If the driver was intoxicated or fell asleep at the wheel, these are actions outside of his or her job duties and the employer would likely refute liability for the accident. However, if the trucking company hired an unqualified driver or driver with a record of intoxicated driving, the company would likely face liability for their negligent hiring practices.
  • A vehicle defect or defective part could also cause an accident. In this situation the manufacturer would face liability for the defective product. The plaintiff would not necessarily need to prove negligence, only that the product in question was defective and the cause of the accident.
  • Road damage may also cause a truck accident, and liability would fall to the government agency responsible for maintaining the road. However, most state and federal agencies have sovereign immunity and cannot face liability for civil claims.
  • Third parties such as aggressive or speeding drivers may also cause truck accidents.
  • Improper cargo loading could lead to an unstable or unbalanced load, leading to a tip-over or rollover accident once the driver is on the open road. The company responsible for loading the truck would face liability.

While these are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents, it is important to remember that a truck accident may involve multiple parties. For example, a driver speeding with an unbalanced load could lead to an accident in which the driver, trucking company, and the distributor that loaded the truck could all face liability. If you sustained injuries and other damages in a Washington truck accident, a personal injury attorney in Seattle can help determine the best legal options for recovery.