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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

What requirements do truck drivers have to meet to get a license?

Being a truck driver is a huge responsibility. You are the largest vehicles on the roadway, so you need to drive carefully and safely to protect yourself and everyone else on Washington roads with you. There is a process for getting a license to drive a large truck. You must obtain a commercial driver's license, which has some set requirements.

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, the process is similar to getting a regular driver's license in that you have to meet basic criteria, get a permit and pass a final driving test. It begins with your age. You need to be at least 18 years old to get a CDL. You also have to have a valid driver's license in the state.

What damages are available in wrongful death suits?

If you lose a loved one to someone else's negligence or misconduct in Washington, you may wish to file a wrongful death claim. Though no amount of money can bring your loved one back, a fair settlement can allow you to focus on grieving and healing instead of the financial loss caused by your loved one's death. FindLaw outlines the type of damages you may be able to recover. 

According to FindLaw, there are two types of damages you may recover in a wrongful death claim: pecuniary damages and punitive damages. The courts award pecuniary damages to compensate for financial injury caused by a person's unexpected death. Pecuniary injuries may include the loss of services (home maintenance, childcare, etc.), loss of support, lost prospect of inheritance and medical and funeral expenses. Most courts offer a damage award that includes interest from the date of the deceased's death.

Auto accidents and burn injuries

While there are many ways in which people are injured during motor vehicle crashes, every accident is unique, and some involve less common injuries. For example, someone may be burned in a motor vehicle collision, which could shatter their life in all sorts of ways. For a burn victim, life may unravel in many ways, whether they are upset by permanent scarring as a result of the burn or they have to take time off of work due to their injury. Sadly, many lives have been ruined due to burns and other injuries, all because a reckless driver caused a crash.

People are burned in various ways when it comes to auto collisions. From vehicle explosions to exposure to hot accident debris, steam, toxic chemicals, an electrical current or even gasoline that catches on fire, there are many ways in which people may sustain a burn during a crash and immediately following a collision. We know how painful and emotionally difficult burns and other auto accident injuries can be, and we believe that the victims of these crashes deserve justice.

What is happening with the truck driver shortage?

It has been in the news quite a bit lately because it has a huge impact on the economy. That is the truck driver shortage being seen across the country. Washington is not immune from this issue either. Every state has its struggles. Even with hugely increased salaries, there seems to be no end in sight for the driver shortage, according to Trucks.

Not only is there a shortage of drivers but also a shortage of trucks. This does not look good overall. Truck drivers help keep our economy alive through delivery and transporting goods. While there are other methods of delivery, trucks remain the solid standby because they are efficient and effective. They can go wherever the need is unlike other delivery options while also providing the ability to deliver large loads.

Are self-driving cars safe?

The idea of a car that drives itself was once a thing only found in science fiction, but it is now a reality. Self-driving cars seem to pop up a lot in the news in Washington. However, many of those stories focus on accidents involving these cars. You may wonder if they are really safe or if they pose a risk to everyone on the road and even to pedestrians.

According to CNN, self-driving cars are safe. Studies have even indicated they may be safer than human drivers. Part of the reason is a self-driving car does not have the flaws of a human. It cannot get distracted. It does not have blind spots because it can scan all around the car. It also is programmed to adjust to traffic and road conditions. A self-driving car also has the ability to detect objects in the roadway or obstacles at a speed much higher than a human. This means it can react more quickly.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

The untimely death of a loved one is never easy. It can be especially difficult when the death was due to the negligence of someone else. The law in Washington provides you with the chance for some recourse through a wrongful death claim. You may file a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death of your loved one and receive financial compensation if you win the case.

The law is strict on wrongful death cases, though. The Washington State Legislature explains that you may not have the right to file a lawsuit in every situation where a loved one dies due to the wrongful actions of someone else. There are very specific rules outlining who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a loved one.

Can a blaring radio keep you awake on the road?

Keeping awake and alert is a top priority for truckers who spend many hours on a nighttime Washington road. Truck drivers will try a number of ways to maintain their energy and stamina while driving. Some drivers may think keeping the radio on is the right call since constant noise should keep people from falling asleep. But the truth is that a blaring radio in your truck might not be a good idea.

Knight Transportation warns that a continuing stream of noise from the radio can actually exhaust your brain. While you are listening to the radio, you are receiving a stream of input that your mind has to process. However, the more you listen to audio content, the more your brain has to think about what it is processing. This applies no matter if you listen to music, a radio talk show, or a book on tape.

Suggestions for staying safe on wet roads

When you leave to drive somewhere, you can protect your safety and that of your passengers by planning your route ahead of time, putting any distractions away and putting your full attention on driving safely and following the rules of the road. However, there are times when other influences can make it difficult to maintain control of your vehicle and you have to rely on your instincts to help you make wise decisions. At Greaney Scudder Law Firm, we have helped many people in Washington who have been the victim of a car accident. 

One factor that can make driving difficult is inclement weather. When it is raining and snowing for example, you may experience visibility issues as well as less control over the traction your vehicle has on the road. According to AAA Exchange, your tires are working hard to keep contact with the road and even a meager 1/12 inch of water translates to nearly a gallon of water per second that your tires have to remove to keep their traction. As such, it is imperative that you keep your pace slow and steady and allow the vehicle in front of you plenty of room. Never follow another car too closely as a sudden slowing in their pace could send you scrambling to stop. 

Woman's death the result of poor equipment design, family says

When people are required to work around or with individual pieces of machinery or equipment, they are often required to undergo training designed to educate them on how to safely and adequately do their job. Such protocols help guarantee the safety of all of the workers who need to use it. Unfortunately, there are times when despite the efforts of employers in Washington, malfunctions, carelessness and even design flaws can compromise the safety of workers. 

This is precisely what one family is claiming in a wrongful death lawsuit after their family member was pulled underneath and dragged by a piece of equipment they claim was poorly designed. The incident occurred when the woman was working to position a cargo loader to unload a 777F aircraft. The person operating the cargo loader did not notice that the woman was still in the path of the deck and started moving it forward. The auxiliary deck then struck the woman and pulled her underneath where she was then dragged nearly 80 feet before anyone realized she was missing. 

Truck crashes and the resulting injuries

Washington residents have to share the road with commercial trucks, otherwise known as "big rigs". Trucking crashes can often result in serious injury or even fatalities, but many people don't understand the basics about trucks or why they can be such hazards on the road.

FindLaw has a page with frequently asked questions about truck crashes and injuries that can be a help to anyone just starting off looking for information. One of the biggest questions is, what are the common factors that contribute to these crashes? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is a combination of a truck's "characteristics and performance capabilities" and drivers being unaware of them. These characteristics and capabilities include a truck's rather large blind spot, as well as limits with acceleration or braking.

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