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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Driver error often responsible for truck rollovers

Media coverage pertaining to large truck accidents can look terrifying, but like many Washington residents, you may believe it is something that will never happen to you. Unfortunately, as we are aware at the Greaney Scudder Law Firm, serious motor vehicle accidents can happen without warning to anyone. Accidents involving semis can be some of the most devastating.

Rollover accidents are common among large trucks, since big rigs can be unbalanced and more easily lose control than smaller vehicles. You may have seen photographs of an 18-wheeler tipped on its side or rolled down an embankment, which can be frightening just to look at. As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains, truck driver error is often found to be the cause of rollover accidents, in the following ways:

  • Shifting or improperly loaded cargo
  • Speeding, changing lanes too quickly or taking a turn too fast
  • Inadequately maintained brakes or tires

What are damages resulting from loss of consortium?

Some damages that result from an accident in the state of Washington are easy to convert into dollars and cents. For instance, you can compute how much money it will take to cover the repair bill for your car. But when it comes to loss of consortium, damages take on a noneconomic nature. They are not easily computed into monetary amounts. Nonetheless, the losses sustained from loss of consortium are very real to the family of the injury victim.

FindLaw defines a loss of consortium as a loss of familial and relational benefits as a result of a family member sustaining injury. Sometimes a loss of consortium is called a loss of companionship or a loss of affection, and for good reason. For example, a wife that is severely injured in a car wreck may wind up disabled and cannot care for children or provide intimacy to her spouse. These would be considered damages under loss of consortium.

Is it risky to turn right on a red light?

Many Washington motorists think nothing of turning right at a red light. Provided that there are no circumstances to dictate otherwise, it is legal to make a right turn if you stop first at a red light. Still, this does not mean that right turns on red do not present some added risk to anyone crossing the intersection at the time someone makes a right turn. The Bellingham Herald explains how these risks may manifest themselves.

It was not until 1980 that all fifty states had actually legalized making a right turn after stopping at a red light. The states made these changes so that cars would save fuel while driving. However, analysis that followed this policy change discovered that accidents and crashes were more likely to occur, with one study finding that total crashes were up 23 percent at intersections that permitted right turns on red.

Man dies after oxygen equipment malfunctions

While the death of a loved one is never something easy to process, it can be significantly more traumatizing when it comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Situations, where a person's death was caused by the negligence, ignorance or recklessness of another, are extra complicated for families in Washington. 

For one family in South Carolina, the pain of losing their loved one has been excruciating. The family claims the incident began when their loved one had received treatment at a local medical facility for a stroke. As part of treatment, it was determined that the man would be set up with oxygen in his home so he could have assistance breathing. The family claims that the apparatus that should have been carefully checked and monitored before the caretakers had left, was improperly connected. As a result, the man was not getting adequate oxygen and ultimately ended up suffocating which resulted in his death. 

What is negligent entrustment?

As the owner of a vehicle in Kent, you (and others) owe a duty of care to each other that your cars, trucks or SUV's not cause them any harm out on the road. That duty is typically fulfilled by you and other vehicle owners driving safely. Yet does it also extend to vehicle owners permitting others to use their vehicles? If you are involved in an accident caused by a driver who was using another's vehicle, then you might wonder what sort of liability the vehicle owner may face. That all depends on whether negligent entrustment applies to your case. 

The legal doctrine of negligent entrustment allows vicarious liability to be assigned to third parties for damages caused by one to whom they entrusted with a potentially dangerous instrument (such as a car). There are two key elements that must be present in order to apply negligent entrustment to your case: knowledge and consent. First, the vehicle owner must have known (or should have known) that the person they were loaning their car to was an incompetent or reckless driver. Indeed, when establishing the state's standard for negligent entrustment, Washington State Superior Court rulings adhere to the following definition: "A person entrusting a vehicle to another may be liable under a theory of negligent entrustment only if that person knew, or should have known in the exercise of ordinary care, that the person to whom the vehicle was entrusted is reckless, heedless, or incompetent."

Does Washington have a fetal homicide law?

When a pregnant woman is murdered or killed due to someone else's negligence, the news is quick to make sure everyone knows the woman was pregnant. In some states, this is irrelevant from a legal standpoint because those states do not have fetal homicide laws. In Washington, though, there is such a law.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, fetal homicide laws are very controversial. On the surface, you may wonder why anyone would be mad about prosecuting someone for killing a mother and her unborn child. However, looking deeper, you can see how this may be an issue for pro-choice advocates. They feel fetal homicide laws are a slippery slope towards criminalizing abortion.

Drug addiction and reckless driving

People behave dangerously on the roads for countless reasons, from isolated instances of drunk driving to surpassing the speed limit in an attempt to get to work on time when one is running late. Other people may frequently behave recklessly on the road, such as some drivers who are struggling with a long-term addiction to mind-altering substances. Unfortunately, some people who are addicted to drugs get behind the wheel while they are heavily intoxicated, and this can place the lives of many people in danger.

From meth to prescription pain pills and crack cocaine, there are many different types of powerful substances that some people become addicted to. Drug addiction can make life hard in so many ways, but it can bring other hardships as well, such as a higher likelihood of causing a motor vehicle collision. Some drivers, such as those who are in the early stages of addiction, may not be very familiar with the countless ways in which the substance(s) they take adversely impact their driving abilities, and they may exhibit various forms of dangerous behavior on the road.

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.

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Kent, WA 98032

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