Spokane Lawyers | Spokane Truck Accident Lawyers

Spokane Truck Accident Lawyers

Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

Do you need legal help?

Contact us for a legal consultation.


    Truck Accident - Paukert & Troppmann

    Spokane Truck Accident Lawyers

    Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

    Do you need legal help?

    Contact us for a legal consultation.


      Helping You Through Your Legal Problems

      Our Spokane, WA attorney's are here to guide you. Reach out today if you need legal help.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Read more reviews ➜

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Truck Accident Lawyers in Spokane, WA

      Getting into an automobile accident involving a commercial truck is terrifying. The vastly outsized dimensions of commercial trucks often result in catastrophic injury, even in accidents at low speeds.

      If you’re reading this, you may have been severely injured in a truck accident. You’re probably still in pain. You’ve most likely missed enough work to cause you concern overpaying your bills. You are probably feeling the strain of trying to figure out how to find the right person to help you with a truck accident claim.

      Our firm is here to help you with free legal advice. Call our Spokane truck accident lawyers today to schedule your free legal consultation.

      Don’t let concern over whether you have money to pay up-front stop you from getting the answers you need. Just give us a call and find out how we can help you with your truck accident claim.

      Avoiding Truck Accidents

      The causes of truck accidents vary, but the extended driving hours required of commercial drivers is often at the root of accidents. It’s not uncommon for a fatigued driver’s reaction time to slow, or, to go the other way, causing them to over-correct in response. A reaction to either extreme at the helm of an eighteen-wheeler can be deadly.

      The most common causes of truck accidents include:

      • Driving while tired
      • Driving while distracted
      • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
      • Not adjusting to weather or road conditions
      • Speeding
      • Reckless driving
      • Poor vehicle maintenance
      • Improper or poorly trained drivers

      Accidents caused by poor vehicle maintenance are often the result of bad brakes or worn tires.

      While the fault for most truck accidents lies with the driver, being diligent about defensive driving can help keep you safe on the road. Avoid distractions and always observe the speed limit.

      Give them Space

      The bigger the vehicle, the more space is required for stopping. Don’t allow your vehicle to get too close to trucks in front of or behind your vehicle. Be sure to yield to a large truck pulling in or out of a driveway or side street, as it won’t be able to stop on a dime for you, even if you have the right of way. And always use your turn signal to give truck drivers advance notice of your next move.

      When you allow trucks room to maneuver, you increase your own ability to see road signs and traffic lights. The closer you are to a large truck, the more obstructed your view will be.

      When you pass a large truck, remember that they may not be able to see your vehicle, due to having a larger blind spot than yours. In addition, visibility is going to be lower on the right side of the truck, so, when possible, always pass on the left to help prevent accidents.

      Big trucks cannot corner or react to changing circumstances as quickly as other vehicles. When turning, give big rigs space; they may need more than one lane to maneuver.

      Can You Sue When Hit by a Commercial Truck?

      While the answer to this question may seem obvious, it depends. If you were injured due to the negligence or carelessness of the truck’s driver, then you can bring a personal injury lawsuit for compensation in civil court.

      It Comes Down to Liability

      Washington State is an at-fault insurance state. This means that when an automobile accident occurs, the at-fault party is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries that result.

      Challenges of Recovering Damages for Truck Accident Injuries

      Truck accident claims can be tricky, for a few reasons.

      • Yours may not be the only other vehicle involved in the accident
      • There may be more than one insurance company liable for your damages
      • The cause of the accident may be complex, involving multiple factors

      It’s always helpful to have an experienced personal injury attorney advocating on your behalf when making a truck accident claim. This is especially true if the accident caused by the truck involved multiple vehicles. Coming up against insurance companies without a lawyer is challenging in the most straightforward of claims; when you are one of many voices crying out for compensation, it’s all too easy to be drowned out.

      The truck accident lawyers at Paukert & Troppmann, PLLC have the experience and tenacity to pursue compensation on your behalf. They can move your case through the claims process properly and provide guidance to you along the way.

      Having someone looking out for your claim, letting you know what is needed when, producing that information for you when possible, and keeping you informed of the status of your claim is priceless. Don’t go it alone, let us be there for you.

      Mistakes to Watch Out For

      If you’re considering a truck accident claim, having a qualified personal injury trial lawyer is the best way to ensure you don’t accidentally damage the value of your claim by making mistakes. Our Spokane truck accident lawyers can help you preserve your claim’s value and navigate the insurance process as efficiently as possible.

      Here are some mistakes to avoid:

      • Failing to see a doctor after the accident
      • Not taking your treatment plan seriously
      • Speaking to the insurance company
      • Not hiring a lawyer
      • Waiting to hire an attorney

      Failing to See a Doctor

      Remember that you’re looking out for your health first and foremost. Even if you can’t tell if you’re injured at the time of the accident, it’s best to get checked. This will prevent you from missing out on treatment that you might need for injuries you don’t yet feel because of the adrenaline in your body right after the accident.

      Getting a doctor’s exam also creates important evidence for your claim that proves you were in fact injured and went to the hospital. This proof is important to support your claim when filing with the insurance company.

      Stick to Your Treatment Plan

      If you skip out on physical therapy appointments or fail to take your medications, you are putting your recovery at risk. In addition, if you are not diligent about your treatment plan, the insurance company may feel you are hindering your own recovery and lower the value of your claim.

      Don’t Speak to the Insurance Company

      When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you can expect a call from the insurance company asking to record your statement about the accident. While this is part of the insurance company’s standard procedure, it’s best to defer communications with the insurance company to your truck accident lawyers. Remember that the insurance company is doing their due diligence to ensure your claim is legitimate. Your attorney will know how best to answer their questions to prevent loss to the value of your claim. 

      Not Hiring a Lawyer

      It’s not uncommon for people to wonder if handling their claim without a lawyer will save them money. Having a lawyer is important however, to giving you the legal leverage to escalate your claim to a lawsuit if necessary. For this reason, it’s important that when you do hire an attorney, you seek out an experienced trial attorney.

      In addition, personal injury attorneys are aware of the ways in which a claim’s value may inadvertently be damaged by a claimant trying to handle their case alone. Hiring an attorney enables you to preserve the value of your claim as much as possible.

      Despite people mistakenly believing they will save by skipping the lawyer, statistics show that those who hire attorneys come away with many times more in compensation than those negotiating by themselves.

      One of the biggest reasons to hire a truck accident lawyer is it gives you the luxury of focusing your energy on healing. This is no time to teach yourself how to successfully navigate the claims process. Turn the job over to someone who does it for a living so you can rest.

      Waiting to Hire a Lawyer

      If you’ve come around to realizing the many benefits of having a lawyer handle your claim, make sure you look for one as soon as you can. It’s understandable to not be focused on finding a lawyer right after the accident, but it’s important to set a reminder to look into it as soon as possible. Evidence can fade away long before you need to worry about filing deadlines. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner they can get started building a strong case on your behalf.

      Truck Accident Client Story

      We are sharing the following client story to help you better understand your truck accident claim. We’ve edited the names and details to preserve the privacy of our client, but the informational value remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as you can. Then give us a call to find out how we can help with your specific claim.

      On the second Saturday in May not so long ago in Spokane, Washington, Melinda Schubert watched the sun come up. Unable to sleep past 3:30 AM, she’d stubbornly forced herself to remain in bed, staring at the ceiling. She should sleep, she told herself. It was way too early to be up. But sleep refused to return.

      As the sun finally backlit the trees dancing behind the neighbor’s roofline, she allowed herself to get up.

      Today was a big day. After two years perfecting recipes at home and selling certified gluten-free baked goods out of displays in local bakeries, Melinda rented a small shop in town with her sister Stefanie. The doors would open to the public on Monday.

      Melanie and her sister decided renting a booth at the farmer’s market would be the perfect “Grand Opening” to spread awareness of their new bakery. They had dozens of scones and muffins ready, plus an assortment of their most popular pies and cakes. On top of it all they’d prepared flyers to hand out to curious passers-by. On top of that, they had two-dozen t-shirts they planned to give away throughout the day.

      Stefanie met Melinda at the shop and loaded the food into the bakery van before Stefanie drove over to the market. A few minutes later, Melinda gathered the t-shirts and flyers and jumped in her small white Honda to catch up.

      The day was shaping up to be perfect; it was clear and sunny with just the hint of a breeze. Melinda was exhilarated and optimistic. This business was all they’d talked about for the past two years. They’d diligently worked on it until it was strong enough to stand on its own, and they’d finally made it. She was as excited to announce the opening today as she was to open the doors of the bakery itself on Monday.

      Melinda dropped the car window as she headed south to I-90 and was singing aloud to her bluetooth when she merged onto the big road. She navigated carefully among the familiar eighteen wheelers, giving them plenty of room as they lumbered east.

      As she’d anticipated traffic began to clump up as she drew nearer to the exit to the farmer’s market. Melinda slowed almost to a stop as the exiting vehicles merged to the right. She passed the gorgeous roseate stained-glass window at Westminster Congregational church and could see the sign for exit 281 ahead. Then everything went sideways.

      The loud baritone of a semi’s horn blasted through the cars idling for the exit as a big rig barreled toward the merging vehicles. The driver mustn’t have accounted for the slow-down in traffic because there was no time and no space for him now.

      The sound continued, so loud now that Melinda felt it in her teeth. She fought the urge to cover her ears; letting go of the steering wheel now was not an option. She could feel the ground rumble as the truck ate up the road in front of it, brakes squealing with nowhere to go. 

      Melinda was boxed in sides and front. She could see cars behind her parting like minnows before a shark. The rig was almost on her when she swerved to a stop up against the retaining wall, out of room. She held her breath and squeezed her eyes shut.

      The truck jackknifed and slid the last 15 yards, the cab coming to rest with its nose pinning Melinda’s Honda against the retaining wall, which cracked but held.

      It would be over an hour before Melinda could be extracted.

      Melinda woke up in the hospital with her sister her father by her side. She’d survived, but the damage to her left leg was catastrophic. The doctors had to amputate above the knee. She also had damage to her lower back that would likely require long-term pain management.

      Personal Injury Attorney Douglas C. McDermott met Melinda and her father in her hospital room ten days later. Given her traumatic experience, he was surprised how remarkably composed she was. She explained that she was interested in filing a claim against the truck driver but was concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer.

      How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

      Attorney McDermott explained that the firm uses a contingency fee model. “There is no out-of-pocket expense to retain our firm,” said McDermott. “We cover all case expenses, including investigation, research, case preparation, and administration. We also cover litigation, should it become necessary. In the end, we only receive compensation when we bring your truck accident claim to a successful resolution.”

      What is my truck accident claim worth?

      “Okay, that works,” said Melinda, making a note on a legal pad on her hospital tray. “Can you give me an idea of what my claim might be worth? From what we now understand, the driver probably fell asleep just long enough to miss his window for slowing down or moving far enough to the left to avoid the accident.”

      McDermott explained that he couldn’t give them a case value off the top of his head because he’d need specific information from two specific sources to base an estimate on.

      “The first source is the investigation of the accident. We’ll need to clearly establish fault and exactly what transpired.

      “From the information available thus far, yours appears to be a legitimate case of driver negligence on the part of the truck driver. If the jack knife had been caused by another driver cutting him off, for example, that car would most likely have been the first vehicle he collided with,” said the attorney. “But we never ‘guesstimate.’ We begin every claim with a thorough accident investigation to get crystal clear on details and fault. We gather evidence, go over police reports, and speak to witnesses. So, that’s the first thing that has to happen to give us the information we need.

      “The second source of information, Melinda, will come from you. We are going to need you to achieve what is called, ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This means recovering as closely as possible to your pre-accident level of health,” said Attorney McDermott.

      Melinda looked at the flat bedspread where her leg was not, took a shaky breath and asked, “And if that’s no longer possible?”

      “Then maximum medical improvement is going to be when you’ve recovered to the highest level possible. Your ‘new normal,’ as it were.

      “Getting to that point will mean you’re done with surgeries. It will also mean that your doctors are confident they have a solid idea of what the future of your medical care looks like,” said McDermott. “When you get to this point, we’ll know what your damages are. That is when we can tell you the value of your claim.”

      How long will my truck accident claim take?

      Melinda exhaled loudly as her eyes filled with tears, the tough exterior finally wavering. Her dad put a comforting hand over hers and leaned toward McDermott. “How long can we expect the case to take?” He asked quietly.

      “That’s a fair question,” Attorney McDermott answered. “And that, too, will depend upon a couple of factors. The first is how long it takes Melinda to reach maximum medical improvement. We’ll need her to get as much rest as possible and follow doctors’ orders closely so that she heals as efficiently as possible.” Turning to Melinda, he added, “Take all your medications and make every physical and occupational therapy appointment you are given. Your job now is to put your entire effort into recovery.

      “When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages and the value of your claim. That’s when we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance companies. From there, the rest of your case timeline will depend on how they respond. If they work with us, we’ll be able to wrap up your claim, Melinda. If they fail to offer a fair settlement, however, we’ll need to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation in front of a jury.

      “Please don’t worry about which way things will go, if you can help it,” Attorney McDermott added. “Either way, we’ll be more than up to the challenge. That’s why no matter who you hire to represent your claim, we recommend going with a personal injury trial lawyer.

      “I should add that it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to reconsider their stance on offering a fair settlement when faced with the possibility of a jury deciding your compensation. Hiring a trial attorney with a winning record often provides the biggest incentive for the insurance company to avoid trial and settle.”

      Melinda’s father jumped in again. “You mentioned ‘insurance companies,” plural. Why is that?”

      “Good question,” said McDermott. “In cases involving commercial truckers, there can be more than one at-fault party involved. For instance, there’s the driver, but if the trucking company isn’t adhering to safety regulations regarding training and enforced rest periods for their drivers, that company is likely at fault as well. There are times when a third company can be involved, if an accident relates to the danger of the actual cargo the truck is carrying, or, say, the company that manufactured or maintained the truck.

      “In your case, it looks as though two insurance companies are likely to be involved, but as I said, our investigation will delve into the issue to make sure every at-fault party is held accountable for Melinda’s damages.”

      Melinda and her father were satisfied with the answers they received in their free legal consultation. They retained the law firm of Paukert & Troppmann, and Attorney McDermott got Melinda seven times the amount the insurance companies initially offered her.

      Call Our Spokane Truck Accident Lawyers Today

      We hope this information has given you a thorough overview of your truck accident claim. Since each case is unique, we urge you to call us as soon as possible to schedule your free legal consultation. Let us help you receive full and fair compensation for what you’ve suffered due to the negligence of a commercial truck driver.

      Truck Accident Lawyers in Spokane, WA

      Getting into an automobile accident involving a commercial truck is terrifying. The vastly outsized dimensions of commercial trucks often result in catastrophic injury, even in accidents at low speeds.

      If you’re reading this, you may have been severely injured in a truck accident. You’re probably still in pain. You’ve most likely missed enough work to cause you concern overpaying your bills. You are probably feeling the strain of trying to figure out how to find the right person to help you with a truck accident claim.

      Our firm is here to help you with free legal advice. Call our Spokane truck accident lawyers today to schedule your free legal consultation.

      Don’t let concern over whether you have money to pay up-front stop you from getting the answers you need. Just give us a call and find out how we can help you with your truck accident claim.

      Avoiding Truck Accidents

      The causes of truck accidents vary, but the extended driving hours required of commercial drivers is often at the root of accidents. It’s not uncommon for a fatigued driver’s reaction time to slow, or, to go the other way, causing them to over-correct in response. A reaction to either extreme at the helm of an eighteen-wheeler can be deadly.

      The most common causes of truck accidents include:

      • Driving while tired
      • Driving while distracted
      • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
      • Not adjusting to weather or road conditions
      • Speeding
      • Reckless driving
      • Poor vehicle maintenance
      • Improper or poorly trained drivers

      Accidents caused by poor vehicle maintenance are often the result of bad brakes or worn tires.

      While the fault for most truck accidents lies with the driver, being diligent about defensive driving can help keep you safe on the road. Avoid distractions and always observe the speed limit.

      Give them Space

      The bigger the vehicle, the more space is required for stopping. Don’t allow your vehicle to get too close to trucks in front of or behind your vehicle. Be sure to yield to a large truck pulling in or out of a driveway or side street, as it won’t be able to stop on a dime for you, even if you have the right of way. And always use your turn signal to give truck drivers advance notice of your next move.

      When you allow trucks room to maneuver, you increase your own ability to see road signs and traffic lights. The closer you are to a large truck, the more obstructed your view will be.

      When you pass a large truck, remember that they may not be able to see your vehicle, due to having a larger blind spot than yours. In addition, visibility is going to be lower on the right side of the truck, so, when possible, always pass on the left to help prevent accidents.

      Big trucks cannot corner or react to changing circumstances as quickly as other vehicles. When turning, give big rigs space; they may need more than one lane to maneuver.

      Can You Sue When Hit by a Commercial Truck?

      While the answer to this question may seem obvious, it depends. If you were injured due to the negligence or carelessness of the truck’s driver, then you can bring a personal injury lawsuit for compensation in civil court.

      It Comes Down to Liability

      Washington State is an at-fault insurance state. This means that when an automobile accident occurs, the at-fault party is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries that result.

      Challenges of Recovering Damages for Truck Accident Injuries

      Truck accident claims can be tricky, for a few reasons.

      • Yours may not be the only other vehicle involved in the accident
      • There may be more than one insurance company liable for your damages
      • The cause of the accident may be complex, involving multiple factors

      It’s always helpful to have an experienced personal injury attorney advocating on your behalf when making a truck accident claim. This is especially true if the accident caused by the truck involved multiple vehicles. Coming up against insurance companies without a lawyer is challenging in the most straightforward of claims; when you are one of many voices crying out for compensation, it’s all too easy to be drowned out.

      The truck accident lawyers at Paukert & Troppmann, PLLC have the experience and tenacity to pursue compensation on your behalf. They can move your case through the claims process properly and provide guidance to you along the way.

      Having someone looking out for your claim, letting you know what is needed when, producing that information for you when possible, and keeping you informed of the status of your claim is priceless. Don’t go it alone, let us be there for you.

      Mistakes to Watch Out For

      If you’re considering a truck accident claim, having a qualified personal injury trial lawyer is the best way to ensure you don’t accidentally damage the value of your claim by making mistakes. Our Spokane truck accident lawyers can help you preserve your claim’s value and navigate the insurance process as efficiently as possible.

      Here are some mistakes to avoid:

      • Failing to see a doctor after the accident
      • Not taking your treatment plan seriously
      • Speaking to the insurance company
      • Not hiring a lawyer
      • Waiting to hire an attorney

      Failing to See a Doctor

      Remember that you’re looking out for your health first and foremost. Even if you can’t tell if you’re injured at the time of the accident, it’s best to get checked. This will prevent you from missing out on treatment that you might need for injuries you don’t yet feel because of the adrenaline in your body right after the accident.

      Getting a doctor’s exam also creates important evidence for your claim that proves you were in fact injured and went to the hospital. This proof is important to support your claim when filing with the insurance company.

      Stick to Your Treatment Plan

      If you skip out on physical therapy appointments or fail to take your medications, you are putting your recovery at risk. In addition, if you are not diligent about your treatment plan, the insurance company may feel you are hindering your own recovery and lower the value of your claim.

      Don’t Speak to the Insurance Company

      When you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you can expect a call from the insurance company asking to record your statement about the accident. While this is part of the insurance company’s standard procedure, it’s best to defer communications with the insurance company to your truck accident lawyers. Remember that the insurance company is doing their due diligence to ensure your claim is legitimate. Your attorney will know how best to answer their questions to prevent loss to the value of your claim. 

      Not Hiring a Lawyer

      It’s not uncommon for people to wonder if handling their claim without a lawyer will save them money. Having a lawyer is important however, to giving you the legal leverage to escalate your claim to a lawsuit if necessary. For this reason, it’s important that when you do hire an attorney, you seek out an experienced trial attorney.

      In addition, personal injury attorneys are aware of the ways in which a claim’s value may inadvertently be damaged by a claimant trying to handle their case alone. Hiring an attorney enables you to preserve the value of your claim as much as possible.

      Despite people mistakenly believing they will save by skipping the lawyer, statistics show that those who hire attorneys come away with many times more in compensation than those negotiating by themselves.

      One of the biggest reasons to hire a truck accident lawyer is it gives you the luxury of focusing your energy on healing. This is no time to teach yourself how to successfully navigate the claims process. Turn the job over to someone who does it for a living so you can rest.

      Waiting to Hire a Lawyer

      If you’ve come around to realizing the many benefits of having a lawyer handle your claim, make sure you look for one as soon as you can. It’s understandable to not be focused on finding a lawyer right after the accident, but it’s important to set a reminder to look into it as soon as possible. Evidence can fade away long before you need to worry about filing deadlines. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner they can get started building a strong case on your behalf.

      Truck Accident Client Story

      We are sharing the following client story to help you better understand your truck accident claim. We’ve edited the names and details to preserve the privacy of our client, but the informational value remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as you can. Then give us a call to find out how we can help with your specific claim.

      On the second Saturday in May not so long ago in Spokane, Washington, Melinda Schubert watched the sun come up. Unable to sleep past 3:30 AM, she’d stubbornly forced herself to remain in bed, staring at the ceiling. She should sleep, she told herself. It was way too early to be up. But sleep refused to return.

      As the sun finally backlit the trees dancing behind the neighbor’s roofline, she allowed herself to get up.

      Today was a big day. After two years perfecting recipes at home and selling certified gluten-free baked goods out of displays in local bakeries, Melinda rented a small shop in town with her sister Stefanie. The doors would open to the public on Monday.

      Melanie and her sister decided renting a booth at the farmer’s market would be the perfect “Grand Opening” to spread awareness of their new bakery. They had dozens of scones and muffins ready, plus an assortment of their most popular pies and cakes. On top of it all they’d prepared flyers to hand out to curious passers-by. On top of that, they had two-dozen t-shirts they planned to give away throughout the day.

      Stefanie met Melinda at the shop and loaded the food into the bakery van before Stefanie drove over to the market. A few minutes later, Melinda gathered the t-shirts and flyers and jumped in her small white Honda to catch up.

      The day was shaping up to be perfect; it was clear and sunny with just the hint of a breeze. Melinda was exhilarated and optimistic. This business was all they’d talked about for the past two years. They’d diligently worked on it until it was strong enough to stand on its own, and they’d finally made it. She was as excited to announce the opening today as she was to open the doors of the bakery itself on Monday.

      Melinda dropped the car window as she headed south to I-90 and was singing aloud to her bluetooth when she merged onto the big road. She navigated carefully among the familiar eighteen wheelers, giving them plenty of room as they lumbered east.

      As she’d anticipated traffic began to clump up as she drew nearer to the exit to the farmer’s market. Melinda slowed almost to a stop as the exiting vehicles merged to the right. She passed the gorgeous roseate stained-glass window at Westminster Congregational church and could see the sign for exit 281 ahead. Then everything went sideways.

      The loud baritone of a semi’s horn blasted through the cars idling for the exit as a big rig barreled toward the merging vehicles. The driver mustn’t have accounted for the slow-down in traffic because there was no time and no space for him now.

      The sound continued, so loud now that Melinda felt it in her teeth. She fought the urge to cover her ears; letting go of the steering wheel now was not an option. She could feel the ground rumble as the truck ate up the road in front of it, brakes squealing with nowhere to go. 

      Melinda was boxed in sides and front. She could see cars behind her parting like minnows before a shark. The rig was almost on her when she swerved to a stop up against the retaining wall, out of room. She held her breath and squeezed her eyes shut.

      The truck jackknifed and slid the last 15 yards, the cab coming to rest with its nose pinning Melinda’s Honda against the retaining wall, which cracked but held.

      It would be over an hour before Melinda could be extracted.

      Melinda woke up in the hospital with her sister her father by her side. She’d survived, but the damage to her left leg was catastrophic. The doctors had to amputate above the knee. She also had damage to her lower back that would likely require long-term pain management.

      Personal Injury Attorney Douglas C. McDermott met Melinda and her father in her hospital room ten days later. Given her traumatic experience, he was surprised how remarkably composed she was. She explained that she was interested in filing a claim against the truck driver but was concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer.

      How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

      Attorney McDermott explained that the firm uses a contingency fee model. “There is no out-of-pocket expense to retain our firm,” said McDermott. “We cover all case expenses, including investigation, research, case preparation, and administration. We also cover litigation, should it become necessary. In the end, we only receive compensation when we bring your truck accident claim to a successful resolution.”

      What is my truck accident claim worth?

      “Okay, that works,” said Melinda, making a note on a legal pad on her hospital tray. “Can you give me an idea of what my claim might be worth? From what we now understand, the driver probably fell asleep just long enough to miss his window for slowing down or moving far enough to the left to avoid the accident.”

      McDermott explained that he couldn’t give them a case value off the top of his head because he’d need specific information from two specific sources to base an estimate on.

      “The first source is the investigation of the accident. We’ll need to clearly establish fault and exactly what transpired.

      “From the information available thus far, yours appears to be a legitimate case of driver negligence on the part of the truck driver. If the jack knife had been caused by another driver cutting him off, for example, that car would most likely have been the first vehicle he collided with,” said the attorney. “But we never ‘guesstimate.’ We begin every claim with a thorough accident investigation to get crystal clear on details and fault. We gather evidence, go over police reports, and speak to witnesses. So, that’s the first thing that has to happen to give us the information we need.

      “The second source of information, Melinda, will come from you. We are going to need you to achieve what is called, ‘maximum medical improvement.’ This means recovering as closely as possible to your pre-accident level of health,” said Attorney McDermott.

      Melinda looked at the flat bedspread where her leg was not, took a shaky breath and asked, “And if that’s no longer possible?”

      “Then maximum medical improvement is going to be when you’ve recovered to the highest level possible. Your ‘new normal,’ as it were.

      “Getting to that point will mean you’re done with surgeries. It will also mean that your doctors are confident they have a solid idea of what the future of your medical care looks like,” said McDermott. “When you get to this point, we’ll know what your damages are. That is when we can tell you the value of your claim.”

      How long will my truck accident claim take?

      Melinda exhaled loudly as her eyes filled with tears, the tough exterior finally wavering. Her dad put a comforting hand over hers and leaned toward McDermott. “How long can we expect the case to take?” He asked quietly.

      “That’s a fair question,” Attorney McDermott answered. “And that, too, will depend upon a couple of factors. The first is how long it takes Melinda to reach maximum medical improvement. We’ll need her to get as much rest as possible and follow doctors’ orders closely so that she heals as efficiently as possible.” Turning to Melinda, he added, “Take all your medications and make every physical and occupational therapy appointment you are given. Your job now is to put your entire effort into recovery.

      “When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages and the value of your claim. That’s when we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance companies. From there, the rest of your case timeline will depend on how they respond. If they work with us, we’ll be able to wrap up your claim, Melinda. If they fail to offer a fair settlement, however, we’ll need to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation in front of a jury.

      “Please don’t worry about which way things will go, if you can help it,” Attorney McDermott added. “Either way, we’ll be more than up to the challenge. That’s why no matter who you hire to represent your claim, we recommend going with a personal injury trial lawyer.

      “I should add that it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to reconsider their stance on offering a fair settlement when faced with the possibility of a jury deciding your compensation. Hiring a trial attorney with a winning record often provides the biggest incentive for the insurance company to avoid trial and settle.”

      Melinda’s father jumped in again. “You mentioned ‘insurance companies,” plural. Why is that?”

      “Good question,” said McDermott. “In cases involving commercial truckers, there can be more than one at-fault party involved. For instance, there’s the driver, but if the trucking company isn’t adhering to safety regulations regarding training and enforced rest periods for their drivers, that company is likely at fault as well. There are times when a third company can be involved, if an accident relates to the danger of the actual cargo the truck is carrying, or, say, the company that manufactured or maintained the truck.

      “In your case, it looks as though two insurance companies are likely to be involved, but as I said, our investigation will delve into the issue to make sure every at-fault party is held accountable for Melinda’s damages.”

      Melinda and her father were satisfied with the answers they received in their free legal consultation. They retained the law firm of Paukert & Troppmann, and Attorney McDermott got Melinda seven times the amount the insurance companies initially offered her.

      Call Our Spokane Truck Accident Lawyers Today

      We hope this information has given you a thorough overview of your truck accident claim. Since each case is unique, we urge you to call us as soon as possible to schedule your free legal consultation. Let us help you receive full and fair compensation for what you’ve suffered due to the negligence of a commercial truck driver.

      Client Reviews

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.

      Christine Weaver

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