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An 89-year-old motorist was injured while traveling though the intersection of Trent Avenue and Vista Road in Spokane Valley. According to the Washington State Patrol, the collision occurred shortly before 1:30 pm, December 26, 2018, in the eastbound lanes of Trent Ave. Allegedly, the driver of the semi-truck failed to stop at a red light and collided with a red coupe driven by the injured man.

Trooper Jeff Sevigney tweeted: “We were lucky today. This crash at Trent-Vista should have been a fatal.” He went on to say that the driver was going to be OK, and he encouraged everyone to pay a little extra attention as they traveled home.

Semi-Trucks and Cars

When a semi-truck and a car tangle, it doesn’t usually go well for the car. Unfortunately, people are in those cars and take the brunt of the hit. A fully loaded semi-truck with a trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds while the average weight of a sedan is around 4,000 pounds. This disparity alone creates problems for the occupants of the car.

Also, the stopping ability of a fully loaded truck is much lower as in good conditions an 80,000 pound truck going 40 miles per hour will take almost 180 feet to stop while a car can stop in 124 feet. According to a study by the Department of Transportation in Utah there are three factors that determine stopping distance of a vehicle. They are:

  • Perception Distance– The distance a vehicle travels while a driver is identifying, predicting and deciding to slow down for a hazard.
  • Reaction Time– The time it takes for a driver to execute a decision once a danger is recognized. The distance your vehicle travels while you react is called a reaction distance.
  • Braking Distance– The distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver begins pressing on the brake pedal until the vehicle comes to a stop.

The conditions of the road, visibility and the alertness of the driver can all impact these factors.

What to do if You’re Hit by a Semi-Truck

The first thing to do is to determine the extent of your injuries. According to the American Auto Association, it is often better to stay in a vehicle right after a crash because of the risk of getting hit and making your injuries worse by trying to move. Unless there is an overriding reason, stay in your seat with the seatbelt on until either you are sure its OK to come out or you are told to do so by the authorities.

Once the immediate danger is past, and if you can, get as much information as possible. Take pictures if you have a camera (most cell phones have cameras). Get information from the driver or owner of the truck and/or trucking company and the names of any witnesses. Most semi-trucks are commercial and either independently owned or owned by a larger company.

Getting information at the scene can speed up the time it takes for a claim to get started. Also, any evidence persevered can be useful later especially if the insurance company tries to shift blame.

Do I need an Attorney?

You need to get an attorney that knows the laws regarding commercial trucking and personal injury. Many truck accidents involve multiple parties who do not want to compensate you even if it appears that the truck driver was clearly at fault. Choosing the right attorney is important to make sure the highly-paid defense lawyers and the insurance companies treat you fairly. Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., has experienced attorneys trained in personal injury and traffic accidents. They can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call them at (509) 926 4900, or send them a message by clicking here.

CCD Law