You are entitled to compensatory damages, which can be economic and non-economic.
Portland, OR – In 2019, there were over 2,300 truck accidents in the state of Oregon, which represents less than 10% of the total crashes. However, due to the sheer difference in size and weight between large commercial vehicles and passenger cars, the consequences are often tragic for the occupants of the latter. Dozens of people are killed and thousands are injured in truck accidents in Oregon each year. The victims and their families find themselves in a terrible situation. They’re faced with huge medical bills which they cannot possibly pay, especially when a family member is in the hospital and unable to work. If you are in such a situation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Portland truck accident lawyer to understand what your rights are and how you can recover damages.
How is liability determined in a truck accident in Portland?
In a truck accident you can have more than one party liable for damages. Many such accidents are caused by a reckless or distracted trucker, but there are also numerous other cases when he’s only partly responsible for what happened and you should look for the real culprit elsewhere.
You will need a seasoned Oregon truck accident lawyer for that. When the circumstances of the crash are unclear, your lawyers will conduct their own investigation. This may include visiting the crash scene to evaluate road conditions and check on traffic signs, talking to eyewitnesses and bringing in accident reconstruction experts. At the same time, your lawyers might ask independent experts to have a look at the truck to see whether there was any malfunction that might have caused the crash.
All this is necessary to determine who might be liable for damages.
For instance, you may have a case against the trucking company, if it is determined that there was a major malfunction, with the brakes or the steering system. Trucking companies are responsible for vehicle maintenance, so they can be held accountable if they cut corners and did not replace a damaged part on time.
On the other hand, if it turns out a certain part was defective from the very beginning, your truck accident lawyers might build a case against the manufacturer.
If there was some problem with the load not being properly secured or if the truck was overloaded, the owner of the cargo or those responsible for loading the vehicle may be liable for damages.
What kind of damages can I recover for a truck accident?
You are entitled to compensatory damages, which can be economic and non-economic. Keep in mind that Oregon uses a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that you can still collect damages even if you were partly to blame for the accident, but your percentage of fault does not exceed 51%.
Economic damages cover your medical bills, including rehabilitation programs, property damages (the cost to repair or replace your car), as well as the value of your lost income, past and future.
Non-economic damages are also known as pain and suffering damages. They are meant to compensate you for your physical and mental suffering. Your lawyers will advise you how much your non-economic damages might be worth. For the time being, pain and suffering damages are capped at $500,000, but there have been cases when the Supreme Court ruled this cap was unconstitutional and voted to allow 7-figure compensation.