Tacoma-based Interstate Distributor Company is one of the largest trucking companies in Washington, with more than 1,900 drivers and a fleet size bigger than 5,000 vehicles. If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a truck accident involving an Interstate Distributor Company truck, you deserve to understand your legal rights and options as well as what to do next.
In this blog, we’ll outline the process of getting justice from Interstate Distributor Company or any other trucking company after a crash.
There Are Thousands of Interstate Distributor Company Trucks on Our Roads
With over 80 years of experience and a fleet that spans the 48 continental United States, Interstate Distributor Company (IDC) is one of the largest trucking companies operating in Washington. The trucking carrier ships a wide variety of goods, including mobile homes, fresh produce, meat, chemicals, and oilfield equipment.
According to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration, Interstate Distributor Company has a better safety record than many trucking companies on the road today. However, their trucks have still been involved in crashes. Also, IDC has changed ownership twice in recent years, and these types of shakeups always raise questions as to whether the new owners will observe trucking regulations and maintain safety practices. Currently, IDC is owned by Iowa-based Heartland Express.
Understand Truck Crash Liability and What to Do Next
To get justice and compensation after a truck crash involving Interstate Distributor Company or any other trucking company, you need to understand who is liable (legally and financially responsible) for your injuries and losses. There could be more than one liable person or company, including:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company who employs the driver
- The truck’s owner
- The person or company who loaded the truck
- A company that manufactured a defective or unsafe truck part
After a crash, filing a lawsuit against the negligent person or company that hurt you can provide a way to obtain justice, find closure, and get the financial resources you need to recover.
However, many people don’t know what to do or what that the legal process entails. Meanwhile, insurance companies often put pressure on victims to accept a settlement, and medical bills pile up. Many victims end up accepting an unreasonably low settlement offer just so they can quit dealing with the insurance company and find some financial relief.
Don’t let this happen to you. Although the insurance company’s initial settlement offer may provide some temporary relief, it’s almost guaranteed that it won’t be enough to cover all the long-term costs of your injuries. You may get some temporary relief now, but before long, medical bills and other expenses will start piling up. And once you accept a settlement, you can never go back to the insurance company and say you need more money. Your right to fair compensation is gone forever.
Before you accept any settlement offer or even talk with the insurance company, make sure you’ve taken the following steps to protect your rights and strengthen your truck accident claim.
Collect Details About the Accident
To understand your situation and your options, you’ll need details about the accident. These details should include the name of the truck driver and company, the trucking company’s insurance provider, and a copy of the police report. If you were unable to request a copy of the report or talk to the police at the crash, your lawyer can help you obtain these records.
Save Any Evidence You Can
While it’s not always possible for victims of a severe truck crash to preserve or record evidence at the scene of the collision, we do recommend taking what action you can after a wreck. If someone you love has been severely injured while you’re not hurt, try to take pictures of anything you can: the injuries, the conditions at the scene, and the vehicles involved in the wreck. You may be able to help your loved one’s legal case and protect their rights.
After the crash, try to keep a journal and record everything that follows: missed days of work, activities that are no longer possible, physical pain and mental health challenges. Whether you’re recording this information for yourself or doing it on behalf of an injured loved one, your journal can provide important evidence in a claim or lawsuit.
While the evidence you’ve gathered can help your claim, there’s another type of evidence that’s the most important by far: medical records. Because your medical records provide essential proof of your injuries and the toll of the wreck, you should never skip going to the doctor after a crash. Make sure to attend any follow-up appointments and comply with any treatments your doctor recommends, and observe any restrictions they give you.
However, you’ll probably notice that when you get discharged from the hospital or leave the doctor’s office, they don’t send you home with a complete and organized medical record. You should save any paperwork you do receive from the hospital or your doctor, but you’ll need much more if you want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Gathering all the medical records for a claim or lawsuit can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, if you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case, they should be able to take care of this process for you.
Don’t Sign Anything From the Insurance Company Without Consulting a Lawyer
The insurance company may contact you with a settlement offer and suggest you take it without involving a truck crash lawyer. This offer is typically insultingly low. The insurance adjuster might claim that it will be cheaper and easier to settle without involving a lawyer, but these first offers are rarely enough to cover your medical bills.
If the insurance company is pressuring you to sign, present your settlement offer to your lawyer right away so they can give you advice. Unlike the insurance adjuster, your attorney’s job is to look out for your best interests and no one else’s, and your lawyer can help you understand the actual value of your case compared to the insurance company’s offer.
Contact a Lawyer Right Away
In Washington, truck accident victims have three years to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait to file. It’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer right away so they can help you calculate your case value, inform you about your rights and options, and get to work investigating the crash.
There may be several causes of the crash, including driver error, poor truck maintenance, and defective truck parts. Only an experienced attorney who understands the trucking industry can uncover these hidden causes. To get answers, your attorney may need to hire forensics experts who can reconstruct the crash and figure out what really happened.
However, if you wait to file, the trucking company and their lawyers will get a head start on their own investigation into the crash. The trucking company may even deliberately cover up or destroy critical evidence. Hiding or destroying evidence is illegal, but some trucking companies break the law every day in the name of profits, and breaking a few more laws to avoid paying for your injuries is no problem to them.
As soon as you hire a lawyer, they can immediately launch an investigation and send a notification letter (called a spoliation letter) to the trucking company. This letter will demand that the company preserve all evidence related to the crash. When the trucking company receives the letter, they will know you and your attorney mean business, and they will preserve the evidence or face the consequences.
Seattle Truck Law: Fighting for Washington State Truck Crash Victims
If you or someone you love has been hurt by an Interstate Distributor Company truck or any other commercial vehicle, you shouldn’t have to suffer alone, and you shouldn’t have to pay for your own medical bills. The team at Seattle Truck Law has decades of experience handling the most complex truck cases and getting compensation for victims. Our founding attorney Morgan Adams is board-certified in truck accident law, and we know the trucking industry like few other legal teams do.
Company Snapshot Interstate Distributor Co (2020, May 9). SAFER Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/query.asp?searchtype=ANY&query_type=queryCarrierSnapshot&query_param=USDOT&original_query_param=NAME&query_string=2509958&original_query_string=INTERSTATE%20DISTRIBUTOR%20LOGISTICS%20INC#Inspections
Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017. (2019, May). U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/461861/ltcbf-2017-final-5-6-2019.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.