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What to Do After a Truck Accident in Washington

Even a minor car accident can be scary, but add a few thousand pounds and hazardous cargo to the mix and things can get even scarier. The fact is that an accident with a truck is more likely to result in significant injuries and damage to your car. In order to protect drivers, there are a variety of rules and regulations governing commercial trucking at the federal level and under the laws in Washington state.

Regulating Commercial Trucking

The federal government and the states have laws regulating commercial trucking. The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) offers a helpful guide on commercial trucking.

Among the rules for commercial truckers, one is that they must have a commercial driver's license for the following types of vehicles:

  • Single vehicles with a gross weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more;
  • Trailers with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more if the GVWR of the combined vehicles is 26,001 pounds or more; or
  • All vehicles designed to transport at least 16 people.

Commercial truckers are also required to have a current medical exam certification on them while driving a commercial truck. Of note, driving a recreational vehicle for non-commercial purposes doesn't require a commercial driver's license.

What to Do After a Truck Accident in Washington: The Basics

In the following table, you can find an overview of what to do after a truck accident in Washington as well as links to relevant statutes. Having a summary of the law — in plain English — is incredibly helpful, but it's also important to read the actual statute for more detailed information. You can access both in the table below.


Washington Revised Code, Title 46. Motor Vehicles:

  • Chapter 46.25 (Uniform Commercial Driver's License Act)
  • Chapter 46.32 (Vehicle Inspection)
  • Chapter 46.44 (Size, Weight, Load)
  • Chapter 46.48 (Transportation of Hazardous Materials)
  • Chapter 46.76 (Motor Vehicle Transporters)
State Reporting Requirements for Accidents

A truck accident must be reported to the Washington State DOT if:

  • It resulted in $1,000 or more of property damage; or
  • A person was killed or injured.
Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a truck accident in Washington depends on the injuries suffered from the accident:

  • Injury to person: 3 years
  • Property damage: 3 years
  • Wrongful death: 3 years from the date of death

Related Statute(s)

Washington Revised Code, Title 4. Civil Procedure

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

What to Do After a Truck Accident in Washington: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links provided below.

Get Legal Help After Your Truck Accident in Washington

Getting into an accident with a truck can result in serious injuries and property damage. If you have questions about what to do after a truck accident in Washington, it's a good idea to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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