In the past decade, over 30,000 fatalities in the United States were caused by truck accidents. A 2017 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that trucks and tractor trailers were at the helm of 506 accidents in Washington DC alone. The size of commercial trucks, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers can cause catastrophic injuries when they make impact with regular-sized vehicles. Victims of a crash involving a truck can can suffer traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, broken bones, and even death.
If you or your loved one was involved in a Washington, DC truck accident you will need an experienced truck accident lawyer to advocate for your rights to compensation. Regan Zambri Long is an established DC-based law firm that has recovered millions for their clients and can secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. They offer free consultations and only receive a fee if they reach a settlement or verdict in your favor. The road to recovery following a devastating accident is long and hard, leaving many victims having to grapple with grief, physical pain, and mental anguish. The attorneys at Regan Zambri Long can lift the burden of the complex claims processes so you can turn your attention to what’s most important: your physical and mental well-being. There is no need to go through this by yourself – call them today for your free consultation.
What are the primary causes of a Washington, DC truck accident?
Drowsy driving plays a huge role in motor vehicle accidents, whether they involve trucks or standard cars. Fatigue lowers reaction times and causes drivers to fully fall asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, truck drivers are more subject to this than any other driver on the road. Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on driving and rest time, many companies pressure their drivers to forego the regulations in order to speed up deliveries and ensure high profits.
Mechanical defects, such as faulty brakes and tires, can also be the cause of truck accidents. Though it can be due to poor manufacturing or design of the truck itself, most accidents from mechanical defects are the result of improper maintenance. It is up to the company to perform regular maintenance and safety checks before sending the trucks on the road. The company and cargo loaders are also responsible for overloaded trucks, or improperly secured or unbalanced cargo. Overloaded trucks significantly reduce the driver’s ability to stop the vehicle in a timely manner. Unbalanced or unsecured cargo can cause the vehicle to roll over. If you were involved in an accident caused by vehicle defects or unsecured cargo, the Regan Zambri Long truck accident attorneys will fiercely fight for your right to compensation for all damages and injuries you suffered.
Truck drivers themselves can also be the direct cause of a truck crash. Distracted driving and speeding are problems for drivers across the country, but are particularly dangerous in a semi truck or 18-wheeler. It takes more time to slow the truck down to a full stop, which can lead to a serious crash at a very high speed. In addition to that, many companies will hire newly licensed, inexperienced drivers. Without proper training, new drivers may not be able to handle the size and weight of the truck and therefore be more likely to cause an accident.
How are U.S. trucking laws different from standard motor vehicle laws?
Trucking companies and their drivers differ from typical vehicle owners because they are subject to specific laws by the FMSCA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. These regulations include:
- Hours of service: This limits the number of consecutive hours a driver can spend on the road. It also dictates the mandatory rest and sleep hours the driver must take per day.
- ELDs: Implemented in 2017, this regulation mandates that all trucks have electronic logging devices (or ELDs) to make sure companies are complying with the hours of service limitations.
- Medical exams and background checks: All companies must perform drug, alcohol, and medical tests in order to hire their drivers. This also instructs companies to do a background check for criminal records and traffic violations at the time of hiring.
- Cargo loading: This law requires trucking companies and employees to properly secure cargo.
- Employee training: All drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license and be properly trained before making solo trips.
- Inspection and maintenance: Regular inspections and maintenance of commercial trucks are required to reduce or eliminate the risk of accidents.
The regulations for semi trucks are even more layered. There are federal limits on how long commercial truck drivers can spend driving per day. Washington DC has its own rules for semi trucks, including limiting the use of certain streets for commercial vehicles. Semi trucks usually belong to a commercial company and are driven by the company’s employees. If a semi truck or tractor trailer is involved in an accident, the trucking company that owns it can be held responsible. Additionally, if the truck involved in the accident is carrying cargo, the manufacturer and the packing company may also be liable. A truck accident lawyer will be able to investigate and gather evidence to discover if any of these laws and regulations were violated in order to secure a favorable settlement for you. Call Regan Zambri Long at (202) 960-4746 today to speak with an attorney regarding your case.
What do I do after being involved in a truck accident in Washington, DC?
If you live in DC, Maryland, or Virginia and were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, or semi truck the following steps will be helpful in the moments after the crash:
- Call 911 and report the accident. The police will be able to facilitate the medical attention needed and begin the investigation of the scene, including speaking with witnesses. Do not leave the scene of the accident, no matter how minor it was. Physical injuries, especially traumatic brain injuries, are not always visible right away. You will also need an official police report in order to submit an insurance claim. Without an accident report, insurance carriers can deny the accident ever happened.
- If immediate medical needs are taken care of, start to gather evidence. Document damages done to your vehicle and possessions inside. Take notes, pictures, and videos. Make sure to keep that documentation safe.
- Take down the names and phone numbers of the driver and any witnesses. You should also record the license plate number, the make and model of the vehicle, and the insurance company’s name. Take down the name of the trucking company the driver works for and note the address and phone number. If the driver refuses to give you this information, it will be logged in the police report.
- Call a Regan Zambri Long truck accident attorney before you contact your insurance company or the truck driver’s insurance company. Call (202) 960-4746 today
How can an attorney at Regan Zambri Long help me with my claim?
Because companies must follow additional and specific laws, when trucking accidents occur the FMCSA, OHSA, and other federal agencies do their own investigation of the accident. Therefore, information is coming from multiple sources and can complicate the claims processes. There are also several parties that can be held liable for damages, including the truck driver, the trucking company, and the company’s insurance provider. A Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyer will help determine who is responsible for the accident. If the accident was caused by obvious recklessness of the driver (i.e. speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence) then the driver and driver’s insurance provider would be responsible. However, if the accident happened because the truck was not properly maintained, then the defendant in your case would be the driver’s company. If your accident resulted from cargo falling from the truck, it would be the cargo loader who would be liable for damages.
In addition to defendant determination, a semi truck accident lawyer will be able to help you navigate the insurance companies. Trucking companies often hire large insurance firms to protect and negotiate for them following an accident. When speaking with your insurance company and the insurance provider of the trucking company, it is vital to remember that you will be speaking with an adjuster, not an agent. An insurance adjuster’s priority is to keep costs low for the insurance company, which means they will often use manipulation tactics in order to get you to accept the minimal amount of compensation. Therefore, it is important to have a Regan Zambri Long truck accident attorney on your side before you talk to the insurance companies. Truck drivers involved in accidents may have large corporations supporting them during the claims process, which can be intimidating for the victim. Regan Zambri Long has the financial backing to see cases through to the very end, and the lawyers will only receive a fee if you win.
The only pieces of information you need to provide your lawyer are the police report, your medical records, and any evidence you collected at the scene of the accident. Your attorney will work to acquire the driver’s hiring records, driving records, driver logs, and truck data. Regan Zambri Long lawyers, who have 100 years of combined experience, know the ins and outs of various insurance policies and Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland laws. They will work with industry experts to apply federal and state laws to the facts of your accident so you can collect the proper and necessary amount of compensation.
How can I avoid getting into an accident with a semi truck or 18-wheeler in Washington, DC?
The Washington DC DMV highlights some helpful tips on how to avoid getting into a major accident involving a commercial truck:
- Don’t cut in: leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the truck.
- Buckle up: Seat belts are the best protection in any type of car crash.
- Watch blind spots: Large trucks have large blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in the truck’s mirror, then the driver can’t see you. Always leave ample room between you and the truck.
- Pay attention: Focus on the road and don’t get distracted by your phone, or other passengers in the car.
- Remain calm: Don’t be overly aggressive on the road and don’t react to overly aggressive drivers.
- Avoid the squeeze play: Don’t get stuck in between the truck and the direction it’s turning.
- Survive through sobriety: Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can be deadly, especially when involving large vehicles. Do not get behind the wheel if you are under the influence.
Frequently Asked Questions
What damages can I collect from a truck accident lawsuit?
It’s difficult to estimate how much you will receive in compensation following a trucking accident, as the settlement is dependent on the severity of the sustained injuries and vehicle damage. However, your truck accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long will work diligently to make sure you are compensated for physical injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and seat belt injuries. They will also work to recover non economic damages, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life following the accident. Contact Regan Zambri Long today to speak with an expert personal injury lawyer who will guide you through the claims process so you can give your full attention to a complete recovery.
Have Regan Zambri Long lawyers won truck accident lawsuits before?
Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyers have recovered millions in compensation for victims of truck accidents. Most recently they obtained a $15.2 million settlement for the victim of a dump truck accident. There are countless testimonies from past clients thanking the attorneys at Regan Zambri Long for fighting passionately to protect their rights.
Should I contact the trucking company following an accident with one of their drivers?
Yes, however, you should speak to a truck accident attorney first. Your attorney will help track down the company and build a strong case surrounding your accident.
Can I file a truck accident claim in Washington, DC if I am from out of state?
Yes. If the accident happens in Washington, or if the driver and/or company is headquartered in DC, then you can and should file a claim in Washington DC. The claim doesn’t depend on where you live, it depends on where the defendant or party at fault is primarily located.
Is there a statute of limitations on filing a truck accident claim in Washington, DC?
Yes, there is a statute of limitations on filing a claim in DC. According to the Code of the District of Columbia, there is a three year statute of limitations from the time the accident occurred.
What insurance are Washington, DC truck drivers required to carry?
- Liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $15,000/$30,000. This type of policy usually covers bodily injury and property damage to the injured parties. It also covers the costs of defending claims in court.
- Physical damage coverage, which handles repair costs of vehicles involved in the accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that covers the cost of repairs if there is an accident involving an uninsured driver.
- Cargo coverage covers theft or damage of the freight the truck driver is carrying.
Can I appeal my case if my truck accident claim is denied?
Yes, though these are very difficult. If you want to appeal a denied case, you must have a successful attorney who thoroughly understands the legal system and what steps need to be taken in order to build a rock-solid legal case.