Accidents involving commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers, can result in serious injuries, suffering, and even death due to the heavy weight and large size of these commercial vehicles. When you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, you may be considering filing a legal claim to recover compensation for all of the damages you’ve incurred.
However, trucking companies hire large insurance firms to negotiate on their behalf and keep costs low. Even when serious accidents occur, victims are offered unsatisfactory settlements. An insurance adjuster may currently be manipulating you into settling for less than you deserve.
When you’ve suffered great losses, a top Washington DC truck accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long can help you find the best route for success. Whether you’ve experienced large medical costs due to injury, lost wages, or death, we can help. We are your partners in justice and will help you secure maximum compensation.
A Washington DC truck accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC can help you navigate the complexities of a legal claim following a truck crash. We have decades of experience in personal injury law in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. In one case involving a dump truck accident that caused a carpenter’s wrongful death, we recovered a settlement of $15.2 million for the family.
Call (202) 463-3030 or send us a message to talk to us about your case and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Our Recent Settlements
A $975,000 settlement in a product liability case resulting from a defectively designed bunk bed which caused the death of an infant.Read More
A $1.4 Million judgment entered for the widow of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty while assisting in a traffic accident.Read More
A settlement of $2.45 Million in a Maryland malpractice action for severe injuries suffered by a 69 year old patient during routine heart surgery.Read More
How Truck Accident Cases Work in Washington DC
Truck accidents are those that involve commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, garbage trucks, and more. They are handled differently than car accidents in many ways. When an accident occurs with a commercial truck due to a decision error, traffic violation, or something else, there are more parties that can be held liable for damages: the truck driver, the trucking company, the trucking company’s insurance provider, and more.
When truck accidents result in devastating consequences due to the fault of the truck driver, a trucking company’s insurance company will attempt to offer you a settlement to keep the case outside of court.
You do not have to accept any less-than-satisfactory settlement offers, especially if there are life-changing circumstances and damages. You can choose to negotiate the settlement outside of court, which is best done with the help of a truck accident lawyer in DC. Or, you can choose to file a claim against them.
Washington DC Truck Accident Statistics
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported, in 2018 that there were only 30 fatal crashes that resulted in 31 deaths in Washington DC.
In the most recent report from the Washington DC Department of Transportation in 2017, there were 6,626 injury collisions, 33 fatalities, and 325 that resulted in disabling injuries. Large trucks and tractor trailers accounted for 506 truck accidents with 84 injury collisions and one truck accident that resulted in the wrongful death of a passenger.
While these may seem like big numbers, Washington DC’s deaths per population is the lowest of all, at only 4.4 auto accident deaths per 100,000 people. Some states are more than quadruple that. And while we do have the lowest, the rest of Virginia averages 9.6 deaths per 100,000.
The reason for DC’s low deaths per population scores could be attributed to the ease of access, public transportation, and the walkability of the district. But keep in mind pedestrian deaths still happen and in 2018, 11 pedestrians were killed in Washington DC and 118 were killed in Virginia.
Common Types of Truck Accidents
Because commercial trucks are so large and weigh so much they are more likely to cause serious injuries and damages in an accident. Regan Zambri Long has extensive experience handling many types of truck accidents, including:
What are Common Injuries from a Truck Accident?
Drivers can suffer injuries from any accident, whether it’s a fender bender or a major collision with a truck. Bruising, whiplash, broken bones, and neck and back injuries are just a few examples of what a victim of an accident can sustain. However, because of the major difference between the size of a commercial truck and a regular vehicle, victims run a bigger risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury when they are involved in a truck accident.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause complications ranging from minor cognitive delays to permanently debilitating symptoms, such as seizures and coma. Some injuries are so severe that full recovery is not possible. In the cases where the victim can recover, the time it can take can be as little as a few weeks up to ten years.
Other common injuries are:
- Soft tissue damage (damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments).
- Chest injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Internal bleeding
Types of Truck Accident Claims We Help With
Our leading Washington DC truck accident lawyers help clients who’ve experienced serious damages from a truck accident. No matter what type of damages you’ve incurred, we can help you file a legal claim against the at-fault party and win the maximum amount of compensation possible.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, you can bring forth a personal injury claim against the liable party and gain compensation for damages.
Some of the most common injury claims after a truck accident include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills and related expenses
- Compensation for permanent injuries
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages and future wages
- Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish
When you’re in an accident with a vehicle that is 20 or 30 times heavier than yours, you may have a totaled car or pricey repairs. Property damage claims cover expenses for repairs, replacements, and other related costs. They can include both your vehicle and personal property that was involved in the accident.
The worst types of truck accidents are catastrophic and involve the death of a loved one. When a loved one has died, the family can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover the full value of the victim’s life from his/her perspective and other related damages.
How quickly should I file a lawsuit after the accident?
After a truck accident, you may not be ready to file a lawsuit right away. You may be waiting to hear from the trucking company’s insurance adjuster, or you may be involved in settlement negotiations. Whatever your situation, you need to file a lawsuit within a specific period of time that is set by Washington DC’s statute of limitations.
In Washington DC, the statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage claims is up to three years from the date of the accident. For wrongful death claims, the decedent’s family has up to two years from the date of death to file a claim.
How We Can Help With Your Washington DC Truck Accident Case
A leading Washington DC truck accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long is ready to help you claim the compensation you deserve for your losses. You may be going through a difficult time, but upon meeting with a winning truck accident attorney at our firm, you will feel confident about the path forward.
After a free consultation, we will investigate and discover relevant facts and information, helping you build the strongest case possible with rock-solid evidence to prove the fault of the truck driver and/or trucking company. We will help you gather evidence and answer any questions you have along the way.
We have helped numerous victims of truck accidents secure the money they need to pay for all injury or death-related experiences, in addition to compensation for the physical and emotional suffering. We know the ins and outs of the laws surrounding commercial trucks and can successfully prove the negligence or wrongful act that caused your damages.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Semi Accidents?
Unlike most other motor vehicles, a semi truck is usually the property of a commercial company and driven by an employee. The company is therefore generally responsible for the vehicle’s upkeep and for the actions of its drivers. As a result, trucking company negligence is often to blame for the conditions which cause a crash. Common examples of such causes include:
- Drowsy driving. Fatigued driving lowers reaction times and makes it more likely that a driver will make errors. Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict limits on the number of hours a driver may remain behind the wheel. However, many trucking companies pressure drivers to violate FMCSA regulations to make more deliveries, putting profits over people.
- Mechanical defects. Flaws in a truck’s brakes, tires, and other components may cause a serious wreck. While these defects may result from manufacturing or design negligence, mechanical failure is usually the result of poor maintenance.
- Lack of maintenance. Trucking companies must perform regular maintenance and safety checks on their vehicles. However, many neglect these checks, resulting in crashes due to worn tires, brake failure, broken lights, and engine failure.
- Speeding. Often, trucking companies pressure drivers with unrealistic deadlines, causing drivers to speed. Speeding increases the risk of an accident, often contributing to serious crashes.
- Inexperienced drivers. Many trucking companies hire newly licensed drivers and fail to adequately train them. These drivers may be unable to handle the size and weight of the truck and are more likely to make mistakes.
Our DC Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
What Trucking Laws Apply to Big Rig Drivers and Companies?
The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains rules and standards to promote safety in the trucking industry. Some of the most important FMCSA regulations include:
- Hours of service. The FMCSA limits the number of total and consecutive hours a driver may spend on the road. It also has rules regarding mandatory rest and sleep brakes. These limitations are intended to prevent drowsy driving, which is a major concern for truckers.
- ELDs. By mid-December 2017, all trucks must have electronic logging devices (ELDs). These track the number of hours an employee drives to ensure he or she follows hours of service regulations. ELDs help prevent falsification of logbooks, a practice not uncommon with paper logs.
- Medical exams and background checks. Trucking companies must perform drug, alcohol, and certain medical tests before hiring drivers. Additionally, the FMCSA requires companies to check for past criminal activity and traffic violations when hiring.
- Cargo loading. Truck drivers and employees who load trucks must follow FMCSA regulations concerning cargo securement.
- Employee training. Truck drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), but companies must also train new drivers before allowing them to make solo deliveries.
- Inspection and maintenance. The FMCSA requires commercial carriers to perform regular inspections and maintenance to eliminate crash risks.
If you sustained injuries in a trucking accident, then you likely do not know whether the driver or company violated any of these rules. However, our Washington DC truck accident lawyers can examine the company’s records and the truck’s ELD to determine if violations contributed to your injuries.
Should I get a semi truck accident lawyer?
Semi trucks are a common sight on highways and city streets. There’s no avoiding them despite the dangers that come with driving near one. These vehicles can weigh around 15,000 pounds, making them unable to stop short or turn on a dime to avoid your car.
Federal data shows that accidents involving large trucks are on the rise and have been since 2009. Semi truck crashes may involve illegal company behavior, authority oversight and laws unfamiliar to regular drivers. That’s why you must work with an experienced DC semi truck accident lawyer who will fight for you and the compensation you deserve.
5 reasons you should hire a Washington, DC semi truck Accident lawyer
1. Semi Trucks Have Special Regulations That Can Be Confusing
Semi truck drivers not only require specialized licenses, they also have to follow additional regulations such as federal limits on how long semi truck drivers can drive each 24-hour period. Drivers also must track their driving and break time, as well as subject their vehicles to routine maintenance and weight checks.
In addition to these federal regulations, many localities like DC have additional rules that semi truck drivers must follow. For example, DC limits what streets semi trucks and other commercial vehicles can use, though trucks are completely barred from only a few streets. It’s the driver’s responsibility to know about and adhere to such regulations, so drivers new to the area may unknowingly violate local laws.
2. Rules and Regulation Violations For Semi Drivers Are Different
Rules like those that limit semi truck drive time were created because of the unsightly work conditions suffered by semi trucks drivers. Despite these federal regulations, it still is common for semi truck drivers to be pressured into driving longer than allowed and falsifying break or driving records.
If there are issues with these federal regulations, the driver and their employer may be subject to legal action regardless of whether the regulations were knowingly violated. If these issues directly caused the accident in question, you may be entitled to additional compensation. A Washington DC truck accident lawyer will understand the additional factors that affect semi truck accidents and will be able to investigate any issues to ensure you have the strongest case possible.
3. Semi Truck Accidents Have Numerous Additional Risks
Semi truck accidents are extremely dangerous and can affect dozens of cars in seconds.
In 2015, a semi truck driver plowed through 453 feet of still traffic before coming to a stop; Six people were killed and others were injured. That driver was found to have been on drugs.
In 2018, 6% of semi truck drivers involved in fatal accidents tested positive for at least one drug. Though that number may be skewed as 60% of those drivers weren’t tested. It’s unclear why the drivers weren’t tested for illegal substances despite impairment being one of the main factors in fatal semi truck accidents.
Such police oversight could affect your claim. That’s why you must work with an experienced semi truck accident lawyer who will know how to handle such complex cases.
4. Trucks May Contain Hazardous or Dangerous Cargo
Federal authorities say hazardous cargo was involved in over 1,400 of the 4,862 fatal semi truck accidents in 2018. And of those semi truck accidents involving hazardous cargo, more than half were carrying flammable liquids such as gasoline or fuel oil.
That hazardous material may have subjected you to additional risks and injuries, which could affect your case and compensation claim.
5. Semi Truck Accidents Don’t Just Involve Drivers
Semi truck drivers don’t haul cargo across the country as private citizens; they work for someone. That means semi truck accidents involve the driver’s company, that company’s insurance provider and truck or part manufacturers.
If the semi truck’s cargo was found to have contributed to the accident, the manufacturer and packing company also may be at fault.
Additionally, semi truck accidents often involve several vehicles, which can complicate fault declarations and claims.
There are so many potential parties involved in semi truck accidents, and each party likely will call on their insurance provider for help, leading to double the initial party count. You must work with a Washington DC truck accident lawyer who can navigate such complex cases so you get the compensation you need.
What do I ask a Washington DC truck accident lawyer?
Truck accidents are some of the worst kinds of crashes you can get into. When you’re in a car accident, it’s bad enough, but a truck can do much more damage. You’ll definitely need legal assistance, so you need to know what to ask a truck accident lawyer.
After all, if you have a legitimate case on your hands, you’ll want to pursue it and hopefully receive compensation for everything you’ve gone through.
Whether you just came home from the hospital after your truck accident or you’ve been going to treatment for a while now, you can reach out to a lawyer for help. And if you live in the D.C. area, Regan Zambri Long, Washington, D.C. truck accident attorney, is here for you.
Here’s what you should consider asking during your consultation.
3 Important Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
Truck accidents can cause all kinds of injuries, from minor ones to those that could affect you for the rest of your life and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
These injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Seat belt injuries
When you’re looking into what to ask a truck accident lawyer, inquire about the potential damages you’re looking at depending on what kind of injury you have.
If you get a seat belt injury such as whiplash, then you probably won’t have to take off work or pay for expensive medical treatment. You’ll be able to get back to normal pretty soon after your accident.
On the other hand, paralysis can completely upend your life. Along with paying high medical bills, you might not be able to work anymore or participate in activities you’ve always enjoyed.
Additionally, there may be other costs you’re not even thinking about, such as:
- Loss of future income and earnings
- The loss of enjoyment of life
- Losing the ability to provide support to your partner and family
- Pain and suffering
It can be hard to pinpoint just how much some damages are worth, but your lawyer will be able to give you an idea.
You’ll want to figure out exactly who is responsible for your accident. You may think it’s the truck driver, but it’s not always so easy. When you meet your new truck accident lawyer, ask who the defendant might be in your case.
Your lawyer may say there are a few possibilities. The truck driver would be responsible if they were engaging in dangerous and reckless behavior like speeding, using their phone while driving, switching lanes too fast, driving while tired, not signaling, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Going after their employer and their insurance provider could be the best course of action to ensure you get the highest settlement possible.
If the accident occurred because the truck was poorly maintained - and it was the company’s job to maintain it - then they would likely be held responsible and named as the defendant.
If the accident happened because cargo fell off the truck, then the defendant may be the cargo loader who failed at their job.
If the truck driver was swerving to avoid a large pothole when they hit you, then you may be able to name the city or municipality that left the pothole in the road as the defendant.
Until you call a truck accident lawyer, you really won’t know the answer to this question. That’s why it’s best to get in touch with them as soon as possible after your accident occurs.
For your truck accident case to be successful, you’ll need to provide certain evidence to your lawyer. They’ll need the police report or to know which police station you filed your report with so they can collect it.
The same applies when it comes to your medical records. You can either gather your records or tell your lawyer the name of the hospital you went to and they’ll retrieve the records for you.
You should also share evidence you collected at the scene. This includes photos, witness statements and their contact info, and the driver/the driver’s company.
Your lawyer will take all the evidence you give them and contact the defendant to work out a settlement. Since going to trial is costly and time-consuming - and can result in the defendant having to pay a lot more in damages - they will likely offer you settlement instead.
All you have to do is stay in touch with your lawyer and get the proper medical treatment you need until you feel better. If you have an ongoing injury that won’t heal or could take a long time to heal, then your lawyer will consult with you about going after compensation for future medical bills as well.
How can I prevent a truck accident in Washington DC?
Unfortunately, accidents of all kinds are always unforeseen and many times, completely out of our control. However, the following safety tips are small things you can do to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers as safe as possible:
- Avoid blind spots: Trucks, especially commercial trucks, have very large blind sports. The most dangerous place for a driver to be is on the truck’s passenger side – this blind spot is larger than the one on the driver’s side of the truck. Therefore, when you pass a truck, always make sure to pass on the driver’s side. Never stay driving next to a commercial truck – always find a safe way to pass and create distance. A general rule of thumb is if you cannot see the truck driver in the truck’s side mirrors, then the truck driver cannot see you. Get out of that position as quickly as possible.
- Leave plenty of space: Because of the large size of a truck, it takes them longer to slow down. If you don’t leave enough space when a truck is behind you, there is a greater risk of it crashing into your car from behind. If you don’t leave enough space when a truck is in front of you, you run the risk of debris from the truck’s cargo, or from a tire blowout, hitting your windshield. A general rule to follow is to leave at least four seconds between you and the truck. For example, if the truck passes an exit sign, you should be able to count to at least four before you pass the same exit sign.
- Changing lanes/merging: The distance rule applies to changing lanes and merging – you need to make sure you maintain space.If you cannot change lanes or merge onto a highway without keeping a safe distance with a truck, stay where you are. This is especially necessary if traffic is slowing down ahead. Trucks take longer to brake, so there is a greater chance of an accident if you merge or change lanes directly in front of a truck while it’s trying to slow down. Clear signaling should always be used on the road, but is especially important when you are driving on a highway with commercial trucks.
- Remain calm and patient: Avoid being overly aggressive on the road and don’t react to overly aggressive drivers. Get plenty of sleep before you drive, as tiredness can make you agitated. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination so that you don’t feel rushed. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath and remember, everyone is doing exactly what you’re doing – just trying to safely get to their destination.
- Buckle up and pay attention: Always wear your seatbelt and insist that any passengers in your car do the same. Focus only on the road and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by your phone, radio, or passengers. Being aware of what’s going on around you will help you brake or correct your vehicle more quickly.
It’s important for DC residents to note that highways around Washington DC are prominent truck driving routes and drivers should use extra caution when traveling on them. The Capital Beltway is made up of two highways: I-495 and I-95. The two highways loop around Washington DC and extend to Maryland and Virginia. The Beltway can see traffic volumes as high as 225,000 regular and commercial vehicles per day. WTOP news has highlighted the most crash-prone stretches of the Beltway and DC police urge drivers to avoid speeding and driving in poor weather conditions on the highways.
What are defensive driving techniques for truck drivers?
Truck drivers can take similar steps as regular drivers to ensure they travel on the road as safely as possible. They should completely focus on the road, leave plenty of space, be patient while driving, avoid speeding, and stay alert. However, truck drivers can take additional steps to make sure they are as safe as possible while traveling:
- Do not drive while drowsy: Fatigue lowers reaction times and can cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention equate drowsy driving to drunk driving. Make sure to get enough sleep before driving and stick to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations limiting the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road.
- Inspect your truck and cargo: Inspection of the truck should include brakes, tires, fluid levels, and mirrors. Ensure the cargo is properly loaded to avoid tipping over and causing an accident.
- Properly train entry-level drivers: Driving a truck is not the same as driving a regular car. Drivers need to be able to handle the weight of the truck, especially if there is cargo. Entry-level drivers should not do solo trips without extensive training.
How do I Make a Complaint Against an Unsafe Truck Driver?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates and enforces truck driving laws in Washington DC and across the United States. If you see unsafe or erratic driving on the road by a truck driver, you can reach out to the FMCSA via their complaint page. Their hotline number is: 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238) and is open Monday through Fridays, from 8am-8pm.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top Truck Accident Attorney
Our Washington DC personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Backed by more than 100 years of combined experience, our firm has an established reputation for pursuing legal excellence. As our client, you will enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your rights will be protected from start to finish. We will do everything in our power to secure the maximum compensation you need to pay for injury-related expenses, such as medical care and lost income, as well as full compensation for all of the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries.
Meet With a Winning Truck Accident Attorney in Washington DC Today
Whether you live in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, a respected truck accident attorney at Regan Zambri Long will get the best results possible for your case. Find out how we can help you with your truck accident case in a free, no-obligation consultation. You don’t pay until we win.
Schedule your free consultation by calling (202) 463-3030 or sending us a message now!