Home / Blog / How to File a Truck Accident Lawsuit
Truck Accident Lawsuits
The highways around Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC are trucking hubs. The Capital Beltway, I-95, and I-66 see thousands of trucks per year. In addition to commercial vehicles, many passenger vehicles flood the highways surrounding the DC Metro Area every day. Unfortunately, the heavier the traffic, the higher the chance of an accident.
A truck accident can be catastrophic for the passengers in a car. Injuries can be permanently debilitating and even life-threatening. It’s understandable that in the days following a truck accident, your first instinct isn’t to file a truck accident lawsuit. However, the serious injuries you sustain from a truck accident can jeopardize your financial future. It is in your best interest to file a truck accident claim as soon as possible.
The truck accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long personal injury law firm are here to guide you through your truck accident claim. Our attorneys will help you file a truck accident lawsuit to recover compensation for current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
What Are the Steps of a Truck Accident Lawsuit?
At Regan Zambri Long, we want to equip our clients with as much knowledge about their personal injury cases as possible. Here are the steps we’ll take to secure a fair settlement for your truck accident lawsuit:
Determine the at-fault party: Our lawyers will use evidence from the accident scene to determine who and what caused your accident. The at-fault parties can be the truck driver, the trucking company, the cargo loaders, the maintenance crew, or even the municipality where the accident happened. Truck accidents can involve more than one negligent party, which can make the process lengthy and confusing. It is essential to have legal counsel by your side.
File the claim: Once we determine the at-fault party, we will file the claim against them. Don’t worry – we will handle this fully. We will make sure your paperwork is handed in on time and correctly. All you have to do is focus on recovering from the accident.
Pay attention to the statute of limitations. It is important to note here that the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit varies from state to state. The Regan Zambri Long law firm practices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. In Maryland and DC, the accident victims have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Virginia, truck accident victims have two years to file a truck accident lawsuit.While this may seem like a long time, it is best to file a truck accident lawsuit as quickly as possible. Once the statute of limitations window is closed, the victim will lose their right to file a personal injury claim.
Gather evidence: Your lawyer will gather evidence not only from the accident, but also from the trucking company, the trucking company’s insurance company, and the driver’s record. We will pour over log books, maintenance checks, and other information to build a solid case.
Negotiation: Our expert lawyers will negotiate with the trucking company and the trucking company’s insurance company. If they offer a fair settlement (which is rare!) we will accept the offer. If they refuse to pay you what you are owed, then we will take your truck accident case to court.
Secure damages: Our lawyers have secured millions for our clients and are confident we can do the same for you. We will relentlessly work to secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Types of Truck Accidents
Various types of truck accidents can cause different injuries to victims and property damage to a car. The different types of truck crashes are:
A jackknife accident is one type of semi-truck accident that is notorious for causing serious injury. This truck accident usually occurs when truck drivers stop too quickly causing the trailer to swing around and fold the truck.
It’s called a jackknife accident because it resembles the shape of a jackknife as the truck folds. This can cause passenger vehicles to be trapped, smashed, and possibly killed. The swinging trailer can also injure or kill pedestrians in the way of the truck.
Rollover accidents are another type of accident within the trucking industry. This happens when a truck driver loses control of the semi-truck and causes the entire truck to roll. The semi-truck can roll over other motor vehicles or pedestrians.
Even if a car doesn’t get trapped underneath the trailer of the truck, a rolled-over truck can cause a serious hazard in the roadway that can cause a multi-vehicle accident. If the accident involves a passenger vehicle it can result in severe injuries to the motorists.
Head-on collisions involving tractor-trailers are often devastating. These accidents are when large trucks hit another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Getting into a head-on collision with a commercial truck is often fatal for the passengers in a car. In the United States, 10% of all accident fatalities were from head-on collisions.
Blind spot accidents
Semi-trucks are very large and have significant blind spots. A blind spot is an area of the road or sidewalk in which the truck driver cannot see. Blind spots can cause drivers to merge or crash into other cars on the road because they cannot see them. Blind spots can also cause other motorists to run off the road or cause an accident with another vehicle if the truck is merging toward them.
An underride accident is very specific to commercial trucks. Think about the height of a truck trailer versus the height of a car. The car can fit right underneath the trailer. That’s exactly what happens in these types of accidents. If a truck driver stops suddenly, it can cause a smaller vehicle to slide underneath the truck. Many times in this type of crash, the roof of the car is pulled off causing significant injury or death to the driver and other passengers.
Underride accidents are the most deadly form of truck accidents. Because they are so dangerous, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended using underside guards on trucks to prevent these accidents from becoming fatal.
A T-bone accident is particularly dangerous when a large truck is involved. A T-bone accident happens when one vehicle is driving and another vehicle hits it perpendicularly, forming a letter T. T-bone accidents can cause serious injuries to the car passengers, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
Loose cargo accidents
Tractor-trailer drivers carry significant amounts of cargo every day and there are times when items spill onto the highway. These spills (including furniture, food, hazardous materials, or household items) can create major hazards to other drivers. Motorists may crash while trying to avoid the debris on the roadway.
Motorists not only have to dodge cargo that is the on road, but also cargo that is flying at their windshields. This can cause motorists to hit other vehicles while trying to avoid flying debris. When the spilled cargo involves liquids, it can cause conditions similar to icy roads. This is dangerous for motorists when they unexpectedly hit slippery road conditions.
Tire blowout accidents
While any vehicle can have a tire blowout, it is particularly dangerous when a tractor-trailer experiences one. Truck tires are large and can create hazardous debris on the roads. In addition, a tire blowout can cause the truck driver to lose control and create another type of truck accident such as a rollover accident or a jackknife accident.
Wide turn accidents
It can be difficult for trucks to make tight right-hand turns. Often, while making the right-hand turn, drivers will unknowingly drive into the oncoming lanes to get more room to make the turn. This can be dangerous to vehicles in the other lanes because it forces them to stop quickly and it also puts them at risk for an underride accident or a head-on collision.
What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?
Every truck accident begins with a cause. Something caused the driver to make a mistake. Very often, the cause is nothing more than negligence. At Regan Zambri Long, we firmly believe you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence.
Distracted driving: Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road. Needless to say, the hours of highway can get boring, giving way to temptations to text, call, or check emails while driving. Even playing with the radio or listening to music can shift a driver’s attention from the road, putting them at risk for a crash.
Drowsy driving: Trucking companies often overwork their drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates how many hours a driver can be on the road (the maximum is 14 hours per day). A trucking company or driver may choose to ignore the regulations, causing major fatigue while driving long distances. Driving while fatigued can cause the driver to lose focus, have a slower reaction time, and even fall asleep at the wheel.
Poor maintenance: Maintenance for trucks can be very costly. A negligent driver or truck company may choose not to spend the time or money to properly maintain the truck. They may skip the inspection required by federal law before hitting the road. If a truck driver doesn’t check or replace tires when recommended per federal regulations, it can lead to a blown tire on the highway.
Speeding: A truck driver is often under pressure to deliver many loads under limited time constraints. This can tempt a driver to disobey traffic laws and drive at unsafe speeds to make their delivery on time. Speeding not only increases the risk of truck accidents but also makes it more likely that the accident will be severe or even fatal.
Driving while intoxicated: Since truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, you may be surprised that they are at risk of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for drivers to drive while drunk or high. Many drivers use drugs to stay awake and alert on the road. However, drugs can encourage drivers to make unsafe or risky driving decisions, while alcohol significantly slows reaction times.
Improper cargo loading: A commercial truck should be loaded properly – always. If it isn’t, it automatically creates unsafe driving conditions for the driver and other travelers. An improperly loaded semi-truck can spill cargo onto the road. A truck that is loaded with too much cargo can roll over or have a tire blow out.
Poor weather conditions: If the weather is not ideal, driving becomes more difficult for every motorist. Truck accidents occur more often if there is rain, snow, wind, or fog. It is difficult for the large tires to get traction in rain and snow causing a jackknife or a rollover accident.
Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents can lead to horrible injuries for the survivors. Not only are these injuries extremely painful and debilitating, but they are costly to the victims and their families. Winning a truck accident settlement can help offset these costs.
Truck accident injuries may include:
Brain injuries: A victim of a truck accident can have different kinds of brain injuries, many of which can alter their quality of life. Concussions can cause symptoms such as headaches and difficulty concentrating. The victim should seek medical attention right away – concussions should always be taken seriously.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are more severe cases that can cause the patient to lose the ability to eat, talk, and live on their own. TBIs are very expensive to treat and the effects can last a lifetime. One estimate of a yearly cost of a TBI victim is $80,000. However, severe traumatic brain injuries can cost the victim over $2 million throughout their lifetime.
Lacerations: Lacerations are cuts to the skin from broken glass or other debris in a truck accident. They can require stitches and can also leave scars causing a victim to have unsightly marks on their body for the rest of their life.
Broken bones: A bone that has been broken requires quick and costly treatment. Many broken bones need more than a cast. In severe cases, broken bones require surgery and can cause the victim to have problems with blood flow and nerve pain for years.
Burns: It is not uncommon for a truck accident victim to suffer severe burns. When a truck crashes into a car, especially if the truck is carrying hazardous material, a fire can easily break out. The friction from being ejected from the car can also cause burns on the victim.Burns can be difficult to treat and often require very specialized hospitalizations. Many burn victims will require plastic surgery which can be costly and potentially not covered by an insurance company.
Spinal cord injuries: A truck accident victim can suffer from spinal cord injuries. Anytime the spinal cord is injured there is a risk for various movement and balance issues, including paralysis or losing the ability to speak. The average spinal cord injury costs around $142 thousand per year, but the most severe spinal cord injuries may cost upwards of $1 million annually.
Wrongful death: Tragically, a truck accident may result in a wrongful death. Loved ones experience emotional pain and anger when a family or friend dies from an avoidable accident. The deceased’s family may file a lawsuit for a wrongful death case to get maximum compensation for any pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
At Regan Zambri Long our truck accident lawyers have a deep understanding of the laws in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. We have the financial resources to see your case through to the end. Call today for your free consultation. We will take charge of your truck accident case while you take charge of getting your life back.
Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.