Driving a motor vehicle is always a risk, but driving at highway speeds increases the risk. Stopping a vehicle is harder; time and space for maneuvering are limited; growing congestion and angry drivers can work in tandem with road construction and maintenance to make highway travel in particular increasingly dangerous.
Negligence causes most car crashes. When one driver fails to obey the rules of the road or when cities and counties fail to safely maintain a road, highway accidents can be catastrophic. If you or your loved one has been injured in a highway accident, you are entitled to compensation.
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Your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and material damages will take a financial toll, in addition to the physical toll the accident will take on your body and mind. The highway accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long are ready to fight on your behalf to hold all negligent parties responsible and win you the compensation you are owed. We will pursue justice so that you can focus on recovery.
Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents vary—including everything from superficial scrapes, bruises, and sprains to traumatic brain injuries, paralyzing spine injuries, and permanent disabilities.
In highway accidents, often more severe than car accidents on town and city roads, injuries can tend to be more severe.
Drivers and passengers involved in highway accidents should anticipate and/or watch for:
Before doing anything else, you should seek medical attention after a highway accident. While investigating and collecting eyewitness statements is important, your safety and well-being are paramount. Make sure to keep any follow-up appointments—injuries may take time to fully manifest and some aches and pains that seem superficial at first may later reveal serious internal injuries.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of many highway accidents. A myriad of things vie for a driver’s attention while on the road, but choosing to focus on the wrong thing can lead to devastating car crashes and ultimately fatalities. Common distractions while driving include:
This doesn’t mean you should drive in silence, ignoring passengers and refusing to use the radio, but drivers must be aware and honest about road circumstances that require their full attention. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 3,142 deaths in 2020 caused by distracted driving.
NHTSA data says that 32 people die each day in drunk driving accidents, accidents that are entirely preventable. Alcohol impairs thinking reasoning and coordination. At highway speeds, drivers cannot afford to have these voluntary impairments.
Driving under the influence extends beyond just alcohol; narcotics, marijuana, some prescription drugs, and even some over-the-counter medications can impair driving. Taking multiple drugs or medications together can also cause serious impairments, affecting the driver’s coordination and judgments, making the driver more aggressive or reckless, or causing side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness that are dangerous on the road.
“I’m just keeping up with traffic.”
It’s a common excuse, and one that sounds reasonable when you consider that driving slower than other highway traffic can be dangerous and potentially fatal. But the NHTSA found that speeding-related deaths totaled 11,258 in 2020.
Speeding-related deaths are often preventable because speeding is a choice. With the busyness of modern life, drivers need to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, often having little time in their schedules for delays. The result: speeding on the road to make up some time. But the consequences of speeding increase in conjunction with your miles per hour. Greater speed means greater potential for losing control, reduced effectiveness of safety equipment, more time and distance needed for stopping, and greater severity of injuries and damages in the event of a crash.
Construction zones can be hazardous for drivers and workers, especially on highways where speeds are high. If a construction zone is not properly signed, it can cause accidents as drivers must try to make last-minute speed adjustments, lane changes, or otherwise adapt to an unexpected work zone.
A poorly maintained road can also be a cause of highway accidents. Roads riddled with potholes, uneven lane edges, lack of signage or poor visibility of signage, roads that don’t drain water, or too short on-ramps and off-ramps are examples of how highway designers and maintainers may be liable for car crashes that aren’t caused by driver negligence.
Many factors can impact the severity of a crash and many of these factors can work together to increase or decrease the severity. But on the highway, where speed limits are high and speeding is common, the rate of travel can cancel out safety features in a vehicle.
Tests have shown that even small increases between 6 and 10 miles per hour can result in more significant injuries, despite the ever-increasing safety of many vehicles.
When speeds reach 50 miles per hour, the risk of a car crash being fatal increases. As speed increases from there, the likelihood of surviving a crash decreases. By 70 miles per hour, the chance of survival is very slim.
Many states allow highway and interstate speeds of 70 miles per hour, with a few states allowing 80 miles per hour. As speeds exponentially increase the severity and risk of fatality in car crashes, it is crucial to hold liable parties accountable for the crashes they cause.
While you have no control over how another person operates his or her motor vehicle, you have complete control over the safety choices you make when you choose to travel on the highway. Properly using your vehicle’s safety features can be the difference between life and death in a highway accident. Best safety practices include:
Your safety is reason enough to make wise choices on the highway, but the reality is that failure to do so could hinder your ability to claim compensation.
In a third-party insurance claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance provider will investigate the accident. The insurance company will likely use any of your negligent behaviors to deny your claim or offer a very low settlement.
Under contributory negligence, your negligence negates your right to claim compensation. And while failing to wear a seat belt might not be allowed as evidence of your negligence in a claim, speeding and distracted driving will certainly get in the way of claiming compensation, even if the other driver is more responsible for the accident.
Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland all adhere to contributory negligence rules. And while these states don’t consider failure to wear a seat belt a factor in contributory negligence, other negligent driving behaviors can and will influence your claim if you engage in them. Partnering with an experienced highway accident lawyer will ensure that you are protected from being held liable for negligence that you didn’t commit so that you can claim the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
When you are involved in a car accident, it often seems very obvious what happened. You were obeying the rules of the road and another driver changed lanes without looking and hit you or a reckless driver lost control and involved you in a crash.
But the unfortunate reality is that, though insurance is good and helpful for drivers, many insurance companies try to pay as little as possible after a motor vehicle accident. If they can sniff out any bit of negligence in your driving, many insurers will try to use that to deny your claim or offer a very low settlement.
Knowing that the responsible party’s insurance company will likely want to pay you as little as possible, you must have a strong, experienced legal team on your side to help protect your interests and to fight against low-ball settlements. When you hire an experienced and esteemed car accident attorney, the at-fault insurance company will know that they can’t take advantage of you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a highway accident, you are going to need to focus on recovery and adjusting to temporary or even permanent injuries. The last thing you need is to fight for the compensation you deserve to make recovery possible. The trusted attorneys at Regan Zambri Long will fight alongside you until we recover what you deserve.
The actual dollar amount you can claim from your highway accident will depend on the details specific to your car crash. But in most cases you can claim:
In rare cases, you may also be able to claim punitive damages, payments intended to punish the at-fault party for his or her negligence.
One of the primary factors in the amount of compensation you can claim for your highway accident is the severity and longevity of your injuries. The more severe and/or permanent your injuries, the more you can claim in medical expenses and lost wages. However, intense pain and suffering or mental anguish can occur even if your highway accident wasn’t catastrophic in nature.
Working with a knowledgeable highway accident attorney is the best way to make sure you receive a fair settlement or compensation verdict. You won’t always know the depth of your injuries and damages right away, but your lawyer will better know what to anticipate and how to calculate the value ahead of time so that you don’t suffer further.
Choosing an attorney to represent you and fight for your best interests can be overwhelming, especially when you’re already fighting to recover from a highway accident. The attorneys at Regan Zambri Long know that having a team you can trust is important to your entire well-being, and we are committed to honoring the faith you put in us.
With decades of cumulative experience, our legal team is regularly recognized among peers as some of the best lawyers in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We will bring all our experience to bear on your case, giving you the feel of a small, personal law firm while tapping into the resources and expertise of a larger firm. With Regan Zambri Long, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
We’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our car accident and highway accident clients. A $3.8 million dollar verdict for a client who suffered a traumatic brain injury and other damages in a collision is the highest jury verdict for a car accident in the last decade for DC.
Our highway accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t collect any payment until we’ve won a recovery or settlement in your favor. Schedule a free case evaluation today by calling 202-960-4596.