Truck accidents differ from car accidents simply because of the size of a semi-truck compared to the size of a car. When it is carrying cargo, a semi-truck, also known as a tractor-trailer or an 18-wheeler, can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which makes the truck deadly when it comes in contact with a regular passenger vehicle. Occupants in the car often suffer catastrophic injuries and, many times, fatal injuries.
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Unlike passenger car drivers, semi and commercial truck drivers follow a separate set of rules; this makes truck accident claims extremely complex.
The Regan Zambri Long semi-truck accident lawyers have expert knowledge of state and federal trucking laws, the DC court system, and various DC insurance policies. While the lawyers work diligently to settle your claim quickly, they also prepare each case as if it were going to trial. If that happens, you can rest assured that your Regan Zambri Long semi-truck accident lawyer will have the financial backing and preparedness to see your case through until the very end.
If you are ready to file a personal injury claim with the court today, or if you are trying to decide if a lawsuit is the right path for you, an experienced truck accident lawyer can discuss your options and help you make the right choice.
Semi-truck accidents can happen for many different reasons. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did a study of large truck crashes. The FMCSA found the majority of semi-truck accidents were caused by mechanical failure, specifically faulty brakes.
The second major cause the FMCSA found was the speed at which the driver was traveling. According to the study, 23% of large truck accidents were due to the driver going too fast for the conditions of the road. It takes a semi-truck driver several seconds to be able to slow the truck down to a full stop. If the driver is speeding, but there is a sudden halt of traffic, the driver runs the risk of crashing into vehicles from behind.
Unfamiliarity with the roadway was another cause of semi-truck crashes, according to the FMCSA. A sudden bend or turn can take truckers off guard and cause cargo to shift suddenly in the trailer, causing a rollover.
Poor road conditions, such as uneven highways and potholes, can cause the driver to lose control of the truck. If the trucker is traveling at night, a turn or curve in the road can be easily missed, causing a major crash.
Other major causes of semi-truck accidents are:
Unlike many car accidents where the fault typically falls on a single, negligent driver, there are many factors that can cause a truck wreck. It is essential for you to have a Regan Zambri Long truck crash lawyer by your side to investigate the different parties who can be held responsible for the accident. They will work to determine each party at fault and make sure you can collect damages from each one.
The driver is most likely to be directly at fault for the accident. Your truck crash lawyer will gather evidence from the scene of the accident including the police report, footage from surrounding security cameras, and eyewitness testimony. The Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyers also investigate the trucker’s driving record, background check, criminal record, and past employment. If the truck driver was distracted, impaired, fatigued, speeding, or otherwise reckless, you can rest assured that it will be discovered by your truck accident lawyer and they will use the evidence to prove your claim.
Trucking companies can be liable for the behavior and safety of their employees. They are responsible for hiring drivers who have clean background checks and driving records. The company must also make sure they properly train new drivers before sending them on the road by themselves. The weight of a tractor trailer or semi-truck carrying cargo is difficult to handle. The driver must be properly trained on how to handle the weight, including braking and turning.
The trucking company must make sure their drivers are following the hours of service limitations, which restricts drivers to 14 hours per day on the road. Even though drowsy driving is a major problem among truck drivers, many trucking companies pressure their drivers to ignore the FMCSA hours of service regulations in order to speed up delivery times. If it is determined that drowsy driving played a role in the truck wreck, your Regan Zambri Long truck accident lawyer will investigate the trucking company’s log books and other employees to determine if the driver was pressured to continue the trip even though he or she was fatigued.
The trucking company also has a responsibility to ensure their trucks are in pristine condition before sending them out on the road. Your semi-truck crash lawyer will look at the maintenance logs to determine if the truck was properly maintained. If a mechanical failure, such as brakes or tires, caused the truck accident, the trucking company can be held accountable for negligence.
Commercial transportation companies often hire third-party brokers to hire drivers and trucks to carry cargo. If you were in a truck accident with a vehicle that was hired by a broker, the broker could be liable for the crash. Your semi truck accident lawyer will investigate how the broker hired the driver and truck. Your lawyer will also investigate how much control the broker had over the driver’s schedule to determine if they followed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s guidelines on driving hours.
While the trucking company could have been negligent in maintenance before sending the truck out on a trip, the truck manufacturer could also be liable for a mechanical failure, as well. If there was an inherent flaw in the design of the truck, your lawyer will hold the manufacturer responsible for the accident.
Lastly, cargo loaders are responsible for loading the goods being transported into the trailer of the truck. The cargo can increase the weight of the truck by thousands of pounds. It is extremely important that the loaders evenly distribute the weight of the cargo to prevent the truck from rolling over. Unfortunately, many times the weight is not evenly distributed and it causes catastrophic accidents. Your semi-truck accident lawyer will investigate how the cargo was loaded into the trailer to determine if the cargo loaders were negligent and should be held liable for the truck accident.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s)
Traumatic brain injuries claimed over 60,000 lives in 2019 alone. A traumatic brain injury is when sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Because a semi-truck far outweighs a car, victims of semi-truck accidents often sustain these injuries. Recovery from a TBI can take anywhere from a few weeks up to ten years. The TBI victim may need physical, occupational, or cognitive therapy. A severe TBI may leave the victim needing to relearn how to speak, walk, or write.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is when there is damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal cord. Many spinal cord injuries lead to partial or complete paralysis of the truck accident victim. Motor vehicle accidents account for 38% of spinal cord injuries per year.
Both types of injuries require a tremendous amount of support from the semi-truck accident victim’s family and loved ones. Paralysis or severe brain trauma may leave the victim needing around the clock medical care. Many times, family members must leave their jobs in order to care for their loved one full time. When this happens, they are losing their own wages, on top of the semi-truck accident victim’s wages. Medical bills can be hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Pair that with lost income, and that can send a family into financial disaster.
Families and loved ones must also cope with personality and behavioral changes of their loved one following severe TBIs or spinal cord injuries. Victims become withdrawn, isolated, and depressed. Although they may not have been directly involved in the semi-truck accident, these crashes create victims out of so many more people than just the passengers in the car. Entire families are forever changed from a sudden moment of negligence. If your family is experiencing this, contact Regan Zambri Long today to make sure you are being properly compensated. The semi-truck accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long can’t change what happened to your family, but they can make sure they fight to recover enough compensation so you can take care of your loved one without added financial stress.
Other semi-truck injuries include:
The last thing you need to worry about following a horrible semi-truck accident is paperwork, insurance companies, and legal recourse. Your Regan Zambri Long semi-truck accident lawyer will take care of the following while you focus on recovering:
Truck driving was named the deadliest occupation in the United States in 2018, logging over 800 deaths in the field that year. Accidents, work-related health issues, lack of rest, sedentary work, and isolation all contribute to the fatality rate among truck drivers.
On the flipside, commercial trucks create an enormous amount of danger for other drivers on the road. A semi-truck carrying cargo can weigh up to 80,000 pounds – about 23 times the size of a sedan. When a regular passenger vehicle makes contact with a commercial truck, the likelihood of the car driver sustaining life-threatening injuries is far greater. In 2019, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recorded deaths due to large truck accidents. The total deaths of truck drivers involved in a truck accident were less than 700. The total deaths of car drivers involved in truck accidents were over 2,700. That is a 25% difference!
Contributory negligence is a law that is practiced in Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, and two other jurisdictions in the United States. The law basically states that if the accident you were involved in is partly your fault – even if it’s a small percentage – then you cannot claim compensation. Truck companies hire large insurance companies who will work hard to make it look like the accident was your fault. This is where Regan Zambri Long comes in. An expert semi-truck accident attorney will use the evidence gathered to determine which party or parties are at fault and prove that you were in no way responsible for the semi-truck accident.
A letter of spoliation is a notice to another party that requests the preservation of relevant evidence. Gathering evidence can be difficult in a semi-truck accident case. Trucking companies are known to destroy evidence, which they legally can do after a certain period of time. Your Regan Zambri Long lawyer will send a letter of spoliation to preserve all necessary evidence to prove your claim.
In the worst cases, the compassionate semi-truck accident lawyers meet their clients while they are grieving the loss of a loved one. Contact Regan Zambri Long today for a free consultation with an expert wrongful death lawyer to discuss what legal action you can take after a semi-truck accident.
Other damages you may collect are:
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a truck accident in the Washington, DC metro area, you may be able to file a claim for compensation under personal injury law.
Even when you are entitled to compensation, it can be difficult to get the money you deserve. Truck accident claims are complex. An experienced attorney can help.