Washington, D.C. Truck Accident Lawyers
Anytime a driver gets on the road, he or she faces the possibility of an accident. Whenever heavier vehicles like trucks are involved, the outcome of an accident is often much more devasting and life-altering. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are caused by negligent driving. If you are a victim of a truck accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. Contact a qualified Washington D.C. truck accident attorney today for a free consultation. Our lawyers can explain your legal options and let you know if you have a case. If you have grounds for a claim and want to pursue it, we will handle all the details, from communicating with insurance companies to negotiating the maximum compensation on your behalf.
There is no risk to you in contacting us as our services are provided on a contingency fee basis. That means that there are no upfront costs or lawyer fees, our clients only pay us if we are successful obtaining favorable compensation for their claim. Partner Kevin J. Finnegan is on the Board of Governors of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Our firm has recovered fair compensation for many injury victims, including recovering a $1.8 million settlement for the victim of a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Trucks are an important part of our economy that carry goods from place to place to meet consumer demand. This demand often requires truck drivers to race against the clock to meet company deadlines.
The trucking industry has set strict regulations on hours of service to limit the amount of time a driver can be on the road without a break. However, these regulations are often violated by drivers who are under pressure to meet deadlines and deliver cargo on time. This can lead to accidents caused by:
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded or unsecured cargo that can spill out onto the road
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to check blind spots
- Road rage and aggressive driving
Aside from driver error, mechanical failures can also cause dangerous accidents. Truck owners and trucking companies have an obligation to properly inspect each vehicle to ensure it is safe for long-distance driving. Some mechanical failures may include:
- Brake system failure
- Transmission breakdown
- Steering failure
- Engine malfunction
- Worn out or defective tires
- Defective headlights, brake lights, or turn signals
Other parties who are responsible for ensuring a truck’s safety who can be held liable for mechanical errors include:
- The company that performed maintenance on the truck involved in the accident
- The company that was responsible for loading cargo onto the truck
- The owner of the cab or trailer
- The truck driver’s employer
- The company that leased the truck
- The company responsible for manufacturing the truck
- Other manufactures of different parts on the truck, such as, brakes, tires or engine components
A truck accident can happen for several reasons, our lawyers will thoroughly investigate the cause of accident to try to determine who is liable.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident due to the negligence of the driver or another party, our Washington D.C. truck accident lawyers are here to help. At Goldberg Finnegan, we will work hard to pursue all compensation that is owed to you.
Trucking Industry Federal Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has placed numerous regulations on carriers to ensure the safety of truck drivers and drivers on the road.
Hours of Service
Hours of service regulations restrict the amount of driving commercial truck drivers are allowed to complete in a specific timeframe. These regulations help to lower the risk of driver fatigue that often leads to accidents.
- Property-carrying drivers have an 11-hour driving limit after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passenger-carrying drivers have a 10-hour driving limit once they have been off duty for eight straight hours.
- Drivers cannot operate their vehicles beyond the 14th hour in a row after coming on duty.
- Truck drivers have a 60-hour driving limit each week and may start a new seven-day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours to rest.
All commercial truck drivers must obtain a government issued commercial driver’s license (CDL). In order to receive a CDL, he or she must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Own a regular driver’s license
- Have a clean driving record
- Be in good physical condition and able to verify with medical documentation
- Pass the CDL knowledge and road tests
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Truck drivers have strict rules when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Truck drivers may not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more while operating a vehicle. He or she may not have any alcohol in their system within four hours of going on duty or operating a commercial motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, many accidents involving commercial trucks occur because the truck driver or trucking company violated these regulations. If you are a victim of a truck accident that was caused by driver or trucking company negligence, contact an experienced Washington D.C. truck accident lawyer at Goldberg Finnegan for a free case evaluation.
Call us now at (888) 213-8140.
Washington D.C. Contributory Fault Rule
Unlike many states, the District of Columbia follows a pure contributory negligence standard in cases where the victim is partially at fault for his or her injuries. This means if you are found to be even one percent at fault, you will be barred from receiving compensation for damages.
For example, if you cut off a truck and the truck rear-ended you, you could be found partially at fault for cutting the truck off. If you moved into a truck's blind spot as it was changing lanes and you were hit by the truck, you could be also be found liable.
In 2016, Washington, D.C. passed the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act, which creates an exception to the pure contributory negligence rule for pedestrians, bicyclists and non-motorized users of public highways who are involved in collisions with motor vehicles. Under this exception, if you are 50 percent or less at fault, you can still recover compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced according to the percentage of fault you are assigned for the accident.
Insurance companies and attorneys for the other side will try to use contributory negligence rules as a defense to avoid liability.
Our truck accident lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan are well aware of how the other side will try to do this and are prepared to fight back. We will fully investigate the cause of the accident to determine your level of fault. We do not want you to be assigned more fault than you deserve.
Contact a qualified truck accident lawyer from Goldberg Finnegan today.
Types of Truck Collisions
There are many types of truck accidents that cause serious or fatal injury to occupants of passenger vehicles. Some common types of truck accidents include:
- Tire blowout – Tire blowouts are always dangerous, no matter what vehicle the tire is attached to. However, when a 50,000-pound truck is involved, a blowout can have disastrous consequences for nearby cars.
- Jackknife – Jackknife accidents occur when there is a sudden and drastic change in the truck’s speed, which often occurs when the driver slams on the brakes. This can cause the trailer to keep moving forward and pivot sideways. Speeding, curvy roads and bad weather conditions can all contribute to causing this type of accident.
- Rollover– In this type of accident, not only does the truck become a hazard to other cars by rolling over, but the truck’s cargo spilling out can cause further danger to any car in its path. Rollover accidents typically occur when a truck driver loses control of the vehicle. Factors that can contribute to this type of accident may include:
- Poor weather conditions
- Steering issues
- Cargo piled too high
- Cargo that is too heavy for the truck’s capacity
- Distracted driving
- Wide-turn accident – When a truck attempts to make a right turn and swings left, the trailer can collide with the cars on the right side.
- Blind-spot accident – A truck’s blind spots are much larger than the blind spots for a traditional passenger vehicle. When a truck driver cannot see a vehicle and attempts to switch lanes, it puts adjacent cars at a great risk of being crushed, forced off the road, or hit by the truck or another vehicle.
- Head-on collision – This type of accident often leaves the victim with fatal injuries or life-long disabilities.
- Under-ride crash – When a truck driver abruptly hits the brakes, smaller vehicles approaching quickly from behind can become lodged under the truck’s trailer.
- T-bone – This type of accident occurs when a truck driver hits the side of another vehicle by running a red light or failing to yield. These negligent actions are often the result of distracted driving.
- Lost load – When a truck’s cargo is improperly loaded or secured, the contents can fall out and hit other vehicles or create obstacles for drivers to maneuver around, possibly causing them to get into collisions with other vehicles or veer off the road and hit a fixed object, such as a road sign.
If you have been involved in one of the types of truck accidents listed above or another kind of accident, our Washington D.C. truck accident lawyers can guide you through the legal process. We understand that the aftermath of a truck accident can be just as devasting as the accident itself. That is why we want to ensure that you have a chance to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Injuries in a Truck Accident
Occupants of smaller vehicles are incredibly vulnerable when they are in a collision with a commercial truck. That is why the outcome of many of these crashes is often catastrophic. In 2017, a total of 4,102 people were fatally injured in large truck accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute. These same statistics show 68 percent of those killed were occupants of cars or other passenger vehicles.
While truck crashes often result in fatalities, they can also cause severe, possibly life-changing injuries. Common types of injuries sustained from a truck accident include:
- Burn injuries – Burns may cause scarring, permanent disfigurement and intense pain. Victims may also be more vulnerable to deadly infections.
- Head injuries – A common example of a head injury from a truck crash is a concussion. Victims could also have more severe brain injuries that lead to mood disorders, personality changes or chronic headaches.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can cause partial or total paralysis depending on the location of the damage. Victims may have long-term pain and require ongoing medical care and physical therapy.
- Bone fractures – The force of impact in a truck accident can cause fractures in the ribs, arms, legs and other bones.
- Neck injuries - Whiplash is one of the most common types of neck injuries from traffic accidents. It can cause severe pain and limited movement in the neck.
Injuries sustained from a truck accident may require lifelong medical treatment. Once you seek medical treatment, you should contact a compassionate Washington D.C. truck accident lawyer at Goldberg Finnegan to explain your legal options. We want to make sure that you have a chance to pursue compensation for the cost of your medical expenses. Schedule your free consultation with us today.
Our attorneys are speak with you.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
If you have been injured in a truck accident due to carelessness or negligence on the part of the driver, trucking company, cargo company or another party, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. At Goldberg Finnegan we will fight hard to get you the maximum compensation for economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include the financial losses you suffered after a truck accident, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Medical equipment
- Property damage
- Lost wages or income from inability to work
- Funeral services and burial costs
Victims of truck accidents may also be entitled to noneconomic damages, which may include:
- Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of reputation
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
Unlike some states, Washington D.C. does not have a cap on compensation for noneconomic damages. In some states, you can only recover a certain amount of noneconomic damages, no matter how severe your physical or emotional issues related to your injuries.
Our truck accident attorneys in Washington D.C. will fully investigate your accident and review your economic and noneconomic damages to determine the compensation you deserve. We are dedicated to your best interests and will work hard to reach a settlement or obtain a jury verdict that can help you recover from this devasting accident.
Contact a Washington D.C. Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Being a victim of a truck accident can be a devasting experience, considering the hefty medical expenses and painful injuries victims have to deal with. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your rights and how we may be able to help you begin to move forward with your life. There is no risk to you in contacting us, our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront costs. Our clients only pay us if we recover favorable compensation for their case. We are ready to help.
Call us now at (888) 213-8140 to schedule your free consultation.