Truck Accident Lawyers in Virginia, Maryland & Washington, D.C.
Trucking Accidents – The Process Starts Immediately After the Accident
Cars and commercial vehicles may be equal under the rules of the road, but they’re anything but equal in an accident. Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers can cause extensive property damage, serious personal injuries, and death when not properly maintained or if driven by negligent drivers.
At Portner & Shure, our truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling claims for those who’ve been in an accident caused by a large truck. Because of the many entities that may be held liable, truck accident cases can be complex, but our lawyers have practiced throughout the regions of northern Virginia and Maryland and have an in-depth knowledge of the different nuances and likes and dislikes of both prospective jurors and judges for truck cases.
If you’d like to learn more about how Portner & Shure can help you during this difficult time, please contact us by filling out the form on this page or by calling us at (855) 954-4141 for your free consultation.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
At Portner & Shure, we look out for the interests of those who have been injured due to negligence in truck accidents. We represent people in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., including those injured on Route 95, the Baltimore Beltway (Route 695), the Capital Beltway (Route 495) and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Route 295).
These devastating accidents are often the result of drivers who are pressed for time in transporting their cargo.
Other causes of trucking accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Substance abuse
- Inadequate surveillance
- Illegal maneuvers
- Distracted driving
- Poor truck maintenance
- Inadequate training
- Tight delivery schedules
Serious car and truck accidents could be avoided if more car drivers kept their vehicles a safe distance behind or in front of a tractor-trailer. In the event you need to stop suddenly, you want the truck behind you to have sufficient stopping space so a rear-end collision is averted.
Other situations in Maryland and Virginia where truck accidents can be avoided involve the quick changing of lanes. Here your stopping distance is also an issue. Often this scenario arises when an automobile passes a truck and then quickly cuts back into the trucks lane without leaving sufficient distance between the truck and the car.
Serious truck accidents also occur due to truck blind spots. Blind spots are spaces that cannot be seen in the trucks rear or side view mirrors. The blind spots around the left rear, right front, and the back of the trailer are large. When a car moves into a truck's blind spot the truck driver cannot see that car. Hence, if the truck driver pulls to the right, or to the left, a collision will occur.
Blind spot truck collisions can be avoided by car drivers choosing to cease driving alongside tractor-trailers for any length of time. In other words, car drivers should pass the truck, or immediately drop back behind the truck to a point where the truck driver can easily see the car in his side view mirror.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most frequent causes of tractor-trailer accidents occur when:
- The truck driver moves outside his lane of travel into another lane or travels off the road altogether.
- The truck driver loses control of his vehicle because his cargo shifts; he is traveling at a speed faster than conditions allow; he has a vehicle system failure; or the road conditions are poor.
- The truck driver collides with the rear end of the vehicle directly in front of him because he is following too closely.
Common Injuries in Truck Accidents
Accidents involving large commercial trucks and tractor-trailers have been known to cause serious personal injury to drivers of passenger cars. Because of the truck’s size and weight, the damage done to your vehicle, yourself, and any passengers can be catastrophic. Having experienced truck accident lawyers on your side can help you pursue compensation for your injuries so that you can get the help you need to get your life back on track.
A few of the common injuries that may result from an accident with a truck include:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Scarring and disfigurement
What Are The Hours of Service Regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations how long truckers can be on the road and when they must rest, this is referred to as the hours of service regulations. These rules were implemented in an effort to prevent fatigued driving when truckers fail to follow these rules the chances of an accident increase.
The FMCSA allows truckers to work up to 14 hours in a work period, within this 14-hour window they are permitted to drive 11 hours. The remaining time must be spent resting or taking meal breaks. Once the 14-hour max is reached a driver is required to rest for at least 10 hours before beginning another work period. Likewise, the FMCSA regulates when truckers must take a day off work.
If a trucking company is open seven days a week a driver is allowed to work up to 70-hours in an eight-day period. If a trucking company is closed one or more days a week a driver is allowed to work up to 60-hours in a seven-day period. Once these max hours are reached a trucker is required to take at least 34 consecutive hours off before returning to work. This rule is often referred to as the 60/70 hour rule.
How We Can Help You
We pursue compensation for the victims of catastrophic injuries that result from truck accidents. Our lawyers understand that these injuries can severely impact the quality of your life as well as your family and job. That’s why we work on your behalf to hold the responsible party liable while pursuing the fair amount of compensation you deserve.
Severe injuries may result in the need of long-term care and affect your ability to earn a living if you’re unable to work or perform your job as required. You may also need extensive medical care and rehabilitation for your injuries which can place a financial burden on your family.
Our lawyers can pursue compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential
- Long-term care
- Funeral and burial costs (wrongful death cases)
In our pursuit of your compensation, we begin by conducting a thorough and immediate investigation. Time is of the essence as skid marks, gouge marks, accident debris, and other evidence can vanish quickly. We have accident investigators on staff whose job it is to visit the scenes of accidents and document relevant factors by taking photographs, interviewing witnesses, and searching for physical evidence. In large cases, it may be necessary to immediately retain an accident reconstructionist to go to the scene take pictures, measurements, and get statements.
Furthermore, our attorneys make sure that all relevant evidence is immediately preserved so that it can be reviewed and analyzed by our experts. A letter should immediately be sent to the motor carrier so that all evidence, such as the “black box” is preserved, and a physical inspection is permitted. An immediate inspection can bring to light some important details that can be lost.
If the insurance companies have called you hoping for a settlement, what they’re offering is likely much too small and will not cover the true costs of your recovery. We work with life planners, medical professionals, and vocational professionals to determine the true costs you have incurred and make sure that any verdict or settlement accurately reflects your needs.
Damages in Truck Accident Cases
After proving causation, our attorneys will look at the recoverable damages. A consideration in all serious accident cases is the available insurance coverage.
Fortunately, coverage in truck accident cases is generally higher than insurance coverage in automobile accident cases. For example, Maryland requires large commercial trucks to carry $750,000 of insurance for bodily injury and truck accidents.
Federal law also requires that trucking companies have the following minimum liability insurance:
- $750,000 for vehicles over 10,000 lbs carry non-hazardous freight
- $1,000,000 for those having hazardous materials and oil
- $5,000,000 for trucks operating portable tanks, capacity over 3,500 gallons, passenger trucks
When contemplating the filing of the lawsuit, our truck accidents attorneys must consider the fact the truck driver was not qualified to operate the vehicle, was not properly trained, or had a bad driving record. In these cases, in addition to negligence, the claims of negligent entrustment and/or negligent supervision must be added.
Trucking companies will often be belligerent throughout the process, attempting to prevent plaintiffs from obtaining crucial documentation. Our experience and knowledge of trucking regulations helps us use the discovery process to explore whether the commercial trucking company or truck driver involved in your accident violated the law.
Tips to Avoid a Truck Accident
Below is a short list of six safety tips for our clients to help prevent a truck accident involving an automobile and a large truck, tractor trailer, pick-up truck, 18 wheeler, semi-truck, or even a delivery vehicle.
Tractor trailers do not have the same ability to maneuver in traffic that automobiles do. A car driving 55 mph can come to a stop within about 265 feet, it will take a tractor trailer 313 feet to stop. Therefore, keep your vehicle a safe distance behind or in front of a tractor trailer to avoid a truck accident.
- After passing a truck, do not cut back too quickly into the trucks lane of travel. Such a move will often force the truck driver to slam on the brakes and thereby endanger everyone nearby.
- Avoid the truck’s blind spots. Do not travel in a blind spot for more than a few seconds. Trucks blind spots occur around the left rear, right front, and the back of a tractor trailer or semi-truck.
- Avoid a fatal truck accident by simply fixing your car properly and assuring you have sufficient gas. You do not want to be stopped on a highway for either of these reasons. Truck drivers often do not recognize a car in front of them in a dead stop. Consequently, these little errors lead to truck accident fatalities.
- At all intersections watch out for the tractor trailers or semi-trucks that are making a right turn. Often truck accidents occur in this situation when automobile drivers become victims of what is known as the “right turn squeeze.” Do not under any circumstances squeeze to the right of the truck thinking you can beat the truck when the light turns green.
- To avoid fatal truck accidents do not drive between two tractor trailers or semi-trucks.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers Today
We have the experience, skills, and resources to achieve the best possible outcome for you in your truck accident injury cases in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer by calling (855) 954-4141.We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we will not collect unless you do. Our support staff includes paralegals fluent in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese.