We Seek Justice for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Truck Accident Victims
Navigating through the often congested roads and highways of Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia can be difficult, especially when maneuvering alongside large trucks. Because of the immense amount of people commuting at any given time of day, roadways unfortunately become grounds for truck accidents – more so during the rush hours. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, know that you are not alone in this distressing time.
Ashcraft & Gerel will stand beside you with a team of seasoned truck accident lawyers, devoted to championing the rights of truck accident victims across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. With a legacy spanning over 70 years, our law firm has a history of securing just compensation for the victims of truck accidents.
Take the first step towards peace of mind. Ashcraft & Gerel is here to lead your charge for justice with diligence and expertise. If you’re in need of a trustworthy Washington D.C., Maryland, or Virginia truck accident lawyer, call us at (844) 680-0339 or fill out this form for a free case review.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Truck Accident?
In the aftermath of a truck accident, ensuring the safety of everyone involved is paramount. Immediately, call 911 to report the accident and seek medical attention for injuries sustained. If you’re able, move to a secure location away from traffic.
Once you and the others involved are safe and have tended to any injuries, promptly contacting emergency personnel and ensuring that you document the scene and parties involved will pave the way for a well-supported legal case should you seek compensation.
Why Hire a Truck Accident Attorney?
In the turbulent aftermath of a truck accident, the road to justice can be laden with complex legal hurdles while facing large trucking corporations with hefty resources at their disposal. Enlisting a skilled truck accident attorney from Ashcraft & Gerel will provide you with clarity amidst this legal storm. Our attorneys are your devoted advocates, striving to ensure your rightful compensation is not blocked by legal complexities or corporate might.
An attorney well-versed in truck accident cases will help you navigate the investigative process by gathering pivotal evidence, understanding the trucking company policies, decoding complex regulations, and more.
Your attorney also plays a crucial role in negotiating with insurance companies, confronting trucking corporations, and if necessary, representing your case in court. The expertise of a truck accident lawyer is key to ensuring your voice is heard and your rights to compensation are robustly upheld.
When Should I Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Reaching out to a proficient truck accident lawyer swiftly after an accident will greatly improve your positioning in your case. The early involvement of legal counsel not only sheds light on the proper legal pathways but also strengthens your stance, especially if you’re faced with an accident scenario involving multiple parties or substantial damages.
It may come as no surprise to you that insurance companies might be less than cooperative. Having a truck accident lawyer from Ashcraft & Gerel by your side early on will help you establish a strong foundation for your case, ensuring you are well-equipped to confront the challenges that lay ahead on your road to justice.
What Are the Most Common Truck Accident Injuries?
Because of their sheer size, trucks often cause severe injuries and damages when they collide with smaller vehicles. Here are the most common injuries associated with truck accidents:
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
- Rib and torso injuries
- Seat belt injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal organ damage
- Soft Tissue Damage
- Wrongful Death
Who Is Liable For My Injuries In A Truck Accident?
Determining the liable parties in a truck accident can become a complex undertaking, given the multitude of entities involved and the nuanced laws surrounding contributory negligence. Liability may be held by various parties, and discerning who is at fault is instrumental in creating a strong claim for compensation.
Potential liable parties could include:
- The trucking company
- The insurance company
- The manufacturer of a defective part
- The truck or trailer rig owners
- The cargo loading company
Our legal team will rigorously investigate the actions of the truck driver, the policies of the trucking company, and the condition of the vehicle to craft a clear picture of liability. This thorough examination will help structure a solid legal claim against all negligent parties involved.
What Truck Accident Evidence is Collected?
A cornerstone in building any compelling legal case is collecting valuable, relevant evidence. The breadth and depth of evidence gathered not only sheds light on the cause and liability but also defines the extent of damages and injuries sustained. Here is some common truck accident evidence that is diligently collected:
- Black Box Data
- In-cab Camera Footage
- Logbooks of the Trucker’s
Driving Hours and Breaks
- Truck Maintenance Records
- Trucker’s Personnel Records
- Trucker’s Cell Phone Records
- Alcohol and Drug Testing Results
- Truck Inspection Reports
- Dispatch Instructions
- Weigh Station and Loading Dock Reports
- Witness Reports
- Police Reports
- Expert Witness Testimony
- Photos and Videos of the
Accident Scene, Damages, and Injuries
- Traffic Camera Footage
- Tire or Gouge Marks on the Road
Detailed and extensive evidence empowers your attorney to weave a strong narrative, fortifying your stance in claiming the compensation you deserve.
What Happens if I Don’t Have Auto Insurance in a Truck Accident?
Driving with full coverage auto insurance is always highly advised, as it can significantly help you recover damages after an accident. Auto insurance laws vary significantly across states, with some operating under an at-fault system like Maryland and Virginia, while others like Washington D.C. follow a no-fault system. These systems affect how claims with insurance companies are handled.
Without auto insurance, dealing with financial implications after a truck accident can be significantly challenging. You could be responsible for hefty out-of-pocket expenses that can’t be fully covered by your settlement money.
At-Fault and No-Fault Insurance Systems
Washington D.C. follows a unique no-fault insurance system. While you can still file a lawsuit against the truck driver who is at-fault for the accident, you usually have to file a claim with your own insurance first. Regardless of who is at-fault, it is a system that allows policy holders to be compensated for a variety of damages through their own insurance.
Under most no-fault systems, usually your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage can compensate you for your medical bills and lost wages up to your policy limits. That is, if you chose to include PIP coverage as it is not a mandatory addition to insurance policies in D.C. There is also a specified period of time that you have to choose to collect no-fault PIP benefits after an accident, but doing so may affect any claim you make against the at-fault truck driver.
An Ashcraft & Gerel truck accident attorney will help you navigate the unique nature of Washington D.C. insurance laws so that you can receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Maryland operates under an at-fault insurance system, meaning a Maryland truck accident attorney will help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, preferably targeting their BIL (Bodily Injury Liability) coverage. Once fault is confirmed, the insurer will generally compensate you for your injuries (under BIL coverage) and for any other damages the truck driver’s insurance will cover.
If the truck driver has no insurance or insufficient insurance, your UM (Uninsured Motorist) Insurance or UIM (Underinsured Motorist) Insurance can help you recover your damages. A Maryland truck accident attorney will help you pursue the correct course of action to get just compensation, including filing a lawsuit against the negligent at-fault party.
Virginia also operates under an at-fault insurance system, with some strict auto insurance laws to keep in mind. Drivers must possess auto insurance with minimum state-required coverage or pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee, allowing for a specific duration of uninsured driving. It’s important to note that this fee does not provide insurance coverage.
Similar to how truck accidents are handled in Maryland, a Virgina truck accident attorney will be able to help you file a claim with the at-fault truck driver’s insurance or file a lawsuit to recover damages.
What if I am Hit by an Uninsured Truck Driver?
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured truck driver, your attorney can help explore various avenues to receiving compensation, like filing a lawsuit against the truck driver or the employing trucking company, tapping into your uninsured motorist coverage, or in extreme cases, pursuing the truck driver’s personal assets if federal insurance requirements are not met.
Your truck accident lawyer can also help you leverage legal principles such as respondeat superior, which holds employers accountable for their employee’s negligence. Under these conditions, your attorney can help formulate a legal strategy against the trucking company.
What Damages Can I Pursue After a Truck Accident?
A truck accident can impact both your financial stability and emotional well-being. To alleviate these burdens, you may pursue various damages post-accident, categorized into economic and non-economic damages.
✓ Medical Costs:
✓ Lost Wages:
- Including benefits, sick leave, bonuses, and vacation time
✓ Property Damage
✓ Transportation Costs
✓ Legal Fees
✓ Reduced Earning Capacity:
- If injuries prevent you from returning to work or earning your pre-injury income
✓ General Damages:
✓ Reduced Quality of Life:
- If you suffer permanent impairment
✓ Loss of Consortium:
- Alteration in relationships with family members and friends due to mental distress or inability to provide the same level of support or companionship
In some cases, punitive damages may also be pursued, particularly in instances of fraud, malice, or willful misconduct by the wrongdoer. Each truck accident case is unique, thus consulting with a professional legal team is advisable to accurately quantify and pursue the rightful compensation tailored to your circumstances.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Truck Accident Case?
Calculating the “average settlement” in truck accident cases can be elusive, as each case comes with its unique set of circumstances and variables. This makes it hard to pinpoint an average amount, with settlements varying broadly based on the severity of injuries, the extent of damages, and other associated factors.
However, at Ashcraft & Gerel, our primary goal is for you to receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to, regardless of averages. Our attorneys delve into the specifics of your case, meticulously evaluating the losses caused by your accident to pursue a settlement that truly reflects the extent of your suffering and financial strain.
How Long Does it Take To Settle A Truck Accident Case?
The timeframe to settle a truck accident case largely depends on its complexity. Cases can range from being settled in a few months to over several years, particularly when complicated fact patterns and multiple liable parties are involved. Having an experienced attorney can be instrumental in swiftly navigating through the legal intricacies so that you can get the compensation you deserve as soon as possible.
What Causes Most Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents can occur due to many reasons, often leading to devastating consequences. Understanding the common causes behind these accidents can be instrumental in taking preventative measures. Here are the prevalent causes of truck accidents:
- Aggressive driving
- Fatigued drivers
- Trucks carrying loads over the legal weight limit
- Unsafely loaded cargo
- Defective vehicle parts or improperly maintained trucks
- Unsafe lane changes
- Inexperienced or untrained drivers
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Poor weather conditions
How is a Truck Accident Different from a Car Accident?
Truck accidents significantly differ from car accidents primarily due to the vastly greater potential for devastation, attributed to the sheer size and weight of trucks. When a colossal truck, often weighing between 70,000 to 80,000 pounds, collides with another vehicle, the impact is exponentially more catastrophic compared to a collision involving two 3,000-pound cars.
Additionally, the legal landscape post-accident is more complex in truck accidents due to the distinct set of state and local safety regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies.
Determining liability also becomes a challenging task, as unlike car accidents where fault predominantly lies with one of the drivers, truck accidents may have liability dispersed among various parties including the driver, the trucking company, or even the manufacturer of a defective part.
What Are The DOT Regulations for Truck Drivers?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established a set of stringent regulations aimed at ensuring the safety and compliance of both truck drivers and trucking companies. These rules are pivotal in fostering a safe driving environment on the roads for everyone involved. Here’s an outline of the principal DOT regulations applicable to truck drivers:
- Mandatory Rest Period: Truck drivers must rest for 34 consecutive hours after driving for 70 hours within a week.
- Weekly Working Hours Limit: Truckers are prohibited from working more than 70 hours over eight consecutive days.
- Daily Working Hours Limit: Within a 14-hour workday, truck drivers can only work for up to 11 hours.
- Federal Weight Limits: The weight of a truck must not exceed the federal limit.
- Cargo Securement: Truck drivers are responsible for ensuring that their cargo is properly secured to prevent accidents or incidents during transportation.
- Hazmat Certification: Truck drivers must be hazmat-certified if they are transporting hazardous materials.
- Licensing and Permits: Truck drivers must obtain and maintain all necessary licenses and permits required to operate their vehicles legally.
- Logbook Maintenance: Truckers are required to keep a logbook documenting their working hours.
- Physical Exams: A physical exam must be passed by truck drivers every two years.
- Alcohol and Substance Abstinence: Truckers cannot consume alcohol or behavior-impairing substances for eight hours before driving.
- Drug and Alcohol Screening: Truck drivers are subject to regular drug and alcohol screening to ensure they are not under the influence while operating their vehicles.
These regulations are instrumental in promoting safety and ensuring the proper conduct of truck drivers and trucking companies, thereby contributing to safer roadways for all.
Our Truck Accident Attorneys Are Ready To Serve Your Case
Navigating the aftermath of a truck accident can be a complex and daunting task, laden with intricate legal and procedural hurdles. Ashcraft & Gerel, with over 70 years of experience, stands as a beacon of trust and expertise in trucking litigation, offering you a well-versed team of truck accident lawyers skilled in truck accident claims and associated regulations.
Our understanding of the unique challenges posed by truck accidents, paired with a relentless commitment to securing just compensation, underscores our reputation as a formidable ally in your pursuit of justice.
Connect with Ashcraft & Gerel at (844) 680-0339 for a complimentary case review if you’ve been in a truck accident in Washington D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, and allow us to champion your cause and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
Our truck accident attorneys are skilled and knowledgeable in handling all kinds of truck accident cases, including but not limited to:
- Carriage underride accidents
- Jackknife accidents
- Unsecured loads
- Oversized loads
- Major spills
- Poorly screened drivers
- Poorly planned routes
- Unrealistic schedules