Washington, D.C. Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys
Aggressive legal representation for injured motorists
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 342,000 large trucks, over 10,000 pounds gross weight, were involved in police-reported traffic crashes — injuring an estimated 95,000 people and taking the lives of 3,964 in 2013 alone. Many tractor trailer accidents are so devastating, they capture the national spotlight. In recent years, there have been a number of tragic tractor trailer accidents in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. that have taken the lives of innocent victims without warning. The massive force generated by the impact of a collision between a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler if profound.
At the law offices of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A., our experienced Washington D.C. tractor-trailer accident attorneys know all too well how catastrophic a collision between an ordinary passenger car and a tractor trailer can be, and the devastating aftermath of the accident, as loved ones try to comprehend the loss. Because of this, we are passionate about holding truck drivers and trucking companies accountable when negligence causes horrendous accidents to occur. With more than 150 years of combined experience, our Washington, D.C. tractor trailer accident lawyers have an extensive record of success fighting for the rights of people injured or killed in 18-wheeler accidents.
How do tractor trailer accidents occur?
In the year 2012 alone, nearly 4,000 people—a 4% increase from 2011—were killed in collisions with large trucks in the United States. Nearly 75% of those deaths were occupants of vehicles other than the truck—and over 100,000 additional Americans suffered injuries in these accidents. Currently, there are about 2 million tractor-trailers actively hauling cargo on American streets and highways.
Without a doubt, driving a tractor-trailer takes a great deal of skill and experience. The size, weight, and difficulty in maneuvering these vehicles make them especially vulnerable to accidents, regardless of how fast the driver’s reflexes might be. Not only do truck drivers require a greater distance in order to safely bring a truck to a complete stop, but they also have limited visibility of the traffic around them, and they sometimes carry hazardous, toxic or flammable payloads which only magnify the danger of a crash.
However, many of these accidents are completely preventable, often caused by driving negligence, such as:
- Driver fatigue
- Drug and alcohol use
- Distracted driving—the use of a cell phone or GPS device
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
- Failure to regularly inspect and maintain a tractor-trailer
- Poor driving conditions
- Lack of training
Just as truckers and trucking companies have an economic incentive to bend or break state and federal regulations in order to meet tight deadlines and increase delivery volume, the trucking industry also has an economic incentive to insulate its own liability for negligence—and one of the ways it does so occurs in the aftermath of a tractor-trailer accident.
How does the trucking industry protect drivers and cover up negligence?
Trucking companies and their insurers maintain teams of investigators whose job it is to minimize potential injury claims against them. When an accident has occurred, these investigators are quick to arrive at the scene, gather witness statements, and remove physical evidence from the crash scene in preparation for any subsequent litigation. A knowledgeable Washington, D.C. tractor trailer accident attorney, familiar with these tactics, can aggressively counter many of them on behalf of injured victims by:
- Preserving evidence, particularly documentation such as hiring records, “black box” engine data, and driver logs otherwise subject to destruction after six months
- Applying state and federal laws specific to the tractor-trailer industry against the facts of a particular accident, and determining which party or parties can be held liable for the negligence.
- Conducting an independent, scientific investigation of the crash based on evidence from the crash
- Bringing in accident reconstruction experts to analyze the evidence and provide testimony.
Each of these potential legal, evidentiary, scientific and medical issues combine to make claims involving tractor-trailer injuries far more complex than claims involving typical automobile accidents.
Don’t let trucking companies and their investigators coerce you into accepting an unfavorable settlement. Contact a skilled Washington, D.C. tractor trailer accident attorney today for help
Trucker drivers and trucking companies are subject to a completely different set of state and federal safe driving regulations than automobile drivers. When trucking companies and their insurers make early settlement offers, they are counting on the likelihood that the potential recipient is unaware of this, particularly during emotional, often challenging, circumstances. At the five metropolitan Washington D.C. law offices of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A., it is the mission of our trusted tractor-trailer accident attorneys to both educate clients about their rights, and to aggressively defend those rights. If you or a family member have been injured in a tractor trailer accident, we urge you to call us today at (800) 229-7026 for a free consultation, or contact us online. There is no fee until we win your claim, and if you are unable to stop by offices in person, we will come to your home or hospital to meet with you.