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Truck Accident FAQ

Q & A With Washington, DC Truck Accident Lawyers

  • What is the difference between a car accident and a truck accident?
  • What is a commercial truck?
  • Why do truck accidents occur?
  • My truck accident occurred in Maryland, but I live in Virginia. Where should I file my claim?
  • If I am involved in a truck accident where the truck jackknifed, is it automatically the truck driver's fault.
  • Should I file my claim against the trucking company or the truck driver?
  • What are the most common causes of trucking accidents?
  • What is an underride accident?
  • Are there any special requirements a person must meet in order to drive a commercial truck?
  • Who is legally responsible for trucking accidents?

What is the difference between a car accident and a truck accident?

The main difference between a car accident and a truck accident is the severity of the accident. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh upwards of 70,000 pounds, compared to a car, which usually weighs 3,000 pounds. This means that the consequences of a truck accident can be much worse than those of auto accidents.

There are also differences in the way the claim is handled. Not only can the truck driver be held liable for the accident, but also the truck company. In addition, truck drivers have different regulations that they are required to follow for driving and for the maintenance of their trucks.

If you have been in a truck accident, contact a truck accident lawyer at Chaikin & Sherman P.C.for a free consultation. There are special, time sensitive pieces of information that are important for you claim, so it is important that you contact one of our experienced auto injury lawyers right away.

What is a commercial truck?

A commercial truck is a large vehicle that is used to transport commercial goods or supplies. Commercial trucks are all over the road. Examples include 18-wheelers or semi-trucks, delivery trucks, tankers, dump trucks, and any other large vehicle.

A truck accident can be very serious, and you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible if you are involved in one. The Virginia truck accident attorneys at Chaikin & Sherman P.C. will work hard to help you recover from your truck accident.

Why do truck accidents occur?

There are many reasons that a truck accident occurs. Truck drivers have many regulations and rules that they are required to follow. For instance, a truck driver is required to pay close attention to the maintenance of their truck, as well as limit the number of hours they drive in a day. Some of the most common reasons truck accidents occur are:

  • Driver lacked proper experience or training
  • Truck was oversized
  • Truck was overloaded
  • Truck's brakes weren't maintained correctly
  • Conditions like rain, snow, or fog caused poor visibility
  • Safety systems like reflectors, safety lights, and warning devices weren't working correctly
  • Driver was fatigued or sleepy from driving too long without a break
  • Aggressive driving behavior
  • Poor road conditions
  • Failure to yield to other cars on the road
  • Speeding
  • Driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless driving

My truck accident occurred in Maryland, but I live in Virginia, where should I file my claim?

In truck accidents, you can either file the claim in the state where the accident occurred, or the state that the affiliated trucking company is located in or regularly does business in. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has law offices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC. This means that you can file a claim at whichever office is closest to you.

If I am involved in a truck accident where the truck jackknifed is it automatically the truck driver's fault?

No. Just because a truck jackknifes does not mean that it was due to driver error or negligence. For instance, driving conditions may have prevented the driver from stopping the truck from jackknifing. Also, if the truck had to jackknife to stop another catastrophe, then it may not be the truck driver's fault.

The best way to determine if the truck driver was at fault in your truck accident is to bring your claim to an experienced truck accident lawyer. If you were involved in a truck accident in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, come to the law offices of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.

The truck accident and auto injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. will provide you with a free consultation and evaluation to determine if you can recover from your truck accident. They will help with the preservation of evidence and help you get statements and testimonies from any witnesses.

Should I file my claim against the trucking company or the truck driver?

It depends on the relationship the truck driver had with the trucking company. If the company directly employed the truck driver, then you might be able to file a claim against the trucking company because they were the direct supervisor of the truck driver. On the other hand, if the truck driver was only a contractor for the company, then it can be harder to show that the company was directly supervising the driver.

What are the most common causes of trucking accidents?

  • Driver fatigue
    Probably the most common cause of truck accidents, it is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributing factor in up to 40% of all trucking accidents.
  • Intoxication
    Truck drivers often turn to stimulants to fight off fatigue, but the results can be just as deadly as a sleepy driver. Alcohol is sometimes involved in truck accidents, as well.
  • Weather conditions
    Weather conditions such as Rain, snow, and fog can cause poor visibility and slippery roads. Excessive heat and bright sunshine can contribute to fatigue.
  • Overloaded or improperly loaded trucks
    Trucks carrying too much weight or an unevenly distributed load are at an elevated risk of going out of control.
  • Equipment failure
    Trucking laws require commercial truck to be inspected regularly, but brakes, tires, turn signals ad other equipment can still malfunction, resulting in an accident.
  • Lack of training or experience
    Even though commercial truck drivers must have special training and pass difficult tests, real life driving conditions can be extremely challenging. Poor training and lack of practice can lead to poor decisions and failure to adhere to safety procedures on the road.

What is an underride accident?

Underride truck accidents are some of the most serious accidents that occur between large trucks and passenger vehicles. They happen when the hood, trunk, or engine compartment of a car slides underneath the commercial truck. This causes all of the impact to be absorbed by the occupant compartment of the smaller vehicle, often resulting in decapitation and other fatal injuries.

Are there any special requirements a person must meet in order to drive a commercial truck?

Yes, a commercial driver's license (CDL) is required. In order to obtain a CDL, truck drivers must have special training and pass rigorous tests. The different classes of CDLs determine the sizes and types of trucks that a driver may operate. Drivers who operate certain types of truck or carry certain kinds of cargo are required to have even more training. Truck drivers who are involved in truck accidents, have traffic violations, or violate trucking laws, can lose their CDL.

Who is legally responsible for trucking accidents?

Trucking laws are complex, and the relationship between trucking companies and their drivers can vary. Parties may be held legally responsible in trucking accidents include:

  • Trucking companies
  • Truck drivers
  • Truck manufacturers

The best way to find out who is liable for your truck accident is to bring your claim to an experienced truck accident lawyer. If you were involved in a truck accident in Washington DC, contact the law offices of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. During your free consultation, an experienced auto injury lawyer will evaluate your claim and help you determine who is liable.

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