Call For A Consultation (202) 644-8303
Our Blogs

Personal Injury Blog

Featured Article
Dozens Injured After Truck Collides with School Bus in Milwaukee, Investigators Look into Potential Causes
Dozens Injured After Truck Collides with School Bus in Milwaukee, Investigators Look into Potential Causes

By: Allan M. Siegel

At least 20 victims were injured in Milwaukee Wednesday morning when a school bus full of students was violently rear-ended by a commercial truck. According to reports from the Wisconsin State Patrol, the wreck occurred shortly after 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 23 on Interstate 39.

The school bus involved in the collision was from HOPE Christian School: Semper, and at the time of the crash, had been carrying 33 passengers, including 27 students and 6 adults. Authorities also state that the bus was stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate when it was struck by the tractor-trailer.

Of the 20 victims injured in the crash, 4 suffered serious injuries. Two victims were also transported by helicopter from the scene to a local hospital.

While the investigation is still in its early stages, preliminary information indicates the school bus was traveling north on the Interstate before the driver pulled over onto the shoulder near an Exit due to a mechanical issue. The bus was then struck at high speed by the tractor-trailer.

Additionally, authorities stated they had received reports that the truck had been driving erratically prior to the crash. Although they issued an “attempt to locate” call, the crash happened before law enforcement was able to find and stop the driver. Representatives from the trucking company which owned the rig, said the driver had only been on the road for an hour before the collision.

Trucking Accidents & Investigations

Witness statements, reports, and preliminary crash scene investigations have provided a fair amount of information to local law enforcement to work with. However, it may be some time before any definitive determination is made about what caused the wreck and whether or not it could have been prevented. That’s because commercial truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver fatigue, mechanical error, or even driver impairment by drugs and alcohol, as cited by authorities in a press conference discussing the need for a full investigation.

With so many potential causes, post-accident investigations become critical to helping victims and families who may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. By looking into all of these factors, investigators can follow up on leads, rule out suspected causes, and reach final determinations that can aid victims in holding the appropriate party liable. For example:

  • Driver fatigue / error – Although the driver in this incident was reportedly on the road for only an hour prior to the crash, looking into who that driver was, what they were during before and during the crash, and questioning them after the crash will be vital to determining whether or not driver error or fatigue played a role. This is especially true given reports that the truck was being driven erratically, and because many rear-end accidents are caused by driver error and negligence. Fatigue can also not be ruled out until investigators look further into the company and its records, including any E-logs that may have logged the driver’s time on duty. Even then, investigators will likely look beyond company records to rule out possibilities that the driver may have already exceeded weekly Hours-of-Service rules, or may have been awake for an extended period of time prior to starting their shift or getting behind the wheel (which was the case in the high profile Walmart truck accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one victim).
  • Mechanical Error – As stated by police, investigators will also look into the possibility of mechanical errors, which may account for the erratic driving. Delving into this possibility is important for victims, as it may reveal that a defective product caused the wreck, and open the door to claims against a product manufacturer, rather than the truck driver or trucking company.
  • Drug or Alcohol Impairment – Investigators will also test the truck driver to determine whether or not he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, another possible explanation for the erratic driving. Because trucking companies have obligations to abide by safety regulations specifically for drug and alcohol testing and when hiring drivers who won’t pose unreasonable risks on the road (such as drivers with a history of substance abuse), positive test results could implicate the trucking company as a liable party.

Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. expresses our sincere condolences to all families affected by this serious crash, and are hopeful investigations will provide the insight which can guide them in any personal injury claims they may choose to pursue. When representing our clients, we make sure to be a part of these investigations, and conduct independent evaluations of our own, because they have significant influence over the direction and substance of their cases.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident anywhere in Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland, our attorneys have the insight and resources to help you immediately. Call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online to discuss a potential case.

Read More
Recent Posts
  • Dozens Injured After Truck Collides with School Bus in Milwaukee, Investigators Look into Potential Causes

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    At least 20 victims were injured in Milwaukee Wednesday morning when a school bus full of students was violently rear-ended by a commercial truck. According to reports from the Wisconsin State Patrol, the wreck occurred shortly after 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 23 on Interstate 39.

    The school bus involved in the collision was from HOPE Christian School: Semper, and at the time of the crash, had been carrying 33 passengers, including 27 students and 6 adults. Authorities also state that the bus was stopped on the shoulder of the Interstate when it was struck by the tractor-trailer.

    Of the 20 victims injured in the crash, 4 suffered serious injuries. Two victims were also transported by helicopter from the scene to a local hospital.

    While the investigation is still in its early stages, preliminary information indicates the school bus was traveling north on the Interstate before the driver pulled over onto the shoulder near an Exit due to a mechanical issue. The bus was then struck at high speed by the tractor-trailer.

    Additionally, authorities stated they had received reports that the truck had been driving erratically prior to the crash. Although they issued an “attempt to locate” call, the crash happened before law enforcement was able to find and stop the driver. Representatives from the trucking company which owned the rig, said the driver had only been on the road for an hour before the collision.

    Trucking Accidents & Investigations

    Witness statements, reports, and preliminary crash scene investigations have provided a fair amount of information to local law enforcement to work with. However, it may be some time before any definitive determination is made about what caused the wreck and whether or not it could have been prevented. That’s because commercial truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver fatigue, mechanical error, or even driver impairment by drugs and alcohol, as cited by authorities in a press conference discussing the need for a full investigation.

    With so many potential causes, post-accident investigations become critical to helping victims and families who may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. By looking into all of these factors, investigators can follow up on leads, rule out suspected causes, and reach final determinations that can aid victims in holding the appropriate party liable. For example:

    • Driver fatigue / error – Although the driver in this incident was reportedly on the road for only an hour prior to the crash, looking into who that driver was, what they were during before and during the crash, and questioning them after the crash will be vital to determining whether or not driver error or fatigue played a role. This is especially true given reports that the truck was being driven erratically, and because many rear-end accidents are caused by driver error and negligence. Fatigue can also not be ruled out until investigators look further into the company and its records, including any E-logs that may have logged the driver’s time on duty. Even then, investigators will likely look beyond company records to rule out possibilities that the driver may have already exceeded weekly Hours-of-Service rules, or may have been awake for an extended period of time prior to starting their shift or getting behind the wheel (which was the case in the high profile Walmart truck accident that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one victim).
    • Mechanical Error – As stated by police, investigators will also look into the possibility of mechanical errors, which may account for the erratic driving. Delving into this possibility is important for victims, as it may reveal that a defective product caused the wreck, and open the door to claims against a product manufacturer, rather than the truck driver or trucking company.
    • Drug or Alcohol Impairment – Investigators will also test the truck driver to determine whether or not he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, another possible explanation for the erratic driving. Because trucking companies have obligations to abide by safety regulations specifically for drug and alcohol testing and when hiring drivers who won’t pose unreasonable risks on the road (such as drivers with a history of substance abuse), positive test results could implicate the trucking company as a liable party.

    Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. expresses our sincere condolences to all families affected by this serious crash, and are hopeful investigations will provide the insight which can guide them in any personal injury claims they may choose to pursue. When representing our clients, we make sure to be a part of these investigations, and conduct independent evaluations of our own, because they have significant influence over the direction and substance of their cases.

    If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident anywhere in Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland, our attorneys have the insight and resources to help you immediately. Call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online to discuss a potential case.

    Read More
  • Uber & Lyft End Mandatory Arbitration for Sexual Assault Claims

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Uber and Lyft have become immensely successful rideshare services, providing customers with convenient access to local drivers nearby. Unfortunately, the nature of these services pose some risks to passengers, including risks of sexual assault and misconduct. Now, the companies will no longer require victims who bring forth allegations of sexual assault or rape to have their claims handled in forced arbitration.

    Over the years, both companies have come under scrutiny in cases where victims have alleged sexual assault against drivers. Prior to their announcement, both Uber and Lyft had policies which contained binding arbitration clauses customers accepted as a condition of using their services.

    These clauses are commonly used by corporations who provide services to consumers, and they require any disputes or claims brought by customers against the company to be handled in arbitration, where the scales are commonly tipped in favor of corporations and where victims face an uphill battle to prevail in their cases.

    Uber and Lyft’s decision to end the criticized practice of forced arbitration is likely a response to the current social climate, where sexual assault and misconduct have become hot-button issues, and which champions the rights of victims. Although it is certainly a victory for victims, many believe it should have been done earlier. This step in the right direction could also go further. For example, both rideshare companies can implement measures to better protect customers and prevent assaults from happening in the first place, such as:

    • Better background checks on drivers
    • Prohibiting applicants with certain criminal offenses on their record from driving
    • Standardized policies to appropriately investigate and resolve sexual assault allegations
    • Improved technology to allow for in-app reporting and emergency notifications
    • Shared reporting of complaints between services, as many drivers work for both Uber and Lyft

    Forced Arbitration Slashes Victims’ Rights

    Uber and Lyft’s announcement provides an opportunity to educate the public about just how detrimental forced arbitration clauses can be for consumers when they need to bring forth claims of misconduct and wrongdoing. Frequently hidden in the fine print of contracts or terms and services agreements, including nursing home contracts, forced arbitration clauses hurt victims and help corporations. Here are a few reasons why:

    • Bias Decision-Makers – Forced arbitration prevents victims from taking claims to civil court, and instead requires them to participate in private proceedings overheard by a private arbitrator, paid for by the corporation, rather than an impartial judge. Because these arbitrators are being paid by the corporation and want repeat business, it incentivizes them to rule against victims.
    • Lack of Transparency – One of the biggest reasons why corporations use forced arbitration is to prevent victims’ allegations from becoming public. Proceedings and records in civil court are open to the public, allow for greater transparency and accountability, and help establish unacceptable patterns of neglect and misconduct when new claims are brought forward. By using arbitration, however, most companies require proceedings to be kept confidential, even if they are important to the health and safety of other customers, or the public at large.
    • Costs & Requirements – Most forced arbitration clauses unfairly burden victims who bring claims against a company. Often, victims are forced to waive their rights, which allows the company to sue in court. They may also require steep filing fees to only initiate a case, and pay their share of the arbitrator’s hourly fees. Corporations also typically provide themselves with the right to choose the location for proceedings, which can further burden and limit the rights of consumers.
    • Weakened Civil Safeguards – As opposed to civil proceedings, arbitration clauses commonly restrict victims in their ability to argue their side of the story, such as through restrictions on obtaining evidence or appealing adverse decisions.

    Although there have been victories in ending forced arbitration, corporations still zealously work to pass laws in their favor. This includes Wall Street’s recent success in rolling back a rule banning mandatory arbitration in financial contracts, a feat included in the American Association for Justice’s report on the Worst Corporate Conduct of 2017.

    Sexual Assault & Civil Lawsuits

    In addition to highlighting the threat forced arbitration poses to victims’ rights and civil justice, Uber and Lyft’s announcement for dealing with victims’ claims can aid advocates in their calls for better policies that help prevent the acts which led to them in the first place. Arbitration and civil lawsuits are both reactionary in nature – they’re a response to an alleged wrongdoing that could and should have been prevented. As such, Uber and Lyft should be doing more than providing victims with rights they should have always been entitled to in the first place. As advocates agree, this should include better policies to ensure the safety of customers, especially when it comes to vetting potential drivers.

    Because Uber and Lyft owe a duty of care to their customers, they can be held accountable for failing to take reasonable measures that protect their safety. This is often why victims of sexual assault committed by rideshare drivers bring direct claims against the company. With the recent move allowing sexual assault claims to be handled in civil court, greater awareness and accountability may follow, and hopefully better measures for rider safety.

    Support for Sexual Assault Victims in Washington, DC

    As a law firm that focuses on protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged in the civil justice system, we believe that although Uber and Lyft have done the right thing by ending forced arbitration, their commitment to protecting riders should go further. That’s because we have represented victims of sexual assault and misconduct, and we know how difficult such experiences can be. As we work to protect their rights when bringing civil sexual assault or sexual abuse claims, including their right to justice and compensation, we also want these cases to show the importance of prevention and the duties companies must uphold to protect the public.

    If you have a potential case to discuss, our attorneys are available to help. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. serves clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, and offers free and confidential consultation. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.

    Read More
  • How We "Serve" a Defendant in a District of Columbia Personal Injury Case

    By: Matthew Tievsky

    When we have a new client who was injured by the negligence of a wrongdoer, we generally begin by making a claim with the wrongdoer’s insurance company, in an attempt to settle the case. But if the insurance company doesn’t make a reasonable offer to settle, then our next step is to file a lawsuit.

    Many people are under the impression that we file the lawsuit against the insurance company, but that’s not technically accurate. It is true that the insurance company controls the money that is at stake. However, the general rule has always been that a lawsuit is filed against the wrongdoer, not his insurance company.

    After filing a lawsuit in court, the wrongdoer – called a “defendant” – has a right to be notified of the lawsuit. However, it is not enough to call the defendant on the phone and tell him about the lawsuit, or send a letter or an email. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the person suing (the “plaintiff”) has to use a method that is “reasonably calculated” to put a copy of the lawsuit itself in the hands of the defendant. By law, the District of Columbia has established a number of particular methods that are permissible (most of which are also used by other jurisdictions).

    The most obvious is to find the defendant – usually at his home or workplace – and literally hand the lawsuit to him. This method is also allowed if you literally hand the lawsuit to another adult in the defendant’s home, who lives there.

    A second method is to send the lawsuit by certified mail to the defendant, who must personally sign a receipt. This is an effective and inexpensive method to serve a business, which may be at fault for the actions of its employees.

    D.C. also has a special law that permits a third type of service, in auto accident cases only: If the defendant caused an automobile collision within the District but lives outside the District, then the District of Columbia can accept the lawsuit on his behalf. The lawsuit only needs to be delivered to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and then notice must be mailed to the defendant’s last known address (outside the District).

    The most effective method will depend on the circumstances of the case and the characteristics of the particular defendant. If you have been injured by another person’s wrongdoing and have questions about how we might file a lawsuit on your behalf, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.

    Read More
  • AAA Study Shows Rise in Hit-and-Run Accidents, Especially Among Bicyclists and Pedestrians

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    Last month, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report documenting the steady increase in fatal hit-and-run accidents nationwide. According to the study, hit-and-run collisions have been trending in the wrong direction since 2006, and reached their highest numbers on record in 2016. Here are a few key points noted by researchers:

    • In 2016, the last year analyzed by the study, there were 2,049 deaths involving hit-and-run accidents across the U.S. – a 60% increase since 2009.
    • With an average of more than 680,000 hit-and-run wrecks every year over the past decade, the numbers equate to over one hit-and-run collision every minute on American roadways (including injury and non-injury crashes).
    • Close to 65% of all victims killed in a hit-and-run collision are bicyclists or pedestrians.
    • In the Washington, DC Metro area, 228 people died from 2013 to 2016 in crashes where the driver left the scene.

    Learning From the Numbers

    Because the data paints a grim picture regarding roadway safety, digging deeper can help us understand where these risks exist, and how they can be reduced. For example, experts and safety advocates cite a several possible reasons for the rise in hit-and-run accidents:

    Some of the most pressing issues for why a motorist may be involved in a hit-and-run car accident can be avoided when drivers prioritize safety behind the wheel. That means avoiding distractions, driving sober, and purchasing at least the minimum auto insurance coverage required by law. It also means obeying laws that require drivers to stop at the scene of an accident (both injury and property damage accidents) and render aid if necessary. Fleeing the scene of a wreck is a crime, and it can result in criminal charges and penalties when drivers are apprehended.

    Additionally, there are steps bicyclists and pedestrians can take to protect themselves from becoming a statistic. These include:

    • Vigilance – Being vigilant on the road is important for anyone, and especially so for those who travel by bike or by foot. Be sure to travel in safe areas, including marked bike lanes, bike paths, and sidewalks, and to always be aware of your surroundings (distraction free) when you do share the road with motor vehicles.
    • See and Be Seen – Because pedestrians and bicyclists can be easily overseen by negligent motorists, it is vital to ensure you are seen. This means being aware of blind spots and potential areas where drivers may not see you, as well as making eye contact with motorists to ensure they know your presence before you proceed through any intersection, exit a parking lot, or make a right- or left-hand turn, even if you have the right of way. You can also wear bright and reflective gear or clothes, carry a flashlight and install lights on your bicycle, and travel on well-lit paths and roads whenever possible.

    Protecting Your Right to Compensation After a Hit-and-Run Crash

    Hit-and-run crashes not only have the potential to harm victims physically – they can also compromise their right to recover the financial compensation to which they are entitled. That’s because personal injury and wrongful death cases are filed against an at-fault party, and that party must be located in order to pursue a case. Even if a driver is located, there isn’t always a guarantee that they’ll be insured, or that they’ll have enough insurance to cover the full scope of a victim’s damages.

    Due to these risks, hit-and-run accidents serve as an important reminder that unexpected and challenging experiences can (and, as the numbers show, often do) happen. As such, you can take steps to protect yourself by purchasing uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage (UM / UIM) as part of your auto insurance. This coverage can ensure you’ll have the means to recover compensation for things like medical expenses and lost wages when a hit-and-run driver can’t be found, or when they are uninsured or headed to jail with little financial resources. As personal injury lawyers, we know UM / UIM coverage is absolutely vital in these situations, and it can make the difference when it matters most.

    Hit-and-run wrecks can also remind us about taking the right steps after an accident, such as immediately calling police (which can help in locating a suspect), noting as many details as possible about the vehicle and driver that fled the scene, and getting all names and contact information of witnesses who saw what happened.

    Whether you have UM / UIM coverage or not (or will soon look into it after reading this blog), you can work with experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you explore the most appropriate path toward recovering your damages. Depending on the circumstances, this may require working with law enforcement as they locate and arrest a driver, holding a commercial company or trucking operator liable when their employees flee the scene of a wreck, or filing claims with your own insurance company if you have UM / UIM coverage, among others.

    Contact CSCS for a FREE Case Evaluation

    Hit-and-run wrecks are negligent, unlawful, and potentially devastating acts, and they can create significant challenges for injured victims and families who want to assert their legal rights. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our award-winning car accident attorneys are available to help residents throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia after they are harmed in all types of traffic accidents, including bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents, and those where motorists fled the scene. In fact, our firm has extensive experience with these types of accidents, and is a proud sponsor of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA). Over the years, we have worked with the organization to present at community workshops and further their mission of making local roads safer places for cyclists.

    By calling our firm, we can review your case free of charge and discuss your available options. Call (202) 644-8303 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

    Read More
  • Partner Joseph Cammarata Discusses Criminal Conviction of Bill Cosby on Fox News, Pending Defamation Lawsuit Filed by CSCS

    Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Partner Joseph Cammarata recently appeared on the nationally televised program “Fox News @ Night” with Shannon Bream to discuss the criminal conviction of Bill Cosby. Cosby, who has faced allegations of sexual assault and misconduct from numerous women spanning more than 40 years, was recently found guilty by a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania jury on three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. The criminal conviction made international headlines, and the 80-year-old comedian now faces up to 10 years in prison on each count.

    Partner Cammarata was asked to discuss the guilty verdict on Fox News the evening it was announced not only because he has become a trusted resource for providing media outlets with legal commentary on high profile issues, including civil legal actions against the President, but also because Mr. Cammarata and our legal team are currently representing seven women in a civil defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby. The case, which is currently pending in Federal Court in Massachusetts, claims that Mr. Cosby, through his publicist and attorney, defamed these women by branding them as liars and tarnishing their reputations after they courageously stepped forward to accuse the comedian of sexual assault. An amended complaint filed in November 2015 further alleges claims of false light (involving offensive and embarrassing implications) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (resulting in extreme psychological distress).

    During his interview with Fox News Anchor Shannon Bream, Partner Cammarata discusses his reaction to the guilty verdict. As he states, the evidence presented in the criminal case against Cosby was overwhelming, and showed a pattern and practice of Mr. Cosby mentoring and then abusing young women.

    You can view a clip of Partner Cammarata’s appearance on Fox News @ Night below:

    During the interview, Partner Cammarata also comments on statements from Cosby’s criminal defense lawyers following the conviction, in which they expressed their disagreement with the outcome and intent to file an appeal. He points to the power of the judicial system and trial by jury, in which real people who comprise our society are presented with evidence and arguments when tasked with making determinations about a person’s guilt or innocence.

    The same concept, though with a different burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence or “more likely than not” as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt), will also apply to any civil lawsuits against Cosby, including the suit filed by Partner Cammarata and CSCS. Just as the prosecution in this criminal case worked diligently to provide all relevant facts and information in regard to Cosby’s guilt, our legal team intends to detail the pertinent facts that will show Mr. Cosby defamed our clients when he publicly branded them to be liars. Although the civil case will not entail any sort of criminal conviction or the prospect of a prison sentence, it can provide the women with the justice they rightfully deserve, and send a message that individuals who engage in predatory behavior can be held accountable. Mr. Cammarata further notes that the defamation case against Mr. Cosby, which was on hold pending the outcome of the criminal trial, will now return to active litigation. He states that our clients are anxious to have their day in court, and to have their good name and reputation restored.

    Our firm is proud to be led by nationally recognized attorneys like Partner Joseph Cammarata, who is valued for his insight and legal opinions, and for his ability to protect the rights of injured and wronged victims as they make their voices heard in our civil justice system. His experience and commitment to clients, along with our entire legal team’s passion for justice, enable us to handle challenging cases involving sexual assault, abuse, and misconduct. This includes our work not only in the case against Mr. Cosby, but also other high profile cases involving victims of notable figures, including victims of DC Rabbi Bernard Freundel.

    Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. will continue to provide new updates regarding the Cosby defamation lawsuit as they arise. If you have questions about these issues, or wish to discuss a potential case, contact us today.

    Read More
  • Bicyclist Killed by Dump Truck Near Rice University, Need for Side Underride Guard Trucking Regulations Remain

    By: Allan M. Siegel

    On Tuesday April 24, a female bicyclist was struck and killed by a dump truck near Rice University in Houston. According to authorities, the collision occurred around noon, shortly after the woman finished having lunch with her husband. Both the bicyclist and the dump truck had a green light at the time of the wreck, with the dump truck making a right turn and the bicyclist entering the intersection from the sidewalk.

    After entering the intersection, the bicyclist was struck by the rear right end of the truck, suffering fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators questioned and released the driver, who was found to be not under the influence, and are continuing their investigation. Houston authorities report that the incident was the third fatal bicycle accident this month.

    Side Underride Guards Can Prevent Injuries & Death in Truck Accidents

    The tragedy near Rice is unfortunately not uncommon. Bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists in all types of passenger vehicles frequently suffer some of the most catastrophic injuries, if not death, when involved in accidents with commercial trucks and tractor-trailers. Many of these wrecks, like the one on Tuesday, involve victims who are injured or killed when they collide into the sides of trucks.

    As we have discussed on our blog, tragedies like these can be prevented with safety devices known as side underride guards. These safety guards are constructed of reinforced metal and can be positioned on the rears and sides of commercial trucks so as to prevent vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians from being forced, lodged, or crumpled beneath a truck or its trailer – where victims stand little chance of survival.

    Take a look at how much damage side underride guards can prevent by viewing this crash test. The video compares a passenger vehicle / truck collision with and without side underride guards.

    While current trucking regulations require underride guards to be mounted on the rears of commercial trucks, there are currently no laws in place that make them mandatory on the sides of commercial trucks. That’s despite over 200 deaths resulting from side underride crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and hundreds of other serious injuries. Side underride guards are mandated in many countries outside of the U.S., including throughout Europe, and have been found to substantially decrease fatalities and catastrophic injuries in side-impact trucking collisions.

    Support for Mandatory Side Underride Guards

    As we see more and more preventable deaths resulting from side underride accidents, the question remains as to why our lawmakers still haven’t passed life-saving regulations. The answer, as it unfortunately often is, has a lot to do with the trucking industry’s prioritization of profits over people, their unwillingness to spend money purchasing and implementing such safety devices, and their relentless efforts to lobby politicians who support their financially motivated agenda.

    Earlier this year, we discussed how a bipartisan bill proposed by Senators Marco Rubio and Kirsten Gillibrand was introduced following a tragic side underride accident in Florida that killed four victims. In that wreck, the victims’ vehicle slid underneath a jackknifed tanker truck, causing devastating damage to the car and killing all victims instantly. Amid the continued efforts of trucking lobbyists and an administration that favors deregulation, that bill faces an uphill battle – but families, victims, lawyers who represent them, and other citizens can do their part by spreading awareness about the need for these critical safety devices that have been used with positive results by some U.S. trucking companies and many others across the world for years.

    Fighting for Change, Fighting for Justice

    At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we are passionate about protecting the rights of victims and families harmed in trucking accidents, and are committed to helping them navigate our civil judicial system in order to secure the justice and compensation they deserve. We are also committed to using our insight, experience, and the real connections and stories we have been a part of to promote changes that benefit public safety, and which are so desperately needed.

    If you are like us and the millions of other Americans who share public roadways with large commercial trucks and tractor-trailers on a nearly daily basis, we encourage you to spread the word about side underride guards and how they can prevent terrible tragedies. Tell your local city officials, a local congressmen, or your friends and family – you too can be a part of fighting for change.

    While we continue our efforts to raise awareness and spark a catalyst for safety changes in the trucking industry, we remain readily available to help trucking accident victims throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia after they have suffered harm and losses in preventable wrecks. Contact us today if you have a potential case to discuss.

    Read More