Serving Maryland, DC, & Virginia EnSe Habla Español (888) 607-8690
Start your free consultation

Truck Accident Lawyer

Due to their size and weight, truck accidents, especially big-rig trucks, tend to be much more severe than an accident between two passenger vehicles. Often, it can be because of equipment failure, a passenger vehicle being in a truck’s blind spot and therefore not visible while the truck driver is making a turn, or even due to the truck jackknifing from a sudden stop or sharp turn. In addition to serious injuries, more factors are at play, as well. Since truck drivers are more often driving on behalf of a trucking company, more than one defendant may be involved in the case, making determining liability even more difficult.

Why You Need a Lawyer in a Truck Accident Case

Dealing with your injuries is already incredibly difficult after a truck accident. Having to deal with a trucking company’s lawyer and insurance company should be the last thing on your plate. That’s why we highly recommend you contact a highly talented  truck accident lawyer. They will handle your case while you focus on your recovery, negotiate with the insurance companies, and ensure you get the highest amount of legal care and representation possible for your case.

Why Choose Malloy Law Firm, LLC?

At Malloy Law Firm, LLC, our team of trial lawyers is very familiar with the complex legal process in pursuing justice and full compensation after a commercial truck accident. We take our responsibility to our clients seriously and will do everything possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible and win the maximum compensation. We offer our clients some distinct advantages:

  • We represent truck accident victims on a contingency fee basis, and there is never a fee unless we win.
  • Our team of talented  personal injury lawyers has over 15 years of experience and are very familiar with how to correctly manage a truck accident case.
  • We believe that every person who has been seriously injured in an accident with a big rig has the right to claim what they deserve.
  • At Malloy Law Offices, LLC, our truck accident lawyers place a high importance on helping our clients achieve their goals. Our committed attorneys and staff strive to make a real difference for the people we represent by providing excellent personalized service, strong legal knowledge and dedicated hard work throughout the duration of the case.

We genuinely value the relationships and partnership we forge with our clients. You deserve to know the status of your case as it moves through the system, and we ensure that we keep our clients fully informed and answer all questions and concerns that may arise.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help?

After a collision with a commercial truck, 18-wheeler, big-rig, or other large truck, it can be difficult to know where to turn, or what to do. In these cases, it is critical that you get assistance from an experienced truck accident attorney who is both a powerful negotiator and a talented trial lawyer. The steps involved in seeking compensatory damages include:

Identify all liable parties.

These may include:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking firm
  • Truck manufacturer
  • Parts manufacturer
  • Truck maintenance firm
  • Truck loading firm

Gather and preserve all evidence.

This may include:

  • “Black box” evidence (electronic monitoring device)
  • Maintenance logs
  • Inspection reports
  • Driving log re hours of service
  • Cargo log
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Accident scene investigation details
  • Vehicle damage to truck and passenger vehicle

File an insurance claim or lawsuit.

This is a critical point in the amount of compensation you receive, as without a lawyer, a settlement offer is typically far lower than deserved, and will not reflect the full scope of the impact upon your life, future, ability to earn a living, earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

What is the Important Evidence in a Truck Accident Injury Case?

Several types of evidence and documentation are necessary for filing a claim or lawsuit. The evidence includes:

  • Medical reports revealing the extent of the injuries and long-term consequences.
  • Financial information revealing the losses associated with the inability to work, and lost earning capacity.
  • All evidence pertaining to the accident itself, including data from electronic monitoring, driving and cargo logs, drug or alcohol testing performed on the driver, maintenance log, a record of service hours, training certificates, employment history, accident history, and others.
  • Local police reports, FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) reports, NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) reports.

Statute of Limitations in Truck Accident Cases

In Maryland and Washington D.C., the statute of limitations to file a truck accident suit is within three years of the date it occurred, as it is with other personal injury cases unless another provision in the Code provides a different time period in which to file (§5-101). In Virginia, the statute of limitations is within two years of the date the accident occurred. This means that a person who has been involved in an accident with a truck has three years (two years in Virginia) from the date the accident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Truck Accident Statistics

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues reports that reveal the shocking numbers of collisions involving commercial trucks each year. Nationwide, the numbers of persons who die in each collision are staggering:

  • One fatality: 31, 913
  • Two fatalities: 1,927
  • Three fatalities: 302
  • Four fatalities: 76
  • Five fatalities: 25
  • Six fatalities: 3
  • Seven fatalities: 0
  • Eight or more fatalities: 1
  • Total truck accident fatalities, one year: 34,247

Trucking Laws

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration placed limits on the amount of time a truck driver can spend operating their vehicle on both a daily and weekly basis. Drivers can spend no more than eleven hours a day driving, must take a thirty-minute break during the first eight hours of their shift, and can drive no more than seventy hours per week, after which they must take thirty-four hours off.

However, in order to save on expenses, a lot of companies will pay by the mile and won’t compensate for on-duty inspections and maintenance. Other companies may also skirt around labor laws in order to maximize profits and reduce turnaround time. This may push drivers to work longer hours and drive further at faster speeds than they otherwise would drive at, which can lead to accidents caused by speeding, exhaustion, and reckless driving, among other things.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Because of their size, big rigs have greater limitations than a regular passenger vehicle. In addition to needing up to forty percent more road space to brake, trucks have more difficulty maneuvering, including making wide right turns, as well as dealing with buckling, or “jackknifing”, if they make too sharp a turn or if they come to a sudden stop.

Wind turbulence is another danger with trucks. A small car may be buffeted by the turbulence and end up veering into the truck, or they may be driving too close to the truck’s blind spots, called “no-zones”. These no-zones are on the rear left and right, and directly behind the truck to a certain distance. It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the driver of a truck to see a car in one of their no-zones. Rollover accidents play another role. Making too sharp of a turn, adverse weather conditions, or swerving to avoid another motorist or vehicle in the road can all lead to the truck overbalancing and falling to one side.

Truck Accident Causes: The Statistics

The actual causes of the high numbers of commercial truck accidents are evaluated to attempt to make the roadways safer, but the numbers continue to rise. The most common causes of fatal truck accidents, as reported by the FMCSA as “first harmful event” are as follows:

  • Collision with a vehicle: 3139 accidents, 74%
  • Collision with a fixed object: 388 accidents, 9.2%
  • Collision with a Pedestrian: 314 accidents, 7.4%
  • Rollover, overturn: 181 accidents, 4.3%
  • Collision with a motorcycle or other cycle: 91 accidents, 2.1%
  • Collision with a parked vehicle: 40 accidents, 0.9%
  • Jackknife: 12 accidents, 0.3%
  • Cargo loss or shift: 9 accidents, 0.2%

DUI and Truck Accidents

Of 168 fatally injured truck drivers, sixty-seven percent tested positive for at least one drug and thirty-three percent had alcohol or psychoactive drugs in their system. These are clearly preventable occurrences, and yet truck drivers will imbibe or consume alcohol and drugs prior to or while driving. This creates extremely dangerous situations not only for themselves but for every other driver on the road with them.

Generally, all drivers are subjected to regular drug and alcohol screening. Though alcohol is a common factor in many truck accidents, it is not the only cause of drivers being caught driving under the influence. According to the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, fifteen percent of drivers were found with marijuana in their system, twelve percent tested positive for non-prescription stimulants, five percent tested positive for prescription stimulants, and two percent tested positive for cocaine.

Marijuana can play a significant factor in truck accidents along the roadways. It can affect concentration and perception up to twenty fours after being consumed. The New England Journal of Medicine found that of the drivers who were stopped for reckless driving without alcohol as a factor, forty-five percent had marijuana in their system and twenty-five percent tested positive for cocaine.

For people who are involved in an accident with a truck driver who is under the influence of alcohol or another drug, this can have devastating consequences. A highly skilled truck accident lawyer will put countless hours into researching the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring that those at fault pay the damages owed in the case.

Steps to Take after a Truck Accident

Immediately after a truck accident, someone may be feeling scared, confused, in pain, and overwhelmed. The very first thing they should do is contact the police. Since multiple defendants may be involved, having a police report of the accident will be incredibly helpful to the truck accident case that will later be filed in the court system. Obtaining as much information as possible from the driver and any witnesses that may be present is also important. This includes contact information, insurance, names, and anything else that pertains to the case, or that may be needed in the future. Taking pictures and videos of the accident and the surrounding location is the third step someone should take, if they are able to. After, they should seek medical attention and contact a highly talented truck accident attorney.

A truck accident attorney will be familiar with the law and the court system, including judges, other attorneys who may be involved in the case, and have a general idea of how the location may play into the damages someone may potentially be awarded.

Types of Truck Accidents

A truck accident can come about through a wide range of situations, but often leaves innocent people either seriously injured, suffering permanent disabilities, or fatally injured. The types of truck accidents include:

  • Tired Driver: Driver fatigue continues to be a serious problem in the trucking industry. While truck drivers are required to follow strict “hours of service” regulations, giving them adequate rest time, a driver may not choose to use the rest time to sleep and recover, and will be back on the road with inadequate sleep. Some trucking firms place great pressure on drivers to deliver on time, no matter what the road or weather conditions, causing them to drive beyond the required hours of service, becoming tired and less able to control the vehicle, with deadly consequences.
  • Alcohol or Drug Intoxication: The consumption of alcohol or drugs has been found to be present in many truck drivers who are responsible for serious or fatal injuries. Whether the drug is a recreational drug or prescribed medication, the results can be a disaster.
  • Failed Truck Safety Systems: Brakes on a large commercial truck may fail, due to faulty parts, a failure to properly inspect the vehicle, or a failure to maintain the truck to ensure safety when traveling.
  • Improperly Loaded Cargo: If the cargo is not correctly loaded, it can shift from side to side on turns, making the vehicle impossible to control, leading to a rollover or jackknife, endangering all other drivers and their passengers nearby.
  • Faulty Truck Parts: When a truck part fails, whether hydraulics, brakes, tires, lighting systems, or engines is the underlying cause of many fatal truck accidents.

These conditions can lead to the following types of truck accidents:

  • Jackknife
  • Sideswipe
  • Underride
  • Rear-end collision
  • Head-on collision
  • Rollover
  • Explosion, fire

Big Rig Accidents in the MD Area

A big rig truck is considered speeding if it is traveling over fifty-five miles per hour. Trucks of that size need far greater space to come to a complete stop, and often, if the driver brakes too quickly, they jackknife and sometimes overturn. Substandard inspection can also play a role in truck accidents. If trucks that are defective or unsafe are not inspected properly by the appropriate people, it can lead to devastating consequences for anyone involved in an accident, including but not limited to catastrophic injury, traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, accidental amputation, and even death.

DUI and Truck Accidents

Of 168 fatally injured truck drivers, sixty-seven percent tested positive for at least one drug and thirty-three percent had alcohol or psychoactive drugs in their system. These are clearly preventable occurrences, and yet truck drivers will imbibe or consume alcohol and drugs prior to or while driving. This creates extremely dangerous situations not only for themselves, but for every other driver on the road with them.

Drug Impaired Truck Drivers: The Facts

Generally, all drivers are subjected to regular drug and alcohol screening. Though alcohol is a common factor in many truck accidents, it is not the only cause of drivers being caught driving under the influence. According to the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, fifteen percent of drivers were found with marijuana in their system, twelve percent tested positive for non-prescription stimulants, five percent tested positive for prescription stimulants, and two percent tested positive for cocaine.

Marijuana can play a significant factor in truck accidents along the roadways. It can affect concentration and perception up to twenty fours after being consumed. The New England Journal of Medicine found that of the drivers who were stopped for reckless driving without alcohol as a factor, forty-five percent had marijuana in their system and twenty-five percent tested positive for cocaine.

For people who are involved in an accident with a truck driver who is under the influence of alcohol or another drug, this can have devastating consequences. A highly skilled truck accident lawyer will put countless hours into researching the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring that those at fault pay the damages owed in the case.

Steps to Take after a Truck Accident

Immediately after a truck accident, someone may be feeling scared, confused, in pain, and overwhelmed. The very first thing they should do is contact the police. Since multiple defendants may be involved, having a police report of the accident will be incredibly helpful to the truck accident case that will later be filed in the court system. Obtaining as much information as possible from the driver and any witnesses that may be present is also important.

This includes contact information, insurance, names, and anything else that pertains to the case, or that may be needed in future. Taking pictures and videos of the accident and the surrounding location is the third step someone should take, if they are able to. After, they should seek medical attention and contact a highly talented truck accident attorney.

A truck accident attorney will be familiar with the law and the court system, including judges, other attorneys who may be involved in the case, and have a general idea of how the location may play into the damages someone may potentially be awarded.

Truck Accident FAQ’s

Who Can be Held Liable If a Truck Accident Was Caused By a Tired Driver?

While the driver may be responsible for driving a commercial truck without enough sleep, the trucking company is also responsible for the negligent acts of an employee.

Who Can be Held Accountable If a Truck Tire Blowout Was the Cause of the Accident?

The liable parties may vary, case to case. If the driver was an independent owner/operator and failed to inspect the vehicle as required by law, the driver may be liable. If the driver was an employee of a trucking company, the company can be held liable. If the tire blowout was the result of a faulty tire, the tire manufacturer may be held liable.

What if the Truck Accident was Caused by the Truck Driver Failing to Realize Another Vehicle was in the “Blind Spot?”

The truck driver is required to ensure that no other driver is present in the large truck blind spot. A driver who changes lanes without ensuring that another vehicle is not present is driving negligently, and that driver, as well as the trucking firm, can be named in a lawsuit filed to seek to recover financial damages.

How does an Underride Accident Occur?

An underride is one of the deadliest of all truck accident scenarios, as the other vehicle is often crushed, killing the occupants instantly. This may be the result of malfunctioning signals, a driver who suddenly slows or stops without warning, or turning incorrectly.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Being involved in a truck accident is a stressful experience. Contact the team of highly trained and talented truck accident attorneys at Malloy Law Offices, LLC today for your free consultation. They will handle your case with the utmost dignity and respect, and fight tirelessly for the damages you deserve while you focus on your recovery.