Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia all see many commercial trucks pass through on its roads and highways every day.
Aside from being the seat of the federal government, the area is also a major commercial center. Interstate 95, the major route up and down the East Coast, and other major transportation routes run through the area.
Of course, whenever there are tractor-trailers, there is also a potential for more truck accidents.
At a high level, truck accidents work the same as any other motor vehicle accident. Those legally responsible for the accident, even if they had no intention of causing a wreck, must pay compensation to their victims.
However, for many reasons, getting a trucking company or its insurers to pay the compensation a victim needs to move on with life can be very difficult:
- Given their large size, commercial trucks cause more damage if they crash. Victims often have very serious and debilitating injuries that cost millions of dollars in losses, not to mention the emotional cost of the victim’s pain and stress.
- Trucking companies and the organizations that insure them are often highly motivated to fight both to protect their bottom lines and their reputations. They may deny responsibility for the accident or argue that they owe only a fraction of what a victim is claiming.
- The trucking industry is subject to many different rules and regulations that could come into play in a negligence case.
- Tractor trailers operate very differently from cars and other vehicles. To give just one example, while it is also possible to overload a car, weighing tractor-trailers down with cargo is a common problem. An overloaded truck is prone to tipping, sudden brake failures and other mechanical issues that can cause a crash.
- There is a lot of pressure on both trucking firms and independent drivers to turn profits. This pressure can lead to poor decisions, like continuing to drive a truck when one is too tired. To give another example, some companies may use high gas prices as an excuse to overload their vehicles.
After a truck accident, victims and their families need to understand their options
There will be a lot for victims and their families to do after a truck accident. Even after the emergency passes, victims may require ongoing personal and medical care. They may also have to figure out quickly how to re-arrange their finances to make ends meet.
In the process, though, given how complicated truck accident claims can be, victims should not forget to make sure they understand their legal rights and options. Not understanding their next steps could mean victims miss out on the compensation they deserve.