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Because trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, their momentum requires a greater stopping distance than a passenger vehicle. For example, cars traveling 65 miles per hour typically stop in about 300 feet while a truck requires more than 500 feet under similar conditions. Truck drivers are required to maintain vigilance on the road, and to act in a way that prevents collisions. This includes maintaining an appropriate stopping distance. At Gelb & Gelb, we represent vehicle collision victims in injury claims against truckers and companies that cause roadway accidents. Experienced Washington, D.C. truck accident lawyer Roger Gelb provides personal attention to all clients, communicating directly during the case. Recognized throughout the region for his competence and professionalism, Attorney Gelb’s multi-million dollar recoveries assist those hurt by the careless or reckless conduct of others.Proving Liability After a Stopping Distance Truck Accident
Truck drivers have a duty to remain aware of their required stopping distance, and to operate their trucks in accordance with weather and traffic conditions. By anticipating the required distance they need to stop, drivers meet their duty of care to avoid causing harm to others sharing the road. A truck driver that does not maintain proper stopping distance and causes an accident can be held liable by the injured party.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates truck stopping distances. They publish rules intended to improve the ability of medium and heavy vehicles to brake safely. Factors that affect stopping distance include driver awareness, vehicle load, road conditions and braking. Because truckers are commercial drivers, they must meet federal, state and local laws concerning the operation of their vehicles.
Typically, injured individuals filing a lawsuit against a truck driver assert negligence. They put forth evidence showing that the driver owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused their resulting injuries and damages. Since all drivers have a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances, evidence usually focuses on the violation of this duty.
Truck drivers may violate their duty of care in several different ways. When drivers overload their vehicles, the additional weight can make it challenging for the driver to stop the truck effectively. By taking actions that place people at risk of harm, truckers are violating their responsibility to safely move cargo and goods. In other cases, distracted truckers may remove their attention from the road by texting or using their phone. Finally, fatigue is a major cause of truck accidents, and drivers that violate their hours-of-service regulations and cause a crash may be held liable if they hurt others.
Plaintiffs may also have a claim against the trucking company, in addition to the driver. Vicarious liability holds a truck company liable if their employee committed a negligent act while working for the company. Asserting a claim against the truck company provides a way to recover for the true extent of harm because insurance coverage for the driver is often insufficient to cover the costs associated with a crash.Compensation Following a Stopping Distance Accident
Legal damages serve to place the victim in the position they would be, had the accident not occurred. This compensation covers costs for medical treatment, property damage, and missed wages from work, as well as other harm. Unfortunately, devastating injuries often occur in a truck accident, due to the size of the vehicle. Physical harm can include paralysis, broken bones, and amputation of limbs. Many injured people undergo lifelong rehabilitation and therapy. Emotional pain and suffering are non-economic compensation that can also be included in a damages award.
If the accident has led to the death of a loved one, family members may file a wrongful death action. In most cases, the surviving spouse and children are entitled to damages. A wrongful death claim carries specific procedural requirements, and an attorney can help to ensure that you are meeting all deadlines.Call a Washington, D.C. Lawyer to Help With Your Truck Collision Claim
Attorney Roger Gelb dedicates his legal practice to asserting the rights of injured people throughout Washington D.C., MD, and VA. Mr. Gelb is prepared to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident so that he can potentially set forth a claim on your behalf. Understanding your legal options is the first step toward justice. Call our office at (202) 331-7227 or reach us online.