Truck Accident Attorneys in Alexandria, Virginia
Truck accidents are very serious, because of what they are: a 15- to 40-ton object hitting a small car or SUV, barely a ton or two. These crashes can cause devastating, catastrophic injuries. In 2020, there were 2,356 trucking accidents involving 58 fatalities in Virginia. After a truck accident, it is vital to get the help you need to file a claim so you can focus on recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you need an experienced, aggressive, dedicated attorney to represent you. Blaszkow Legal has experience in these horrific cases, and will put that experience to work for you. We proudly serve accident victims in Alexandria, Fairfax, Woodbridge, Arlington, and Manassas, Virginia and beyond.
If you have been involved in a truck accident, read this article for the steps you need to take afterwards!
Laws Applicable to Truck Accidents
Federal truck accident laws work together with state laws in Virginia, Maryland, and DC to help ensure that trucking companies and drivers operate safely on the nation’s roadways. The following are the most significant regulations:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)
These regulations govern the operation of commercial motor vehicles, including trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. They establish rules for driver qualifications, service hours, vehicle maintenance, and a myriad of other safety-related issues.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA)
This law established minimum federal commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) standards. States must issue CDLs only after a driver passes a knowledge and skills test, which includes demonstrating the driver know how to drive the big-rig.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act (FMCSIA)
This law established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to enforce the FMCSRs and other trucking regulations.
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (NTMVSA)
This law sets safety standards for all motor vehicles, including trucks. It gives the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to investigate and recall vehicles that do not meet these standards.
Virginia Laws Applicable to Truck Accidents
Virginia, like other states, has specific truck accident laws that govern the operation of commercial motor vehicles within its borders. Here are the key Virginia truck accident laws:
Vehicle weight and size limits. Virginia imposes maximum weight and size limits on commercial motor vehicles traveling on its highways. For example, trucks are limited to 80,000 pounds on interstate highways and 73,280 pounds on non-interstate highways.
Hours of Service. Virginia follows the FMCSRs for hours of service. Commercial motor vehicle drivers must take rest breaks and limit their driving hours to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements. Virginia requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles to hold a valid CDL, which requires passing a knowledge and skills test.
Liability insurance. Virginia requires all commercial motor vehicles to carry minimum levels of liability insurance, including personal injury protection.
Drug and alcohol testing. Virginia requires drug and alcohol testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles, including pre-employment, random, and post-accident testing.
Statute of Limitations for Trucking Accidents
Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from a truck accident is two years from the accident date. This rule means that you must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident, or you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
It is important to note that there may be exceptions to these time limits, such as if the victim was a minor or was incapacitated at the time of the accident. However, it is generally best to file a claim as soon as possible to ensure that accident victims can recover damages.
In Maryland and DC, the statute of limitations is 3 years.
Assessing Liability for Trucking Accident in Virginia
Assessing liability in a truck accident involves determining who was responsible for the accident and the resulting damages. Here are the factors typically considered when assessing liability in a truck accident:
Truck drivers must have a CDL and undergo specialized training to operate commercial motor vehicles. The trucking company may be held liable if an accident occurs due to a driver’s lack of qualifications or training. Additionally, if a truck driver exceeds the maximum hours of service regulations, they could be held liable for an accident that occurs as a result of their fatigue.
The trucking industry is subject to various federal and state regulations designed to promote safety on the roadways. For instance, failing to supervise driver behavior may place liability on the company.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly maintained and operate safely. The trucking company may be liable for an accident due to improper vehicle maintenance.
Truck or Part Manufacturer
If the truck or one of its components was defective in design, manufacturing, or labeling. Examples of defects that could lead to liability include faulty brakes, defective tires, or a faulty steering system.
Cargo Loading Crew
If the cargo is loaded improperly, it can shift during transit and cause the truck to become unstable or tip over. For example, if the cargo is not evenly distributed, it can cause the truck to become unbalanced, leading to an accident. Also, failure to secure or overload cargo can become accidents causes.
Factors in Determining Liability
There are various factors involved in determining truck accidents:
Speeding at the time of the accident.
Fatigue due to working more than the permitted 14-hour window.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Traffic violations like failing to yield or running a red light.
Driving too fast for weather conditions, such as in rain, or fog or in snow.
In some cases, more than one party may be responsible for a truck accident. We investigate every potential party who have been negligent, at any point. However, those parties cannot include the driver of the other vehicle, because Virginia is a contributory negligence state. A person who is partly responsible for his or her own accident cannot recover, as a matter of law.
Road conditions can play a significant role in trucking accidents. For instance, hazardous road conditions that can lead to accidents include potholes, uneven pavement, inadequate lighting, and a lack of signage warning drivers of potential hazards.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia
Victims may file a personal injury claim to seek fair compensation for their damages. Accident victims must file within the statute of limitations window while producing the necessary documentation.
Similarly, family members of deceased or incapacitated truck accident victims may file on their behalf. Additionally, family members may file a wrongful death claim to seek fair compensation for losing a loved one.
We highly encourage victims and their families to seek reliable legal counsel since insurance companies and at-fault parties will try to use every maneuver possible to avoid paying victims fair compensation. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can provide families the support they need to relieve the burden of an already complicated situation.
Call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation: 703-879-5910
Truck Accident Attorneys Serving Alexandria, Virginia
At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we cater to our client’s right to fair compensation. We combine a hard-line approach to the wrongdoers, with a warm human touch for those who have been hurt. We believe in helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. Contact our team today to talk to an experienced attorney who’s got your best interest at heart. We proudly serve folks in Alexandria, Fairfax, Woodbridge, Arlington, and Manassas, Virginia and beyond.