Mistakes to Avoid in DC Truck Accidents 

Motor vehicle accidents can be serious, sometimes fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2015 alone, approximately 35,092 people died in crashes on roadways in America.

Trucks pose huge risks on roadways. Accidents with trucks can be more severe than with average cars or sport utility vehicles because of the sheer size and volume of trucks.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 3,852 people died in large truck crashes in 2015, with 69% being the occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck, get in touch with a truck accident lawyer who will know of the biggest mistakes to avoid in DC truck accidents.

Failing to Document at the Scene

An accident victim should take notes on the scene because lawsuits take years to resolve, depending on the cooperation of the insurance company, the number of cases in the courthouse, the severity of the impact, and a wide array of other factors.

An individual’s knowledge of the claim may be questioned by insurance claim adjusters and attorneys, so documenting everything as it happens may help in the long run.

Some points to consider are the weather, the date, the speed of the vehicles, the layout of the roadways, the time of day, and any unusual factors, such as the smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, construction in or around the accident scene, witnesses, and anything else that may be relevant to the claim.

Pictures and Videos

Pictures speak a thousand words. It may be helpful to take pictures of the roadway and vehicles to properly capture what happened during the accident. This could prove valuable as evidence to settle the claim with the insurance company or at trial.

A video can also help with documenting the claim. However, while taking photographs and videos, it is important to be mindful of the respective privacy laws governing these acts in the city and state where the accident occurred.

Admitting Fault

When accidents occur, people sometimes feel the urge to apologize or to offer to pay for another person’s medical treatment or vehicle repairs. They should be careful doing this. An individual’s words and actions may come back to haunt them later in a lawsuit.

An individual may be asked whether they spoke to the other driver at a deposition. A deposition generally occurs before trial and is an opportunity for the opposing attorney to question a party in a process that involves giving sworn evidence that can be used at trial.

Depositions in state courts are generally liberal with regard to the types of questions that may be asked. A question may be permitted at a deposition that is not admissible at trial if that deposition question is likely to result in an answer that will lead to discoverable information.

Apologies in a DC Truck Accident Case

An attorney may inquire into whether a conversation transpired between the drivers and if one of the drivers apologized. Some think that the apology hurts a case because it admits to fault. However, whether an apology satisfies the burden needed to prove fault at trial is still uncertain.

Others think that apologies are good as a matter of public policy because they can diffuse a hostile situation and express sympathy to an injury victim at a time when the victim is vulnerable. The point is to choose your words wisely, as they may have unintended consequences.

Not Contacting an Attorney in a Timely Fashion

One of the biggest mistakes avoid in DC truck accidents is waiting to contact an attorney. According to the Code of the District of Columbia, an individual has three years to file a personal injury claim. Failure to file a claim within this time period will result in the inability to ever sue on that claim.

If you are concerned about your legal rights and responsibilities, contact a DC truck accident lawyer today.