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What to Do After a Truck Accident in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia is home to some of the nation's most revered monuments, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. But there's one sight that seems to be recurring on the D.C. roadways -- trucks getting stuck under low overpasses.

While these incidents can trigger the famous Beltway traffic jam, they're also on the less serious side when it comes to D.C. truck accidents. After all, with their weight and restricted maneuverability, truck collisions and overturned rigs can unfortunately prove to be quite destructive. Knowing the steps to take can help you sort out what to do after a truck accident in Washington D.C. However, there's more to know when it comes to recovering your losses once the wreckage clears.

The Contributory Negligence Hurdle

If your case moves beyond an insurance claim and into the court system, you may face some strict rules regarding a recovery. After all, case law in the District of Columbia has established the defense of pure contributory negligence. In the relatively few jurisdictions that recognize this defense, any fault on the part of a plaintiff, even if it's just one percent of the reason for the accident, can bar a plaintiff from recovering in court.

However, even if you face a contributory negligence defense, there can be other ways to recover for your losses, particularly in cases involving truck accidents. After all, truck accidents almost always involve trucking companies, businesses which are subject to a wide swath of rules and regulations, both at the district and federal levels. So even if contributory negligence may bar your negligence action for the accident itself, you still may be able to sue the trucking company for negligently hiring a driver and failing to comply with rules and regulations, among other claims.

District of Columbia Truck Accident Laws: An Overview

You can learn more about specific Washington D.C. truck accident laws by consulting the chart below.


District of Columbia Code Section 403 (commercial motor vehicle driver responsibility)

District of Columbia Code Section 404 (employer liability for commercial motor vehicle drivers)

District of Columbia Code Section 405 (penalties for violating commercial motor vehicle laws)

District of Columbia Code Section 50-2201.05d (driver responsibilities for objects falling from vehicles)

District of Columbia Code Section 12-301 (statute of limitations)

District of Columbia Code Section 12-302 (contributory negligence does not bar recovery by employees of a common carrier)

Statute of Limitations

Personal Injury: 3 years from the date of the accident

Property Damage: 3 years from the date of the accident

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

District of Columbia Accident Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help Negotiating a Settlement for Your D.C. Truck Accident Claim

Experiencing a truck accident, even a relatively minor one, can be traumatic. As you and your loved ones are left to pick up the pieces, you're probably wondering whether you have any options to recover for your losses. That's where the help of a legal professional is crucial. Get in touch with a Washington, D.C. accident attorney today.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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