What Should I Do If I Get Into A Truck Accident?
Major highways such as I-695 and I-95 experience chronically congested traffic across the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, which increases the risk of car accidents and truck accidents. Truck accidents and different than car accidents for both obvious and not so obvious reasons. If you have been involved in a truck accident, it is important to understand Maryland law and Federal law regarding truck accidents and legal best practices you can pursue as a victim to protect your rights. Here, the Baltimore truck accident and personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg discuss procedures to follow if you have been impacted by a truck accident in Maryland.
An Overview of Truck Accident Liability
There are rules and regulations that may implicate trucking companies if their employed truck drivers exhibit negligence on the job. If a truck driver fails to follow the rules of the road, and their negligence leads to a collision, the company that employs the driver may be held liable for the accident. For example, if a truck driver causes an accident because they were texting and driving while on the job, both the driver and the company they work for may be held liable. This is called vicarious liability, a type of secondary liability that can impact the trucking company itself if a truck accident occurs as a result of an employee’s negligence. Additionally, a trucking company could also be at fault for an employee’s truck accident if the driver who caused the accident had previously been convicted for multiple counts of drinking and driving and had not had a background check before being employed. The company would could be found at fault because they failed to keep roads safe by hiring an employee with a history of negligence and failing to carry out due diligence when conducting background checks. Ultimately, negligence, negligent hiring or negligent entrustment may all lead to legal consequences for a trucking company if an accident occurs as a result of employee carelessness.
Not just must a truck driver and trucking company follow Maryland law, they must also follow Federal law. The Motor Carrier Act of 1980, the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, as well various regulations published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration all play a role in how trucking companies operate. For instance, the number of hours a truck driver spends on the road is regulated to improve safety, and when truck driver violates those hours and drives while drowsy, it can result in a severe truck accident.
Trucks and trailers are complicated pieces of machinery, and operate differently than your standard car or SUV. Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to maintain their trucks and trailers for safety. A poorly maintained truck is less safe, and can cause severe truck accidents. Often, specific expertise is needed to determine whether a truck or trailer involved in an accident was properly maintained. For instance, many trucks are equipped with data recorders and tracking devices that can help show whether or not the driver was being negligent.
In any accident or collision, it is important to contact the police, take pictures, and seek medical help if there are injuries.
The state of Maryland also has a contributory negligence law. Contributory negligence occurs when the Plaintiff is also negligent and contributes to the accident. Under Maryland law, if a Plaintiff is contributorily negligent, their lawsuit will likely be unsuccessful. It is important to note that this can only be applied if the driver’s actions caused the accident, not the injuries the resulted from the accident.
Damages May Include Medical Expenses and Loss of Wages
After determining who is liable for the accident, it is also important to determine the damages that have occurred as a result of the accident. Because tractor-trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000lbs, the injuries and damage caused by a truck accident can be severe. Damages can include a number of different things:
- Medical Bills from such things as ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, and physical therapy, as well as future medical bills from on-going care.
- Lost wages and the future loss of earnings capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
Finally, if your loved one was injured and ultimately killed in a truck accident, you may also be compensated for loss of companionship. All drivers have the legal obligation to follow the rules of the road and be mindful of the safety of other drivers. If the actions of a truck driver, or the trucking company, cause a disastrous collision that results in severe injury or death, consider seeking legal help from The Law Office of Evan K. Thalenberg and discuss your case with our skilled attorneys.
How the Auto Accident Attorneys at The Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A. Can Help
The truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg know where to look for evidence and what to do in cases of trucking accidents. Because of the nature of trucking accidents, the resulting law suit may need to be litigated in Maryland or Federal courts. Injury, trauma or death from a truck accident can bring immeasurable emotional and financial stress on you and your loved ones. When accidents are caused by the negligence of the truck driver, or the company employing them, they must be held responsible for their actions. The Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg are dedicated to helping victims receive compensation by holding negligent drivers accountable for the suffering they cause. Contact the truck accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A. to discuss how you may be entitled to compensation.