At Ketterer Browne & Associates, LLC, our Maryland truck accident lawyers have represented plaintiffs injured in a wide range of trucking accident cases. Our experienced personal injury attorneys understand local state law, federal trucking regulations, and the investigative measures that are necessary to successfully resolve a trucking injury case, whether through settlement or trial.
If you or someone you love was involved in a trucking accident, please contact our office to discuss your legal rights and appropriate next steps. When trucks collide into vehicles, people can be seriously injured. Collecting money to cover past medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering requires proving negligence by the driver and using experts or other evidence to support catastrophic injuries.
The Duty of Truck Drivers to Protect Others
Getting behind the controls of any motor vehicle enters you into a social contract. Drivers assume a duty to protect all other travelers, as well as people on the side of the road. A failure to operate a vehicle in a way that protects others and results in a collision means that the driver is liable for all resulting damage.
Injured people bear the responsibility of proving fault for a crash. This can involve gathering a police report, talking with witnesses, and consulting with accident reconstruction specialists.
There are two main ways to prove that a trucker caused a crash. The first is to show that they were violating a traffic law in the moments leading up to the crash. Common violations may include speeding, failing to yield, or even violations of the maximum drive time limits mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The other way is to show that simple carelessness was the cause of the crash. Evidence that a trucker was fatigued, distracted by a radio, or eating while behind the wheel may all be present in a case. A Maryland truck crash attorney can gather the evidence needed to prove a trucker was primarily responsible for the incident.
Common Truck Crash Scenarios
Many semi-trailer crashes in Maryland happen for the same reasons that auto crashes occur, but some types of semi-trailer crashes happen more often than others. Here are a few of them:
- Driver error: These errors include speeding, following a vehicle ahead too closely, blind spot issues when changing lanes, and driving too fast for weather or traffic conditions.
- Fatigued or drowsy driving: Although hours of service regulations are in place, tight schedules keep many semi-trailer drivers behind the wheel for far too long. Fatigue can interfere with visual perception, thought processes, and sound judgment.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both: Impaired drivers present a clear danger to not only themselves but also to everybody around them.
- Rear-end crashes: According to the insurance institute for highway safety, nearly all loaded semi-trailers take 20 to 40 percent more roadway to stop than passenger vehicles. Those numbers increase drastically on wet or icy roads. Poorly maintained brakes and worn tires also contribute to this issue.
- Distracted driving: Distractions consist of texting, talking, using a navigational device, or eating while driving. Given the size and weight of the giant pieces of machinery that they operate, drivers need to maintain focus and operate them safely.
- Load issues: The weight of the load in the trailer must be properly distributed. It can’t be top heavy either. This is of particular concern in emergency situations like sudden stops or turns
Protect Yourself Right Away After a Truck Crash
Trucking companies are typically well-prepared to handle the aftermath of a crash. When one accident occurs, trucking companies call upon their own internal investigators and insurance adjusters to gather evidence and start building their defense to circumvent liability to personal injury claims. You need to protect yourself to be sure you’re not blamed and that you are compensated.
- Contact the Maryland truck injury lawyers at Ketterer, Browne & Anderson, LLC as soon as possible. We will discuss your rights and possible next steps so that we can begin the work necessary to establish and support your claim. Preserving evidence early on is very important.
- Take pictures of the scene, the vehicle, and your injuries. Take pictures of your injuries at different time points. Be sure to pay attention to lighting for bruise. Consider making notes about how the injuries have impacted your life; for example, things you can’t do, missed days of work, areas of the body in pain, and the kinds of pain you are experiencing.
- Get the names and contact information of witnesses and local businesses that may have cameras that captured the incident.
- Obtain the police report.
- Be careful about making statements, written or oral, to insurance companies or investigators. Some will be working for the trucking company or its insurance representatives. Be careful about what you tell family and friends, and especially about what you post on social media.
- Follow your physician’s instructions – attend appointments, follow their treatment plans, and take care of yourself. Ask your doctor about your condition – the diagnoses, the prognosis, and what you can do to help yourself. Be clear about what is related to – caused by – the collision and what is not. Consider whether pre-existing conditions have worsened.
- Pay attention to your head and vision. You do not need to hit your head in order to have a concussion. Tell your doctors right away and every time you have a headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, or excessive fatigue; any deviation from what you normally experience.
Seeking Out Fair Compensation Following a Collision
At-fault truckers, insurance carriers, and even the trucking company may all be liable following a collision. Even so, they will not provide any compensation unless you can demonstrate how the event changed your life. Another way in which a truck crash lawyer might be able to help is by gathering evidence concerning these losses. Typical examples of physical injury losses include:
- Sprains and strains
- Separated joints
- Severe cuts and bruises
- Broken bones
More serious incidents can result in 3rd-degree burns, amputations, paralysis, or brain damage. No matter how severe a person’s injuries, at-fault parties must always provide full compensation for all necessary medical care.
In addition, most people will seek payment for the other ways in which the incident has impacted their lives. This could include emotional traumas, lost wages, and reductions in their quality of life. Hiring an attorney can help place a proper value on a case and seek fair payments for all of your losses.
Another benefit of an attorney is that we are aware of the state’s statute of limitations for truck accident cases. Under Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code § 5-101, for example, most people have no more than three years from the date of injury to seek out compensation. Acting quickly will give you the best chance for success. Indeed, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to preserve necessary evidence and conduct inspections between the vehicles are put into service.
Truck Incidents Leading to Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A fully loaded semi-trailer can be more than 70 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. They are clear and obvious dangers to passenger vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20 to 25 times as much as passenger vehicles, and they are far less maneuverable.
When semi-trailers are at highway speeds, the potential for fatal accidents increases dramatically. About 72 percent of all large truck crash fatalities are occupants of passenger vehicles and 16 percent are drivers or occupants of the large trucks themselves.
Find an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney
Truck accidents can lead to significant injuries over time and fatalities are subject to special wrongful death laws. Consult an attorney to understand your rights and options.
If you lost a family member in a crash involving a semi-trailer or other large truck, you’re likely financially and emotionally devastated. Here at KBA Attorneys, our goal is to help you transition through this. We may be of great help to you in your financial struggle.
Don’t let the truck insurance company control you. While attending to your medical needs, start your recovery by contacting our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. Our objective is to get you started in the right direction and get the compensation owed to you. Contact a truck accident lawyer today.