Bel Air, MD Truck Accident Lawyer
Motor vehicle accidents frequently result in serious injuries. Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents. The injuries truck accidents cause are often grisly and require a long road to recovery. Because of the sheer mass of big rig trucks, death is also unfortunately common for the driver of the other vehicle in a truck accident. The results of a truck accident could leave you with heaps of medical expenses, permanent damage from serious injuries, or dealing with the death of a loved one.
Our lawyers can help you through the tough times ahead following a truck accident. You will likely want to sue multiple parties in your lawsuit. The truck driver and their employer might be liable for your injuries. Make sure to discuss the unique situation of your truck accident with your attorney so they can figure out the best way to handle your case.
Call our truck accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free analysis of your case.
Do You Sue the Driver or the Truck Company for a Truck Accident in Bel Air, MD
Several different parties might be liable for your injuries in a truck accident. You will almost always have a case against the driver. However, the truck company is frequently also liable in truck accident lawsuits.
In many cases, a trucking company employee is “judgment proof” or unable to pay your damages. However, they should have insurance that can help cover the damages. Moreover, their trucking company employer is often better able to compensate you for your injuries and make you whole.
Suing the Driver
If the driver is at fault in a truck accident, it is often due to their negligence. Negligence in this context means that the truck driver did something careless, which caused the truck accident. For example, if a truck driver was speeding and couldn’t slow down in time to avoid a crash, that truck driver was negligent. If the truck driver was negligent while behind the wheel, you will have a claim against the driver directly.
Suing the Truck Company
The law recognizes that employers are often better positioned to compensate injured persons than their employees. It would not be worth bringing a lawsuit against an employee who cannot pay the damages awarded to you. The doctrine of “respondeat superior,” literally “let the master answer,” allows injured persons to sue employers for the tortious conduct of their employees while on duty. The critical point is that the employee’s conduct has to be related to their job. The employer cannot be held liable if the conduct is unrelated to the employee’s job.
Employees are not always doing tasks at the behest of their employers. The distance between a non-work-related task and an employee’s work duties can be important in determining whether an employer is liable in a truck accident lawsuit.
“Frolics” are when employees go off track for what they are supposed to do at work. If this employee hits and injures somebody with their vehicle during a frolic, the employer cannot be liable because the employee’s conduct is too attenuated from their work.
A “detour,” on the other hand, is a diversion from work activity that is close enough that the employer will be liable for the employee’s conduct. An example of a detour would be stopping for a lunch break.
Employer Liability During Breaks
Commercial trucks frequently are underway for days on end. Not all of this time is spent on the road. If you were injured by a commercial truck while a driver was on one of these breaks, the employer might still be liable for the driver’s conduct.
A trucker can be doing a wide range of “off-duty” activities while underway that could still result in their employer being liable for an accident. On long trips, truck drivers will have to stop at rest points to refuel, relieve themselves, or eat their meals. Truckers might have to stay overnight for particularly long trips at a truck stop. If a commercial truck hits you while the driver is doing any of these activities, their employer might still be liable.
However, some activities will not make the employer liable. For example, if the driver goes sightseeing in their truck instead of working, the employer will not be liable because that activity is unrelated to the trucker’s job. A truck accident lawyer can help you determine whether a trucker’s conduct makes their employer liable.
Types of Truck Accidents in Bel Air, MD
In addition to accidents caused by common driving infractions such as speeding or drunk driving, tractor-trailers can cause dangerous accidents because of the trailer’s ability to pivot around the tractor. These types of accidents are particularly dangerous because a large 18-wheeler trailer has the capability to hit multiple vehicles on a highway.
Fishtailing commonly happens because the rear wheels of a truck trailer do not grip the road firmly. Fishtailing could also be caused by improper loading of the truck or strong winds. Poor road conditions, frequently due to bad weather, are often the culprit for wheels not gaining enough traction. The sliding of the wheels causes the trailer to move erratically left and right.
Fishtailing is plenty dangerous when it occurs in a standard vehicle. When a truck fishtails, the side-to-side motions combined with the flexible linkage to a trailer can create a wide danger area. Fishtailing semi-truck and 18-wheeler accidents can be lethal.
The ability of the truck trailer to move independently of the tractor creates the potential for grave danger to other drivers. Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer swings around the tractor and the whole vehicle folds in on itself like a pocketknife, often crashing into other cars in the process. Particularly serious jackknife accidents can cause the trailer to separate entirely from the truck and go flying down the road.
Call Our Bel Air, MD Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Contact our truck accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 for a free case review.