College Park, MD Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial trucks are large, heavy vehicles that transport cargo over great distances. The sheer mass of commercial trucks creates the potential for incredibly traumatic injuries should a truck be involved in a collision. Medical expenses for recovering from a truck accident can easily be in the millions of dollars. Luckily, legal remedies are available to help you get all of the financial compensation you deserve.
File your truck accident claim right away. A law called the statute of limitations puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you try to file a lawsuit after that period is up, you will not be able to recover any damages. The truck driver, loader, or manufacturing company could all be liable for damages based on their conduct. Your attorney will determine the best course of action to get the most compensation possible under the law.
Call our truck accident Lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (443) 648-9952 today for a free case review.
Statute of Limitations for a Truck Accident Claim in College Park, MD
You only have a limited time to sue, so you should file your lawsuit as soon after the truck accident as you can. A law called the statute of limitations dictates how long you have after wrongdoing occurs to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a civil action in Maryland is three years.
The statute of limitations is a hard cutoff. If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run, the case will be thrown out, and you will not recover any damages. Some special circumstances might “toll” or pause the statute of limitations. For example, if you got in a truck accident before turning 18, the statutory period will not start until the day before you turn 18.
Steps to Take Right After a College Park, MD Truck Accident
You should take certain steps after a truck accident to give you a stronger case in court. Following these guidelines will give you the best chance to recover from a truck accident and help your lawyer build the best case on your behalf.
Stay Near the Accident
Stay at the scene of the crash and only leave for medical treatment or after you have finished collecting evidence. This will allow you to gather information about the crash right after it happens. Take photos and talk to witnesses if you can. Get the name of the truck driver, the driver’s employer, and their insurance information.
File a Police Report
Another important step is to file a police report. A police report usually cannot be used as evidence in court, but it can be used to help build your case and prove to the insurance company that the crash did indeed happen. The more information you can glean and record from the scene of the accident right after, the better.
Seek Medical Attention
Most importantly, seek medical attention and let first responders tend to your injuries. This is important not only for your long-term recovery but because failing to seek medical attention could result in reduced damages in a lawsuit.
Even if you do not need medical attention on the day of the accident, you should still go to a doctor or other medical professional as soon as you can. Some injuries, especially soreness or bruising, may take days to develop after an accident and might not be obvious right away.
Call A Lawyer
Retain legal counsel as soon as possible after your accident. You have a limited time to bring a lawsuit. Moreover, getting a lawyer early will allow them to build a better case on your behalf since the facts will be easier to recall. Important details could be forgotten if you delay.
Truck Accident Liability in College Park, MD
Liability could fall on one or several people or entities after a truck accident. In some cases, multiple parties could be liable in a truck accident lawsuit. The cause of your accident is important in determining liability and who you should sue. Your lawyer will have to prove in court that the parties being sued are at fault for your injuries in order to get financial compensation.
The first party that comes to mind when looking for someone to blame for a motor vehicle accident is often the driver. For truck accidents, this is no different. A common way that truck drivers are found liable for accidents is if the driver does not act as a reasonable, responsible truck driver would act. Examples of conduct that would constitute negligence for a truck driver include speeding or running a red light.
Truck drivers are also held to a higher standard than ordinary drivers because they possess special driving skills for driving large commercial trucks. If a truck driver violates federal trucking regulations, they could also be found negligent for a resulting truck accident.
A truck driver’s employer might also be liable for the conduct of their driver. The law allows employers to be liable in court for the wrongful acts of their employees. For a trucking company to be liable for the actions of a trucker they employ, the trucker’s actions need to be sufficiently related to their job.
Alternatively, the trucking company could be liable for negligent hiring practices. Truck companies usually screen their employees to make sure they will not be dangerous on the road. Things like a drunk driving record would normally dissuade a trucking company from hiring a potential driver. If a trucking company negligently hired a driver, you might have a claim against the company.
If the trailer of a commercial truck was not loaded correctly, you might have a claim against the people who loaded it. Trucks carry heavy cargo across great distances. Trucking companies will usually either have the driver inspect their own trailer or have dedicated personnel to inspect the trailer to see if it is packed correctly and safely. If the person responsible for the inspection makes a mistake or rushes through, the unsafe truck could make its way onto the road. An improperly loaded truck becomes more dangerous to drive because it is more unwieldy. If it is loaded in such a way that the weight of the trailer is lopsided, an otherwise safe turn might tip the truck over, causing an accident.
Truck and Trailer Manufacturers
Sometimes a defect is responsible for a truck accident. Defects can be either design defects or manufacturing defects. Design defects are when the design of the product is fundamentally dangerous. An example of a truck design defect would be if the tires were not properly designed.
A manufacturing defect is when an error occurs during the manufacturing process that makes an otherwise perfectly fine product malfunction. A manufacturing defect for a truck could be brakes with a leak in the hydraulic system or an electrical short in a turn signal system.
If you believe that a manufacturing or design defect is responsible for your truck accident, you might have a claim against the manufacturers of that vehicle or part.
If a truck accident was the result of poor road conditions, the local or state entity responsible for maintaining the roadways might be liable. State and local governments have a duty to keep their citizens safe on the roadways they maintain. If they have failed in this duty, they could possibly be liable in court.
Damages From a Truck Accident Lawsuit in College Park, MD
“Damages” does not refer only to the physical damage you sustained in the accident. Instead, damages refer to all harms you faced and the money that can be awarded to you in court. The damages you could be awarded are heavily dependent on the facts of your case, so no two accidents are likely to be awarded the same amount of damages.
Damages are broken down into three categories that our truck accident lawyers can help you with: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages have an ascertainable dollar amount attached to them. Common economic damages from a truck accident include medical expenses, the cost of physical therapy, and damage to your vehicle. PIP insurance will only cover economic damages; even then, the coverage might not cover the full extent of your injuries or property damage.
Non-economic damages are more abstract. This area covers things like pain and suffering or loss of consortium from a deceased person. It is hard to put a value on physical pain or emotional distress, so these damages must be argued in court.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for egregious conduct. The idea is to discourage both the defendant and others in a similar position from acting the way they did in the future. Courts rarely award punitive damages.
How Truck Accident Damages Are Calculated in College Park, MD
The amount owed to you in damages from a truck accident will depend entirely on the facts of your case. The extent of your injuries is of particular importance in determining damages. If you come out the other end of a truck accident with only minor cuts and bruises, you will not be awarded as much in damages as if you broke multiple bones and required surgery to recover.
Calculating Economic Damages
Economic damages are documented by things like bills, receipts, and paychecks from your job. The jury might take into account the length of medical treatment, the likely recovery outcome, and your ability, or lack thereof, to work after your injuries when calculating economic damages.
Calculating Pain and Suffering
Jurors will consider several factors when determining how much damages for pain and suffering should be awarded. Factors like the victim’s age, life expectancy, and expected future quality of life will be considered when determining a reasonable amount of pain and suffering damages.
The initial amount of pain and suffering damages your lawyer asks for could be reached in different ways. For example, the amount could be based on your economic damages. A common practice is to multiply the economic damages by a multiplier chosen based on the severity of your injuries. Then you ask for that amount as pain and suffering damages. Another method would be for your lawyer to develop a daily pain amount that puts a value on how much pain you were in per day since the accident.
Call Our College Park, MD, Truck Accident Lawyers Today for a Free Case Review
Call our truck accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (443) 648-9952 today for a free case review.