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Truck Accident Lawyers in MD

Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer

If you’re the victim of a trucking crash accident, you have rights. Speak with our Baltimore, Maryland trucking accident lawyers today to learn how they can help and recover your damages from the accident. With the help of an 18 wheeler accident attorney, you won’t be alone when recovering from your physical and emotional injuries.

Why Hire a Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer?

A commercial truck accident lawyer specializes in representing victims of a trucking accidents to ensure they are compensated for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering. These lawyers do this through negotiations with the insurance company representing the trucking company. If the truck accident lawyer cannot resolve the claim, they will file a lawsuit in the appropriate court asking a judge or jury to determine the compensation for their client.

Trucking Accident Statistics and Circumstances

Trucks are everywhere in Maryland, literally. Just in our state, there were almost 2,000,000 trucks registered in 2014: 1,879,645 privately owned vehicles, 45,954 federal registrations and 9,483 state, county, and local government registrations.

These cover a wide range of sizes, types, and uses, and all share the road with significantly smaller motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Larger trucks and heavily laden delivery vehicles are always a mismatch against automobiles, in terms of size and weight. In a collision, the injuries suffered by the occupants of the smaller vehicle tend to be severe.

Nationally, truck accidents killed almost 4,000 people in 2012 and injured more than 100,000.

Federal Regulations for Trucks

Commercial trucks involved in interstate hauling are subject to a host of federal regulations covering everything from the qualifications and hours of work for drivers, to the safety equipment that must be on board.

If a truck is involved in an auto accident as a result of violating any of these regulations—and violations are far more frequent than most people know—that’s evidence of negligence and gives you a major head start on establishing the right to compensation for injuries suffered in the accident.

The first job of any experienced truck accident attorney is to scrutinize the accident and the regulations to identify any connection between the two.

Recommended Reading: FMCSA Large Truck and Bus Crash Statistics

18 wheeler accident lawyersWhat are the various types of trucking accidents? 

There are several distinct types of truck accidents. Each is associated with fairly specific injury patterns and causes, and each presents different problems in proving who caused—and should be responsible for the injuries suffered in—a truck accident:

  • Single vehicle truck accidents are more likely to stem from hazards in the roadway, driver behavior, and mechanical defects in the truck.
  • Head-on collisions with another vehicle that is traveling in the opposite direction generate tremendous forces that usually cause deaths and drastic, severe injuries if the speeds involved are substantial; many head-ons occur because of a driver’s fatigue or health problems.
  • Rear end collisions between vehicles traveling in the same direction create less force than head-ons, but severe injuries and deaths may still occur, especially if a large, heavy truck is the rear vehicle; either vehicle may be at fault.
  • “Under-rides” are an especially dangerous form of rear end collisions, in which the rear vehicle is considerably smaller than front vehicle (usually a tractor trailer).
  • In side collisions, one vehicle drives into the side of another; this usually indicates either that one vehicles either turned suddenly across the path of the other or that one vehicle ran a red light or stop sign.
  • Rollovers mean that the truck’s center of gravity is no longer within the wheel base; many rollovers are single vehicle accidents, though they can also result from one vehicle being struck by another.

Accidents Involving Tractor Trailers “Big Rigs”

Big rig accidents are a cause of many deaths and truly severe injuries. The very nature of the big rigs or semi trucks unfortunately also makes them susceptible to accidents:

  • Limited maneuverability
  • Blind spots
  • Long stopping times

The combination of injury severity and susceptibility to accident makes it imperative that the drivers of these vehicles be extremely well trained and trustworthy, and explains why the federal regulations are so extensive. That also places a great deal of responsibility on the companies who hire these drivers.

Unfortunately, the long haul freight business in which most big rigs operate tends to involve very complicated relationships.

It’s often not even clear who owns the rig; it might be the driver, but it’s often a separate transport company or another third party. Sometimes it’s the shipper. Untangling the relationships is the initial step in any big rig accident case.

fedex delivery truck accidentsDelivery Truck Accidents

Accidents involving delivery trucks often involve unique legal problems. A prominent factor is that many companies place severe time pressure on their drivers; UPS is infamous for this.

Delivery drivers may place time pressure on themselves for various reasons. These pressures are a strong incentive for risky behaviors that invite accidents:

  • Speeding
  • Double parking and the like
  • Reckless behavior such as illegal passing, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, running lights and stop signs

Delivery truck accidents often occur because of problems associated with their cargo, such as spillage, overloading that causes tire blowouts, and improper loading that results in shifting cargo and loss of control of the truck.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, responsibility for a delivery truck accident may fall on the truck driver, the driver’s immediate superior, the owner of the truck, the party whose goods are being delivered, even a government agency or department responsible for road maintenance.

What You Should NOT Do After a Truck Accident

Being involved in a truck accident can be an overwhelming process that leaves victims scared and confused about how to proceed. These emotions can leave accident victims uncertain about how to proceed and in some cases can result in mistakes being made.

These errors can result in numerous negative consequences that significantly affect the future of a person’s case. As a result, this article will review some of the important steps that a person can take to protect themself after an accident.

Mistake # 1 – Do Not Forget to Collect Information

It is essential that a person who is involved in a commercial truck accident obtain information from the other driver about their insurance company as well as personal details.

If it is safe to do so, you should also use a camera on your smartphone to document the scene of the accident including any damage that occurred.

If there were any witnesses to the accident, it is a wise idea to obtain their contact information so they can support your narrative about how the accident occurred. The more evidence that a person is able to obtain about how an accident occurred, the less likely that matters will depend on which driver is more believable about how the accident occurred.

Mistake # 2 – Never Admit Fault at the Scene of the Accident

Even offering sympathy for an accident could be viewed by some parties as a sign that a driver is responsible for an accident. Instead, it is a wise idea to avoid communication to this degree with another driver on the road. Drivers should focus on just obtaining insurance carrier information and personal details from the other driver.

Mistake # 3 – Refusing Medical Help

It is critical that anyone who is involved in a truck accident contact emergency services as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe that you have incurred any injuries as the result of an accident, it is a wise idea to receive an examination from a medical professional. Other injuries like bruises, strains, traumatic brain injuries, and whiplash can not be apparent at first but readily grow worse.

Mistake # 4 – Throwing Away Evidence

Truck accident victims should never throw away bills or documentation that is associated with the truck accidents. This includes hospital bills, medication costs, and details about vehicle repairs and rentals. Saving these details help accident victims establish to the other party’s insurance company as well as court of law the exact costs that are associated with an accident.

Mistake # 5 – Failing to Obtain legal Counsel

Failing to obtain the assistance of a skilled truck accident lawyer can result in an accident victim not obtaining the compensation they deserve.

It is important the lawyer who is selected has significant experience with commercial truck accidents, which are very different from accidents involving passenger vehicles. A lawyer like Randolph Rice who has experience helping people impacted by truck accidents knows what it takes to create strong legal strategies in even difficult cases.

Get Help Early from a Baltimore, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer

It’s hard to overstate how important it is get the help of an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

It’s crucial to preserve and gather every bit of evidence in order determine precisely what happened during the accident and in the time just before it.

The ability to recover compensation will depend on establishing, at a minimum:

  • Exactly who did what, when, and why
  • The path travelled by each vehicle involved
  • Who is legally responsible for each vehicle’s operation
  • Who is responsible for hiring and training each driver
  • What regulations applied to the operation of the truck
  • Whether any of these regulations were violated
  • If so, whether that violation contributed to the accident

If you have been involved in a truck accident, call Baltimore personal injury attorney G. Randolph Rice today for experienced legal representation that gets results. The initial consultation is entirely free and you pay absolutely nothing until you receive your compensation award. Call us today! 410.288.2900.

Baltimore, Maryland, truck, accident, trucking, 18 wheeler, big rigWhat You Should Know Before Contacting a Truck Accident Lawyer

Getting into a motor vehicle accident involving a truck can be devastating and sometimes life altering. Truck accidents are common for a number of reasons, ranging from driver fatigue to poor driving conditions.

Because trucks and big rigs are so much larger than your average passenger car, they have the potential to inflict considerable damage and injury. If you have been the victim of a car accident involving a truck, it is often within your interests to contact a trucking accident lawyer.

Why do truck accidents happen?

First, however, it is important to discuss why truck accidents occur in the first place. Because trucks are so large by nature, they are more prone to becoming involved in a serious car accident.

For instance, it can take a typical 19-wheeler as much as 40% longer to stop than the average passenger car, meaning that it is less able to brake suddenly to avoid an accident.

Trucks can also fall victim to typical causes of car accidents as well, such as poor weather conditions. Poor weather conditions encompass a wide range of weather, from hail storms to blizzards to torrential rain. Ice on the road is particularly dangerous for truck drivers when combined with that braking time that is as much as 40% longer than that of a passenger car.

Truck drivers are also more likely to be prone to extreme fatigue. Though many truck drivers will utilize stimulants such as caffeine, which can come in the form of a beverage or a pill, even caffeine cannot significantly fight exhaustion past a certain point. Driver fatigue is hugely detrimental to the reaction times of the driver and can easily lead to a car accident.

What are common injuries sustained in a truck accident?

Truck accident injuries tend to be more serious than commonly seen injuries in a typical car accident, particularly for the people in an average passenger car. In fact, truck accidents are more likely to lead to death or serious, life altering injury than a typical car accident involving only the much smaller passenger cars on the road.

Head injuries are a common truck accident injury and though the victim may be lucky and only sustain a concussion, the potential for more serious head injury, such as bleeds on the brain and traumatic brain damage, is there.

In the event of a traumatic brain injury (also called a TBI), the personality and moods of the victim can be permanently altered, as well as their overall cognitive function and ability to live and survive independently in the world. In very severe cases, brain death is common.

Spinal cord and back injuries are also unfortunately common in the even of a serious truck accident. Spinal cord injuries can lead to injuries that result in chronic pain for the rest of the victim’s life. Paralysis can also occur in the event of severe damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord, neck, and back are particularly vulnerable to serious injury.

There are many other injuries that can be sustained in a truck accident, ranging from broken and fractured bones to serious burns, in the event that the truck in question was carrying hazardous or flammable materials.

Do you have a personal injury case?

One important thing to consider when trying to assess whether or not you have a personal injury case is that a personal injury sustained in a truck accident and needing a truck accident lawyer can be afflicted upon both body and mind.

When many people think of personal injury cases, they think of severe physical injuries. However, all of the components of pain and suffering can be applied to psychological problems that originate in the aftermath of a crash. Personal injury can range from PTSD to a traumatic brain injury to any other combination of physical and mental afflictions.

However, it is important to be aware of the rules that must be followed in filing a personal injury case, which will vary from state to state.

For instance, in Maryland it is crucial to pursue your personal injury case within three years of the truck accident where the injury or injuries occurred. After this period of time, your personal injury case is no longer considered viable.

Statute of Limitations After a Trucking Accident

This deadline is known as the statute of limitations, and means that your case can no longer be brought to trial or prosecuted once it has passed. In Maryland, keeping in mind the statute of limitations is essential even for the filing of insurance claims, as once the deadline has passed no compensation can be legally sought through any venue or means.

Contributory Negligence After a Trucking Crash

It is also important to weigh the possibility of shared fault rules, which are enforced in the state of Maryland as well as in many other states across the country. In Maryland, our state of focus, a rule called contributory negligence is enforced in many personal injury cases where each parties in a truck accident (or any personal injury case) have filed personal injury suits against each other.

Contributory negligence means that if the injured party (or both injured parties) contributed in some way to their own injury through negligence or wrongful actions, the other party is not legally required to pay out a settlement.

Even small traffic laws can be means for a ruling of contributory negligence if they were not followed to the “T.” Because of this doctrine, it is important to assess whether or not you have a personal injury case resulting from a truck accident in the first place.

Do you need to hire a truck accident lawyer?

Hiring a truck accident lawyer is always recommended in the case of a truck accident. A truck accident lawyer can help you to assess your claim, something that is difficult to do on one’s own. Assessing a claim by yourself, without the guidance of a truck accident lawyer, will often lead to inaccurate results.

On the other hand, a truck accident lawyer will be able to look at your claim objectively and determine if you have a viable case and whether or not it is worth it to seek out compensation based on your mental and physical injures (your pain and suffering) sustained in the truck accident.

Determining liability is a crucial role of the truck accident lawyer, and without the ability to accurately determine liability, there would be no personal injury case in the first place.

A truck accident lawyer can also help a truck accident victim to understand the sometimes complex laws that apply to truck drivers that the majority of the general population of drivers are unaware of.

Finally, a truck accident lawyer will help a victim seeking compensation to properly negotiate their desired compensation. As the majority of personal injury cases – as many as 96% – are able to be settled outside of a courtroom, the ability to negotiate compensation is vitally important.

In the case of severe injury, mental or physical, or loss of life, a truck accident lawyer should always be consulted. A truck accident lawyer can also be beneficial for those who have suffered financial hardship after a truck accident due to extremely expensive medical bills. A settlement can help to pay for these costs.

Burn Injury Lawyer in MDHow severe is my injury?

The severity of the injury you sustained matters in the case of a truck accident, but it can be difficult to properly assess that severity objectively. Typically, the more severe the injury, the bigger the settlement and the severity of the injury can even be impactful in deciding the outcome of a personal injury case.

The severity of injuries are typically determined in one of three ways. First, the type of injury that you sustained is taken into consideration.

A serious neck or spinal injury, as well as serious brain injuries, are more likely to cause pain and suffering than more minor injuries like a fracture. This pain and suffering caused by an injury directly influences the determined severity of the injury, as the length of time that it takes to recover is factored in.

For some injuries, the recovery period is never truly over and effects from the injury are life long. Finally, severity can be determined by the overall cost of treatment and the number and amount of medical bills that you have accrued in relation to the industry.

It is important to note that at the time of a settlement treatment may not have been completed (or may, in all reality, never be fully completed). In order to adjust for this, future anticipated medical costs will likely be incorporated in the final settlement amount.

What if I can’t afford a Baltimore Maryland truck accident lawyer?

Most truck accident lawyers will take into account the reason for seeking a settlement in the first place – considerable financial hardship in the aftermath of a truck accident and the inability to subsist with extended medical related absences from work.

Because most truck accident lawyers know that these are problems that many of their personal injury clients face, they will not charge their clients until a settlement amount has been reached.

Settlement amounts will vary based on the accident and the injury sustained, by the majority of truck accident lawyers and personal injury lawyers in general will take around 25% of the settlement or slightly more as their payment.

In the event that no settlement is reached or there is no viable personal injury case, many truck accident lawyers will not charge for their services.

Some truck accident lawyers and personal injury lawyers will charge for their services in real time but will not charge for the initial consultation meeting.

This allows prospective clients to meet with multiple personal injury lawyers to find the best lawyer for their case and also allows clients to talk to multiple truck accident lawyers about their financial hardships and find the one that is the most accommodating or best fits their budget.

When should I hire a truck accident lawyer?

It is important to contact a knowledgeable and practiced truck accident lawyer as soon as you possibly can. This means that as soon as you are out of imminent medical danger, you should research truck accident lawyers if you are not already in contact with one.

If you have been seriously injured, contact a truck accident lawyer immediately. In a less severe case or a very minor injury, it may be ideal to try to assess your case yourself, as very minor cases can often be handled without the need for a truck accident lawyer and legal consultation services.

However, if you have no idea how to navigate the legal world and have no experience with it, it is still advisable to contact a truck accident lawyer as immediately as possible, even if just for an assessment.

Important Information about Commercial Black Boxes in Trucks

Many people have heard the phrase “black box” used in relationship to aircraft, particularly when it comes to determine why an aircraft accident occurred. These boxes are indestructible recorders that can be rescued after an accident to determine exactly what happened aboard an airplane prior to a crash. Many people, however, do not know that large commercial trucks come equipped with a black box.

When truck accidents occur, these boxes can play an invaluable role in determining exactly how the accident occurred. As a result, a skilled accident attorney is often essential in making sure that issues concerning the black box are properly. It also proves helpful for an accident victim to understand some of the important details about these black boxes.

truckWhat Black Boxes Are

Sometimes referred to as Electronic Logging Devices, black boxes are designed to log certain actions as well as data that offers information about how a truck accident occurred. These black boxes record information about the time of the accident as well as the several seconds following accidents.

It is important to note that regulations created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration require trucks to be equipped with black boxes. Not only do black boxes log information about how a crash occurred, however, these devices also help monitor driving time to make sure that truck drivers operate their vehicles in compliance with federal rules dictating the number and size of breaks that driver must take while operating a truck.

How Information Is Obtained from a Black Box

That certain steps that must be followed to make sure that the information that is logged in a black box is preserved and can be accessed. After a truck accident, if a person does not act quickly, there is a substantial risk that information recorded in a black box might be destroyed.

By hiring legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident, you can make sure that appropriate steps are taken to preserve evidence. Trucking experts are often required to download information from the box.

Truck companies, however, often argue about which party is responsible for an accident, but black boxes can be particularly powerful in establishing how an accident occurred.

Information That Black Boxes Can Provide About How Accidents Occurred

The exact type of information that black boxes can provide about how an accident occurred depends on the company that manufactured the engine. Some of the pieces of information that black boxes are capable of providing include the following:

  • Communication that occurred between the truck and trucking company
  • GPS location information
  • How often the truck was driven over an established speed limit
  • Steering position
  • The daily or even monthly truck activity
  • The number of hard stops that the truck took
  • The number of times the truck was involved in a crash
  • Tire pressure
  • What the truck’s speed was immediately before an accident
  • Whether the air bag was deployed when the accident occurred
  • Whether brakes were used
  • Whether the truck’s operator was using cruise control
  • Whether the truck’s operator was wearing a seat belt
  • Whether there was sudden acceleration or deceleration

What will my truck accident lawyer do?

A truck accident lawyer has many roles during the process of a personal injury investigation and ultimately, settlement.

First, it is important that your truck accident lawyer conducts an investigation of the site of the accident, as the insurance companies and other parties involved are likely to be conducting their own investigation simultaneously.

Investigations into motor vehicle accidents, particularly truck accidents (which tend to result in more severe outcomes) are very common and can be conducted by truck accident lawyers, insurance companies, and even law enforcement officials.

In a truck accident where a severe injury was sustained or a fatality occurred, there is even likely to be a reconstruction of the accident scene, which typically involves investigating the cause of the accident.

While a police force will try to determine if any criminal activity, such as driving under the influence, was involved in the cause of the accident, an investigation undertaken by a third party such as an insurance company or an truck accident lawyer will be mostly focused on what caused the accident and who was at fault, even if there is no need for police involvement.

Your truck accident lawyer will have an important hand in determining liability, and the investigation of the accident scene is usually one of the first steps towards getting a settlement.

It is also likely that your truck accident lawyer will want to inspect your vehicle as well as the other vehicle involved in the crash.

Examining the vehicle can help to determine what exactly happened in an accident, and it can show who has liability. It can also determine what level of damage was done to the motor vehicle and what you are owed to repair it.

An accident reconstruction is another likely course of action that a truck accident lawyer will request, in order to get a better sense of what the accident was like (for instance, whether it was head on or a jack knifing incident) and the physics behind the accident itself.

The car accident reconstruction can help to answer a considerable number of questions, and can even be useful in determining overall liability.  

Getting into a truck accident can often be a life altering event. Serious injuries are unfortunately common in truck accidents, particularly for those who were in the passenger car and not the truck.

A trucking accident is more likely to cause serious damage to both the car and the human life it contains, often leading to severe head, neck, and back injuries. Brain trauma is likely and a traumatic brain injury, depending on the severity, could have life long implications for the victim.

Medical bills along with a medically necessary leave from work can lead to hard times financially for truck accident victims. Fortunately, seeking a settlement from the driver of the truck is a possibility.

The more serious the injuries (and if there was any loss of life sustained), the more important it is to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as it is possible – typically, once your medical condition is considered safe and stabilized and you are out of the woods.

Though some cases with minor injuries can be adequately assessed and handled by the injured victim of the truck accident, for those with severe injuries or even those who do not have any experience with legal proceedings should seek the consultation and legal services of a practiced and skilled truck accident lawyer.

The Danger of City Driving for Truck Operators

Truck drivers must deal with a large number of obstacles and risk factors that could lead to very serious accidents. These dangers increase when a truck driver is traveling through city streets. As a result, all motor vehicle operators should understand why these roads are particularly dangerous and what steps can be taken to make sure that everyone on the road remains safe.

Why City Streets Are Dangerous when Trucks Are Involved

There are more factors than high populations that make city streets particularly dangerous for truck drivers. Some of the other dangerous elements include the following:

  • Braking occurs more often. Due to traffic lights every few blocks in many city areas, motor vehicle operators often must make more frequent stops. These stops can place a significant amount of pressure on truck drivers, who must be particularly careful to take their delayed stopping time due to the size of trucks into consideration.
  • Harder to maneuver. Almost always, city roads are much narrower than highways. Particularly when a truck is making a turn, drivers must be careful to avoid being involved in an accident with another vehicle.
  • More obstacles and hazards. There are a large number of obstacles that truck drivers must learn to anticipate. This means that truck drivers must be particularly careful to avoid striking unanticipated objects or pedestrian. In many cases, truck operators respond to the increased number of dangerous elements by driving much slower than they would on more open roads like highways and rural country roads.

Tips for Motorists to Stay Safe on the Road

Truck drivers often must take detours from their routes, which results in these vehicles traveling through city streets.

While accidents with a truck can result in significant damage, there are some important steps that motor vehicle drivers can take to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. Some of the safety steps that you can take to avoid being involved in an accident with a truck while driving in the city include:

  • Allow truck drivers the right of way. If a truck is passing, motor vehicle operators should not try to speed up to get around the vehicle. Instead, it is a much better idea for a motor vehicle operator to slow down and allow the truck to proceed first.
  • Give trucks ample space. If you are stopping behind a truck on a hill, it is a wise idea to leave an ample amount of space between the vehicle and you. In some cases, trucks can roll backwards in the short time that it takes a truck driver to switch their foot from the brake to the gas.
  • Make sure that your vehicle can be seen. If a passenger vehicle driver is unable to see a truck’s mirror, the driver of the truck also likely cannot see the passenger vehicle drivers. Trucks have large blind spots, which make it impossible for truck drivers to see certain vehicles that are located to close to them. Each year, a large number of blind spot accidents occur.

Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney

It is important for motor vehicle operators to remember that driving near trucks can place them at serious risk of being involved in an accident.

While there are some steps that can be taken to reduce these accidents, there is no way to entirely avoid accidents of this nature from occurring.

When these accidents do occur, victims frequently find themselves facing a variety of complications including medical bills and lost wages.

Fortunately, at the Law Office of Randolph Rice, we have significant experience helping truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact our law office today for assistance.