In the winter months, snowplows provide a necessary service, but that does not clear the drivers of fault if they cause an accident while plowing. Snowplows often damage the road surface, but they could also cause damage to cars parked along the side of the road. The size and awkwardness of these vehicles could also contribute to crashes involving other drivers.
The Maryland lawyers for car accidents caused by snowplows at Rice, Murtha & Psoras represent victims of snowplow accidents, and we work to help victims get compensation for their injuries and vehicle damage. If you or a loved one faced injuries in a snowplow accident, call our attorneys today at (410) 694-7291 to discuss your case in a free legal consultation.
Determining Whom to Sue in a Snowplow Accident in Maryland
Your ability to sue a snowplow service will often depend on who the plow driver works for and what kind of arrangement they have. This may be confusing, but it is common for lawyers to make these kinds of assessments after an accident to see if there are additional parties beyond the driver that you can hold accountable for your accident.
Government Snowplow Workers
Many snowplows are hired by the Maryland government or local city and municipal governments to plow roads. These snowplow drivers are sometimes government employees, and the government usually has limitations on when it can be sued and how much you can sue for in Maryland. If you were hit by a government-employed snowplow, talk to a lawyer about what limitations might be imposed on your case and whether you can sue the individual driver or private company instead of making a claim against the government.
Independent Contractors and Individual Plow Drivers
Another reason that you might be restricted to suing the driver alone is if the driver is an independent contractor. When this happens, the driver is not an “employee” of any plowing company and is solely responsible for the accidents they cause. This is usually okay though because you can still sue the driver for the injuries and damages they caused. Many snowplow drivers are individuals that buy a snowplow and put it on their truck in the winter to make some extra money – so cases against these individuals are filed solely against that individual.
Private Snowplow Companies
If the snowplow driver who hit you worked for a private snowplow company, then you can often sue the company they work for alongside them in court. This potentially allows you to get compensated through the snowplow company’s insurance, which might be better able to cover your injuries. It also allows you to potentially hold the company responsible instead of the individual, who might have trouble affording damages.
Mechanics and Other Parties
You can also sue other people involved in a snowplow accident. If a mechanic attached a plow to someone’s truck incorrectly and the loose or broken plow contributed to your crash, the person who negligently attached the plow could be held responsible. Similarly, if the plow driver is an independent contractor but the plow truck itself is owned and maintained by some company, then that company could be liable for any mechanical failures that contributed to the crash. Talk to a lawyer about whom to sue and how to include other parties in your snowplow injury lawsuit.
Proving Fault in a Snowplow Accident
Many times, the circumstances that lead to snowplow accidents are difficult to break down to determine who is at fault. Snowplows and cars often share the road in inclement weather, meaning that both drivers could be thrown off-course by slippery road surfaces. In some cases, this would not be their fault – but mistakes like speeding on snowy roads or failing to slow down into a turn could easily cause crashes.
Breaking down fault in a car accident involves looking at which drivers were “negligent” behind the wheel. Negligence consists of a breach of some legal duty that the driver was supposed to follow, and that caused the crash. For instance, speeding would breach the duty to obey the speed limit, and driving under the influence would breach DUI/DWI laws. Other mistakes behind the wheel could be simpler, such as failing to signal, stopping suddenly, or pulling out of a stop sign before making a complete stop. Any such mistakes could become the legal “cause” of a car accident.
If a snowplow driver is cruising around town looking for driveways to plow, they could make sudden stops and pull over to the side of the road without warning, potentially putting people in danger. A plow driver actively plowing a road may need to back up, turn around, and drive at odd angles to plow the street, but they must do so with reasonable care and avoid unnecessary risks to other drivers on the road. If they fail to uphold reasonable standards, that can constitute negligence the same as a traffic violation could.
Talk to a lawyer about how your accident happened to get help proving your claim. Many car accident cases are tricky in Maryland because any shared fault on behalf of the victim could block their claim, so it is important to have a lawyer represent you.
Call Our Maryland Snowplow Accident and Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’ Maryland lawyers for car accidents caused by snowplows represent victims and their families throughout Maryland in car accident lawsuits against negligent snowplow operators. Whether you were hit by a large commercial snowplow or a truck with a snowplow attached, our Maryland personal injury lawyers can help you hold the driver accountable and help you work to get you the compensation you need for your injuries. For a free legal consultation on your potential claim, call us today at (410) 694-7291.