Accidents involving trucks can be extremely dangerous and deadly, even more so than your typical car accident. Given their size and weight, trucks are prone to causing severe damage when they involved in a crash. Being the victim of a truck accident can be a terrifying and disorienting experience. While your first priority of course must be dealing with any injuries you and your passengers sustained, you also must act quickly if you want to gather the information necessary to make a case against the truck driver.
Handling all of this alone can be overwhelming. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Allegany County, Maryland truck accident attorneys have years of experience helping to guide victims through the post-accident period. We will help you document the evidence and build a case and will fight for you to be properly compensated in court. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
What to Do after a Truck Accident in Allegany County, MD
Taking swift and decisive actions after a truck accident can be highly beneficial to your personal injury case down the line. The first thing you should do, of course, is to make sure you and your passengers are unharmed. If anyone is injured, you need to contact emergency services or get them to a hospital as quickly as possible for treatment. You should also check to see if the individual in the truck is harmed, even if they were at fault, and contact help for them if they are unable to.
Once you have done this, you should try to move your vehicle out of the way of traffic to avoid further harm. If the accident happened in the middle of a highway, for example, you should try to pull over to the side of the road or into a rest stop or parking lot. Once you feel that you are in a safe place, you should then proceed to call the police to make an accident report.
While waiting for the police to arrive you should try to collect and preserve as much evidence from the scene as possible. One of the most important things you can do is to take pictures and videos documenting the scene and the damage from the accident. This type of on-the-scene firsthand evidence can prove to be invaluable later on when trying to show what occurred.
Once the police arrive, be sure to give them a detailed account of what occurred so that their report will accurately represent your recollections. You will also need to exchange information with the truck driver, including driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Once you have finished at the scene, you should call your insurance company right away to report the accident. Your next call should be to an experienced truck accident lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice who can help you deal with both insurance and filing a potential personal injury case.
Proving Fault in an Allegany County, MD Truck Accident
In order to succeed in a personal injury suit after a truck accident, you will first have to demonstrate that the truck driver was negligent in some way that led to the accident and your injuries. A skilled personal injury lawyer will look to show four things to prove negligence: a duty, a breach, causation, and damages. Truck drivers have many duties when they are on the road, starting with following all Maryland driving laws. Trucking companies are also regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which establishes further duties related to keeping the weight of truck cargo below a certain level and the driver taking proper rest breaks, among other things.
The next step in demonstrating fault is to show that the truck driver breached a duty. It could be something obvious like the driver going over the speed limit, making an illegal turn, or running a red-light. It could also be something that requires more digging by an experienced attorney, such as records demonstrating that the driver did not take rest breaks required by the FMCSA.
The attorney will then work to prove causation, often the trickiest part of the case. You must show that the breach of a duty by the truck driver was the cause of the accident. For example, you would need to demonstrate that if the truck driver had not been speeding, the accident would not have occurred. Finally, you will need to show possible damages, such as hospital bills or compensation for lost job wages, that stem from the accident which the driver caused. If the driver was killed in the accident, immediate family can instead sue under a wrongful death theory.
Contributory Negligence and Vicarious Liability in Allegany County, MD
In Maryland, a doctrine known as contributory negligence exists which states that if you are also at fault in the accident, even in the slightest way, you cannot recover damages from the other party. For example, if the truck driver was speeding but you ran a red light, the court will likely rule that both parties were at fault and neither can collect damages from the other. An experienced truck accident attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can work to convince the court or a jury that fault lies solely in the hands of the truck driver.
Finally, many times an individual truck driver will not have the “deep pockets” to pay for all the damages for which you are asking. However, most of these truck drivers work for large companies that do have deep pockets. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, if the truck driver was working at the time of the accident, their employer can also be held responsible for damages from any accident. Your lawyer will likely advise you to add the employer as a defendant in the lawsuit to increase your chance of actually getting paid.
Call Our Allegany County, MD Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Truck accidents can be very scary and can cause serious damage to you, your passengers, and your property. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Allegany County, Maryland truck accident lawyers have years of experience representing clients in personal injury suits against truck drivers and their employers and collecting significant damages for our clients. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.