Being involved in any kind of vehicle collision can be a terrifying and confusing experience, but collisions with large trucks are often the most serious of all. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, as well as the fact that they sometimes carry dangerous cargo, accidents involving trucks often result in serious damage, including severe injuries. Although you may be in shock, it is important that you take swift and decisive action after the accident to document evidence for a claim for damages against the driver and their company.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our experienced Carroll County, Maryland truck accident attorneys know how to fight for you to receive the types of payment you deserve after being the victim of a truck accident. We will work with you to collect evidence, reconstruct what occurred, and file a lawsuit based on negligence or vicarious liability. Call our office today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Truck Accident in Carroll County, MD
The first thing you should do after an accident is to make sure that you and your passengers do not need medical attention. If you feel injured at all, you should get to a doctor or hospital right away so your injuries can be assessed and documented. If you are able, you should also check to see that the truck driver is not seriously injured to the point where you will need to call 911 to get them help.
Assuming you are well enough and the car is not too damaged to drive, you should next move your car out of the way of traffic and to safe place. At this point you should contact the police if you have not already done so. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should begin to document the scene of the accident by collecting evidence, mostly through taking photographs and videos of the damage. This on-the-scene documentation will be extremely useful when your lawyer is making a case.
When the police arrive, be sure to cooperate and to give them a detailed account of what occurred so your story will be accurately be reflected in the report they make. You will also need to exchange information with other driver, including name, address, driving and insurance information. After you have finished at the scene, your first call should be to your insurance company to report what occurred. Your next call should be to an experienced Carroll County, MD truck accident attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Reed to help you deal with the insurance and begin work on filing a personal injury claim.
How Fault Is Proven in a Carroll County, MD Truck Accident Case
In order to succeed in a personal injury case, you have to prove that the other party was negligent. To prove negligence after a truck accident, a skilled lawyer will focus on demonstrating four things: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Truck drivers have duties, or responsibilities, under the traffic laws of the state in which they are operating, such as Maryland. They also have additional duties under regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These include restrictions on how much weight than they can carry and how many hours in a row they can work without rest.
Your lawyer will first work to show that one of these duties was breached by the truck driver (or by their employer). For example, if the truck driver makes an illegal U-turn or drives through a red light, they would be in breach of their duty to abide by Maryland traffic laws. If they had worked more hours than they should have, they would be in breach of FMCSA regulations.
The next part is showing that the breach caused the accident. An experienced truck accident lawyer like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work to show that this is the case through the evidence assembled. Finally, the lawyer must show that there are possible damages that resulted from the accident, such as hospital bills and lost wages.
Vicarious Liability and Contributory Negligence in Carroll County, MD
Under the theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held liable for the actions of an employee within the scope of their employment. Usually, truck drivers are within the scope of their employment when driving, and so their employers can often be sued as a defendant in the case as well. This is important because the company will usually have “deeper pockets” to pay out damages than a single truck driver.
It is important to note that Maryland courts use a formula known as contributory negligence. Essentially, this means that if you are also at fault for the accident, even in a very slight way, you cannot collect damages from the other party. Thus, if you were speeding at the time of an accident where a truck ran a red light and smashed into you, you may be prevented from collecting damages.
Types of Damages for Truck Accidents in Carroll County, MD
Damages can vary depending on the severity of the accident. Common types of damages awarded in truck accident cases include hospital and physical therapy bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages in some cases. If the victim of the truck accident dies, close family or the estate can sue under a theory of wrongful death. Damages may be available for lost consortium as well as the lost wages of a spouse or parent.
Call Our Experienced Carroll County, MD Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Truck accidents can be intense and can result in serious injuries that keep you from making a living, at least temporarily. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Carrol County, Maryland truck accident attorneys have many years of experience fighting for victims of truck accidents to receive just compensation. We will leave no stone unturned in collecting evidence to make the best possible case for you. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.