Truck accidents are a major headache for motorists in this country, especially in a state like Maryland with many interstate highways. These accidents can be very scary and emotionally scarring experiences. In addition, because of the size and weight of the trucks involved, severe physical injury and even death is more likely to result than with regular car accidents. It can be overwhelming to think about anything besides your safety in the immediate aftermath of such an accident, but taking swift and decisive steps can be key to filing a successful lawsuit down the line.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Frederick County, MD truck attorneys have years of experience fighting for victims of truck accidents to receive just compensation. We can help guide you through each step of the process of filing a personal injury suit. For a free consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.
What to Do after a Truck Accident in Frederick County, MD
Your first priority after being involved in a collision with should be making sure you and your passengers who have been injured get medical help right away. Even for minor injuries, you should be sure to see a doctor and have a record made of what sort of pain you are experiencing. If anyone, including the driver of the truck, has serious injuries, you should call 911 right away.
If you are physically okay and your car is drivable, you should move it out of the way of traffic to a safe area. Once you have done this, you should contact the police if you have not already. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should begin to document the scene by taking photographs and videos of the damage to your vehicle. You should also exchange information with the truck driver, including your names, addresses, driver’s license and registration information, and insurance information.
When the police arrive, be sure to recount the accident to them in as much detail as possible. The report they make will be an important piece of evidence in a future case. Once you leave the scene, the first call you make should be to your insurance company to give them a full accounting of what happened. After this, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras right away. We can help deal with the insurance companies and begin work on a potential personal injury suit.
How Fault is Proven in a Frederick County, MD Truck Accident Case
In order to succeed in a personal injury suit, you must prove the other party was at fault in some way. Fault is typically proven by showing negligence on the part of the other party or their employer. A skilled lawyer will demonstrate the truck driver’s negligence by showing four things: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Truck drivers, just like anyone using the roads, have a duty to comply with all traffic laws of the state of Maryland. Truck drivers also have certain special duties under regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These include limits on the amount of cargo they can carry to maintain a safe weight and limits on the number of hours they can drive without resting.
Your lawyer will work to show that one of these duties was breached by the truck driver. For example, perhaps the truck driver made an illegal left turn, against the laws of the state of Maryland. Then, your lawyer will work to show that this illegal left turn was the cause of the accident. This is done by reconstructing the scene of the accident through witness testimony and the pictures and video from the scene. Finally, the lawyer will show that damages resulted from the accident, such as medical bills or lost wages.
The Doctrines of Vicarious Liability and Contributory Negligence in Frederick County, MD
The doctrine of vicarious liability holds that employers can be held liable for negligent actions by their employees that occur within the scope of their employment. For truckers, they are within the scope of their employment most of the time they are driving. Therefore, it is often possible to sue the trucking company that employed the driver under a theory of vicarious liability. This can be beneficial to a case because the company will typically have “deeper pockets” from which to pay damages than a single truck driver.
In Maryland, another doctrine known as contributory negligence in relevant to personal injury cases like truck accidents. This doctrine holds that if you are even slightly responsible for the accident, you cannot collect damages from the other party. Thus, if you were slightly speeding when the truck took an illegal turn and rammed into you, your claim may be void due to contributory negligence. An experienced truck accident lawyer like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can work to show that all the fault for the accident lies with the other party.
Damages for Truck Accidents in Frederick County, MD
Damages for truck accidents can greatly vary depending on the seriousness of the accident and the type of damage caused. Typical types of damages that result from these cases include reimbursement for all medical bills related to the crash, lost wages from time you had to miss work, damages for pain and suffering you endured, and punitive damages in some cases. If the victim dies in the accident, their next of kin can sue under a theory of wrongful death for damages including loss of consortium and loss of income.
Call Our Skilled Frederick, County MD Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Truck accidents can be a scary experience. Unfortunately, the accident is sometimes only the beginning of your problems as repair and medical bills follow up in the aftermath. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Frederick County, Maryland truck accident lawyers have years of experiencing filing successful lawsuits on behalf of truck accident victims. We will work to get you the compensation you are entitled to for your pain. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free, confidential consultation.