Severn, MD Truck Accident Lawyer
A commercial truck is a dangerous vehicle to be hit by. The odds are stacked against the ordinary motorist. Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are big and heavy, so the resulting damage is often catastrophic when they hit another vehicle. Returning to normalcy after a serious event like a truck accident can be tough. You could be burdened with severe injuries, enormous medical expenses, or dealing with the death of a loved one.
An attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a truck accident lawsuit. They can help you sue the right people, for the right reasons, to make sure you get the financial compensation and peace of mind you deserve. Your attorney will help make sure you put forth the best possible case in your truck accident lawsuit.
The truck accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are reachable at (410) 694-7291 for a free case assessment.
Who to Sue in a Severn, MD Truck Accident
You might be able to sue several different entities in your truck accident lawsuit.
The driver might seem like the most obvious person to hold responsible. Indeed, sometimes the accident is the driver’s fault. However, it is also a good idea to sue the driver’s employer.
You can file a lawsuit against an employer if their employee’s negligence while on the job caused your injury. One of the reasons you can do this is that an employer is often the best choice to financially compensate a victim for their injuries. An employee might not be able to pay your damages.
Suing the Truck Driver
Whether you decide to sue the employer or not, the truck driver will almost certainly be a part of your lawsuit. The driver’s conduct on the road often causes a truck accident in the first place. You will likely have a claim against the truck driver if they violated common road safety rules, such as not maintaining sufficient distance from other vehicles or running traffic lights.
You might also be able to sue the driver’s employer in many circumstances. “Respondeat Superior,” or “let the master answer” in Latin, is the idea that employers are sometimes responsible for the actions of their employees. This legal doctrine allows injured persons to sue employers for the tortious conduct of their employees. The conduct in question, however, must be related closely enough to the employee’s job. For example, if the employee injures you off-duty, you probably won’t be able to sue their employer.
What Makes Employers Liable?
Some employee conduct that is unrelated to work can make an employer liable, but some conduct is too unrelated to attach liability.
“Frolics” are employee conduct that is too unrelated to work actively to make the employer liable. An example would be if an employee drives their company truck to hang out at their favorite bar during the work day and then hits you while leaving the parking lot. Bar hopping is not related to the trucker’s job, so their employer cannot be brought into the lawsuit.
A “Detour,” on the other hand, is closely related enough to make the employer liable. Examples of detours in a truck accident context are stopping at rest points to eat or go to the bathroom or pulling into a truck stop to stay the night. If, for example, a trucker hits you pulling into a highway gas station, you likely will be able to bring their employer into the lawsuit.
If you believe that a problem with the truck itself is the cause of your truck accident, you might have a products liability claim against the manufacturer. A products liability claim is when you allege that some design or manufacturing problem with the truck caused your accident. Products liability claims fall into two main camps: design defects and manufacturing defects.
A design defect occurs when a product works as intended but is still dangerous. For example, if a truck has brakes designed that stop the truck over a certain distance and time, but those brakes are not inherently powerful enough to safely stop the truck, there is a problem with the design itself, even if the brakes work as they are supposed to.
A manufacturing defect is a problem that arises during the manufacturing process that makes an otherwise safe, properly working product dangerous. Using materials that are not up to specifications to build the truck or trailer is an example of a manufacturing defect. If the truck is missing parts while underway, that is also a manufacturing defect.
Truck-Specific Accidents in Severn, MD
Although trucks are just as prone to garden variety car accidents caused by running a red light or merging into oncoming traffic, some types of accidents are unique to commercial trucks. Below is a guide to some particularly dangerous accidents that might befall a big rig truck.
Fishtailing and Jackknife Accidents
Fishtailing is when the rear wheels of a truck lose their grip on the road and start swaying back and forth. Fishtailing can also occur if the truck is incorrectly loaded.
The sliding of the wheels causes the vehicle to move unpredictably, and the driver cannot always maintain control under these circumstances. Fishtailing frequently happens when road conditions are bad, such as during a snowstorm or icy weather.
Jackknifing is often the end result of serious fishtailing. In a Jackknife accident, the truck cab becomes a fulcrum around which the trailer swings. In particularly serious cases, the trailer could fully detach and go flying down the roadway.
In a large vehicle like a truck, side-to-side motions combined with the flexible linkage to a trailer can create a wide danger area, and these kinds of accidents can easily be lethal.
An underride accident occurs when a car following a truck collides with the trailer’s rear end. Older trucks did not have any safety measures on their trailers, so often an accident of this type would take the entire top half off of the rear vehicle as well as anyone inside. Modern trucks frequently have beams on their trailers to make sure this does not happen. Still, this type of accident can cause severe damage and injuries.
While it might seem like this accident is the other driver’s fault (they did hit the truck, after all), that is not always the case. The truck driver’s failure to brake in time or maintain a safe distance from other cars might make the accident their fault.
Call our Severn, MD Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Our truck accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can are ready to take your call at (410) 694-7291 and provide a free case assessment.