Being involved in a truck accident is an experience no one should have to go through. Unfortunately, every year thousands of people are injured or lose their lives in devastating truck crashes in the U.S. The financial consequences associated with this type of accident can be even more overwhelming as medical bills keep piling up. The Baltimore truck accident attorneys at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras invite you to keep reading as we discuss whether you should sue the truck driver or the trucking company following an accident.
Who Should I Sue After a Truck Accident in Maryland?
Truck accidents can be complicated. In truck crashes, there may be more than one liable party. Therefore, determining liability in these cases will depend on the totality of the circumstances. After a truck collision, you may feel shaken up, overwhelmed, or lost. You may wonder who is liable for your injuries and losses. To establish who is responsible for your accident, there are different elements to consider and actions to be taken.
One of the things you should do is seek medical care. Calling 9-1-1 can ensure that you obtain medical assistance after your accident. Once a healthcare professional has assessed you, make sure to report the accident to the police. This step is critical in establishing liability. The parties involved in a crash may claim they had nothing to do with it and that they are not at fault. However, a police officer can investigate the scene, ask any nearby witness about the crash, and fill out a report. This report can be essential down the road as it may point to whoever is responsible for your accident.
You should also strive to gather as much information as you can. Make sure to collect the name, address, phone number, and insurance information of all parties involved. This information can be valuable in the event of a claim, and it can save you time down the road. You are also encouraged to take photos of the crash site so that you have visual evidence of the event.
All the data you collect can help identify who is liable for your accident. However, things can get complicated depending on the employment status of the truck driver. A truck driver can be a direct employee of the trucking company or they can be an independent contractor. If a truck driver is the direct employee of a company, the trucking company can be liable for the actions of their driver. However, the story can be different for independent contractors.
Generally, an independent contractor is not considered a direct employee of the company they provide services to. Under this status, the employer cannot be sued for the actions of the sub-contracted service provider. In such a situation, you must sue the truck driver directly.
However, federal rules have made it possible for people to sometimes sue a trucking company even if their driver is an independent contractor. For instance, if an independently-contracted truck driver gets involved in a car accident or motorcycle crash and the truck advertised their employer on the side, the employer could be liable.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Truck Accident
After being involved in a truck accident in Maryland, you may not know what to do or where to turn for help. Fortunately, the legal system allows you to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. The liable party’s insurance company may try to make a low-ball offer to avoid going to court. However, it is in your best interest to hold your decision until you have talked to a lawyer first. You can recover greater compensation by taking your case to court. However, in order to obtain the compensation that you need, you have the burden of proving that the truck driver or the trucking company was negligent.
Part of the process involves showing that all the elements of negligence are present in your case. For instance, the first thing you need to show is that the truck driver owed you a duty of care, which is the conduct expected of a prudent, reasonable person. In other words, the truck driver owed you a duty to drive safely and avoid an accident. Once you have established the duty of care, you can proceed to show how the defendant breached their duty of care. In other words, you will need to demonstrate that the truck driver did not take the necessary precautions to avoid an otherwise preventable accident. This is the step where negligence is attributed.
Next, you will need to show there was causation. During this stage, you will need to show a linking nexus between the defendant’s breach of duty and your injuries and losses. Finally, you will need to prove the losses for which you are seeking compensation. Once you have satisfied these requirements, the court may grant you the compensation you need for your personal injuries and other losses.
Maryland Truck Accident Attorney Offering Free Consultations
Being involved in a truck accident can be an overwhelming experience. The aftermath of an accident can turn your life upside down. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we understand the difficulties a truck accident can bring to the victim and their families. That is why we work tirelessly to uphold and defend your rights as an injured victim. Skilled Baltimore personal injury lawyer Randolph Rice can help you recover the compensation you deserve following your truck accident. Call our law offices today for a free, confidential consultation at (410) 694-7291.