Commercial drivers with CDLs are on the road more than most drivers. This puts them at a greater risk of accidents simply because more hours on the road creates more opportunities for accidents. If you are a CDL driver injured in a crash, you might be left with injuries that keep you from working and pain and suffering that your auto insurance just won’t cover. Our Maryland truck accident lawyer at Rice, Murtha & Psoras explains what you can do and how you can get your damages covered after getting into an accident as a commercial driver.
Can Commercial Drivers Sue for Injuries After a Crash in Maryland?
First off, your ability to file an auto accident injury claim in Maryland is not usually restricted by insurance laws. Many commercial drivers in Maryland are indeed from Maryland, but truckers injured in auto accidents on I-95 or other interstate roads could be from out of state and might not be familiar with Maryland law. Because Maryland is an “at-fault” or “tort” state instead of a “no-fault” state, injured drivers usually have the right to sue for accidents without damage thresholds or restrictions.
Commercial drivers might also be concerned that they would need to use workers’ compensation or some other program to get coverage for on-the-job injuries in Maryland instead of suing. While workers’ compensation rules prevent you from suing your employer in many cases, they do not stop you from suing a third party, such as the driver who hit you. These rules also do not usually apply to independent contractors, so many owner-operators and other drivers who are not “employees” can still sue anyone responsible for their injuries
Commercial Drivers Suing an At-Fault Driver for Injuries in a Maryland Truck Accident
When another driver causes your injuries in Maryland, you can usually sue them in Maryland. This allows commercial drivers injured in crashes to seek compensation that might not otherwise be included in auto insurance policies. Seeking these damages often means claiming 100% of the damages you faced for medical care and lost wages, plus damages for pain and suffering, if your case is successful.
When you sue an at-fault driver, you will need to prove what they did to cause the crash. Many standards are placed on commercial drivers and truckers, and so the other driver’s lawyers might argue that you violated FMCSA rules or otherwise failed to uphold CDL driving standards. However, if you were the victim and the facts are in your favor, your Maryland or Baltimore truck accident attorney will fight to prove that, and you may overcome any of these defenses or counterclaims.
Often, commercial drivers are as careful as they can be with their trucks, vans, or busses, and other drivers – who do not have nearly as many hours on the road – are the ones who cause these crashes. Proving that a driver crashed into your vehicle, ran a red light, pulled out at the wrong time, rear-ended you, or drove in your blind spot can all help prove that they were negligent. More severe acts they commit like drunk driving, texting while driving, and reckless driving can also help you prove their fault.
Suing Your Employer for Trucking and Commercial Driving Injuries in Maryland
In some cases, you might be able to sue the trucking company, delivery company, or other company that hired you for damages you faced while at work. The facts of your case will determine whether or not you can include your employer in the lawsuit and how much of your damages they will be responsible for.
Employers are usually responsible for their commercial drivers’ accidents in a few ways.
Maintenance and Equipment Issues
First, if the employer was responsible for vehicle maintenance and failed to properly repair or upkeep the vehicle, then you could be entitled to hold them liable for any equipment malfunctions that might have contributed to a crash. An example of this is when a trucking company fails to safely retread the tires on a truck, leading to a blowout at highway speeds.
Many truck drivers and delivery drivers are not the ones to personally oversee the loading of their vehicle. This could mean that cargo ends up stacked unsafely inside a trailer or ends up being loaded in ways that could increase the chance of fishtailing or jackknifing. If this caused the crash, you could be entitled to claim damages against the party that loaded your vehicle – whether that be a client or your employer.
If your employer loaded your vehicle with hazardous materials but failed to tell you about that risk, that might not contribute to causing your accident, but it could certainly contribute to making your injuries worse after a crash. Flammable or hazardous materials could go up in flames or make a driver sick from exposure. You can hold your employer liable for the effects of these materials in some accidents where they failed to inform you of the risks.
Forced Commercial Driving Violations
Many injured truckers and commercial drivers are involved in accidents because their employers were not looking out for their health and safety nor the health and safety of others on the road. When trucking companies force drivers to work beyond their hours of service limits or force them to drive through exhaustion, they put everyone at risk. Trucking companies have been found to hold drivers’ paychecks hostage until they falsify logs or misreport hours. If this kind of manipulation happened to you and contributed to your crash, you are a victim in many ways, and you could be entitled to damages.
Call Our Lawyer for Commercial Driver Accidents in Maryland
If you are a driver with a CDL and you were injured in a crash in Maryland while on the job, Rice, Murtha & Psoras may be able to help. Our attorneys represent commercial vehicle accident victims, including commercial drivers of trucks, vans, buses, and other vehicles. For a free case consultation, contact our Maryland personal injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.