Tractor-trailers are a staple of the United States economy, and these large vehicles transport billions of tons of goods all over the country and travel millions of miles’ worth of roads each year. Despite their economic importance, it’s crucial for everyone to appreciate the inherently dangerous nature of these vehicles and know what to do in the event of a trucking accident. If you’ve been involved in a motor-vehicle accident involving a commercial or semi-truck, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation with a Baltimore truck accident attorney today.
Because they can cause serious injuries, commercial trucks are often subject to lawsuits after a collision. When a lawsuit comes up involving trucking collisions, one of the biggest factors involved is what caused the crash. In terms of truck crashes, this is usually more difficult because it can involve a number of parties and liability may be placed on multiple people. This brings up many questions, but it is important for individuals — whether they have been involved in a crash with a commercial truck or not — to know what causes a truck accident and the impact that can come as a result.
There are several factors that typically play into a trucking accident in Baltimore. Whether it be technical issues with a vehicle, weather conditions or driver-specific, below are a few of the most common causes for truck accidents in Baltimore, Maryland and surrounding areas.
Because these trucks travel different types of roads — steep hills and sharp turns — and overloaded truck can cause the truck to either turnover on a sharp turn or make it difficult for the truck to stop going downhill. It can also make it tougher on the truck to go uphill, causing a strain on the hitch and potentially breaking. Overloaded trucks can also jackknife if the driver must hit the brakes all of a sudden. Similarly, if the trailer is loaded heavier on one side, there is a high potential for a turnover crash, and any vehicle that is nearby can be involved, resulting in serious injuries.
Some of the most common defective parts on a commercial truck include the brakes, tires, trailer hitch, seatbelts, airbags, and more. For instance, if the trucks brakes fail as it is going downhill, this will make it difficult or impossible to stop, and the vehicles in front of the truck can be struck as a result. Also, if the tires have a defect and blow out, it can cause the entire truck to lose control, often resulting in a jackknife, overturn, or other kind of collision.
Much like inspection must occur, maintenance is very important for the truck. The trucking company is expected to make sure all parts on the truck are safe on a regular basis. As soon as something is noticeably wrong and has been identified, the owner must take action to fix the issue prior to letting it go out for its next delivery. Maintenance is important to make sure the brakes, engine, transmission, hitch, tires, and other important components are good to go.
Accidents involving commercial motor vehicles have many unique considerations that may affect how a plaintiff files a claim or seeks compensation following a crash. A general understanding of how these claims work will help each plaintiff know what to expect from the claims process.
1. Finding the Liable Parties. One of the things that make truck accident cases unusual is that they often involve multiple defendants or liable parties. In order to collect fair compensation in the wake of a truck accident, plaintiffs must identify as many potential defendants as possible, which may include more than just the driver. A trucking company, government entity, insurance company, contractor, or even the manufacturer of a defective vehicle may be responsible for your injuries, and liable for any damages that result.
Determining the parties responsible for a truck accident requires the assistance of an attorney. The lawyers at Murphy Falcon Murphy help identify the parties responsible for a truck accident and hold them accountable for the damages their negligence caused.
2. Filing Claims Against the Government. In some cases, truck accident claims may involve a government entity as a potential defendant. When this applies, the process for filing a claim follows a different procedure. Plaintiffs have a limited amount of time to file a document, called the notice of claim, to the government entity who allegedly committed negligence. The time limit for filing this document varies by municipality but could be as short as 30 days. Plaintiffs who want to seek damages from the government should consult an attorney as soon as possible following a truck accident.
3. The Settlement Process. Truck accident claims can be complex matters to settle, especially when the cases involve multiple defendants. In some cases, plaintiffs may negotiate several claims with several different insurance companies in order to collect fair compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering. An attorney is integral to this process, as he or she will fight for fair compensation on your behalf and demand full reimbursement for the harms you suffered.
When coming to a settlement in a truck accident case, an attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies to gain compensation for several types of damages, including:
4. Litigation. If settlement attempts out of court do not yield a fair settlement for the plaintiff, the next step is to consider litigation. This is a formal court process in which a jury will hear the elements of the case, both attorneys present evidence, and the jury determines if negligence occurred and how much a claim is worth. The process can be lengthy but may be the best option for securing a fair claim amount in some cases.
Tractor-trailer accidents can happen unpredictably. Injured drivers should understand their legal options after suffering injuries and other damages from trucking accidents, and the team at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore can help. We’ve built our reputation on fearless representation of our clients’ rights in court, and over the years we’ve helped past clients secure more than $700 million in compensation from their legal claims.
If you’ve been harmed in a crash involving a large commercial truck, it’s important to take swift legal action and speak with an accident lawyer. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the liable party, but having a lawyer on your side can help you determine exactly who is accountable and what kind of damages you can seek.
To discuss your potential case with a skilled and experienced accident attorney, call (410) 983-6266 to schedule a free consultation with our Baltimore lawyers today.