Combination of highways hot spot for truck accidents.
The complex serpentine-like highways surrounding Baltimore Maryland, including Interstate 95, Interstate 83 and the inner and outer loops of the 695 Beltway are the perfect storm for accidents due to copious amounts of transport and commuter traffic that travel those roadways. Transport trucks delivering cargo from the Northeast to the Southeast United States pass through this area daily and commercial truck accidents cause road safety and legal problems for Baltimore residents and visitors. Commercial truck accidents occur on a regular basis in the Baltimore area causing serious injuries and fatalities as a common result. Many of the truck accidents are caused by speeding, weather conditions, tailgating, improper lane changes, fatigued driving, reckless driving, mechanical problems and driving while impaired.
The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration announced in October 2018 that 2017 highway fatality numbers are down compared to the two years prior, but still estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year, of which 81% occur in multi-vehicle crash situations. Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident. Most of the time the truck accident is caused by a passenger vehicle and approximately 16% of the time the fault falls with the driver of the truck. Trucks fall into two classes, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and those weighing more than 10,000 pounds which may move them to the Commercial Motor Vehicle category and change some of the laws and damages to be sought after in personal injury and wrongful death claims. The size of a truck causes more damage than that of a passenger-sized vehicle and is accounted for in formal settlements between parties. Due to the increased load and weight on trucks, the braking ability is also compromised under emergent braking conditions.
The basis for most civil lawsuits is negligence, and settlements are based on the degree of fault exhibited to cause the injuries sustained. Determining fault is not always easy and negligence laws are established at the state level. Maryland is a “fault” state, and the negligent driver’s insurance will typically be responsible for paying repairs, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering of the other driver. In Maryland if you contributed to the accident to any degree, you are barred from recovery because your behavior created an unreasonable risk to you. When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of a reasonable person, and it results in an injury, it is called “negligence.” To win a negligence claim it is best to hire legal counsel to argue the elements of a negligence case including duty, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause and damages sought after.
What should I do if I am involved in a truck accident in Baltimore, Maryland?
- If you are able, check on the condition of the people involved in the accident;
- Call the police or emergency responders if needed;
- Get a written accident report;
- Remain at the accident scene;
- Exchange driver and insurance information;
- Get witness contact information;
- Call your insurance company to set up a claim;
- Seek out medical treatment if necessary;
- Take pictures of the scene, and the vehicle damages;
- If the truck is a Commercial Vehicle, get State Trooper report;
- Call an accident attorney to determine “fault” and actions toward a proceeding to address damages and injuries sustained.
If a truck falls in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Category, additional reports will have to be completed and filed along with a crash report in accordance with Maryland law.
Seek Legal Counsel.
Hiring a legal professional to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to your truck accident case is a viable solution to this overwhelming task if you are an accident victim who sustained damages caused by an overturned truck. Accidents may be caused by one driver, several drivers, road conditions, weather, natural or other causes. Determining the percentage of fault is a matter for those who have reviewed police reports, witness reports, car damages, roadway marks and other factors present at the time of the accident. Determining charges based upon acts of negligence that caused the truck-involved accident is a matter for the law enforcement agencies.
Royston, Mueller, McLean & Reid, LLP
102 West Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 600
Towson, MD 21204