America runs on its roads, and passenger vehicles share the same roads as cargo trucks. Most of the time, trucks and cars share the roads safely, and you pay no mind to the behemoth trucks riding alongside you. Colliding with one in an accident is a different story though.
If you are a victim of a truck accident, let the Bel Air truck accident lawyers of Pinder Plotkin help you with investigating the accident, handling the other side’s lawyers, and putting together a case that gets you the compensation you deserve and need. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers has recovered millions of dollars for clients.
Call us right away at (410) 525-5337 to get started. Your initial consultation is free.
Truck Accident Statistics for Bel Air Maryland
Over 80 percent of all traffic accidents in the state of Maryland happen in the metro area that surrounds Baltimore and Washington, D.C., an area that includes Bel Air. Nearby Interstate 95, a highway used by many area residents, is considered a “Risky Road” given its propensity for many accidents.
In 2017 alone, there were nearly 800 fatal vehicle crashes. Almost 50 of them involved trucks with a gross vehicle rating over 10,000 pounds. While accounting for just over 6 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents in the state, over 70 percent of the fatalities were people in passenger vehicles, not the truck drivers. There were also pedestrians and bicyclists killed in these accidents.
What Should You Do After a Truck Accident?
Taking the right actions after a truck accident is important for your health and for your ability to recover compensation.
Call 911 Immediately
You should call 911 immediately to get emergency responders dispatched as soon as possible. Truck accidents often cause severe injuries that require urgent medical care. The police will prepare an accident report based on interviews of the truck driver, passengers of other vehicles, and any others involved in the accident. They will also take statements from witnesses. An accident report makes a big difference in proving your case.
If you are not seriously hurt and can safely assist others, you should also try to help others who are injured. If someone has a serious injury, do not lift them. You should wait for the paramedics to arrive.
It is important to exchange information with the other parties involved in the crash including the driver’s license number, names, contact information as well as insurance information.
Get Medical Attention
If you have visible injuries, it’s important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Even if you do not have any visible injuries, it is important to seek medical attention as serious injuries are not always evident in such accidents. One of the most common injuries is a traumatic brain injury and that doesn’t always present immediately.
Document the Scene
While there will be a lot of information in the police report but it is also important for you to document the scene of the accident. Take your phone and take photos and videos of the accident site. Take photos of the vehicles involved in the accident, roads leading to the accident scene, and any other relevant information including information from witnesses.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are extremely complex due to a variety of reasons. This is why you should always hire the services of an experienced truck accident lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster. It is also important that you do not admit any liability without first speaking with an experienced truck accident lawyer.
How Can a Bel Air Truck Accident Lawyer Help?
Truck accident lawyers can help in four phases:
An experienced team of attorneys will conduct their own investigation. They will go through police reports, medical records, and other relevant evidence in order to determine the cause of the accident and the parties who are at fault for the accident.
Filing a Claim
A lot of paperwork is required to correctly file a claim in truck accident cases. This paperwork needs to be correct and should be filed within certain time limits. A number of documents also need to be filed along with the claim to get the compensation you deserve and an experienced attorney can help you with all these things.
In some truck accident cases, it is the truck company that is responsible for paying compensation to the accident victims but in most such cases, you will be dealing with the insurance carrier of the trucking company. Don’t negotiate with the insurance companies yourself! They have a high-paying team of lawyers with the single goal of keeping payouts to a minimum. Here at Pinder Plotkin, our legal team will negotiate with the insurance carriers to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you do not get a fair settlement offer from the insurance carrier, we are prepared to take the case to trial. We will build a strong case and make sure your situation is explained in clear terms to the jury to help you win fair compensation.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
Economic damages cover things like lost income, medical bills, and anything tangible financially related to recovery from the accident; these have no hard cap in the state of Maryland. Non-economic damages do have a hard cap, which varies based on living victims versus deceased ones; these kinds of damages are usually considered to be compensation for pain and suffering.
Punitive damages have no cap, and you can file for them. However, these kinds of damages are rarely awarded.
How Much Is My Truck Accident Claim Worth?
Accidents involving big trucks can mean big damages. The average jury award for a case involving an 18 wheeler is just over half a million dollars. However, the median case is worth only $90,000. Keep in mind that these averages are skewed by a mere 3 percent of cases worth over $5 million apiece.
Also, not everyone gets to access the full awards since Maryland caps various categories of damages per victim. There are caps on non-economic damages for pain and suffering. However, there are no caps for economic damages, although the projected income levels of a trucking accident victim might serve as a different kind of ceiling.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Claim?
The state of Maryland follows the same statute of limitations as most other states in regards to filing a truck accident injury claim in civil court. Generally speaking, you have three years starting with the date of the accident. You might be able to file a claim after three years has passed, but the odds are not in your favor of getting the case recognized by a judge. Even if you’re still in the three-year window, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. It takes time to prepare a case, so the clock is, unfortunately, ticking from the minute you are injured.
How Is Fault in a Maryland Truck Accident Determined?
It’s not easy to establish liability in truck accidents in Maryland. Things can get extremely complex in accidents involving large trucks but an experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate the accident to determine the parties responsible for the accident as well as the factors that caused the accident. A number of parties might be found liable for the accident. These may include trucking companies, truck drivers, leasing agents, receivers, shippers, truck manufacturers, parts manufacturers as well as maintenance companies, among others.
Respondeat Superior is the legal doctrine that has been adopted by the state of Maryland. In simple terms, it means that employers are responsible for the negligent actions of their employees which means the trucking company along with the truck driver bears the legal responsibility for a truck accident.
Can a Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was Negligent?
Proving the negligence of a truck driver is hard because truck driving companies and their insurers will do all they can to make you possibly lose your claim. The majority of modern trucks have Event Data Recorders that keep track of the speed of a truck before and during a crash, as well as other data. You should contact us as soon as you can after an accident because we need to send them a spoliation letter that demands they keep this data.
They’ll already be putting together a group of their own lawyers seeking to destroy the data and fight any claims demanding access to it. If they do destroy the data after a spoliation letter from us, we obviously won’t have the data, but we can argue in court that the data was destroyed in order to hide any evidence of their fault.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Truck drivers aren’t the only ones that might be held liable for trucking accidents. It could also be the trucking company, any company that loaded the truck, or even manufacturers of the vehicle or its individual parts.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Distracted Driving
- Driver Fatigue
- Drug Use
- Lack of Truck Maintenance
- Equipment Malfunction
- Oversized or Improperly Secured Freight
- Poor Road Conditions
- Poorly Trained or Inexperienced Drivers
- Reckless Driving
Call Our Experienced Bel Air Truck Accident Lawyers
If you were injured severely in an accident involving a truck, then your life has been impacted in ways you probably didn’t even think possible. The setbacks and injuries you face might seem overwhelming after what you’ve been through.
You don’t have to go through it alone though. Let a veteran Bel Air truck accident lawyer who is familiar with the law handle your case. We know how to handle big insurance companies. Commercial truck drivers in Maryland, and their employers, have to follow the rules, both state and federal. This includes the requirements established for the industry by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If you let us help you, we’ll do a meticulous and detailed investigation that includes looking into the maintenance records, logbook, and safety training of the truck driver in question.