Commuting across roads and highways always carries inherent risks. There are thousands of commuters on the road and an auto accident can occur at any moment. For example, commercial truck collisions are a frequent occurrence. Determining who should be responsible for the costs of these collisions is important for the people who are injured in the crash, or the surviving loved ones of victims who are killed. The Baltimore trucking accident attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, PA are here to explain who carries liability in a commercial truck accident in Maryland.
Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in MD
Compared to car accidents, trucking accidents are even more dangerous due to the size and weight of commercial trucks. There are various reasons for trucking accidents, with some of the most common including:
- Fatigued Driving – The maximum hours that a truck driver can be working per day is regulated. While truck drivers are subject to strict daily limits, some are likely to surpass these hours to meet deadlines. This often leads to poor driving, delayed reaction times, and a likely collision with another driver.
- Truck Overload – The national standard for the maximum weight of a truck being driven on the highway is 80,000 pounds. However, to reap more profits, trucking companies may overload trucks. Unsafely loaded trucks are prone to rollovers and malfunctions. Also, the extra weight added to the truck will mean it will do much more damage when it strikes an average-sized vehicle.
- Driver Error – There are all kinds of objects in vehicles today to distract us from the road, such as phones, navigation systems, radio systems, and many other forms of technology. When operating a vehicle that can weigh several tons, being distracted at the wrong moment can be fatal. Inexperienced truck drivers are also a cause of many truck accidents.
- Improper Maintenance – Failure to properly maintain a commercial truck may cause safety equipment to malfunction and cause a deadly collision. Tires, brakes, and engines are among some of the equipment on commercial trucks which should be regularly inspected. Manufacturer errors on the highway can be catastrophic.
- Poor Weather – Heavy rain, snow, and ice can cause a commercial truck to become much more difficult to control. Every other motorist on the road is also negatively affected by these conditions. Sometimes, it may be better to take a break and allow conditions to clear instead of attempting to drive through them.
Figuring out the cause of a truck accident is a vital part of recovering compensation. Once the cause of an accident is determined, liability can be more readily assigned to one or more parties.
Who Can Be Liable in a Commercial Trucking Accident?
Being in an accident with a commercial truck is a scary event. If you suffer an injury or your car is destroyed, you will likely seek out a way to pay for medical and auto insurance bills. This is where liability comes into play. There are multiple parties who can be responsible for your injury in a commercial trucking accident. Some of these parties are:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company the driver is employed with
- The truck manufacturer
- The manufacturer of a piece of trucking equipment that malfunctioned
- The person or company who improperly loaded the cargo, or the shipper of the cargo
Gathering evidence about any of these parties is a wise thing to do after a truck accident in Baltimore. Therefore, it is important to begin filing your case as soon as possible, while memories and evidence are fresh.
If you are not seriously injured, you should begin by contacting the police immediately and ensuring anyone who needs medical attention is attended to. Next, you should gather eyewitness accounts from any drivers or pedestrians who possibly witnessed the crash. Document these accounts and the police report for your records.
The trucking company or its insurance company will likely deploy investigators to assess the accident. You should avoid speaking with them without representation. The job of investigators is to mitigate liability, and they will not likely be on your side.
Once you are finished at the scene, you should consider contacting a truck accident attorney as soon as possible to help you with your case.
Baltimore Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a commercial trucking accident, consult with an experienced Baltimore injury lawyer today. The Maryland truck crash lawyers at Bennett & Heyman, PA are ready to fight to recover damages for your injuries. Our firm of experienced lawyers have fought for clients in Baltimore and across Maryland for decades, and we will fight to hold trucking companies accountable for their actions. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (410) 727-2168.