Maryland Truck Accidents: A Few Things You Must Know
Thomas Pyles | October 16, 2020
Truck accidents are some of the most serious accident cases we handle. The size and weight of a fully-loaded semi-truck can result in tremendous damage and severe injury when it is involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, there are several factors that distinguish them from a typical car accident. If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, an experienced Laurel truck accident attorney can review your case and help you understand your options.
Truck Accidents Are Unique
Semi-trucks are much larger than the average passenger vehicle and up to 18 times heavier when fully loaded. As a result of their larger size and greater weight, truck drivers face additional challenges:
- Their trucks require longer stopping distances;
- Their trucks have larger blind spots; and
- Their trucks are less maneuverable than smaller vehicles.
These factors present additional hazards to other drivers and make it much more difficult for truck drivers to avoid accidents. In addition, their size and weight mean that the forces they exert can be catastrophic in the event of an accident.
The freight the truck is carrying can compound the hazards to other motorists. For example, many trucks carry hazardous materials or flammable chemicals. Furthermore, the truck can be even more difficult to control if it hasn’t been loaded properly.
Truck Accidents Can Result in Severe Injuries
Because of their size and weight, truck accidents often result in more serious injuries than when the accident involves passenger vehicles. For example:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Internal organ damage
- Severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
This is not an exhaustive list. Many accident victims also report suffering psychological trauma such as severe depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition to the serious injuries you could suffer, many truck accidents result in death. If you’ve been seriously injured in a truck accident, you should speak with a Laurel truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
Trucking Companies Are Subject to Specific Laws
In addition to the rules of the road that all drivers are subject to, there are federal and state laws and regulations that trucking companies must comply with. These laws are intended to protect other drivers on the road and require trucking companies to operate in a safe manner. Some of the issues that these laws address include the following:
- Limits on the number of hours drivers can spend behind the wheel
- Weight limits
- Commercial driver’s license requirements
- Regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials
- Maintenance requirements
Trucking companies are motivated by profit. In an attempt to reduce expenses, they may fail to comply with the various laws and regulations they are required to meet. A Laurel truck accident attorney can determine whether they failed to comply with the law and use it as evidence to support your claim.
Truck Accidents Have Unique Causes
As just mentioned, trucking companies often prioritize profit over safety. Accidents can occur when they fail to comply with the law or encourage unsafe driving. When combined with the usual causes – speeding, driving while distracted, unsafe lane changes – these factors can increase the likelihood of a serious accident. Here are some of the causes that are unique to truck accidents:
- Mechanical failures. Trucks are in service for thousands of hours every year. When they are not properly maintained, mechanical failures can occur and cause an accident.
- Driving while fatigued. Drivers spend long hours behind the wheel and are under a great deal of pressure to make deliveries on time. Driving while drowsy leads to a loss of reflexes, slower reaction time, and poor decision making.
- Failure to supervise. Trucking companies have an obligation to ensure their drivers are safely operating their trucks. Failing to adequately supervise their drivers can encourage unsafe driving.
- Inadequate training. Driving a large truck requires a specific skill set and significant experience. Accidents can occur when truck drivers fail to train their drivers or hire drivers who lack the necessary qualifications.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Determining who to pursue can be extraordinarily difficult in truck accident cases. Most often, you will have to pursue a claim against the trucking company. Unfortunately, the trucking company may be a conglomerate of various shell entities intended to shield them from liability. In addition, they may claim that the driver is responsible for the accident and is employed by them as an independent contractor. Meanwhile, there are other entities that are at least partially responsible, such as the company that loaded the truck. Determining who you should pursue is one of the reasons why you should consider working with a Laurel truck accident attorney.
Contact Laurel Truck Accident Attorney Thomas Pyles
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. With over 25 years of experience, we know how to get results and work tirelessly to help you get back on your feet. We have offices in Waldorf and Leonardtown for your convenience. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 301-705-5066 or contact us online to discuss your case and how we can help.