Earlier this month, an appellate court in Ohio issued a written opinion dealing with that state’s “Good Samaritan Law.” In the case of Carter v. Reese, the court interpreted the law broadly, including anyone who performs any kind of emergency care. Importantly, the law covers anyone, rather than just medical professionals, as the plaintiff had argued.

Old TruckThe Facts of the Case

Carter was a truck driver. He arrived at his destination and began to unload the trailer he had been pulling. After he was done, he pulled his truck about four to six inches away from the loading dock and put it in park. As he made his way around the back of his truck and up to the loading dock, Carter fell. His leg became stuck between the loading dock and the truck.

At this time, Carter began calling for help because, while he didn’t feel any pain, he was unable to get his leg free. Reese heard Carter’s calls and responded. Carter told Reese to get into the cab of the truck and pull the truck forward so that Carter could free himself. Reese agreed but realized soon after he got into the cab that he didn’t know how to operate the rig. He attempted to rev the engine and move forward, but the truck slid backward instead, crushing Carter’s leg in the process.

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According to a recent article, a driver was severely injured on a highway in Maine last month in an accident involving a tractor-trailer. The injured driver was driving behind the tractor-trailer in an SUV when the truck unexpectedly slowed and tried to turn around in a vehicle turnout reserved for police and other government vehicles. The injured driver swerved to avoid crashing into the rear of the tractor-trailer, but he lost control of the vehicle and crashed anyway. In the article, the Maine State Police stated that the driver of the truck faces criminal charges for endangering the life of another driver.

No U TurnIn Maryland, drivers who cause a serious bodily injury to other drivers may face criminal charges. Drivers may also be liable for damages in civil court if the driver is found to be negligent. A driver is negligent if he or she fails to take reasonable care while operating a motor vehicle, and this failure causes an injury to another person.

Maryland law provides for two types of damages. Economic damages compensate injured drivers or passengers for out-of-pocket costs like lost wages, unpaid medical expenses, and decreased future earnings. Non-economic damages, which are sometimes referred to as damages for “pain and suffering,” are also available to injured parties who can no longer enjoy life as they did before being injured.

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Earlier this month, a federal court of appeals issued an opinion in a truck accident case involving a dispute between the victim’s family and the insurance company of the at-fault driver. In the case, ACE Fire Underwriters v. Romero, the court was called upon to determine the meaning of an insurance policy, and it ultimately resolved the conflict in favor of the insurance company.

Signing a ContractThe Facts of the Case

The driver of a tractor-trailer left the farm at which he worked and immediately noticed that the trailer had become detached from the truck. He made a U-turn in hopes of quickly reconnecting the trailer, but before he could do so, he was struck by another motorist. That motorist died as a result of the collision, and his family, through the executor of the deceased’s estate (Romero), sought compensation for their loss from the truck driver’s insurance policy.

Fault was not contested. However, Romero argued that the insurance contract covered up to $1 million per vehicle involved, and because there were two vehicles involved – the truck and the trailer – the total payout should be $2 million. The insurance company’s position was that the total limit for the policy was $1 million, regardless of the number of vehicles involved.

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A deadly accident involving two commuter buses in New Jersey earlier this month left at least two people dead and 17 injured, with seven in critical condition. According to a national news report, the accident occurred on the streets of Newark, New Jersey when one bus failed to yield to another at a busy intersection, causing the crash. The crash occurred during the morning commute, and both buses were carrying passengers at the time of the tragic collision. The driver of one bus and a passenger on the other were killed, and several passengers from both buses were injured. According to the article, no charges have been filed, and the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

BusFinancial Compensation for Victims of Accidents Involving Public Transit

Although the cause of the bus accident remains under investigation, it appears that one of the bus operators caused the collision. Since most public transit vehicles are owned and operated by a state or municipal organization, those injured or killed in an accident are required to follow distinctive procedures to seek compensation for injuries that resulted from the negligence of the at-fault driver. Many states have passed laws that restrict victims’ ability to collect full compensation in claims against government employees or agencies, and specific procedures must be followed closely for victims to obtain the compensation that they deserve.

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A chain-reaction accident involving multiple vehicles on a Mississippi highway took the life of one man and left two others injured after a semi-truck driver failed avoid a collision with a slower-moving vehicle ahead of him and was subsequently struck by an 18-wheeler from behind. A local news outlet reported that the crash occurred in the early morning hours of August 11 on Interstate 20 in Newton County, Mississippi. According to the article, the man who was killed in the crash was driving the vehicle at the back of the chain, although the exact cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Truck on HighwayThe Elevated Dangers of Rear-End and Chain-Reaction Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks

It appears that all three of the vehicles involved in the fatal Mississippi accident earlier this month were 18-wheel tractor-trailers. Rear-end collisions and chain-reaction accidents involving tractor-trailers present a significant danger to all drivers on the road, especially on interstate highways and other high speed transit routes. Although commercial drivers are professionally trained and licensed to drive larger vehicles, rear-end accidents involving one or more of these vehicles are frighteningly common. Since a single semi-truck can be used to tow several different trailers, accidents can occur if a driver fails to ensure the brake lights on the back of a new trailer are functioning properly before entering a highway. Additionally, the functionality of braking systems between different trailers may not be consistent, and an overloaded trailer can dangerously increase a truck driver’s stopping distance.

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Bus drivers, like taxi drivers, Uber drivers, and truck drivers, have a duty to their passengers as well as to others on the road to ensure that they are safely operating the vehicle at all times. This duty requires that drivers obey all the rules of the road and posted traffic signs, as well as using common sense when operating their vehicles. When a driver of a commercial vehicle fails to exercise the necessary level of care, and an accident results, that driver may be held liable for his negligence through a personal injury lawsuit.

Bus InteriorIn addition to the driver of the bus, truck, or taxi, the company that employs the driver may also be liable in some situations. When an employee causes an accident while working within the scope of his or her employment, courts may consider a claim against the employer as well as the employee. The legal doctrine that allows these claims is called respondeat superior. A court may also consider a claim for negligent hiring if the accident victim can show that there was evidence the company should have taken into account when making the hiring decision, such as past citations or suspensions.

Fatal Bus Accident Caused by Driver’s Aggressive Passing Results in Four Deaths

Earlier this month in California, a bus accident claimed the lives of four people inside. According to one local news report covering the tragedy, the accident injured a total of 18 people. Evidently, the driver of the bus was attempting to pass another vehicle before the lane the bus was in ended. The bus driver thought that the other driver was going to slow down and allow the bus to pass him before the lane ended. However, the other driver did not slow down and continued at the pace he was traveling. The bus was run off the road and collided with a support beam for an overhead sign, resulting in the accident that claimed four lives.

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A destructive accident late last month involving a farm tractor and a dump truck can be analyzed to demonstrate how accident plaintiffs may be able to make a case for damages after an accident that cannot be fully explained. According to a local news report, the semi truck accident occurred on July 27 on an Indiana highway, when a dump truck inexplicably rear-ended a farm tractor that was towing a piece of agricultural equipment on the road. Both the driver of the tractor and the driver of the truck were injured in the crash, and each remained in critical condition at the time of the article’s publication.

Dump TruckThe Loaded Dump Truck Crashes into the Tractor on a Straight Stretch of Road

According to the news report, the county sheriff gave a statement that the truck driver should have had a clear view ahead of him to see the slower-moving tractor, and it is unknown why he was unable to avoid the collision. After the impact, the driver of the tractor was ejected from his vehicle and sustained serious injuries. The driver of the dump truck, which tipped over and dumped its load against a guard rail, was trapped inside his vehicle with serious injuries for over two hours before authorities were able to access the passenger compartment and have the driver airlifted to a local hospital for medical treatment.

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It is a commonly known fact that truck drivers are at a greater risk of causing an accident than the drivers of other vehicles. This is due in part to the knowledge and experience that is necessary to operate these heavy, unwieldy vehicles. As is the case with all accidents, there will be times when the parties involved know each other. While this may make what was already a tragic event even worse, it should not stand in the way of the injured party pursuing the compensation they deserve.

Dump TruckIn Maryland and across the country, insurance coverage is mandatory for all drivers. This is of course true for truck drivers as well. In fact, depending on the type of cargo and truck involved, there may be specific insurance requirements that must be met by the trucking company. Insurance is required because in many cases the person responsible for the accident is not likely able to cover the extensive costs that may be involved. These include the medical bills for the victims, the lost wages they sustain while away from work and in recovery, and any decrease in future earning potential due to their new limitations. It may also include amounts for the emotional pain and suffering that the accident victim is forced to endure.

Thankfully, insurance companies are there to make injured parties whole again. However, insurance companies are also operated on a for-profit model and generally try to settle or deny claims to ensure they keep their coffers full for the stockholders. It is therefore very important that anyone injured in a Maryland truck accident seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to help them with the preparation of their case.

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Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles and the employees operating them are required to abide by various safety regulations and guidelines that may not apply to normal drivers. Companies and drivers can be cited by state transportation authorities if an inspection or accident reveals violations of the driving or equipment regulations established by the authorities. Companies or drivers with repeated or excessive violations may face administrative consequences, especially in the event of an accident related to the violation.

UnderpassThe Role of Previous Safety Violations in an Accident Lawsuit

The victims of a Maryland semi-truck accident may discover that the commercial vehicle or driver involved in their crash has been cited in the past for a safety violation that relates to the apparent cause of their own accident. As the plaintiff in a Maryland truck accident lawsuit, the accident victim may be able to introduce evidence of previous safety violations to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence in causing the accident. Evidence that a defendant has repeatedly violated safety regulations in the past should give the plaintiff an advantage in making the case for damages. However, this evidence will not necessarily be admitted without litigation over its admission.

Punitive Damages and a Pattern of Gross Negligence in Maryland and D.C.

In some jurisdictions, an accident victim may be entitled to additional damages above and beyond the economic and noneconomic damages relating to their injuries from the accident. In Maryland, punitive damages may only be awarded in a negligence lawsuit by showing actual malice, but in Washington, D.C., punitive damages can be awarded when a defendant has acted in willful disregard of the plaintiff’s rights and was reckless toward the plaintiff’s safety. In some cases, it could be argued that a pattern of gross negligence by a defendant who was guilty of repeated safety violations that resulted in an accident justifies an award of punitive damages to the plaintiff.

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Accidents involving semi trucks and other large commercial or industrial vehicles are relatively common in Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Tragically, the victims in the accidents with these large vehicles are more often seriously injured or killed than in other types of crashes. Accidents involving commercial vehicles may be caused by the negligent act of the commercial driver or else malfunctioning or unsafe equipment. Semi-trucks and many other commercial vehicles are not always easy to operate safely; with the large number of commercial vehicles on our roadways, it is necessary to set high standards for training and safety for commercial drivers.

Tanker TruckAdditional Safety Responsibilities for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers are required to carry a commercial driver’s license, or “CDL”, to legally operate a large commercial vehicle. Semi-trucks, vehicles transporting hazardous materials, and construction-related vehicles may require additional certifications. In commercial driving courses, drivers should learn about the hazards of driving a large vehicle, as well as the additional safety and legal responsibilities of commercial drivers, such as time logging and more frequent equipment checks. Unfortunately, many commercial vehicles on the road are not being safely operated by a properly licensed driver. When these vehicles are involved in accidents, the danger of somebody involved being seriously injured or killed increases.

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