Maryland truck accidents are often caused by some mistake a driver makes on the road. Perhaps they are drowsy, struggling to focus and stay awake while driving, causing them to veer off to the side. Or maybe they are distracted, texting or watching videos on their phone while driving. Others may just be careless, not watching the road carefully and failing to stop when traffic slows down or they near a red light. These types of truck accidents are caused by some actions a driver took while driving, and in these situations, it is fairly easy to know who was at fault and caused the accident. However, there are some situations where the cause of the accident is actually something that happened before the vehicle even got onto the road. In fact, the driver may have been driving safely when the accident occurred. In these cases, injured accident victims might find it harder to figure out what happened and prove fault.

Take, for example, a recent accident reported by a local news station. In late February, a semi-tractor trailer was traveling eastbound on I-70 in the outside lane when the load the truck was carrying broke free, causing large metal pipes to go over the concrete barrier into the westbound lanes. This caused a series of chain events and crashes, involving seven vehicles and leading to one tragic death. One of the metal pipes hit the window and rear of a 2014 Expedition. Afterward, they bounced off that vehicle and landed on top of a 2020 Kia Forte. A Ford pickup truck behind the Kia Forte was unable to stop in time and ended up then hitting the rear of the car. The Kia Forte then spun and hit the outside concrete bridge rail. The driver of that vehicle, a 29-year-old woman, was unfortunately killed. But the damage was not done. Another three vehicles—a 1996 Chevy pickup truck, a 2008 Toyota Camry, and a 2019 semi-tractor trailer—all ended up hitting the metal pipes. In total, 15 individuals and seven vehicles were involved in this major accident.

This tragic example illustrates how actions—or the lack of actions—before a truck even starts driving could cause serious Maryland truck accidents. While it’s not currently known why exactly the load broke free, similar accidents have been caused by negligent product design, negligent upkeep, and negligence in safety checks. Any one of those things could have been the cause of the crash, the resulting injuries, and the tragic death. It is important for Maryland families to remember that even though those negligent actions happened before the truck was on the road, they can still be the basis of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits can provide significant monetary compensation to those injured in Maryland truck accidents.

Maryland truck accidents are almost always unexpected and shocking. An individual driving along the road or highway may be listening to music or an audiobook, talking with others in the car, or thinking about their day ahead when suddenly they are involved in a crash. The immediate aftermath can be disorienting, and individuals involved in these accidents who are not injured in some obvious way—broken bones, bleeding, etc.—may think that they are fine and simply move on with their day, wanting to get back to normal after such a shock.

For example, take a recent large-scale truck accident that occurred in West Virginia on Interstate 81 near the Maryland line. According to a recent report, the wreck occurred just before 8 PM one evening. That night, a 911 supervisor said that 10 to 15 tractor-trailers might have been involved, but that police were having a difficult time determining how many specifically because the scene of the crash was such a mess. Other vehicles continued to slide into the wreckage even after the initial collisions. The next morning, a sheriff reported that they now believed the wreck involved eight tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles. While officials do not yet know what happened, they did confirm that icy weather was a major contributing factor. The wreckage was so large that the northbound lanes of the interstate were closed for about six hours. The accident currently remains under investigation.

Surprisingly, only one person was transported to the hospital with injuries after this major crash, although at least eleven vehicles were involved. But it’s quite possible that many of those involved may actually be injured and not know it yet. Oftentimes, after Maryland truck accidents, individuals may think in the immediate aftermath that they are fine, but then begin to feel pain from injuries days or even weeks later. They may begin to feel soreness in their neck or back, or find they even need chiropractic help to manage their pain a month after the accident. While individuals in this situation may think they were “uninjured” by the crash, the reality is they have just as much of a claim to recovery in a personal injury lawsuit as those taken to the hospital. Maryland state law allows all who are injured in these accidents to file suit, even if the injuries were discovered weeks or even months later. Of course, an individual realizing belatedly that they were injured should speak with a Maryland truck accident attorney as soon as possible, to ensure that they file within the relevant time limit for these suits.

Like any other driver, when a Maryland truck driver hits the road, they are expected to drive carefully, or to exercise “reasonable care.” The standard of reasonable care extends even to emergency situations. This means that when a truck driver encounters an emergency on the road, such as a Maryland truck accident, the truck driver must still exercise reasonable care. However, this standard considers the circumstances the driver is presented with and the amount of time the driver has to react.

In a Maryland accident case, a plaintiff has to show that a defendant failed to meet the standard of care. In Maryland, if a truck driver suddenly finds himself in a dangerous situation, the driver is not expected to exercise the same degree of care as a driver who has sufficient time to evaluate his or her options and decide what to do. But the driver is expected to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety and for the safety of others. This doctrine is known as the sudden emergency doctrine. However, the truck driver cannot benefit from the doctrine if the driver is the one who caused the emergency or if the driver is not actually in a dangerous situation. So, if a truck driver damages another person or property in an emergency situation, the question is, when the truck driver was presented with the emergency, did the truck driver exercise the degree of care that a reasonable, prudent person would, given the circumstances? A jury or a judge will also take into consideration the amount of time the driver had to react and evaluate the choices. Failing to take reasonable care under the circumstances may make the driver liable for resulting damages.

Six People Killed in Crash Involving Over 100 Vehicles

One of the best things about traveling via train or bus is having someone else drive and operate the vehicle while the passengers relax, read, sleep, or even get some work done. For this reason, many Maryland residents may rely on these modes of transportation weekly or even daily, to travel within and outside of the state or to get to work. But while the flexibility and ease of these forms of transportation are nice, passengers should remember that there is still the risk of a Maryland traffic accident. And when a bus or a train hits a truck, the accident can be catastrophic and maybe even fatal.

For example, take a recent truck accident involving an Amtrak train. According to a news report covering the crash, the accident happened around 4:30 PM one afternoon when a truck stopped inexplicably on the train tracks. Amtrak crew members aboard the train told investigators that as the train approached the truck, they blew the horn several times. The train was traveling at high speed, and unable to stop, so it hit the truck, causing a significant crash. The driver of the truck was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, and at this point, it is not clear why the truck driver did not move off of the tracks to avoid getting hit by the train.

It’s not clear from the news report how many others were injured, but in such a serious crash, there is clear potential to cause harm to the train passengers as well as the truck driver. Injured passengers in situations such as this one—in which the train or bus they are riding crashes into a truck—may not think that they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit and may believe that the train or bus company is the one to handle that. But Maryland state law makes clear that anyone injured in Maryland truck accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit to try and recover for their accidents.

As winter weather descends upon Maryland, residents can expect to see more and more weather-related accidents. Some of these accidents involve snow plows. Just this week, Maryland and the entire Northeast received many inches of snow, leading to a need for plows to clear roads and walkways. But, like any time one operates a vehicle, there is always a risk of an a Maryland accident when using snowplows.

For example, just last week, a nurse was killed in a snow plow accident at a hospital. According to a local news report covering the tragedy, the nurse walked up behind a vehicle plowing snow as the operator of the vehicle was backing up. The nurse was struck and ultimately died from the crash. This tragic story is just one example of how snow plowing may lead to increased accidents, yet another concern of wintery weather accidents in Maryland.

Although snow plow accidents may seem like a somewhat unique occurrence, those injured in such an accident can file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party in just the same way that those injured in more typical Maryland truck or bus accidents can. These personal injury lawsuits can provide important financial recovery for the injured and/or their families, allowing them to pay off medical bills or deal with lost wages without fear of bankruptcy.

When most people think of filing a lawsuit after a Maryland bus accident, they usually picture that they will just be suing one person—whoever caused the accident. While this is true in some cases, there may be some other cases where it actually makes sense to sue more than just that person. For example, the agency, organization, or company that employed the negligent driver. For instance, negligent bus and truck drivers are often not driving their own vehicle on their own time, but instead are driving an employer’s vehicle as part of their job. In Maryland truck and bus accident cases, it is important to remember this option for suing a negligent party’s employer because often they may be able to pay more in damages than the negligent driver, meaning that Maryland plaintiffs may have more of an opportunity to fully recover for their injuries.

For a recent, high-profile example of when a plaintiff may consider bringing a lawsuit against both an employee and their employer, take a recent crash that made national headlines. According to NBC News, the crash occurred around 12:20 PM one afternoon when a tour bus carrying 48 people was driving to the Grand Canyon rolled and landed on its side. It is not clear what caused the accident, and it remains under investigation. However, what is clear is that one person was tragically killed as a result. Additionally, immediately after the accident, two others were in critical condition, and seven others were injured, such that they had to be taken to the hospital. An additional thirty-three people on the bus had minor injuries not requiring hospitalization.

While it’s not known at this time whether or not there will be litigation resulting from this injury, the accident sheds light onto an important aspect in Maryland truck and bus cases—holding employers liable for their employees’ actions. Maryland state law allows those injured in these circumstances to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver and their employer. So, if the employee was somehow responsible for the crash—if the bus driver was texting while driving, for example—then the driver and their employer may both have to pay the plaintiffs for their injuries. Often, the employer is better able to afford these lawsuits, meaning plaintiffs may have an easier time obtaining full recovery when they include an employer in their suit.

Maryland truck accidents are always unfortunate, and in some cases, can be tragic, causing severe bodily injuries or even death. While many of these accidents involve just one or two vehicles—usually a truck hitting a sign, a tree, another vehicle, etc.—some truck accidents can involve multiple vehicles, injuring many people.

Often, these accidents originally just involve one or two vehicles, but this original crash causes a chain reaction, leading to more and more damage. For instance, if a truck crashes into a tree suddenly, a car behind it might swerve to avoid the wreck, but in so doing may crash into other cars. Other vehicles may not be able to stop when a crash happens suddenly and may rear-end other vehicles. Additionally, sometimes Maryland truck accidents can send one vehicle tumbling in an unexpected direction, where they may hit other vehicles. These occurrences can cause large accidents, injuring many people from multiple different vehicles.

A real-life example of one of these multi-vehicle chain-reaction crashes occurred just last week, in an accident involving 13 different vehicles. According to a local news report that covered the accident, the initial crash occurred early on Monday afternoon, when a semi-truck with a trailer driving east did not slow down for a snowplow (in the passing lane) and another semi-truck (in the right lane). The first semi-truck struck the snowplow and then a guardrail, before going into the ditch. The second semi-truck cut across two lanes of traffic to avoid the collision, causing three other vehicles to go up onto the median to avoid hitting the truck, but fortunately, none of these vehicles got into any collisions. However, seven additional vehicles were involved in a secondary crash as they tried to avoid collisions but ended up hitting either other vehicles or the guard rail. These additional vehicles included two pickup trucks, a pickup trailer, two semi-trucks with trailers, a compact car, and a FedEx truck.

Sometimes, in the aftermath of a Maryland truck accident, it’s not exactly clear what happened or who’s to blame. Accidents happen quickly—in the blink of an eye—and those involved (or even eyewitnesses) might not know afterward who hit who or how the two vehicles collided—only that they did. Sometimes, it can take a significant amount of investigation after a crash to determine the cause and the series of events. Accident reconstruction experts may investigate, but sometimes the cause of the accident will not be known until quite a bit after it’s occurred.

For example, take a recent three-vehicle truck accident that occurred in the first week of this year. According to a local news article covering the accident, the crash occurred on a Monday afternoon around 1 PM. A driver in a semitrailer truck came upon a car waiting to turn left but failed to slow down for some unknown reason. The truck driver swerved to miss the vehicle waiting to turn—since they could not stop in time—but while swerving they struck another vehicle traveling the opposite direction head-on, and also collided with the turning vehicle. This three-vehicle crash left one driver—the driver struck head-on—dead. It is unclear what injuries were suffered or the extent of the other damage, but the county police accident reconstruction team came to the scene to investigate, and the road was closed down for a while. The crash remains under investigation.

Because it takes a while to figure out exactly what happened in a Maryland truck accident, many people who are injured in one wait before contacting an attorney. But those injured who might want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver should contact an attorney right away—even if they are not sure if they have a case, or whose fault the accident was, or even what happened. Working with an attorney right away keeps your options open and also ensures you do not miss the window of time within which you must file suit—the statute of limitations. In Maryland, you must file suit within three years. If you prolong getting an attorney, you may forget or procrastinate, and then miss the statute of limitations. That’s why all those involved in a truck accident are encouraged to speak to an attorney right away, to make sure they are aware of their legal rights and prepared to file suit if need be.

Vicarious liability refers to the liability of a person or entity for another person’s wrongful actions. In a Maryland truck accident case, a person or entity may be liable for an employee’s actions or another individual in some circumstances. The person or entity being held responsible may be liable based on the relationship between the person or entity and the person who acted wrongfully. Vicarious liability does not require wrongdoing on the part of the defendant and is based only on the relationship between the defendant and the wrongful actor.

Vicarious liability often arises in the context of an employer being sued for an employee’s negligent acts. An employer might be liable based on the employer-employee relationship if the employee who acted wrongfully was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment. Vicarious liability is based on the idea that the employer hired the employee and is responsible for the employee’s actions carried out in furtherance of the employer’s business and authorized by the employer. In some cases, an employer may be liable even where the employee is personally immune from suit.

Generally, whether an employee was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment is one for the jury. Many lawsuits have been filed alleging that an employer is liable for an employee’s actions while driving to or from work. In general, Maryland courts have held that employers are not liable for negligent conduct while an employee is traveling to or from work, absent special circumstances. In some cases, there is a dispute about whether a wrongful actor was an employee or an independent contractor. In determining whether an employer-employee relationship existed, courts may consider how the worker was selected, how wages were paid, the employer’s ability to fire the person, the employer’s ability to control the person’s conduct, and whether the work was part of the employer’s regular business.

When someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, they have the option to sue the person who caused the incident. Through these lawsuits, the injured plaintiffs may be able to recover significant amounts of monetary damages to cover their lost wages, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. What many people do not realize, however, is that sometimes, injured plaintiffs might be able to sue more than just the individual who caused the accident.

In some situations, plaintiffs may be able to sue the defendant’s employer, if the employee was acting in the scope of employment when they caused the injury. This is an attractive option for many victims of Maryland truck accidents, because often the individual who caused the accident is unable to fully compensate the victim for their losses due to financial strain. Because of this, many Maryland plaintiffs decide to file suit against both the individual who caused the accident and their employer. The doctrine of holding the employer liable is called vicarious liability.

For example, consider a recent state appellate case. According to the court’s written opinion, the accident in question occurred in June 2015 when the plaintiff was standing on the sidewalk in front of his home when he was suddenly struck and run over by a truck owned and operated by the defendant employee. The defendant employee was backing his truck down the sidewalk to retrieve scraps of metal debris from the roof project on the plaintiff’s house. The plaintiff was severely injured as a result, and sued both the employee and his employer in a personal injury lawsuit. At trial, the jury found both defendants liable and granted almost $1 million dollars in damages. The employer appealed, arguing that they did not have the type of employee-employer relationship necessary for holding them vicariously liable.

Contact Information