Equipment failure is a major cause of Maryland truck accidents. Earlier this month, an accident between a dump truck and several other vehicles sent seven people to the hospital – three in critical condition. According to a local news report covering the accident, the collision occurred in the morning hours as the truck was hauling burn debris away from a recent wildfire.

Dump TruckEvidently, the dump truck was traveling downhill when it failed to stop at a red light at the bottom of the hill. The dump truck collided with a total of 10 vehicles as it careened through the intersection. Seven of the 10 vehicles caught fire, requiring a total of seven motorists to be taken to the hospital. Of the accident victims, three were admitted in critical condition.

The dump truck driver remained on the scene and has cooperated with police. When asked, the driver told police that he tried to apply the brakes, but the truck would not stop or even slow down. However, police have yet to label the cause of the accident as equipment failure and are conducting an in-depth investigation.

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When filing a Maryland truck accident claim, it is very important to comply with all of the necessary court rules and procedural requirements. A plaintiff’s failure to do so may result in the dismissal of a case that otherwise could have resulted in substantial compensation. In most personal injury cases, once a plaintiff retains counsel, these matters are left to the attorney handling the case. However, courts very rarely will excuse a plaintiff’s non-compliance, even if it was due to attorney error.

Semi-TruckA recent case illustrates the difficulties one accident victim had after he failed to answer the defendant’s motion in a timely manner and also failed to present any evidence establishing that the defendant was negligent.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a truck driver who was transporting cargo that was packed by the defendant corporation. As the plaintiff opened the truck’s rear gate, several boxes that had been packed by the defendant fell on top of him, resulting in serious injuries.

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Late last month, a train accident involving an Amtrak train and a garbage truck killed one and injured several others. According to a recently released news report, investigators have turned their attention to the driver of the truck, who witnesses say was “snaking” his way around the descended railroad crossing gates in the moments before the fatal collision.

Railroad TracksAt the time of the collision, the train was traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour. One passenger in the truck was killed, the driver of the truck was seriously injured, and several others on board the train were also injured. Several lawmakers on board the train, as well as a doctor accompanying the lawmakers, jumped into action and attempted to provide medical care to the injured.

Evidently, several republican lawmakers had chartered the train to take them from Washington, D.C. to an annual retreat in West Virginia. The route taken by the train was one that was not normally active for passenger trains and was used primarily for freight trains.

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Garbage trucks are big, stinky, and generally viewed as a nuisance to pedestrians and motorists alike. However, garbage trucks are not only annoying but also dangerous. Maryland garbage truck accidents account for a significant number of the state’s truck accidents. In part, this is due to the fact that garbage trucks are enormous vehicles that are constantly stopping in what seems to be an unpredictable manner.

Garbage TruckWhen it comes to sharing the road with large trucks in general, both motorists and truck drivers have certain duties that must be followed. For instance, motorists should provide ample room for garbage trucks and should only pass a stopped or slow-moving truck when it is legal and safe to do so.

On the other hand, garbage truck drivers must take precautions when operating these large trucks on small city streets where motorists may not be accustomed to sharing the road with such large vehicles. Additionally, garbage trucks must be properly equipped with mirrors, lights, signals, and other safety equipment.

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Maryland truck accidents always present a serious danger to those involved in the accident. However, the dangers of an accident only increase when it occurs on the highway. Between the high speeds involved and the proximity of other motorists, the likelihood of a chain reaction accident greatly increases when an accident occurs on a Maryland highway.

Highway TrafficChain reaction truck accidents occur when two or more vehicles are involved in a collision, and, in the aftermath, other motorists who are unable to avoid the wreckage end up crashing into the other vehicles or crash as they attempt to avoid the other vehicles. Determining which party or parties are responsible for causing a chain reaction truck accident can be complex.

Under Maryland law, anyone who is injured in a Maryland car accident can bring a lawsuit against those they believe to be at fault. However, since Maryland law applies the strict doctrine of contributory negligence, only those accident victims who are completely free of fault will be permitted to recover compensation for their injuries. Thus, it becomes very important for Maryland truck accident victims to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as practicable to discuss their case and prepare for the potential defenses other drivers may raise.

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Many of the large trucks on Maryland roads are operated by state and local government agencies or are working under a government contract of some kind. These include garbage trucks, fire trucks, mail vehicles, and utility vehicles. Like all other truck drivers, those who operate city, county, or state-owned vehicles owe a duty of care to those around them.

Utility TruckNormally, when a driver violates this duty of care by engaging in some kind of negligent act, that driver can be held liable for any injuries that occurred as a result of their negligence through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. Indeed, this may also be the case when the operator of the vehicle is a government employee, but issues of government immunity will likely arise.

Historically, governments have been immune from liability stemming from accidents caused by government employees. However, over time, states have enacted laws that “waive” this governmental immunity in some cases. In Maryland, lawmakers passed the Maryland Tort Claims Act, which waives governmental immunity in certain circumstances. Generally, in order for a government employee’s actions to qualify for a waiver of immunity, the allegedly negligent actions must have taken place in the performance of the employee’s duties.

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Truck drivers spend countless hours on the road each year. In fact, due to the manner in which most truck drivers are compensated, a driver is incentivized to stay on the road for long stretches of time in order to get to their final destination as soon as possible. However, there is a clear tension between a truck driver’s ability to drive safely for hours on end and his ability to get to his final destination as quickly as possible.

JournalAs a matter of fact, a large percentage of all Maryland truck accidents are caused by drowsy truck drivers who have stayed on the road past the time when they are able to safely operate their rig. To combat fatigued driving, the federal government has promulgated regulations that require truck drivers to maintain a certain amount of rest each day and between longer trips. Until recently, truck drivers were able to maintain their own paper rest logs.

According to a recent news report, recently passed federal regulations will soon require truck drivers to install and maintain electronic rest logs to better keep track of the time they are spending on the road. The push for these new requirements arose after authorities realized that too many fatal trucking accidents were caused by drowsy driving.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a personal injury case involving the enforceability of an arbitration agreement that an employer signed when renting out a U-Haul truck. The case is important for potential Maryland truck accident plaintiffs to understand because it addresses the enforceability of arbitration agreements, which commonly are at issue in many personal injury cases.

Signature LineThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was working for his employer, delivering some massage chairs to a customer. To help the plaintiff make the deliveries, his employer rented a truck from U-Haul, the defendant. Contained in the rental agreement signed by the employer was a clause agreeing to submit any claim arising from the use of the truck to binding arbitration. The employer signed the rental agreement, but the plaintiff did not.

On the way to make the delivery, a tire blew out on the truck, and the plaintiff was seriously injured as a result. Notwithstanding the arbitration clause contained in the rental agreement, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against U-Haul. In defense, U-Haul claimed that the plaintiff’s claims were barred because he was required to submit them to arbitration, pursuant to the rental agreement.

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Any time a motorist is involved in a Maryland semi-truck accident, there is a potential for serious injury. However, some types of accidents present a higher risk of serious injury or death than others. Underride accidents in particular present an especially high risk of serious injury or death.

Tanker-TruckAn underride accident occurs when a vehicle slides underneath a larger truck. These accidents often result in the passengers in the car being crushed as a result of the impact, and in some cases, passengers are even decapitated. A recent news article discusses underride accidents in the Maryland area, noting that there have been 21 deaths across the country over the past two months due to this specific type of accident.

The article goes on to detail several of the accidents and discusses options to reduce the prevalence of underride accidents. Given the nature of an underride accident, they almost always occur when a motorist rear-ends a truck that has unexpectedly stopped or slowed down on the highway. Thus, one potential solution to decrease underride accidents is to mandate heavier underride guards on more types of trucks. An underride guard is a steel bar that in many cases can prevent another vehicle from sliding underneath a truck in the event of an accident.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating the type of evidence that Maryland truck accident victims must present in order to defeat a defense motion for summary judgment. The case presented an interesting, albeit unusual, set of facts in which a motorist struck a bull that had gotten loose and wandered onto the highway. The court ultimately determined that summary judgment in favor of the motorist was appropriate because there was no evidence indicating how long the bull had been in the road.

BullThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was driving a semi-truck eastbound on a highway when he was struck by the defendant, who had been traveling westbound on the same highway. The collision occurred at night. Immediately prior to the collision, the defendant struck a bull that had wandered onto the highway. This caused the defendant to lose consciousness, resulting in her car drifting into oncoming traffic, where it hit the plaintiff’s truck.

There was evidence presented that the bull had been on the loose for several hours and that a team of people had been looking for it the whole time. Several members of the search team had parked their cars along the east side of the highway. There was also a police car parked on the east side of the highway. The plaintiff testified that she did not recall seeing the cars on the side of the highway. It was established that, at the time of the collision, the plaintiff was traveling under the posted speed limit and had the vehicle’s headlights on.

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