Earlier this month, a truck accident shut down a major road, sending several motorists to the hospital with injuries, highlighting the dangers that Maryland truck accidents pose to motorists. While it’s true that any vehicle can cause an accident—from small bicycles to large semi-trucks—accidents involving trucks tend to be some of the most catastrophic because of the sheer size of a truck. This is especially true when a truck driver loses control and swerve off the road or into other lanes, as illustrated by a recent crash.

According to a local news report covering an incident from early this month, a crash occurred just before 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, when a semi-truck traveling south on the highway hit a Buick Lacross that was parked on the road’s right shoulder. The collision caused the truck to lose control. As the truck swerved out of control, it ended up going up the highway’s embankment where it crashed into a pedestrian bridge. The pedestrian bridge suffered structural damages as a result, but thankfully, no pedestrians were on the bridge at the time. The driver of the truck, as well as the driver of the Buick, were taken to a nearby hospital with injuries following the accident.

Sometimes, in accidents such as this one, it may be difficult to initially determine which party was at fault. Those injured in Maryland truck accidents might not know how to prove the other party caused the accident, and may never consider bringing a personal injury suit. However, most accidents are preventable. Often, there is one or more negligent parties who can be held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries.

Recently, an incredibly tragic truck accident killed four children and injured their father, when an intoxicated truck driver struck them at a high speed. The incident—which could have been prevented had the truck driver not decided to drive under the influence of drugs and illegal substances—is a sobering reminder of how quickly a Maryland truck accident can change a life.

According to a local news source covering the accident, the truck was traveling eastbound on Interstate 70 before the accident.  There were reports that the truck was being driven recklessly, as it was weaving back and forth within traffic and even forced another semi-trailer onto the roadway’s shoulder to avoid an accident. The driver did not slow down or brake when he approached slowing traffic at a construction zone. In fact, GPS information from the truck showed that it was going over 70 miles per hour at the time of the collision. As the truck approached the line of stopped traffic, it struck a rented Chevrolet Impala, pushing it into another semi-trailer and knocking the trailer off of its front axle. The Impala as well as the truck that caused the accident both crossed the left lane into the median, catching fire.

The driver of the Chevrolet Impala was removed from the car by emergency responders. He was immediately flown to the hospital where he was placed into a medically induced coma and admitted to the hospital’s burn unit. Tragically, his four children—ages 15, 13, 8, and 6—all died in the accident.

Public transit is becoming increasingly popular in Maryland and across the United States. Public transportation options such as buses, trains, and subways allow people to travel relatively quickly and inexpensively, and is better for the environment than driving an individual car. However, just like any form of transportation, accidents can occur on public transit, and can lead to severe injuries or even death. In some cases, Maryland public transit accidents may be even more dangerous, because of the number of people in a vehicle.

For example, recently a bus crash made headlines when multiple people were injured. According to a local news report covering the collision, a bus was driving along its normal route when a tow truck driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle. The bus driver swerved out of the way to avoid an accident with the tow truck, but in doing so caused the bus to crash into a building. Fortunately, no one was killed, but six individuals were injured and had to be hospitalized after the crash.

The crash illustrates that no vehicle is immune from getting into a Maryland traffic accident. In the aftermath of an accident such as the one above, it can be difficult for injury victims to understand how the accident occurred, who is at fault, and whether or not they have a path to recovery.

When a truck driver causes an accident after making a careless or reckless driving error—like running a red light or driving the wrong way on a one-way street—state law allows the injured parties to file a Maryland truck accident lawsuit to recover for damages incurred as a result. However, there may be certain cases where states want to limit liability for certain drivers or accidents. One common instance is limiting the liability of or providing immunity to those driving emergency medical vehicles such as ambulances who cause crashes. Granting this immunity allows those providing emergency medical care to escape liability if tragically they cause an accident while trying to help someone else.

In a recent opinion, a state supreme court considered whether an ambulance driver was immune from liability after he ran a red light, causing a serious car accident. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff in the case was injured on March 11, 2016, when a private ambulance driven by one of the defendants (and owned by the other defendant) ran a red light, colliding with the plaintiff’s vehicle.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants, seeking to recover damages for his injuries based on the negligence or, alternatively, the willful and wanton misconduct of the driver. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s negligence claim based on an immunity provision in a state statute. The statute provides civil immunity to anyone who is operating an ambulance in the performance of non-emergency medical services at the time of the accident, unless they were operating it with willful or wanton misconduct. Because negligence is much easier to prove than willful or wanton misconduct, having the negligence claim dismissed would significantly decrease the plaintiff’s chance at winning the suit.

It is generally well-known that Maryland truck accidents are dangerous. A single accident, on its own, can cause severe injuries or even death, drastically impacting those involved. However, one truck accident on the highway may actually lead to more accidents, as distracted drivers crash into the scene of the original incident. These chain-reaction accidents can be extremely hazardous to motorists traveling on the highway, who may not be expecting to encounter a massive pile-up.

According to a local news report, a crash first occurred early in the morning, just before 4:00 a.m., and involved two semi-trucks. A little over an hour later, at 5:11 a.m., another semi-truck was driving by when it slammed into the original crash scene, injuring one highway worker and two state troopers. All three were transported to the hospital.

An hour and a half after that, at about 6:45 a.m., a third crash occurred. A statement from the police indicated that a semi-truck created the chain-reaction crash, which involved at least seven vehicles: two semi-trucks, a dump truck, and four passenger vehicles. An eyewitness quoted in the local news article reported that he was traveling behind the vehicles that got in the crash and that he noticed the truck did not seem to brake at all before the collision. Instead, “he hit the stopped traffic at 70 miles per hour.” That truck driver was among the four individuals killed. The crash also resulted in multiple injuries. Fortunately, bystanders were able to pull two motorists out of a wrecked car before it burst into flames, saving their lives. However, in total, four lives were lost and many more were severely disrupted by the series of accidents and the resulting injuries.

All drivers in the state of Maryland must abide by the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care whenever they are operating a truck or any motor vehicle. Failure to do so may result in the driver being held liable for the damages resulting from a Maryland truck accident. In some cases, a driver’s conduct is more than negligent, but not necessarily to the level of being intentional.

In Maryland, gross negligence is considered conduct that goes beyond mere negligence. Under Maryland law, the conduct must rise to the level of an intentional failure to meet a duty in reckless disregard for the effect on another person’s life or property. It also suggests a disregard for the consequences without any attempt to avoid them. Even if it is impossible to prove a driver’s state of mind in some cases, the driver’s actions may be sufficient to show such conduct. A finding of gross negligence is significant because it may overcome a plaintiff’s contributory negligence, allowing a plaintiff who was partially at fault to recover. In considering whether a driver’s conduct rises to the level of negligence or gross negligence, a trier of fact will consider all relevant circumstances in the case, including the weather, the actions of other drivers, and whether the driver was presented with an emergency situation.

Eight People Injured After Tow Truck Driver Runs Red Light

According to a recent news report, eight people were injured in a recent multi-vehicle accident after a tow truck driver reportedly ran a red light. The crash occurred around 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night. Police believe that a tow truck driver ran the light and crashed into three cars, including a police patrol car. Two police officers were among those injured and one had to be rescued from the car using the Jaws of Life. According to police, the tow truck driver may have been responding to another accident.

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Criminal charges are not filed after many Maryland truck accidents. Yet, in cases where criminal charges are filed after an accident, that evidence may be admissible in a civil proceeding. Generally, in the event that a driver pleads guilty in court to a criminal offense or a traffic citation, evidence of the guilty plea may be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. In contrast, if a driver pays a fine for a traffic citation without going to court, generally evidence of the payment of the fine cannot be admitted in a subsequent civil proceeding in Maryland. Courts in Maryland have held that the payment of a fine is less significant than a guilty plea in court and is not an express acknowledgment of guilt. If evidence of a guilty plea is admitted in a personal injury case, that evidence may still be rebutted or explained.

In a criminal case, the culpability of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, in a civil case, the liability of the defendant must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a less demanding burden of proof. This means that even if no criminal charges were filed, a civil lawsuit may still be viable because the burden of proof is easier to meet and evidence that was inadmissible in a criminal trial may be admissible in a civil case.

Notably, however, under Rule 5-403 of the Maryland Rules of Evidence, even if certain evidence would otherwise be admissible, it can be excluded from the trial if the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice it poses. Evidence may also be excluded for other reasons. Whatever the circumstances, a plaintiff may have to fight to get the evidence admitted and to combat the defendant’s narrative of lack of culpability despite the offense.

Each time a motorist gets behind the wheel, they expect to encounter certain risks. Most of the time, these risks are manageable, and drivers can often avoid an accident by taking certain precautions. However, dump trucks and other large construction vehicles can pose a serious and unavoidable threat to many Maryland motorists. For example, in 2018, dump truck accidents comprised over eight percent of all fatal truck accidents. This amounted to 380 fatalities caused by dump trucks. Indeed, according to a local news report, just last month, the driver of a dump truck lost control of the vehicle and ended up crashing into a ditch. While the driver of the truck died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident, no other vehicles or pedestrians were injured.

Dump truck drivers have an obligation to take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents. This duty extends not only to operating the truck in a safe manner, but also to ensure that the truck is loaded in a safe manner, to prevent load spillage. Indeed, a significant number of dump-truck related accidents involve debris falling from the truck onto the road.

Dump truck drivers, however, are not the only ones who could face responsibility for a truck accident. Under the theory of vicarious liability, a truck driver’s employer may also be on the hook for damages, depending on the situation. Typically, to establish an employer’s liability, an accident victim must show that the accident occurred within the scope of the truck driver’s employment. Doing so can significantly increase the likelihood that an accident victim will be fully compensated for their injuries.

Anytime someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, they have the option to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. These lawsuits can hold whoever caused the accident responsible for the resulting harm, and successful plaintiffs may receive monetary compensation to cover their pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, in some cases plaintiffs can bring their case against multiple defendants—a driver who caused the accident, and the driver’s employer.

Often, Maryland truck accidents involve truck drivers who are “on the job” and driving the truck for their employer—whether they are carrying mail, produce, or industrial materials. When one of these drivers makes a negligent mistake and causes an accident, the driver as well as their employer could be liable for any injuries caused by the accident. Maryland state law allows employers to be held liable for their employee’s actions when the employee was acting within the scope of their employment when they caused the accident. Importantly, to win in these lawsuits you do not need to prove that the employer was negligent—only their employee. The elements of negligence in a Maryland truck accident are the same as in all other Maryland personal injury accidents; the plaintiff must prove: (1) that the driver owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; (2) that they breached that duty; (3) that their breach was the proximate and actual cause of the damage; and (4) that the plaintiff suffered real damages as a result.

For example, take a recent tragic truck accident that killed a 61-year-old woman. According to a local news report covering the incident, the woman was riding her bicycle one afternoon when an Amazon truck, driven by a 44-year-old man, turned out of the parking lot and struck her. The bicyclist died at the scene, and the investigation of the incident is ongoing. While it’s unclear who was at fault and caused the accident, the victim’s family may be able to bring a case against both the driver and Amazon if the driver was at all careless or at fault. If the driver was driving the truck in furtherance of Amazon’s business—by delivering or picking up packages, for example—then they were acting within their scope of employment. As such, proving that the driver himself was negligent may very well be sufficient to hold Amazon liable as well.

Maryland requires all vehicles to be covered by liability insurance. This requirement is meant to ensure that all drivers and owners are able to financially compensate others for damages resulting from motor vehicle accidents. However, in a Maryland truck accident case, evidence of insurance of lack of insurance is not always permitted as evidence in a civil case. Under Maryland Rule of Evidence 5-411, evidence that a person was or was not insured is not admissible as evidence that a person acted negligently or wrongfully. Evidence of insurance can be admitted as evidence for another purpose, including proof of agency, control, ownership, or bias or prejudice of a witness. For example, evidence that a witness is insured by an insurance company might show that the witness has a potential bias. Evidence of insurance might also be relevant to the issue of whether a party was an employee or an independent contractor, which would impact liability in the case. A driver’s lack of insurance could also be relevant to the issue of whether a company negligently employed an individual to work as a driver.

Maryland’s rule is derived from Federal Rule of Evidence 411. It is meant to prevent unfair prejudice because a jury might infer that a party was at fault based on the party’s lack of insurance. A jury might also infer that a party was not at fault based on the party’s proof of insurance. Even if evidence of insurance or lack of insurance is admissible for another purpose, it may still be excluded on another basis. For example, evidence of a lack of insurance may be unfairly prejudicial and a court might still exclude it. A court has discretion to admit or exclude evidence when it is not prohibited by Rule 5-411. Maryland Rules 5-402 and 5-403 state that evidence that is not relevant is not admissible and that relevant evidence may still be excluded if the probative value is “substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury.”

Woman Killed in Recent Truck Accident

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