As anyone who drives in the Baltimore area knows, heavy commercial trucks such as Peterbilts, Macks, Freightliners and Kenworths, among other makes, travel our roadways in large numbers. What few people remember, as they drive in and around metropolitan areas like Annapolis, the District, Gaithersburg and Bowie, is that the shear mass of these large, cross-country tractor-trailers can easily crush a sedan, minivan or SUV. Because of this, motorists live with the ever-present danger of a serious, life-threatening crash between these large trucks and the smaller and lighter passenger cars that share the road with them.
As potentially dangerous as these huge vehicles can be, they are important players in this country’s economic health and therefore not likely to disappear from the scene anytime soon. Traffic accidents involving autos and commercial trucks are frequent and can cause serious injury, permanent disability and death. The reasons for trucking accidents can vary as well, from defective vehicle and poor maintenance procedures, to distracted driving and operator fatigue.
As Maryland trucking accident lawyers and personal injury attorneys, I and my staff are experienced in the representing victims of commercial truck collisions. We understand how motorists in cars, light trucks or motorcycles can receive extensive injuries from a crash leading to broken bones, internal bleeding, collapsed lungs or closed head injuries.
Hundreds, even thousands, of 18-wheelers, box trucks, tankers, heavy construction vehicles, are involved in multi-vehicle accidents annually, causing millions of dollars in damage, medical treatment and physical therapy for thousands of people nationwide. Some of these wrecks are severe enough to cause death to passenger car drivers and other occupants.
If a fully-loaded tractor-trailer rig goes out of control, it can become a 40-ton battering ram with the impact force of more than 20 average-sized passenger cars. Based on research conducted over the years, safety experts know that many trucking accidents can be avoided. And while most commercial trucking firms are responsible enough to ensure that their fleets are safely maintained and driven, some companies are not so careful.
Cargo overloading is a common problem in the trucking industry and can result in operational problems for commercial truck drivers. Physics also plays a part when these heavy haulers are overloaded, causing the vehicle to travel farther even under maximum braking. Add the possibility of defective braking equipment and that could leave the driver unable to stop and possibly causing the operator to lose control especially under adverse weather conditions.
Some truckers will take unwarranted risks while driving on public roads. The most egregious offenders do so even though their actions could result in a terrible accident and possible loss of life. While most truck drivers observe federal safety regulations for commercial vehicles, a percentage of drivers do not. In fact, it’s not uncommon to read about commercial truckers exceeding the legal on-road driving time in order to meet delivery deadlines.
As commercial trucking accident attorneys, we remind anyone involved in a crash with a commercial truck to consult with a qualified injury lawyer as soon as possible. In addition to this suggestion, it is important that the victims of trucking wrecks not speak with the other party’s insurer until they have learned about their legal options from a lawyer beforehand. Many commercial trucking companies will attempt to persuade accident victims to settle for less than they may be owed in return for the injuries received during the collision. The same goes for families of those killed in a trucking-related accident.