Can a Maryland Mechanic Be Held Responsible for a Vehicle’s Dangerous Condition?

One of the most important issues in any Maryland personal injury case is determining which parties may be responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. This is especially important because accident victims typically only get one chance to bring their case, and if a potentially liable defendant is not named in a case the plaintiff may lose their ability to recover altogether.

In most Maryland truck accidents, certain parties should always be considered as potential defendants. For example, the person driving the truck, the owner of the truck, and the company that employed the truck driver are commonly named as defendants. However, there may be additional parties who are responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. A recent case discusses whether a mechanic was liable for injuries caused by a forklift.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was employed as a truck driver. The plaintiff parked his truck at his employer’s warehouse, and other employees began to unload the truck. As one of the other employees was using a forklift to unload the truck’s cargo, the driver ran over the plaintiff’s foot, resulting in serious injuries. The forklift was not manufactured with a back-up alarm, and did not have one installed at the time of the accident.

Evidently, the forklift was owned by the plaintiff’s employer, who had a service contract with a maintenance company. The service contract stated that the maintenance company would perform routine and preventative maintenance on the forklift. Apparently, a few months before the accident the forklift was inspected by an employee of the maintenance company. At the end of that inspection, no recommendations were made regarding the installation of a back-up alarm.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the maintenance company, arguing its negligence in failing to install a back-up alarm contributed to his injuries. The defendant argued that industry standard practices do not call for back-up alarms to be installed, and that it was not required to recommend or install optional safety equipment.

The Court’s Opinion

The court agreed with the maintenance company and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The court explained that while the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care to warn the employer of known safety hazards, the defendant did not breach that duty by failing to recommend or install a back-up alarm. The court was persuaded by the fact that the forklift never had a back-up alarm installed and OSHA industry standards do not call for back-up alarms to be installed on forklifts.

The court’s analysis appears to hint that, had the forklift been equipped with a back-up alarm that had malfunctioned before the defendant inspected it, the defendant may be liable if it failed to fix the broken alarm. However, as that was not the case here, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Warehouse Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured at work or while visiting another’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. At the Maryland law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC we represent injury victims in all types of personal injury claims across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about how we can help you recover for the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-2600 today.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Rule of Evidence 403: A Question of Probative Value Versus Unfair Prejudice, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 4, 2019.

Can a Truck Driver’s Employer Be Held Liable in a Maryland Truck Accident?, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 18, 2019.

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