Articles Posted in Chain Reaction Accidents

When a large commercial truck is involved in a Maryland truck accident, a chain of events is set in motion that has the potential to result in a major catastrophe. Semi-trucks and other large transport vehicles are designed to carry tens of thousands of pounds of cargo across the nation’s highways. Often, this means traveling on hundreds of miles of open road. Unfortunately, the very design that makes trucks an efficient means of transporting goods also leaves them ill-suited to adeptly respond to sudden changes in the traffic pattern.

Semi-Truck RolloverOne example of a truck driver’s compromised ability to maneuver a large rig is when an accident occurs a short distance ahead of the truck driver. Due to the significant weight of these large trucks – even when they are not fully loaded – a truck driver has a greatly increased stopping distance when traveling at highway speeds. Additionally, the length of a semi-truck prevents a driver from making any spur-of-the-moment evasive maneuvers to avoid an obstacle ahead. When combined, these factors greatly increase the chance of a chain reaction truck accident.

All of this is to say that truck drivers have a difficult job. However, that does not reduce their responsibility to safely operate their vehicle at all times. This may mean slowing down below the posted speed limit or increasing their following distance to beyond what they normally would consider a safe distance. When a truck driver fails to take necessary precautions and ends up causing or contributing to a chain reaction truck accident, both the driver and the driver’s employer may potentially be held liable.

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It should come as no surprise that Maryland truck accidents involving large commercial trucks carry the potential to cause major destruction. This is especially the case when the accident involves multiple vehicles or takes place on a crowded highway. Indeed, some of the most devastating Maryland truck accidents involve chain-reaction collisions that begin with one vehicle but end up affecting many others.

Evening City-Scape Determining which driver is responsible in multi-vehicle accidents can be a difficult task, and it is often left up to the courts to decide. Generally speaking, all of the parties who believe they are entitled to compensation will file a personal injury lawsuit against the parties they believe to be responsible for their injuries. In chain-reaction car accidents, this usually results in all of the parties involved in the accident being named in the lawsuit. From there, a jury will hear the evidence from each party and come to a determination regarding each party’s respective percentage of fault.

In Maryland personal injury cases, courts apply a very strict rule when determining which parties in an accident are permitted to recover compensation for their injuries. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, any party who is even the slightest bit at fault for an accident will not be permitted to recover compensation from any other person involved in the accident. This stands true even if a plaintiff is determined to be just 5% at fault. Thus, the importance of a thorough investigation and diligent preparation cannot be overstated.

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Semi-truck accidents are known to be some of the most dangerous accidents, and also some of the most difficult to avoid. Unlike many other accidents, there is often little to nothing other motorists can do to avoid a semi-truck accident. This is especially the case when semi-trucks are being driven at high speeds.

Highway TrafficTo help manage the risk that semi-trucks pose on our nation’s highways, state and federal lawmakers have enacted rules and regulations for the trucking industry. For example, truck drivers must obtain a commercial driver’s license, can only drive a certain number of hours per day and per week, and depending on what they are transporting, may be required to pre-register their cargo as well as their chosen route. All these regulations are enacted to keep the general public safe, and when a semi-truck driver or trucking company fails to follow these rules, they may be held liable for any injuries caused as a result.

Chain-Reaction Accident on Expressway Claims Three Lives, Injures Several Others

Earlier this week in New York City, a semi-truck accident on the Cross Bronx Expressway killed three motorists and injured several others. According to one local news source covering the tragic accident, a semi-truck was stopped in traffic in the middle of the Expressway when another truck came from behind. The second truck failed to stop in time to avoid a collision, and it slammed into the rear of a pick-up truck that had come to a stop behind the first truck. Another passenger vehicle was also struck by the second truck.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Mississippi issued a written opinion in a chain-reaction truck accident case, affirming judgment in favor of the allegedly negligent truck driver and his employer. In the case, Ready v. RWI Transportation, the court determined that the plaintiff’s injuries in a subsequent accident not involving the defendant were not a foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ negligence. As a result of the decision, the plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue compensation for their injuries.

Truck MirrorThe Facts of the Case

A truck driver employed by RWI Transportation caused an accident when he made an improper lane change on a Mississippi highway. As a result of that initial accident, the truck and another vehicle were left incapacitated and came to a rest while blocking the highway. Traffic was slowed, and a significant traffic jam formed.

About 30 minutes later, while traffic was still moving slowly, Ready approached the traffic jam and crashed into the back of another vehicle that had come to a complete stop as a result of the traffic jam. Ready filed a personal injury lawsuit against RWI Transportation and the driver of the truck involved in the initial accident. Ready claimed that the truck driver’s negligence was the cause of the subsequent accident that resulted in his injuries.

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A chain-reaction accident involving multiple vehicles on a Mississippi highway took the life of one man and left two others injured after a semi-truck driver failed avoid a collision with a slower-moving vehicle ahead of him and was subsequently struck by an 18-wheeler from behind. A local news outlet reported that the crash occurred in the early morning hours of August 11 on Interstate 20 in Newton County, Mississippi. According to the article, the man who was killed in the crash was driving the vehicle at the back of the chain, although the exact cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Truck on HighwayThe Elevated Dangers of Rear-End and Chain-Reaction Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks

It appears that all three of the vehicles involved in the fatal Mississippi accident earlier this month were 18-wheel tractor-trailers. Rear-end collisions and chain-reaction accidents involving tractor-trailers present a significant danger to all drivers on the road, especially on interstate highways and other high speed transit routes. Although commercial drivers are professionally trained and licensed to drive larger vehicles, rear-end accidents involving one or more of these vehicles are frighteningly common. Since a single semi-truck can be used to tow several different trailers, accidents can occur if a driver fails to ensure the brake lights on the back of a new trailer are functioning properly before entering a highway. Additionally, the functionality of braking systems between different trailers may not be consistent, and an overloaded trailer can dangerously increase a truck driver’s stopping distance.

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There are many populous cities in and around the Maryland region, and traffic can be brutal and congested. The busy metropolitan cities are home to many businesses that rely on transportation companies to deliver their goods. With the rise in online purchasing and same-day delivery, transportation companies are now beginning to face potential competition among them. This new competition-driven system has resulted in an influx of trucking accidents in the state.

Dark RoadThere are many reasons that trucking accidents occur in Maryland. Some of the top causes of trucking accidents and trucking-related fatalities are truck driver inexperience, trucking malfunction, jackknifing, and truck driver fatigue. Out of all of these common causes, truck driver drowsiness and fatigue is arguably the most dangerous. In fact, a recent study revealed that although medical professionals recommend at least 7-8 hours of sleep for an adult, many truck drivers get less than five hours of sleep. This is clearly insufficient when they are in control of such large and dangerous vehicles.

As mentioned above, competition between trucking companies is so fierce that many times trucking companies demand their drivers to make delivery goals that are potentially unsafe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has lenient standards that allow drivers to drive up to 11 hours in one day without stops. This number translates to almost 70 hours in just over a week’s time. In order to ensure job security, truck drivers may feel compelled to violate these requirements. In some cases, truck drivers may even take illicit substances to ensure that they are awake. However, many of these substances lead to drivers who are less alert and aware of their surroundings. The combination of strict delivery times and fatigued drivers can only lead to a deadly result.

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Earlier this month in California, a semi-truck driver was killed when he rear-ended another truck that was parked on the side of the highway. According to one local news source covering the incident, the fatal accident took place at around 3:30 in the afternoon on a multi-lane highway.

truck-on-hwy-1615510Evidently, the deceased semi-truck driver was traveling on the highway at approximately 50-60 miles per hour when he rammed into the rear of another semi-truck that had pulled off to the side of the road. From the news coverage of the accident, it is unclear if the parked semi-truck was completely pulled off the road, stopped in the middle of the road, or just partially blocking the lane of travel.

After the initial collision between the two trucks, the parked truck was pushed into several other occupied vehicles that were nearby. Thankfully, none of those people was injured as a result of the accident.

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Earlier this month in Queen Anne, Maryland, a three-truck accident resulted in three fatalities when one of the trucks inexplicably crossed the center line. According to one local news report, the accident occurred on Maryland Route 404 in the morning hours.

accident-422866-mEvidently, the semi-truck, which was being driven by a man from Tennessee, crossed over into oncoming traffic and side-swiped another semi-truck. After the initial collision, the truck continued on and then collided head-on with a third truck. The driver of the first truck was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The driver of the second truck, which was struck from the side, caught fire upon impact. Both the driver and the passenger inside died as a result of the injuries they sustained in the accident. The driver of the third semi-truck was not injured. Police are currently conducting an investigation into the accident.

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Earlier this week, two residents of Baltimore County were injured when a semi-truck came crashing through the back side of their Perry Hall home. According to one local news report, the semi-truck was cut off by another driver and ended up veering out of his lane of travel to avoid what would have been a certain collision.

old-truck-1228351-mThe truck lost control and ran up onto the sidewalk. From there, it crashed through a nearby fence and through the back yard of a home, eventually crashing through the rear of the home. It left an 8 x 10 foot hole in the side of the residents’ home. Inspectors have since determined that the home is unsafe to reside in.

The homeowners and their four children (and one dog) were all home at the time, but thankfully not near the site of the collision. No one inside the home was injured. However, one of the resident told reporters that “The whole house shook for about five seconds. . . . It literally felt like a massive earthquake.”

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