Articles Posted in Chain Reaction Accidents

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.

Typically, individuals are grateful when they see fire trucks on the roads, responding to emergencies and saving lives. Maryland firefighters are first responders to many emergencies and perform an essential governmental function. However, there may be tragic instances when fire trucks, speeding to get to a burning building, cause more harm than good and cause an accident.

A recent incident illustrates this point. Last month, a fire truck was responding to a call at around 8:15 in the evening when it hit a car. According to a local news report, this led to a multi-vehicle crash involving seven other vehicles and significant injuries. Two individuals were trapped inside of a car and had to be extracted, and six people were taken to local hospitals, two as trauma alerts. The nine-vehicle crash was so significant that all lanes of the road were closed in the aftermath. While the condition of those injured is still unknown, there are likely to be long-term severe injuries and medical bills as a result of this tragic accident.

While nothing can undo the damage that was done that evening, those who were injured in the incident may have a route to financial recovery. Under the Maryland Tort Claims Act, the state government, including the fire department, may be sued in personal injury lawsuits. If it was found that the firefighters driving the truck were acting negligently in some way that led to the accident, the injured victims might be able to recover for their injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills, each up to $400,000. However, successfully filing a personal injury suit against a government entity is difficult to do, with more procedural requirements and regulations than typical lawsuits against other civilians or private businesses.

Anytime someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, they have the ability to file a civil suit against the person or party responsible for the crash. However, there may sometimes be confusion about where they can bring that suit when the crash happened in a different state than the one where the victim resides. Maryland residents traveling for work or pleasure might be injured while in other states. When this happens, they may mistakenly believe they cannot ever bring suit in Maryland because the crash occurred elsewhere. This is not true. While the laws regarding personal jurisdiction—where someone can be sued—are complicated, there are many times where a Maryland victim can sue in Maryland, even if the crash happened in another state.

This is especially important to remember when crashes occur on a highway, because many of the victims may not be residents of the state in which the crash occurred. For example, a bus, three semi-trailers, and a car were all recently involved in a massive multi-vehicle crash in Pennsylvania. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the incident occurred early on Sunday morning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A tour bus was traveling downhill on a curve when it hit an embankment. Then, a UPS truck, the two FedEx trucks, and the passenger car, all of which were behind the tour bus, hit it from behind and caused it to topple on its side, causing the massive multi-vehicle crash.

The magnitude of the crash was reflected in the tragic fatalities and injuries—at least five people were killed, including a 9-year-old boy, and 60 others were taken to local hospitals with injuries. First responders called the accident a “mass casualty incident.” In the aftermath, 86 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was closed in all directions for several hours.

When there is an accident involving many vehicles and people, it often means that the legal case will involve many parties. More than one party may be to blame for the plaintiff’s injuries—including the plaintiff. If a plaintiff is alleged to be even partially at fault, Maryland truck accident victims must understand the effect of the doctrine of contributory negligence.

The doctrine of contributory negligence applies in Maryland accident cases. Under this doctrine, if a plaintiff is found to be at fault for their own damages, even partially, the plaintiff is barred from recovering from any other party for their damages. Each party has a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances presented. Every driver must exercise the degree of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under the circumstances, including in emergency situations. Maryland accident victims often have to work hard to defend their lack of fault in injury claims in addition to proving the defendant’s fault.

Many people have criticized the contributory negligence doctrine because it can result in extremely harsh consequences. Most states have adopted the doctrine of comparative negligence instead. Under that doctrine, a plaintiff can normally still recover even if the plaintiff is partly to blame. The doctrine has been the law in Maryland since 1847 and the state has rejected adopting comparative negligence.

After a Maryland truck accident, anyone injured in the accident can pursue a claim for compensation against any party they believe was responsible for causing their injuries. In many truck accident cases, both the truck driver as well as the driver’s employer can be named as a defendant.

To establish liability against a trucking company, the plaintiff must be able to show that the truck driver was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Naming a truck driver’s employer as a defendant can be critical to an injury victim’s ability to fully recover for their injuries because the damages sustained in a serious Maryland truck accident may exceed the personal insurance limits of an individual truck driver.

Under Maryland law, when a plaintiff names multiple defendants in a lawsuit, the jury will first determine the total damages suffered by the plaintiff. Then, the jury will be asked to assign a percentage of fault to each party, including the plaintiff.

For a relatively small state, Maryland has a dense network of highways connecting several major cities on the eastern seaboard. As a result, Maryland gets a significant amount of semi-truck traffic throughout the year.

At the same time, it is not unusual for Maryland to receive snow for five months out of the year. And while many motorists may decide to stay home when road conditions become compromised due to the weather conditions, semi-truck drivers have added pressure to get to where they are going. It is no surprise, then, that during the winter months, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Maryland truck accidents.

It’s true that semi-truck drivers face pressure from employers to deliver goods as quickly as possible. In most cases, truck drivers are financially incentivized to complete their route quickly. However, this pressure often results in truck drivers deciding to drive during storms or when road conditions are unsafe. It is this same pressure that is also the root cause of many Maryland drowsy driving truck accidents.

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Any time an accident occurs on the highway, there is a chance that the vehicles approaching the collision will not be able to see the collision until it is too late for them to safely avoid it. While the possibility of a Maryland truck accident involving a chain reaction is always present, certain factors make these accidents much more likely.For example, the weather and road conditions may result in motorists having decreased visibility. When this occurs, it is up to motorists to adjust their speed accordingly to ensure that they are driving at a safe speed for the conditions. The type of vehicle being operated also factors into the likelihood that a driver will be able to stop in time to avoid an upcoming collision.

Large trucks and buses literally weigh a ton – up to 40 tons, to be exact. Such an immense amount of weight – especially when traveling at high speeds – puts a major burden on a vehicle’s brakes. In fact, a fully loaded semi-truck traveling at just 55 miles per hour takes about 100 yards to come to a complete stop. A truck traveling at 65 miles per hour takes almost twice that distance to come to a stop.

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While some Maryland truck accidents involve only the truck and another vehicle, it is not uncommon for an accident to involve several vehicles. This is because most truck accidents happen on the highway, which means these accidents often occur in close quarters and involve fast speeds. Often, inattentive motorists will not have sufficient time to react to avoid a collision and may end up causing a chain-reaction accident.

In these multi-vehicle accidents, determining which parties are legally responsible to the victims can be a difficult and complex task. For example, the obvious defendant is the driver who caused the initial accident. Establishing this driver’s liability is no different than if there were only two vehicles involved. However, there may be additional parties that bear responsibility.

If a motorist is traveling too fast for the conditions or is distracted at the time, they may not realize that traffic has slowed in front of them until it is too late. The result is often a chain-reaction accident. In these situations, the speeding or distracted motorist may also be named as a defendant.

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Earlier this week, an accident involving two semi-trucks, two buses, and several passenger cars sent 29 people to the hospital, several with serious injuries. According to a local news report, the collision occurred in the evening hours during a time when roads were slick due to the recent snowfall.

Given the magnitude of the accident, authorities have yet to determine exactly what happened in the moments leading up to the accident. Witnesses told reporters that the two semi-trucks involved in the accident were traveling at a high rate of speed, which resulted in the trucks being unable to stop in time to avoid the collision. Once the trucks crashed into the buses, other motorists nearby got involved in a chain-reaction accident, similar to many Maryland bus accidents that we have seen.

One of the buses was pushed off to the side of the road, where it teetered on the edge of an embankment. Those on board were told not to move until it was safe to do so. Accident reconstructionists surveyed the scene and its aftermath, and the accident is still under official investigation.

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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.

Chain 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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