Articles Posted in Chain Reaction Accidents

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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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.

One 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.

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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