Maryland truck accidents can be incredibly destructive, hurting vehicles, property, and of course, people. Because trucks are much larger than most other vehicles on the road, an accident involving one may be particularly dangerous. As in other accidents, Maryland state law allows those injured in Maryland truck accidents to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover. However, it is important to note how these truck accidents may differ from other accidents, including car and motorcycle accidents. Unlike cars and motorcycles, most individuals do not drive trucks as their primary form of personal transportation. Instead, most truck drivers are driving for work, and are employed by a third party. Thus, a legal doctrine called vicarious liability, which may allow injured accident victims to sue a truck driver’s employer as well as the driver themselves, is especially relevant in these cases.
To illustrate the point, let’s use a real-life truck accident that occurred just last week. According to a local news report, one truck was passing by another parked truck when the passenger side mirror struck the second truck. Immediately afterward, a pedestrian—a 58-year-old man—was then struck by the moving truck as well. While the accident is still under investigation, let’s suppose for a moment that the driver of the first truck was negligent in some way—perhaps they were distracted while driving, leading to the incident. The injured man may want to file a personal injury lawsuit against him. These suits can cover hospital bills, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Now let’s suppose that the injured victim—the plaintiff—incurred $100,000 in total costs as a result of this accident. It may be that the truck driver—the defendant—does not have sufficient funds to cover these costs. So, the plaintiff in this case may want to file suit against the defendant’s employer, for whom the defendant was driving the truck. Depending on the case and the nature of the employment, the plaintiff may be able to recover from the employer as well, even though they were not actually present at the time of the crash. This is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability—holding the employer vicariously liable for something negligent their employee did while on the job.