Articles Posted in Legal Concepts in Truck Accident Cases

There’s no denying that at any moment, the unexpected can happen with a vehicle you are driving. A flat tire, or a car that suddenly stops and becomes undrivable with little to no warning. On some occasions, the warning signs of a mechanical issue happen days, weeks, or even months before, but unfortunately, some drivers may choose to ignore those warning signs. Routinely checking your vehicle to ensure that everything is working properly is extremely important, as it can prevent dangerous mechanical issues from happening suddenly while you’re driving, and it could save you more money instead of having to pay for even more expensive vehicle repairs later on.

When a mechanical car issue happens suddenly while you are driving on the road and if your vehicle becomes undrivable, it can be important to call a tow truck to remove a vehicle from the road. Some drivers fail to do so, choosing to leave their vehicles abandoned on the road, which can be dangerous for all drivers. When you’re driving on a road or highway, it can be a bit of a surprise if you find a vehicle left unattended that you suddenly have to maneuver around.

A recent news article revealed the dangers of abandoned vehicles left on the road. According to the news article, charges have been filed against a man who is accused of leaving his tow truck on the interstate in North Dakota due to a later crash involving the abandoned vehicle. The 43-year-old-man has been charged with negligent homicide in the death of a 43-year-old woman, in addition to reckless endangerment, driving under suspension and driving without liability insurance. The driver of the tow truck experienced a mechanical issue and stopped in the right lane of the interstate. He then proceeded to get a ride from someone else and left his tow truck where it had stopped. Unfortunately, the 43-year-old woman crashed into the tow truck, and the impact killed her. In addition, her two children were severely injured in the crash.

Throughout the country, truck companies are increasingly exploring the use of autonomous trucks in order to increase profits and decrease reliance on drivers. As a result, autonomous truck accidents in Maryland will likely become more common as a greater number of these vehicles hit the road. As autonomous truck accidents in Maryland increase, the fault of drivers in such accidents will also begin to evolve. The addition of autonomous driving software to trucks fundamentally changes the role and concept of the driver. While autonomous trucks currently often have safety drivers, people in the cab monitoring the artificial intelligence driving the truck autonomously, leading autonomous truck development companies have increasingly used completely driverless trucks on the roads. In December of 2021, a truck completed an 80-mile trip in Arizona on public roads.

Given the increasing risk of being involved in an autonomous truck accident, drivers should be aware that this could fundamentally impact how fault is determined in Maryland truck accidents. Currently, Maryland uses contributory negligence in truck accident cases, which can dramatically impact a victim’s recovery if they are at fault. The introduction of autonomous trucks to the road may change that process. A recent news article discussed an autonomous truck accident that occurred in April 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when an autonomous truck suddenly veered left, cutting across the I-10 highway and smashing into a concrete barricade. At the time, there was a driver and an engineer on board, and the company blamed human error. However, regulatory disclosures and internal documents reveal that there may have been issues with the autonomous software operating the vehicle at the time. An internal report on the incident, states that the truck veered suddenly because the person operating the vehicle did not properly reboot the system before engaging the autonomous driving function, causing it to execute an outdated command. In this case, the truck engaged in a left-turn command that had been made 2 ½ minutes prior, resulting in the accident.

Every year, about two percent of motor vehicle collision deaths are attributed to bicyclists. These bicyclists often share the road with larger vehicles, including heavy trucks like commercial trucks and dump trucks. Despite the relative size of these vehicles on the road, heavy truck drivers still owe bicyclists all the care and consideration when driving that they owe other, larger forms of transportation like passenger cars. Even so, truck drivers often forget to look for smaller vehicles and bicycles when sharing the road. This can be particularly devastating in the event of a collision because of the relative sizes of vehicles and the protections they afford. If this lack of care causes an accident, it may lead to a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent report, a bicyclist died of crash-related injuries 10 hours after they were struck by a dump truck driver. Witnesses to the scene say the driver and bicyclist were traveling side by side when the truck took a left, hitting the bicyclist. One witness said the truck driver wasn’t looking before turning, leading to the bicyclist’s death. The accident remains under investigation, and police have not determined who is liable for the accident.

Responsible drivers owe each other the bare minimum of looking before making a turn. Bike lanes often run next to traffic, meaning drivers should be aware of the possibility of a bicyclist riding next to them, especially when trying to turn. In Maryland, drivers, including truck drivers, are responsible for using reasonable care when operating a vehicle, including truck drivers. When truck drivers breach this duty of care, the victim or the victim’s family could bring a personal injury claim.

Sometimes, no matter how diligent we are on the road, things beyond our control may take place and result in devastating consequences. Despite being a careful, proactive, and alert driver, it is often impossible to control the actions of others. Factors outside of our control that may cause an accident are often exacerbated when the accident involves a large commercial vehicle or truck. Thus, Maryland drivers should understand the distinctions between accidents involving commercial trucks and regular trucks or SUVs before proceeding with their legal claims.

According to a recent news report, a commercial truck driver is facing 41 charges following a major truck accident that left four dead and ten others injured. The truck driver, during his first solo trip, was driving through the mountains on his own despite having little experience navigating the terrain. While on the road, the truck driver realized his brakes had given out. Despite doing his best to remain on the shoulder and out of traffic, he crashed into a large trailer, which he hoped would slow down the trajectory of his truck after the crash. Upon impact, the truck driver lost control and four people died instantly.

During the trial, the prosecution argued that the truck driver had multiple chances to prevent the accident and did not take them. In response, the defense argued that the truck driver was simply at the mercy of mechanical failures of the truck, and lost control without any good options. In addition, the defense reiterated the preventative steps the truck driver took, such as calling his boss, roughly 40 minutes before the crash, to ask for advice on how to proceed moving forward since his brakes were faulty. The outcome of the case will ultimately fall into the hands of the jury.

When most people think about car accidents, they usually assume that a crash takes place between two parties. Sometimes, however, car accidents can often take many forms and levels of complexity. In some cases, crashes can involve multiple parties and it can be unclear who is at fault, how to establish fault, or even how the accident took place. This is especially the case in Maryland truck accidents, which often end up in chain-reaction collisions.

According to a recent news report, a five-vehicle accident left one person dead. The crash took place when a car was heading west and the driver veered into an eastbound lane and collided with a propane truck. Upon impact, the propane truck rolled over and crashed into at least two other vehicles and caught on fire but did not explode. Local authorities reported that the driver of the initial vehicle that crashed into the propane truck died at the scene, the propane truck driver was transported to a local hospital, and the condition of the other drivers remained unknown.

Maryland, like many other states, has specific laws on how to determine fault in car accidents involving multiple parties and a complicated chain of events. When it comes to establishing liability, Maryland law uses joint and several liability, which allows for there to be more than one cause of a car crash.

Large vehicles, especially commercial trucks, are often more susceptible to car accidents because of their size and the dexterity required by drivers to operate them. Because they require more space for turns, backing up, or just generally traveling along any stretch of road, accidents can take place for a variety of reasons. If the truck driver cannot see you because of the size of the truck, or if the vehicle is operated negligently, for example, the likelihood of an accident is amplified.

Sometimes, however, mechanical failures that have nothing to do with a truck driver’s negligence or lack of care can take place and result in major accidents. When these mechanical or structural failures happen, they can be deadly when combined with a negligent truck driver operating tricky road conditions.

According to a news report, a dump truck collided with two cars, which led to three people being transported to a local hospital for treatment. Images from the scene show that the truck careened downhill and violently crashed into a stone wall before coming to a rest on the other side of the wall. The truck had extensive frontal damage.

After a Maryland truck accident, victims may have to deal with immunity defenses if one or more defendants are government entities. For example, if a truck driver or other vehicle driver was working for a city government or another government entity at the time of the crash, the defendant may assert immunity as a defense to the lawsuit.

What Are the Government Immunity Laws in Maryland?

Generally, state and local governments in Maryland are protected from lawsuits through immunity. Similarly, employees of state and local governments are generally protected from lawsuits while they are acting within their official capacity. They are generally immune from lawsuits unless immunity is waived in some way. Immunity is specifically waived in some circumstances under the law. For example, a city government generally is not protected when carrying out proprietary functions—generally, propriety functions that are done for the benefit or profit of a corporation. In contrast, city governments are protected when carrying out government functions—generally, those that are sanctioned by the legislature, are only done for the benefit of the public and have no element of private interest. Employees also may lose the protection of immunity if they act with malice or gross negligence. Immunity for states such as the state of Maryland, as opposed to city and county government, is generally broader. But immunity may still be waived if, for example, the employee was not acting within the scope of their public duties or if the employee acted with malice or gross negligence.

After a Maryland accident, there may be more than one party responsible for the victim’s damages. The idea of a “joint tortfeasor” stems from the theory that an event or injury may result from the separate yet joint actions of two or more parties. Under Maryland’s Joint Tortfeasor Act (MJTA), a party determined to be a joint tortfeasor is responsible for the entire amount of the victim’s damages. This applies regardless of whether one party is more responsible than the other.

These cases often occur in multi-vehicle car accidents, especially those involving truck drivers. While the law does not require a plaintiff to file a lawsuit against all of the culpable parties, they maintain the option of suing all joint tortfeasors in a single action. However, if a plaintiff files against one joint tortfeasor, that party has the option of bringing in all additional tortfeasors as third-party defendants.

For instance, another state supreme court recently issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a multi-vehicle truck accident. In that case, the plaintiff was driving a truck through a construction area when a flagger held up a sign reading “SLOW.” When the driver slowed down, the flagger abruptly changed the sign to “STOP.” As the plaintiff slammed on his brakes, a driver operating a tractor-trailer behind him rear-ended him. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries and filed a lawsuit against the tractor-trailers employers. The employer sought contributions from several third parties, including the general contractor.

Like any other driver, when a Maryland truck driver hits the road, they are expected to drive carefully, or to exercise “reasonable care.” The standard of reasonable care extends even to emergency situations. This means that when a truck driver encounters an emergency on the road, such as a Maryland truck accident, the truck driver must still exercise reasonable care. However, this standard considers the circumstances the driver is presented with and the amount of time the driver has to react.

In a Maryland accident case, a plaintiff has to show that a defendant failed to meet the standard of care. In Maryland, if a truck driver suddenly finds himself in a dangerous situation, the driver is not expected to exercise the same degree of care as a driver who has sufficient time to evaluate his or her options and decide what to do. But the driver is expected to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety and for the safety of others. This doctrine is known as the sudden emergency doctrine. However, the truck driver cannot benefit from the doctrine if the driver is the one who caused the emergency or if the driver is not actually in a dangerous situation. So, if a truck driver damages another person or property in an emergency situation, the question is, when the truck driver was presented with the emergency, did the truck driver exercise the degree of care that a reasonable, prudent person would, given the circumstances? A jury or a judge will also take into consideration the amount of time the driver had to react and evaluate the choices. Failing to take reasonable care under the circumstances may make the driver liable for resulting damages.

Six People Killed in Crash Involving Over 100 Vehicles

Vicarious liability refers to the liability of a person or entity for another person’s wrongful actions. In a Maryland truck accident case, a person or entity may be liable for an employee’s actions or another individual in some circumstances. The person or entity being held responsible may be liable based on the relationship between the person or entity and the person who acted wrongfully. Vicarious liability does not require wrongdoing on the part of the defendant and is based only on the relationship between the defendant and the wrongful actor.

Vicarious liability often arises in the context of an employer being sued for an employee’s negligent acts. An employer might be liable based on the employer-employee relationship if the employee who acted wrongfully was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment. Vicarious liability is based on the idea that the employer hired the employee and is responsible for the employee’s actions carried out in furtherance of the employer’s business and authorized by the employer. In some cases, an employer may be liable even where the employee is personally immune from suit.

Generally, whether an employee was acting within the scope of the employee’s employment is one for the jury. Many lawsuits have been filed alleging that an employer is liable for an employee’s actions while driving to or from work. In general, Maryland courts have held that employers are not liable for negligent conduct while an employee is traveling to or from work, absent special circumstances. In some cases, there is a dispute about whether a wrongful actor was an employee or an independent contractor. In determining whether an employer-employee relationship existed, courts may consider how the worker was selected, how wages were paid, the employer’s ability to fire the person, the employer’s ability to control the person’s conduct, and whether the work was part of the employer’s regular business.

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