Articles Posted in Things to Keep in Mind After a Maryland Truck Accident

As a vehicle driver or passenger car occupant hurt or injured as a result of a truck driver’s negligence, you have the right to present the police-issued traffic citation as evidence in a personal injury or wrongful death suit against a big rig operator or trucking company. Being involved in a crash with an 18-wheeler can have serious medical implications and can cause life-changing results to a victim and his or her family.

As Maryland trucking accident lawyers, we know from first-hand experience how a multi-vehicle accident involving semi tractor-trailers can affect individuals months and even years following a crash. Whether someone is involved in a collision with a delivery truck, tanker trailer rig and over-the-road commercial hauler, the results can be financially crushing and medically devastating to say the least.

Injuries from such accidents can range from typically serious injuries, such as head and neck trauma, to lesser bodily harm like cuts, bruises and contusions. The smaller the victim’s vehicle the more chance there is for serious injury or death.

When it comes to bringing a suit, the injured party can use the truck driver’s traffic citation as part of his or her evidence that the truck driver was considered by the police to be negligent. As any person who has received a speeding ticket in this state knows, our traffic laws govern all Maryland drivers. What is important to understand, however, is that truck drivers are also governed by other federal as well as state regulations. If a commercial truck driver violates any of these laws and causes a car accident, the injured party may use that violation as evidence of the truck driver’s negligence.

Since heavy trucks including Mack, Volvo, Freightliners to name a few are used to maintain the commerce of our state and country, the number of these large trucks found on public roads will always be significant, especially during the work week. Busy metropolitan areas see a significant number of truck traffic, both expressway and surface street truck volume, and especially in areas populated by industrial parks and manufacturing centers.

Drivers of small family vehicles, such as minivans and passenger cars, must continually deal with the presence of these larger vehicles on a daily basis. In fact, a fully-loaded semi can weight as much a 80,000 pounds — close to 20 times the weight of an average car or SUV. In a crash, a fully-loaded semi can literally crush the smaller vehicle with little effort.

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On Monday, I met with a new client who was walking across a Baltimore City street. This individual was crossing the street within the cross walk and on a permissible pedestrian “walk” signal when she was struck by a fast moving car that made a right hand turn. She was knocked to the ground, and she suffered broken ribs and a head injury.

In Maryland, it is important to remember that owners of cars who are pedestrians when they are hit by a tractor-trailer, pick-up truck or car still receive the benefits of their automobile insurance coverage available as if they were struck while operating their motor vehicle. In short, a pedestrian does not need to be in his or her vehicle to utilize their own automobile insurance coverage when hit by another vehicle while walking.

The three types of automobile insurance coverage that are typically most useful to someone hit while a pedestrian, are:

1. personal injury protection – this insurance will cover medical bills and 85% of lost wages incurred due to the pedestrian incident, up to the coverage limit. PIP coverage in Maryland is usually purchased at limits of $2,500.00, $5,000.00, $7,500.00 or $10,000.00.

2. medical payment coverage – this insurance will cover medical bills caused by injuries sustained in the pedestrian accident, up to the coverage limit.

3. uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage – this insurance will step in to pay for injuries sustained in the pedestrian incident, such as for broken bones, head injury, muscle and ligament strains and tears, medical bills, and lost wages when the driver of the involved vehicle leaves the scene of the accident and cannot be found, when the other driver has no insurance or when the at fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover the injuries sustained in the collision.

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I recently read an article that provided truck owners with ways to limit their responsibility for injuries caused by negligent truck drivers. The article suggested that truck owners aggressively utilize what they referred to as “accident response teams.” Maryland truck accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC disagree with some of the tactics these teams employ, and believe that their ultimate goal is to restrict the rights of victims injured in truck accidents.

Even before a victim of a negligent truck accident receives medical treatment for injuries, truck owners and their accident response teams are already preparing a defense to potential personal injury claims. In most cases, these response teams include an insurance adjuster/investigator, the company’s lawyer, the driver of the truck, and an accident reconstruction expert.

The trucking publication advises truck owners to ensure that their response teams arrive at accident scenes before law enforcement personnel leave, and before vehicles involved in the incident are moved. While on the scene of the accident, the response team will interview witnesses, take photographs of the accident scene, and investigate the background of potential injury plaintiffs. The response teams prepare their reports with the ultimate goal of limiting a motor carrier’s liability for injuries caused by negligent truck drivers. In some instances, the investigators may attempt to contact the victim of truck accident while they are recovering from their injuries.

Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC reminds its clients that under Maryland law, it is improper for a truck company, its insurance adjuster, or its lawyer to contact an injured victim involved in an accident once the victim hires an attorney.

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