Articles Posted in Trucking-related Injury Accidents

Most Maryland truck accidents are avoidable with the exercise of due care on the part of the truck driver. However, the rare occasion may arise in which a truck driver experiences a medical event while behind the wheel, causing the driver to lose control of the truck and cause an accident.

SirenIn these situations, the truck driver may be excused from any subsequent liability that would otherwise arise in the wake of a truck accident. However, that will not necessarily be the case. While some medical events occur without warning, others can be detected in advance or may be caused by a driver’s failure to take required medication. Similarly, a driver may take two medications that have an adverse reaction with each other, causing the driver to lose consciousness or otherwise lose control of his truck.

In these situations, the determination of whether the truck driver is liable for the accident will be made on a case-by-case basis by a judge or jury in a Maryland truck accident lawsuit. The crux of the analysis in this type of accident is whether the defendant’s conduct was negligent. For example, if a truck driver is prescribed daily medication to prevent seizures but fails to take his daily medication, suffers a seizure, and causes an accident, a jury may find that the driver was negligent and responsible for any injuries that occurred as a result of this negligence.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Ohio issued a written opinion dealing with that state’s “Good Samaritan Law.” In the case of Carter v. Reese, the court interpreted the law broadly, including anyone who performs any kind of emergency care. Importantly, the law covers anyone, rather than just medical professionals, as the plaintiff had argued.

Old TruckThe Facts of the Case

Carter was a truck driver. He arrived at his destination and began to unload the trailer he had been pulling. After he was done, he pulled his truck about four to six inches away from the loading dock and put it in park. As he made his way around the back of his truck and up to the loading dock, Carter fell. His leg became stuck between the loading dock and the truck.

At this time, Carter began calling for help because, while he didn’t feel any pain, he was unable to get his leg free. Reese heard Carter’s calls and responded. Carter told Reese to get into the cab of the truck and pull the truck forward so that Carter could free himself. Reese agreed but realized soon after he got into the cab that he didn’t know how to operate the rig. He attempted to rev the engine and move forward, but the truck slid backward instead, crushing Carter’s leg in the process.

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Not all courts are the same. While judges are all supposed to follow the law as it is written, there are situations in which a case does not neatly fit into the laws as they currently stand. In such cases, judges may be required to interpret statutes or give meaning to previous judicial opinions and apply this analysis to the facts in the case before them. This can result in a situation in which the judge “creates” the law as it applies to the specific case.

Truck's GrillBecause of this, it can be very important which court hears a case. A recent case before the Texas Supreme Court highlights the lengths parties will go to in ensuring that the venue hearing the case is of their own choice.

In re J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.

In this case, J.B. Hunt was a trucking company that employed a truck driver who was involved in a fatal accident that claimed the life of another motorist. According to the court’s written opinion, an Isuzu Rodeo broke down on the highway and pulled off to the far-right lane. A truck owned by J.B. Hunt was driving in that same lane, and after a few moments, the truck slammed into the rear of the Isuzu, killing one of the occupants.

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Earlier this month in Decatur, Georgia, a cement truck carrying a several-ton load was involved in an accident with a small passenger car. According to one local news report, the accident occurred when the cement truck driver ran a red light and crashed into the car that was traveling through what was a green light for the car at the time.

concrete-truck-864728-mEvidently, after the collision, the car became wedged in between the cab of the truck and the truck’s load. One nearby citizen showed up seconds after the accident to take pictures. He told reporters: “I didn’t even realize there was a car even there when I first walked up to the accident … It’s hard to see how somebody could survive that.”

But survive she did. The driver of the car was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the truck was also sent to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

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Earlier this month in North Carolina, an accident between a large truck and an Amtrak train sent 62 people to the hospital with minor injuries. According to a local Washington DC news source, the accident occurred near Halifax, North Carolina.

train-tracks-1438657-2-mEvidently, a large semi-truck was traveling with an escort vehicle when the truck got struck attempting to maneuver across the tracks. It seems that the truck driver was attempting to make a turn over the tracks when the truck got stuck and couldn’t free itself. Roughly 15-20 minutes later, an Amtrak train with 212 passengers and eight crew members aboard slammed into the immobilized truck. In all, 62 people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries.

As more information was discovered about the crash, it seems that the truck driver had access to a number to call when such unusual situations arise on or near railroad tracks. The number, if he had called it, would have alerted the train’s conductor that there was a problem ahead and likely would have avoided the accident. As it turns out, the number was posted at the very crossing where the truck got stuck.

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Earlier this year in a California appellate court, a plaintiff’s case was allowed to continue over objections from several defendants after the plaintiff was involved in a serious tractor-trailer accident. According to court documents, the plaintiff was riding in the sleeper cabin of the tractor-trailer when the driver got into an accident. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries as a result.

truck-delivery-1042539-mThe plaintiff then sought financial damages from the driver of the truck, the truck’s owner, and the owner of the trailer that the truck was towing at the time.

At Trial Two Defendants Are Excused Based on a Lack of Vicarious Liability

The trial court accepted the argument of both the trucking company as well as the trailer owner that they should not be held vicariously liable for the actions of the truck driver. This was based largely on the fact that the actual driver of the truck was merely an independent contractor, rather than a benefited employee.

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Last Month, Maryland State Troopers responded to an accident on I-70, caused by a semi-truck a tire blowout. According to a report by WUSA9, the accident occurred on I-70 at Route 63 just before 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Apparently, the semi-truck was heading eastbound on I-70 when one of the truck’s tires blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the truck. The truck then crashed into a construction barrier on the right side of the road before crossing all lanes of traffic and smashing into the guardrail separating east- and west-bound traffic. Ultimately, the truck came to a rest on its side in the center median of the highway. Thankfully, no other vehicles were involved in the accident.


The driver, a 37-year old man from Odenton, MD, was taken to Meritus Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries; he is expected to recover fully. As of the time the article was published, police were still investigating the cause of the accident.

Semi-Trucks and Tire Blow Outs

When a semi-truck loses a tire to a blow out, the results can be fatal. Luckily, in the accident described above, there were no other vehicles involved. However, this is not always going to be the case. In many cases, the semi-truck careens out of control and crashes into other motorists, inflicting serious damage.

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia ruled on a motion earlier this fall, which gives an informative look at the concept of punitive damage awards in trucking accident cases.left%20turn%20computer.jpg

The case, Boone v. Brown, Dist. Court, WD Va. (2013), involved a vehicle accident, whereby the plaintiff’s vehicle was stopped at a red light, and a professional truck driver stopped behind her, then began to steer his tractor-trailer to the left in preparation for a wide right turn. In doing so, he reportedly struck her vehicle three separate times, causing her serious bodily injury and property damage. After the collision, the driver reportedly left the scene.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging negligence, and seeking seeking $200,000 in general, special, and compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages as a result of the driver’s conduct. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss as to her claim for punitive damages.

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A Maryland man who was in the midst of a more than 10,000-mile cross-country bike trip designed to raise money for hearing loss was halted abruptly when the bicyclist was clipped by a semi-trailer in a hit and run accident. bike_lane.jpg

According to a Sheriff’s spokesperson, the bicyclist was riding in Florida when he was clipped by the mirror of a semi-trailer on Saturday evening. He then fell from his bike onto the shoulder of the roadway. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment, where doctors found that he had sustained a concussion, fractured left cheek bone, a broken nose, road rash, and bruising from his fall.

The deaf man, who was inspired to help others after receiving his cochlear implant, initially set out on a bike trip to visit all of the Major League Baseball stadiums across the country in order to raise money and awareness for cochlear implants. He had only 200 miles remaining in the trip that has so far raised more than $140,000. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the incident.

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As consumers, we all rely on professionals to be the best they can be and to do their job with the utmost quality and consideration. When it comes to professional drivers, such as those who operate limousines, taxi cabs, city buses and commercial delivery trucks, we expect those individuals to be vigilant and take extreme care when driving their vehicles. Unfortunately, not all commercial truck drivers are perfect; and traffic accidents can and do happen on a regular basis.

As Baltimore auto injury lawyers and Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my legal staff are always aware of the dangers that average people face every day of their lives. The problem is, not all people take care to avoid situations where the potential for bodily injury is higher than average. Driving in dense city traffic or on a high-speed interstate with semi tractor-trailers all around are just a couple of instances where a passenger car driver could find herself getting involved in a serious traffic collision.

It’s not surprising to most people that being caught up in a roadway wreck with an 18-wheeler can result in life-threatening injuries. But believe us when we say that even smaller commercial vehicles, such as box trucks, dump trucks, and even garbage trucks can turn the average passenger sedan into a mass of crushed sheetmetal given the right circumstances.

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