Semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles and the employees operating them are required to abide by various safety regulations and guidelines that may not apply to normal drivers. Companies and drivers can be cited by state transportation authorities if an inspection or accident reveals violations of the driving or equipment regulations established by the authorities. Companies or drivers with repeated or excessive violations may face administrative consequences, especially in the event of an accident related to the violation.
The Role of Previous Safety Violations in an Accident Lawsuit
The victims of a Maryland semi-truck accident may discover that the commercial vehicle or driver involved in their crash has been cited in the past for a safety violation that relates to the apparent cause of their own accident. As the plaintiff in a Maryland truck accident lawsuit, the accident victim may be able to introduce evidence of previous safety violations to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence in causing the accident. Evidence that a defendant has repeatedly violated safety regulations in the past should give the plaintiff an advantage in making the case for damages. However, this evidence will not necessarily be admitted without litigation over its admission.
Punitive Damages and a Pattern of Gross Negligence in Maryland and D.C.
In some jurisdictions, an accident victim may be entitled to additional damages above and beyond the economic and noneconomic damages relating to their injuries from the accident. In Maryland, punitive damages may only be awarded in a negligence lawsuit by showing actual malice, but in Washington, D.C., punitive damages can be awarded when a defendant has acted in willful disregard of the plaintiff’s rights and was reckless toward the plaintiff’s safety. In some cases, it could be argued that a pattern of gross negligence by a defendant who was guilty of repeated safety violations that resulted in an accident justifies an award of punitive damages to the plaintiff.
Truck Company in Fatal Bridge Accident had Several Previous Safety Violations
A recently published news article discusses a fatal accident earlier this month in which a semi-truck crashed into a bridge, causing debris to fall on the road and strike a vehicle, killing a 12-year-old boy. According to the news report, the company that was operating the truck has been cited in the past for violating safety regulations, including seat-belt and cell-phone violations. The company was also involved in several accidents that seriously injured the victims. It does not appear from the article that the previous violations are related to the cause of this accident, and there is no mention of any safety violations related to the specific driver involved in the crash. Nonetheless, depending on the facts presented at trial, such evidence may be relevant in a case against the trucking company.
Have You Been in an Accident with a Maryland Semi-Truck?
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt or killed in a semi-truck accident, a qualified Maryland personal injury attorney at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers can help you make a claim for fair compensation. Our dedicated Maryland and D.C. truck accident lawyers represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire Washington, D.C. area in auto accident, personal injury, wrongful death, and other negligence cases. With our decades of experience, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Truck Tire Safety Can Reduce Serious Trucking Accidents, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published July 7, 2016.
Deadly Accidents With Semi Trucks and Commercial Vehicles Are Too Common In Maryland, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published July 14, 2016.