Justia Lawyer Rating
Maryland Association for Justice
American Association for Justice
Top One
Super Lawyers
Top 100 Trial Lawyers

In many Maryland truck accidents, an accident victim’s injuries are solely the fault of a single defendant. For example, if an intoxicated or sleep-deprived truck driver causes an accident on a Maryland highway, chances are that the other motorists involved in the collision could not have done anything to avoid or prevent the accident. These cases tend to be straightforward.

There are other Maryland truck accidents, however, in which the determination of who was at fault is far from crystal clear. In fact, it is common in Maryland personal injury cases for the defendant to claim that the plaintiff shared in the responsibility for causing an accident. This is because, under Maryland’s strict contributory negligence rule, if a defendant is able to shift even a small percentage of fault onto the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s claim will be dismissed. Virginia also applies the contributory negligence doctrine to most personal injury actions.

Maryland and Virginia are somewhat unique in their application of the contributory negligence doctrine. Most other states apply what is known as the comparative fault doctrine. Under a comparative fault analysis, a plaintiff who is partially at fault for causing an accident can still recover for their injuries, but will have their total compensation award reduced by their own percentage of fault.

When parents allow their children to take the bus to school, they assume that the bus driver will get their children safely to and from school. Indeed, for the most part, school bus drivers are highly qualified drivers; however, even experienced drivers can occasionally make mistakes.

Earlier this month, a group of Maryland students were involved in a Maryland school bus accident in Schuylkill County. According to a local news report, the accident occurred around 9:45 in the morning as the students were on their way to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Evidently, the bus was on the highway when the driver noticed that a vehicle ahead had come to a stop. The driver of the bus attempted to swerve around the stopped vehicle, but ended up crashing into a propane tanker.

The bus, which was chartered by the school, contained 52 occupants, including 47 students, the driver, and four adult chaperones. Authorities reported that bus driver and two students sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident.

For a relatively small state, Maryland has a dense network of highways connecting several major cities on the eastern seaboard. As a result, Maryland gets a significant amount of semi-truck traffic throughout the year.

At the same time, it is not unusual for Maryland to receive snow for five months out of the year. And while many motorists may decide to stay home when road conditions become compromised due to the weather conditions, semi-truck drivers have added pressure to get to where they are going. It is no surprise, then, that during the winter months, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Maryland truck accidents.

It’s true that semi-truck drivers face pressure from employers to deliver goods as quickly as possible. In most cases, truck drivers are financially incentivized to complete their route quickly. However, this pressure often results in truck drivers deciding to drive during storms or when road conditions are unsafe. It is this same pressure that is also the root cause of many Maryland drowsy driving truck accidents.

Continue reading ›

Any time a semi-truck is involved in an accident with other motorists, it is very likely that there will be significant injuries. Maryland rear-end truck accidents, are no exception. Indeed, it is estimated that rear-end truck accidents are responsible for over 23,000 injuries and 700 fatalities across the country each year.

The most cited reason for the large number of rear-end truck accidents is the stopping distance of large trucks, especially when they are fully loaded and traveling at highway speeds. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it takes the average truck the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop when traveling at 65 miles per hour.

While the significant stopping distance of semi-trucks certainly plays a role in many rear-end accidents, it is somewhat misleading to label the truck’s stopping distance as the cause of these accidents. In reality, many of these accidents are the result of the truck driver’s negligence. Commercial truck drivers are trained to operate large vehicles at high speeds, and should be familiar with how to do so safely. This includes knowing how long it takes their rig to come to a complete stop. However, often, truck drivers follow too closely, leaving little to no time to react if the vehicle in front of them unexpectedly slows down or comes to a stop.

Continue reading ›

The mass production of cars that are equipped with autopilot technology is now a reality. For the most part, the technology works well and is generally accepted to be safe. However, many are concerned that the increased prevalence of these vehicles will result in a spike in Maryland truck accidents.

In fact, earlier this month, another fatal collision involving a Tesla vehicle occurred on a Florida highway. According to a recent news report, the crash occurred when an eastbound semi-truck came to a stop at a stop sign. After the semi-truck entered the intersection in preparation to make a left-hand turn, a south-bound Tesla crashed into the side of the truck. Apparently, neither the car’s autopilot technology nor the driver of the Tesla saw the truck enter the highway.

The collision sheared the roof off of the Tesla, and the car continued in auto-pilot mode for another 500 yards before coming to a complete stop. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.

Continue reading ›

Typically, when someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, to successfully recover for their injuries, the accident victim must be able to establish that the driver violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff, and that this violation was the cause of their injuries. In most cases, establishing that a duty was owed to an accident victim is straightforward because motorists owe all other motorists a duty of care to follow all traffic laws and safely operate their vehicle.

The determination of whether the defendant violated a duty that was owed to another driver, however, can be quite tricky in some circumstances. In fact, in many Maryland truck accident cases, this is the most contested issue because, although the standard is supposed to be an objective one, there is an element of subjectivity anytime a jury is asked to weigh in on another’s conduct.

Under the doctrine of negligence per se, however, if the defendant is found to have violated a qualifying statute, that defendant may be presumed to have been negligent. Thus, in these cases, courts look to the fact that the defendant violated a particular statute rather than try to determine whether the defendant breached a duty that was owed to the plaintiff. In other words, the law prescribes the defendant’s duty. This means that aside from showing the defendant violated the statute, the plaintiff must only show that the defendant’s violation of the statute was the proximate cause of their injuries.

Continue reading ›

With the most recent storm, many areas in Maryland received several inches of snow. While many people were told not to come to work due to the weather, others did not have a choice and were forced to negotiate the dangerous conditions. Indeed, according to a recent report, in just a single five-hour period Maryland State Police responded to nearly 100 accidents and 70 reports of disabled or unattended vehicles. During that same period, Virginia police reported over 400 accidents.

While inclement weather affects all motorists, truck drivers are perhaps the most impacted. When road conditions are wet or slick, the inherent dangers of operating a large vehicle become heightened. For example, during inclement weather conditions, a truck driver’s visibility of the road ahead dramatically decreases. At the same time, the distance a truck needs to come to a complete stop increases significantly. Thus, unless a truck driver takes precautionary measures, the chance of the truck driver causing a Maryland weather-related truck accident greatly increases.

Maryland truck drivers, like all other drivers, have a duty to other motorists on the road. In addition to following all traffic laws and posted signage, this duty requires truck drivers to take the current weather conditions into account.

Continue reading ›

When many people think of expert testimony, they envision a professor-like witness discussing complex scientific or medical issues in a Maryland medical malpractice case. However, expert witnesses may be used in all types of personal injury cases, including Maryland truck accident cases.

Under Maryland Code, Rule 5-702, expert testimony may be admitted when the proponent of the evidence can show that “the testimony will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” In a recent federal appellate case, the court determined that a state trooper properly testified as an expert witness.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts giving rise to the case, the plaintiff was a truck driver who was seriously burned after another truck driver inexplicably crossed over the center median and collided head-on with the plaintiff’s truck. The collision caused a major explosion, which resulted in the death of the at-fault truck driver as well as the plaintiff’s serious burns.

Continue reading ›

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion in a Virginia train accident case involving an employee who was injured while working for the defendant railroad company. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of his injuries. Ultimately, the court concluded that the jury’s verdict was supported by some evidence supporting a finding of causation, and the verdict was affirmed.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff worked as a conductor for the defendant railroad. One day, the plaintiff was asked to help make a “cut,” which is when several of the cars in a train are released and left behind. The plaintiff completed the cut without issue; however, as the plaintiff was walking back to a nearby electrical box, he lost contact with the train’s engineer.

Evidently, the train’s engineer became worried after losing contact with the plaintiff and set out to see if anything was wrong. The engineer walked around to the rear of the train, and saw the plaintiff lying at the bottom of a 36-foot embankment. There were no witnesses to the plaintiff’s fall, and the plaintiff had no memory of the accident. The walkway where the plaintiff was when he fell was about 15 inches wide, and the embankment was approximately 70 degrees.

Continue reading ›

Maryland railroad accidents are more common than most people believe. While trains are not as ubiquitous as they once were in the United States, there is still a significant amount of cargo that is transported across the country by train. In fact, it is estimated that there are about 150,000 miles of active train tracks in the U.S. Much of this track is concentrated around the eastern seaboard, making Maryland a hub for railroad activity.

In addition to active train tracks, there are tens of thousands of miles of unused or abandoned tracks. And while most intersections between train tracks and roads are marked with signage or gates, that is not always the case. This can create confusion for a motorist who may not know if railroad tracks are active. Of course, when a motorist encounters an unfamiliar intersection with railroad tracks, it is always best for that motorist to slow down and check both ways before proceeding across the tracks.

Determining who is at fault in a Maryland train accident can be tricky, and depends heavily on the circumstances of the accident. While not all intersections with railroad tracks are required to have flashing lights or lowering arms, all intersections should be marked appropriately. If gates or lights have been installed, however, they should be adequately maintained. Additionally, the area immediately around the railroad track should be clear of foliage and debris to allow motorists to see if a train is approaching.

Continue reading ›

Contact Information