With limited visibility for the driver and weighing in at over 20 thousand pounds, the average dump truck can pose a serious hazard to others on the road. Indeed, a Maryland cyclist recently collided with a dump truck. Although this particular truck accident did not claim any lives, reports note that the cyclist required emergency medical care. According to a recent news report, the accident happened on the morning of July 1 when a dump truck allegedly struck a cyclist riding on the northbound side of the Rockville Pike.

As the cyclist heals, Maryland authorities will work to uncover which parties were at fault in the accident. Any party that acted negligently in conjunction with this accident was at least partially at fault. A driver or bicyclist acts negligently when she fails to follow the rules of the road. For example, the cyclist in this accident was almost certainly required to travel with traffic rather than against it. Whether the cyclist was traveling north or south when the accident happened will therefore affect any determination of liability. Establishing liability is critical to determining what compensation is due and to whom.

In a majority of cases where a bike and motor vehicle collide, it is the operator of the motor vehicle who behaved negligently and is therefore at fault. According to one study of bike-car collisions, motorists are at fault in over 80 percent of these types of crashes, whereas cyclists are at fault less than 20 percent of the time. Maryland recognizes the legal concept of contributory negligence, which means that multiple parties in a crash can be held to some degree of fault.

As we often detail on this blog, Maryland truck and bus accidents can have disastrous impacts, resulting in serious bodily injuries or even death. There is no shortage of examples of this, but take a recent crash, occurring one Monday morning when a bus preparing to let passengers get off was hit by a utility truck. The utility truck burst into flames, and the driver was killed. Additionally, 14 of the 15 passengers on the bus were taken to area hospitals with injuries. This accident is just one of the many truck and bus accidents that occur every day.

Because these accidents can be so serious, they are often followed by Maryland personal injury lawsuits—lawsuits seeking to recover financially from the party who caused the accident, to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. But what happens when the driver who caused the accident cannot cover the full amount owed to plaintiffs, due to lack of finances? Well, for some plaintiffs, they may be able to also sue the negligent driver’s employer, especially since trucks and buses are often driven by drivers in the scope of their employment for someone else, such as a food company or tourism business. The employers may be liable for the damage caused through a doctrine called vicarious liability.

For the doctrine of vicarious liability to apply, the plaintiff must prove all the typical elements of a tort with respect to the driver’s conduct—duty, breach, causation, and harm—and then also prove that the driver was acting in the scope of their employment. A driver who is driving for work is driving within the scope of their employment unless they were engaged in some major detour. For example, if a pizza delivery driver is on their way to deliver a pizza when they get into an accident, then there is likely vicarious liability and the pizza restaurant may be liable. But if the delivery driver delivers the pizza and then decides to not return to work but instead drives their girlfriend around town, then an accident occurring during this detour may not give rise to vicarious liability.

Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are not the only types of large vehicles that can be involved in dangerous or tragic accidents. Passenger busses are similar in size and weight to some commercial vehicles, and accidents involving busses can be especially dangerous when considering their human cargo. A recently occurring accident involving a school bus with children onboard is a reminder of the risks of being on the road alongside large vehicles, and the importance of safe driving in general.

According to a local news report discussing the accident, a school bus was traveling on the roadway taking children home from a summer program when traffic in front of the bus abruptly stopped. A child on the bus told reporters that the bus driver was unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with the cars in front of it, and the accident occurred. After the initial collision, several cars that were behind the school bus crashed into the school bus. Emergency crews responded to the scene of the crash and at least two people were hospitalized with injuries from the crash. Fortunately, no children were injured in the crash, and nobody was seriously injured or killed.

Maryland drivers are responsible to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. To prevent a rear-end collision, it is generally the responsibility of drivers to leave enough distance in between them and the car in front of them to prevent a crash if any car abruptly stops. Drivers operating large or heavily loaded vehicles that may not stop as quickly as other vehicles have a responsibility to allow enough distance between themselves and other vehicles to account for their own increased stopping distance. In the event that a rear-end accident occurs after a following vehicle fails to stop in time, the driver of the vehicle that didn’t stop can be cited for following too closely.

All Maryland truck accidents have the potential to be life-threatening and cause serious bodily harm or death. While some drivers may have the good fortune of escaping a Maryland truck accident with just some scrapes, many others may find themselves significantly injured, in the hospital, or even fighting for their lives. Unfortunately, these accidents are more common than many people realize. Across the state, truck accidents claim the lives of far too many Maryland residents.

Tragically, these truck accidents can happen even when someone is in a vehicle that is supposed to bring them to safety: an ambulance. Just like other vehicles, ambulances share the road with trucks, and they often are driving very fast, trying to get an injured occupant to the hospital safely. Tragedy might strike, then, if an ambulance and a truck get into an accident. For example, just recently, a major crash between a dump truck and an ambulance left two people dead and others injured. According to a local news report that covered the accident, the crash occurred around 10:20 one Tuesday morning when an ambulance driving southbound was t-boned by a dump truck in the passenger side. The driver of the ambulance, a 28-year-old woman, and the driver of the truck, a 67-year-old man, were both taken to local hospitals with life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, both survived. Not so lucky were the two passengers of the ambulance: a 17-year-old boy and a 51-year-old male paramedic were both killed in the crash.

This accident highlights how tragic Maryland truck accidents can be, especially when they involve an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance. Maryland residents want to feel that when they call an ambulance because of an emergency, they can trust the ambulance will take them safely to help. While this is true for the vast majority of cases, Maryland residents must remember that ambulances travel on the same roads as every other vehicle and are still susceptible to car and truck accidents. After these accidents, those involved likely will want to know if and how they can recover against the negligent driver. Can they sue for monetary damages? How much can they get? How does their being in an ambulance complicate their recovery? With these questions, Maryland truck accident victims should read out to a personal injury attorney knowledgeable in this area of the law. While some may be tempted to file their lawsuit themselves, in an attempt to save costs, they may find themselves completely barred from recovery because they did not know how to file properly or because they had trouble understanding how exactly to bring a case of this nature to trial. Working with an experienced attorney, who is not paid unless you are, can help ensure maximum chances for success at recovery.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) prioritizes keeping Maryland roadways open and safe. However, despite MDOT SHA’s best efforts to maintain the roadways, any infrastructure damage can result in a serious Maryland accident. These accidents tend to become more common and disastrous when the accident involves bad weather and large trucks.

Trucks are inherently dangerous because of the sheer size and speed at which they travel on highways. Inclement weather, including snow, ice, sleet, rain, and fog, can amplify the likelihood of an accident. Although many truck drivers and trucking companies will blame Mother Nature for the accident, almost every accident involves some form of human error. Unlike many other motorists, truck drivers do not always have the option of remaining off the road during severe weather episodes. As such, those on the road during a severe weather event are more likely to encounter a truck.

Federal regulations require that truck drivers modify their driving habits and exercise caution when operating their large vehicles during inclement weather. While these rules are designed to protect both the driver and others, truck drivers often overestimate the level of control they have over their vehicles. Moreover, these drivers tend to have strict delivery deadlines, only furthering the likelihood of a serious and deadly accident.

In March 2019, a fatal Maryland truck accident killed a 65-year-old man and a 7-year-old boy in Hanford County, Maryland. According to the Baltimore Sun, around 7 AM one morning a tractor-trailer truck was traveling south on Route 24 in Bel Air when it crashed through a line of traffic that was stopped at a red light at the intersection with Ring Factory Road. The truck then burst into flames as it came to rest. The crash caused a pinball effect, sending cars into each other, creating some awful wreckage. Many individuals were left with significant injuries. For example, one woman suffered a traumatic brain injury in addition to severing a nerve in her head. And, tragically, the man and the second-grader were killed.

While this Maryland truck accident made serious headlines in 2019, it fell out of the public eye in the ensuing years. But recently, the case was in the news again, as the criminal trial for the truck driver, a 51-year-old man, began. The case highlights the interesting relationship between the criminal and civil law systems in Maryland. When someone drives negligently, or recklessly, and causes the death of others in a serious truck accident such as this one, they may be subject to both criminal and civil liability.

This criminal trial illustrates how one can be held criminally liable. The driver in the case is charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, and four counts of causing serious injury while using a cellphone. Prosecutors are making their case in front of a jury, trying to prove that the defendant was grossly negligent and should be held criminally liable.

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences imaginable. But, unfortunately, many Maryland families find themselves facing this reality each year as the result of a Maryland truck accident. Because of the size of semi-trucks, Maryland truck accidents can have devastating consequences, causing severe bodily injury and even death. Tragically, some individuals may find themselves in an impossibly difficult situation: mourning the death of a loved one while trying to recover physically from injuries suffered in the same accident.

For example, take a recent tragic semi-truck crash. According to a local news report, the crash occurred on Monday afternoon when a woman was driving her two children—a two-year-old daughter and six-month-old son—when she was rear-ended by a semi-truck. Police say the semi-truck driver wrongfully ran through a stoplight and was at fault in the crash. The woman and her daughter were both flown to local hospitals with severe to life-threatening injuries following the crash. Tragically, her two-month-old son did not survive.

The family is now in the devastating situation of mourning their loss while trying to recover themselves. While the mother, fortunately, is doing well, the two-year-old daughter suffered multiple fractures to her skull and had to undergo surgery for a broken femur. She is in stable condition, but injuries of that extent take a long time to heal, and the medical bills can add up quickly. The financial situation can be exacerbated by the funeral and burial costs for the infant, and the lost wages both parents may have incurred by needing to miss work. While the health and safety of those who survived are of course of the utmost importance, the family likely has realized the significant financial toll that truck accidents can cause.

Everyone who has ever driven on a highway in Maryland knows that the cars there share the road with many different trucks and buses. Maryland highways are common along the routes for truck drivers, which unfortunately means that they see more than their fair share of Maryland truck accidents. While most people who think about Maryland truck accidents think about semi-trucks driven by experienced truck drivers, an accident may be even more likely when an individual who does not usually drive a truck rents and drives one while they are moving, for example.

For example, take a recent crash that occurred earlier this month. As reported by a local news organization, a large moving truck attempted to make a U-turn when it got stuck. The driver hit the gas in an attempt to get the truck unstuck but unfortunately lost control of the vehicle. The moving truck struck two cars and was on its way to collide with a pickup truck when, fortunately, the man on the back of the pickup truck saw the truck coming and jumped out of the way with moments to spare. He saw the moving truck hit his pickup truck and was grateful that he avoided what would have likely been a fatal crash. Fortunately, no one was killed in this accident.

This truck accident illustrates the risks posed by moving trucks or other rental trucks. While truck accidents are already far too common in Maryland, most truck drivers have years of experience driving large vehicles and understand how to operate something that size on the road. In contrast, individuals driving rental moving trucks may have extremely limited experience driving large vehicles and may find themselves unable to control the vehicle, to successfully make a U-turn or something else of that sort. Unfortunately, this may make them a risk to other drivers on the highways.

Almost everyone learns about the dangers of rear-end accidents while learning to drive. Following another vehicle too closely while driving can lead quickly to a crash if the front vehicle has to brake or slow down for any reason. Depending on the speed of the vehicles, these rear-ending accidents can be serious, perhaps even fatal, or nothing more than a “fender-bender.” When the accidents involve a bus or truck—very large vehicles—the damage might be worse due to their size or the number of people on board. In fact, Maryland rear-end accidents involving buses or trucks can, and often do, lead to serious harm.

For example, take a recent school bus accident. According to a local news article, two school buses were involved in a crash late last month, leaving seven students with injuries. Two of the students were even sent to the hospital. The crash occurred when one of the buses rear-ended the other at a stop sign. The incident is still under investigation, and it is not clear exactly how many students were on the buses, but the crash is an example of the risk rear-ending bus or truck accidents pose to Maryland drivers.

However, despite their risks, these types of accidents can actually be one of the easiest to recover from financially. Almost all Maryland bus and truck accidents happen in an instant, out of nowhere, and many of them leave those impacted confused about what exactly happened. Individuals often report afterward that the whole thing is a blur—one moment everything was fine and the next moment there had been an accident. The lack of clarity around what happened in these accidents also leads to a lack of clarity about who was at fault, which is often the first thing most people want to know. This can make it difficult for those injured in the accidents to recover financially in a personal injury lawsuit because they do not know who to bring suit against. However, with rear-end accidents, there may be more clarity. Basic rules of the road dictate that drivers should not follow too closely behind other vehicles, in case they suddenly brake or slow down.

Inclement weather can cause significant concerns while driving. This past winter has shown how serious these weather concerns can be, causing all sorts of Maryland truck accidents. Even in winter weather, many truck drivers do not have the option of not driving, and so they will continue along the interstate. But slippery conditions, snowbanks, snowplows, and poor visibility can cause significant concerns.

For example, take a recent day with inclement weather. According to a local news article covering the incident, inclement weather at the time caused serious visibility concerns, and several crashes occurred. One notable crash was a 22-vehicle pile-up that left one individual dead and many others injured. That same day, a semi-truck traveling along the Interstate hit a snowplow, causing it to overturn and roll into a ditch. An eyewitness of this truck accident spoke to reporters afterward, saying that the visibility was low and whiteout conditions caused confusion and crashes. He said, “visibility cut and then all of a sudden I was seeing the semi in front of me” and the crash happened out of nowhere. These crashes demonstrate the danger that driving in wintery weather conditions can pose.

While spring is here and the weather is warming up, meaning drivers can expect summer weather to cause fewer Maryland truck accidents than in the winter months, many Maryland families may still be feeling the impact of a winter truck accident. Unfortunately, the damage caused by these accidents can last weeks, months, or even years, depending on the severity of the injuries. Individuals who were injured in the wintry conditions of this past winter may still be suffering, recovering from their injuries and paying off intensive medical bills. Individuals in this situation may be struggling to get by and move past the physical and financial damage that was caused. It is important that they know that they can recover through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits, filed against the person responsible for causing the accident, can provide plaintiffs with significant monetary damages to cover lost wages, medical bills, physical therapy costs, pain and suffering, and other costs. These damages, depending on the extent of the harm caused, can be calculated in the thousands or even the millions. Most importantly, the damages allow for plaintiffs to take the first step towards serious recovery and to not fall into debt as the result of an accident someone else caused.

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