Fatal Truck Accidents in Waldorf, MD
The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks present unavoidable risks on the road. Recognizing the danger, federal and state governments require the trucking industry to meet strict safety standards. Sadly, violations are often the cause of fatal truck accidents in Waldorf.
A disproportionate number of fatal injury victims in truck accidents are occupants of smaller vehicles. Research suggests that passenger vehicle occupants account for more than two-thirds of all truck accident deaths.
If you lost a loved one in a Maryland truck accident, you could be entitled to wrongful death compensation if someone else’s recklessness caused their fatal injuries. While money is no replacement for a family member, taking legal action can help you avoid financial hardships as you move forward in life.
When you’re seeking justice, turn to Trollinger Law LLC. Our Waldorf truck accident lawyers will fight vigorously to hold the at-fault parties responsible for such a preventable tragedy. Contact us today to learn more about pursuing wrongful death compensation in Maryland.
How to Handle a Fatal Truck Accident Case in Waldorf
Filing a truck accident death claim might seem daunting as you contend with overwhelming grief. However, the steps you take in the days, weeks, and months following the loss of a loved one can have a significant impact on your ability to claim compensation for your family.
After a fatal truck accident, it’s a good idea for surviving family members to:
- Contact an experienced fatal truck accident lawyer: A knowledgeable attorney can investigate your claim to determine who may be held liable for the deadly collision. A lawyer can also give you a step-by-step explanation of how to file a complaint against a trucking company. Keep in mind that truck accidents may involve multiple liable parties. This could make settlement negotiations complex. A lawyer can handle this process for you.
- Keep track of all financial losses stemming from the accident: Maryland wrongful death laws allow family members to be reimbursed for losses including medical bills, lost income, funeral and burial costs, and more.
- Remember the legal deadlines for fatal truck accident claims: In Maryland, survivors must file wrongful death and survival actions within three years of the date of their relative’s death. If you try to file after the deadline passes, your claim for compensation will likely be denied.
- Identify who is responsible for the estate of the deceased: If there was a valid will, the named executor is responsible for managing the estate. This may include filing a survival action against the party(s) responsible for the fatal truck accident.
When Does a Fatal Truck Accident Become a Wrongful Death Case?
When a person suffers fatal injuries due to a Waldorf truck accident, surviving family members of the deceased may have the right to pursue certain types of legal action. Maryland law defines two different types of wrongful death claims that may apply in fatal truck accident cases:
- Survival actions: A survival action is a lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased. In a survival action, compensation may be available for losses incurred by the deceased’s estate. Compensation from survival actions may also be awarded for losses suffered by the deceased before their death.
- Wrongful death actions: A wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of surviving family members, such as the deceased’s spouse, parents, or children. Money awarded in wrongful death lawsuits is intended to compensate survivors for losses they suffer due to their loved one’s death, such as hospital expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Proving Liability in a Waldorf Fatal Truck Accident Claim
The evidence available in a fatal truck accident case can significantly impact surviving family members’ ability to recover compensation. Common types of evidence used to support a Waldorf fatal truck accident claim include:
- Eyewitness statements
- Video footage from traffic and dash cameras
- Photographs of the accident scene and the deceased’s visible injuries
- Data from the truck’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD)
- Truck driver logbooks and work history records
- Truck driver cell phone and GPS records
- Truck inspection and maintenance records
- Dispatch records from trucking companies
- Trucking company hiring and training documentation
- Cargo loading manifests
- Medical records
- Expert witness testimony
A truck accident lawyer will gather the evidence to build a solid case for maximum wrongful death compensation for you.
What Damages Can Be Recovered From a Fatal Truck Accident?
The damages that may be available after a fatal truck accident in Maryland depend on the type of legal action that is brought. Since a survival action is filed on behalf of the deceased and their estate, compensation may be awarded for:
- Medical expenses: The costs of ambulance rides, surgical treatment, and other medical care for fatal injuries prior to the deceased’s death.
- Repair or replacement costs for property damage: Expenses related to the repair or replacement of vehicles or other property damaged in the fatal truck accident.
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before their death: The subjective costs of pain and suffering felt by the deceased between the time of the truck accident and their death.
- Funeral or burial expenses: The costs of funeral, burial, or crematory services incurred by the estate of the deceased.
In a Maryland wrongful death action, surviving family members of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost wages and benefits: Any financial support survivors lose when the deceased cannot contribute their income or other benefits to the family.
- Lost care, companionship, and guidance: The losses of the company, support, and counsel the deceased would have provided if not for their death.
- Pain and suffering: The intangible costs of emotional distress and mental anguish suffered by loved ones due to their loss.
Maryland imposes a cap on the amount of non-economic damages survivors can claim in wrongful death actions. Non-economic damages are non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering. The cap on non-economic damages increases every year on October 1. Surviving family members are limited to $2 million in non-economic damages in Maryland wrongful death claims.
Who Can Recover Damages After a Fatal Semi-Truck Accident in Waldorf?
Maryland law has strict rules that govern who can file a wrongful death claim or survival action in the state. A person’s ability to file depends on their status as a primary or secondary beneficiary:
- Primary beneficiaries: Surviving family members who are first in line to receive benefits after the death of a loved one are called primary beneficiaries. Surviving spouses, children, and parents are included in this category. Primary beneficiaries have the right to file both survival actions and wrongful death actions in Maryland. If any benefits are awarded in a survival action or wrongful death claim, primary beneficiaries are the sole recipients.
- Secondary beneficiaries: If there were no primary beneficiaries, secondary beneficiaries may receive wrongful death compensation. Examples of secondary beneficiaries include surviving siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and other blood relatives. If no primary beneficiaries survive the deceased or no primary beneficiary wants to take legal action, secondary beneficiaries can file either a survival or wrongful death action.
How a Lawyer Can Help with a Fatal Truck Accident Lawsuit
Truck accident cases are complex because they require an understanding of federal and Maryland trucking laws and how to navigate claims involving multiple liable parties.
Also, fatal truck accident cases are often high-dollar claims because the damage they cause is so catastrophic. As a result, insurance companies are more likely to scrutinize these claims for any reason to minimize or deny wrongful death compensation to family members.
A Waldorf fatal truck accident lawyer can take over every aspect of your wrongful death case. At Trollinger Law LLC, we will:
- Explain your legal rights
- Conduct an independent investigation of the truck accident to determine what happened and who should be held liable
- Send spoliation letters to trucking companies to preserve crucial evidence
- Obtain the evidence necessary to prove your claim for compensation
- Communicate with truck insurance providers and lawyers on your behalf
- Hire expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists, to recreate the accident scene and figure out what happened in the moments before, during, and after the crash
- Place a full and fair value on your wrongful death or survival action case
- Negotiate aggressively for the best possible results
- Represent you at trial, if that’s what it takes to secure the compensation you are owed
Has a Loved One Been Killed in a Waldorf Truck Accident? Contact Trollinger Law LLC Today
If someone you loved died due to fatal injuries sustained in a Waldorf truck accident, you deserve justice. The wrongful death lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC can help you establish a strong claim for compensation that holds all responsible parties accountable for their role in the fatal accident.