Accidents involving large commercial trucks differ from standard car crashes in several ways. The huge size discrepancy between a truck and a passenger vehicle means the occupants of the smaller car often sustain severe or catastrophic injuries. For this reason, truck accident claims tend to be expensive and complex.
If you were injured in a Maryland truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. However, it’s crucial to determine who was at fault so you know who to file your claims against.
There are often multiple parties involved in a truck accident. This means more parties that could potentially be liable and owe you compensation. However, the more defendants there are, the more opportunities they will have to deny responsibility or shift the blame to others — including you.
Don’t let unfair insurance tactics keep you from recovering the compensation you deserve. Put the Maryland truck accident attorneys at Trollinger Law LLC to work for you. Our legal team will investigate your case and uncover the evidence needed to hold every negligent party accountable.
To learn more about how we can help, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Who May Be Responsible for a Truck Accident in Maryland?
One or more of the following parties may be responsible for a Maryland truck accident:
- Truck driver: A trucker can be responsible if their recklessness contributed to the crash. Distracted driving, fatigued driving, inexperience, and intoxication are all driver-related factors in truck accident claims.
- Other drivers: In some cases, another motorist may be at fault for causing a truck accident. For example, if a car driver makes a risky maneuver that forces a trucker to swerve to avoid a collision, the other driver could be liable if the truck driver’s evasive actions cause a wreck.
- Truck company: The trucking company that hired the truck driver may be vicariously responsible for the driver’s actions. A trucking company can also be directly liable for negligent hiring practices, inadequate training and supervision, or improper maintenance of its trucks.
- Shipping company: If a manufacturer, wholesaler, or shipping company chooses to hire a trucking contractor that lacks the proper equipment or licensing to haul its cargo, the shipper may be responsible for negligent hiring.
- Cargo loading companies: Independent companies that load cargo into trailers are responsible for observing weight restrictions and securing cargo properly. If a shipment is overloaded or loosely secured, loading companies may be at fault for cargo shifts or spillage accidents.
- Truck parts manufacturers: If a critical truck component or system fails due to poor design or shoddy manufacturing, the maker of the defective part could be liable for truck accidents caused by faulty equipment.
- Government agencies: If the truck accident involved negligence on behalf of a government employee or agency, you may have grounds to file a claim with the Maryland State Treasurer. Government claims have special requirements, so it’s best to contact a truck accident lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC if you believe the accident results from government negligence.
Evidence to Prove Liability After a Truck Accident
Your attorney can help you gather the following types of valuable evidence to demonstrate that other parties were liable for a truck crash:
- Your medical and financial records: Documented evidence of your medical condition, the treatment you required, and how it impacted your finances is the basic foundation of a truck accident claim. Without proof of injury, there’s no case for compensation.
- Photos of injuries and vehicle damage: Photos of the accident scene, skid marks, vehicle damage, and visible injuries can help insurance adjusters, lawyers, judges, and juries understand the scope of the truck accident and its impact on your life.
- Eyewitness and expert witness testimony: Statements from people who witnessed the accident can verify important points of your claim. Your attorney may also work with accident reconstruction technicians, financial planners, vocational specialists, and medical experts to outline how the crash happened and what the long-term implications will be for your life.
- Truck “black box” event recorders: Like airplanes, most modern commercial trucks are equipped with “black boxes” that record essential data in the event of a crash. Black box data can reveal a driver’s actions and the truck’s mechanical condition at the time of the wreck.
- Video footage from traffic and dash cams: If a traffic camera, security camera, or in-cab dashcam captured footage of the crash, the video could provide valuable evidence of visible contributing factors.
- Data from electronic logging devices (ELDs): Many drivers use ELDs to record their hours of driving and on-duty work. If a truck driver was fatigued or speeding when the crash occurred, ELD data may show violations of federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations or unreasonable delivery schedules.
- Safety, training, and inspection records: Truck drivers with a history of unsafe driving habits, insufficient training, or negligent truck inspection practices are more likely to be involved in dangerous truck accidents. Proving that you were hit by a driver with a bad track record could mean that the driver and/or their employer could be held liable for injuring you.
- Truck company hiring, training, and dispatch history: If a trucking company hires unfit drivers, fails to provide proper training, or engages in negligent dispatch practices, they may be considered liable for truck accidents under Maryland law.
- Cell phone and GPS records: A trucker’s phone records may show they were texting, talking, or otherwise distracted while driving. Similarly, GPS data may indicate that a driver was speeding or driving recklessly when the crash occurred. These types of actions violate federal trucking regulations and state law. A skilled truck accident attorney can subpoena these records for use in your case.
- Truck maintenance records: Some truck accidents happen when old or poorly maintained parts fail. If truck maintenance records show the owner or driver neglected to perform regular inspections or repairs, they could be held liable if a truck accident resulted from poor upkeep.
- Cargo loading and shipping manifests: If the cargo shipping or loading documents show that someone improperly stowed the truck’s freight, you could have a case against the loading company.
What If Multiple Parties Were Responsible for a Maryland Truck Accident?
During a truck accident investigation, your attorney may uncover that several parties could be held partly liable for the crash. There’s good news and bad news there.
The good news is that there are more potential sources of compensation for you when there are multiple liable parties. This gives you a better chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries.
However, a truck accident claim involving multiple parties also gets more complicated. It’s a safe bet that insurance companies will fight over who’s more responsible for the collision. While they squabble, your claim sits in limbo. At Trollinger Law LLC, we’ll work to expedite settlement negotiations so that you get the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
How Can Fault Affect My Truck Accident Claim?
Because there are typically multiple responsible parties in a truck accident, it’s important to understand how Maryland’s negligence laws could affect your claim. Generally speaking, at-fault parties have financial responsibility for a portion of your losses based on their percentage of fault for the accident.
However, Maryland’s negligence laws are some of the harshest in the nation. The state uses a pure contributory negligence rule to apportion fault. Under this rule, injured victims can only recover compensation if they bear no responsibility for the accident.
If you’re assigned just one percent of the blame for a truck accident, you lose your right to compensation forever. This narrow margin means a liable party could accuse you of a small act of negligence to disqualify your claim and avoid paying up. A knowledgeable attorney can help you fight back against these tactics by establishing a strong claim and gathering evidence to demonstrate that you were not at fault.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You
When you work with the truck accident lawyers at Trollinger Law LLC, we can help you by:
- Explaining your legal rights and options: When you reach out to our firm, you can speak directly with Attorney Matt Trollinger in a free consultation. He can help determine whether you have a case and how much compensation you could be owed.
- Representing you on a contingency fee basis: At Trollinger Law LLC, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means we charge no upfront or out-of-pocket costs to begin work on your case. We only get paid if your case wins.
- Investigating the crash: We will launch an in-depth investigation into the truck accident to uncover and preserve critical evidence for your claim.
- Managing all aspects of the case: Keeping track of the paperwork and filing deadlines for one or several truck accident claims can be overwhelming. Let us handle the red tape while you focus on getting better.
- Communicating with other parties on your behalf: We’ll handle talks with everyone involved in the truck accident claim so you can avoid stressful communications and making statements that could jeopardize your claim.
- Negotiating persistently for a fair settlement: We will begin your claim by issuing a demand letter to the insurance company requesting compensation for your injuries. From there, we will push hard in pursuit of a fair settlement.
- Taking your case to trial: If the trucking company or their insurance provider refuses to make a fair settlement offer, Trollinger Law LLC won’t hesitate to file a truck accident lawsuit for you. We prepare every case we handle as though we were going to trial, so you can rest assured we’ll be ready to pursue your claim as far as necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.