Trusted Maryland Truck Accident Attorneys Fight for Your Future
Skilled representation for victims of driver negligence, defective parts, and dangerous trucking policies
Maryland is a major trucking route, as it connects to the entire Eastern Seaboard through I-95, and runs through large swaths of the western United States via U.S. Route 70. An almost endless number of commercial truck drivers pass through our state on a daily basis. This increase the risk of being in a collision with a commercial vehicle.
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. offers diligent representation for victims of trucking accidents. Our attorneys in Maryland have the skills, resources, and experience necessary to take on cases involving independent and national trucking companies. At our firm, we only handle personal injury cases, and we only work on behalf of the injured. Our in-depth knowledge of personal injury law and the statutes which guide commercial truck drivers make us the ideal choice for people seeking compensation that can help them get well.
Tractor trailers have to follow same rules of the road as automobiles, so you would think that tractor trailer cases are similar to car accident cases; but, in fact, tractor trailer cases often have elements that make them more complicated. Tractor trailers have special safety regulations. Tractor trailers have rules about how many hours a driver can drive. Tractor trailer drivers have to keep designated logs.
At Plaxen & Adler, we know the regulations that are required on over the road tractor trailers, and we have a special expertise in handling tractor trailer cases.
What our truck accident lawyers can do for you
After a collision with a tractor-trailer, a delivery truck, or any kind of commercial vehicle, you’re going to need help. Our lawyers coordinate between your car insurance and health insurance companies, help you secure a rental vehicle while yours is in for repairs, and document your injuries so we can present those findings to a jury, or in settlement negotiations.
We know that your expenses can grow quickly after a crash, and we can help you with your repair bills, your rental car fees and your towing fees. We also work to ensure that your medical expenses are paid in full, that you receive compensation for your lost wages, and that you are fairly compensated for your pain, suffering, scarring and/or disfigurement. Because we prepare every case as though we could go to trial, we are often able to obtain a better settlement offer for our clients from the start.
At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., our Maryland truck accident lawyers treat every truck accident with the same level of determination and attention to detail. We use accident reconstruction experts to help build your case, and petition trucking companies for the black boxes and/or video recordings that are present in their trucks, as these often provide crucial evidence in accident lawsuits.
Common causes for truck accidents in Maryland
Any motor vehicle accident can be serious, but those involving commercial trucks can be especially catastrophic. Plaxen & Adler, P.A. offers comprehensive counsel in cases involving:
- Distracted driving. Cell phone usage is strictly regulated for truck drivers in Maryland, but GPS units are not. A driver who is distracted by a changing map or who reaches for a phone could cause an accident when his or her eyes are diverted from the road itself.
- Driver fatigue. Over-tired drivers are less responsive to their surroundings, and therefore are more likely to make costly mistakes. The laws state that drivers must rest after 10 hours on the road, but truckers are paid by the mile. Thus, they are incentivized to complete their trips more quickly, potentially forgoing their mandatory rest times.
- Drunk driving and substance abuse. Drunk drivers are always dangerous; drunk truck drivers, however, pose an even greater threat. The sheer magnitude of their vehicles almost guarantees catastrophic injuries in the event of a collision. A driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not only face criminal charges, but he or she may be held liable for any injuries you sustain in the event of a crash.
- Aggressive driving. Cutting in and out of lanes, tailgating other vehicles, speeding up to pass other drivers: these are all aggressive driving acts. An aggressive truck driver can cause a serious accident involving multiple cars, easily knock over road signs, or jack-knife if forced to attempt to brake too quickly.
- Much like some truck drivers ignore federal safety guidelines about how long they can be on the road, others will speed to make up for lost time. It is difficult enough to stop a truck which is going the normal speed limit; a speeding truck driver may not be able to stop his or her tractor-trailer at all.
- Poor driver training. Trucking companies are supposed to train their drivers in how to handle steep grades, how to properly merge, and how to react in the event of an emergency (such as icy roads or in the event of a collision). If a driver was not trained correctly, or if he or she is given little to no direct supervision, then that driver is also at risk of being hurt.
- Defective truck parts. Commercial trucks can weigh several tons and driving a vehicle that heavy requires additional attention. Trucking companies are supposed to routinely inspect their vehicles and insure that all proper maintenance has been performed. In cases where the gear shifter malfunctions, a tire blows out, or the truck’s brakes fail, we can pursue a products liability case on your behalf for any defect.
- Cargo shifts and falling debris. Improperly secured cargo can cause many problems for truckers. The cargo can slide around in the back and cause the truck to become unbalanced, and loose debris can drop from the truck onto other cars or the road. This type of negligence can lead to fatal accidents if the truck tips over or if the spilled debris obscures the road or injures the driver.
Dangerous commercial trucks besides tractor-trailers
Some other dangerous commercial vehicles besides a traditional tractor-trailer include:
- Garbage trucks. Waste disposal trucks are a necessary part of civilized life, but they pose unique dangers to drivers and passengers around them. Because they move so slowly, other drivers often believe they can make a fast pass to the side; but visibility around garbage trucks is limited, and you could find yourself in a multi-car collision or front-end collision if it happens. As a driver, you must also be aware of the workers jumping on and off the back, and of any mechanical arms which come down to pick up the cans or dumpsters.
- Flatbed trucks. Flatbeds are dangerous not just because of what they have, but because of what they do not – namely, sides or a top. Cargo that is improperly loaded can fall off the side or come sliding down the back and into the roadway, putting you at risk not only of being hurt, but of causing a collision if you stop short or swerve to avoid the debris.
- Delivery trucks. We are getting to the time of year where more and more delivery trucks will be in our area, as people attempt to get their holiday shopping done. The constant stop-and-go movement of mail and package delivery trucks, like with garbage trucks, can lead people to try to travel around them, despite the limited visibility or passing lanes. Drivers will also be jumping in and out of the trucks to deliver packages.
- Tankers usually carry toxic or harmful chemicals. If a tanker collides with another object, jackknifes or tips over, you run the risk of being exposed to HAZMAT materials or chemicals which can make you sick.
- Construction vehicles. Dump trucks and cement trucks are dangerous as a collision with one is likely to cause serious damage to the vehicle it is in a collision with. Dump trucks in particular lack hard tops, and if the sand, dirt or gravel contained within the bed makes it out of a loosened top, it can fall onto your vehicle or onto the roadway.
Why are truck accidents different from other accidents?
Any car accident can be incredibly violent, leading to devastating injuries or fatalities. Now, consider the size of a semi-truck. A loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, powered by engines with more than 400 horsepower. That’s a lot of weight and inertia for something traveling in excess of 70mph on the highway.
Because of this, trucks need a lot of stopping distance, even in the best of circumstances. Depending on speed and road conditions, it can take a truck the length of almost two football fields to come to a complete stop. If there’s a brake failure or the driver falls asleep behind the wheel, the result can be catastrophic.
National trucking regulations
Truckers and trucking companies are subject to certain laws and regulations to ensure the safety of other motorists (as well as their own):
- Hours of service (HOS): The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits a truck driver to no more than 11 hours behind the wheel after each 10-hour break. A driver cannot drive more than 8 hours without taking at least a 30-minute break and must take a 10-hour break every 14 hours. Drivers must provide proof of observance of these rules.
- Maryland vehicle safety regulations: Maryland State Troopers conduct spot safety inspections at weigh stations throughout the state. Officers can issue citations and warnings for violations.
- Medical certifications: Truck drivers must pass a medical examination to ensure they are not at risk for any conditions that could make them hazardous on the road. They must carry a certificate on their person at all times proving they’ve had the exam, and must be re-certified every two years.
Despite these and other safety regulations, some drivers and trucking companies continue to defy them. When an accident occurs because of this negligence and people are injured or killed, it’s up to our attorneys to make things right.
Related information on truck accidents in Maryland
Let us help you after an accident with a commercial truck
Plaxen & Adler, P.A. is a premier personal injury law firm in Maryland. For more than 30 years, we have stood up for our clients in the face of insurance companies and trucking companies who put their profits before people’s safety. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Maryland truck accident lawyer, please call 410-988-4449 or contact us. We proudly serve clients in Columbia, Baltimore, and throughout Maryland.