Maryland Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck Accidents in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
We don’t think about it this way most of the time, but a commercial truck is essentially a guided missile. And when a truck is involved in an accident, its destructiveness can be almost as great as one. That is why truck accident claims so commonly involve catastrophic, long-term injuries and death. Semi-truck accident claims can be surprisingly complex when it comes to establishing negligence, reconstructing the accident, and estimating long-term damages.
Hire A Former Trucking Defense Lawyer
You want to hire the right lawyer to take on the powerful trucking insurance companies, so it makes sense to hire a lawyer that used to work for them. It happens often where lawyers switch sides as they move to private practice, i.e. criminal defense/former prosecutor, SEC complaint/former SEC lawyer. If an attorney is not deeply knowledgeable about the area of the law that is pertinent to their client’s case, they will be at a disadvantage throughout the entire case. Read this article about how our direct experience gives us the advantage in trucking accident cases. It is very important that you have an experienced lawyer as you may have never been involved in a case before whereas it is likely that the trucking company and/or their insurer have been involved in thousands of lawsuits.
The following is a list of the types of damages that are typically available to successful plaintiffs under Maryland and DC personal injury law.
- Property damage
- Reimbursement for medical expenses and advance payment of anticipated future medical expenses
- Reimbursement for lost earnings expenses and advance payment of anticipated future lost earnings (even until retirement age if the plaintiff was forced to retire early because of his injuries)
- Reimbursement for incidental expenses such as child care while the victim was hospitalized
The driver of a motor vehicle must use reasonable care. Reasonable care is that degree of caution and attention that a person of ordinary skill and judgment would use under similar circumstances. With semi-truck accident cases, whether a trucking company or its driver acted with reasonable care can implicate some issues that are unique to truck accident cases. For example, there can be time limitations that apply to how long a truck driver can be on the road. This is often referred to as a driver’s “hours of service.” According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “‘hours of service’ refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty including driving time, and specifies number and length of rest periods, to help ensure that drivers stay aware awake and alert. In general, all carriers and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must comply with HOS regulations found in 49 CFR 395.
Additionally, there are trucking specific duties related to a professional truck driver and/or the trucking company with respect to maintenance of documents and information. Some of the key documents that should be available for discovery in a semi-truck accident case include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Accident Register (49 CFR § 390.15);
- Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (49 CFR § 396.11);
- Drug and Alcohol File (49 CFR § 382.401);
- Driver Qualification File (49 CFR 391.51); and
- Inspection, Repair and Maintenance Records (49 CFR § 396.3).
Only a few jurisdictions in the United States still apply the doctrine of contributory negligence, and Maryland and DC are both among them. In contrast to negligence, the doctrine of contributory negligence usually works in favor of a defendant semi truck driver because it allows a defendant to escape all liability if he or she can show that the accident was even one percent the fault of the plaintiff. This principle applies to both personal injury and wrongful death claims.
DC does allow an exception to this strict rule if the plaintiff is a bicyclist or a pedestrian. In this case, the bicyclist or pedestrian can still recover 100 percent of his damages as long as the accident was not mostly his fault.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a truck’s “black box”?
A semi-truck’s “black box,” or Electronic Control Module, is a device included in most semi-trucks that is similar to the black box on a commercial jetliner – although it is considerably less sophisticated. In Maryland, a semi-truck’s black box can yield data about the accident that can be used as evidence to prove or disprove a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the driver.
What federal regulations govern commercial trucking?
Commercial truckers are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations as well as state regulations. State laws (including Maryland and D.C. laws) tend to mostly mirror federal regulations. These regulations govern every aspect of commercial trucking, even how many hours the driver must sleep during a given interval.
How do you get paid?
Most of our truck accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. That means that we only get paid if you get a recovery. We share the risk with you. That is part of our team approach.
What should I expect, if I hire you?
At Henderson Law, we recognize that your retention of our firm may represent the first time that you have ever hired an attorney to handle a personal injury claim/truck accident case for you. Initially, we will want to know the status of your medical treatment. If you have not completed treatment, then we will likely need you reach maximum medical treatment before we commence serious settlement dialogue with the trucking company/its insurer or file a lawsuit for you. Once you have completed treatment, then we secure all of your accident-related medical treatment records and bills. Time permitting, we will then send a settlement demand letter to the trucking company and/or its insurer. If your case does not settle in response to that letter, then we will file a lawsuit for you. Because not every claim or case is treated in a cookie-cutter manner by Henderson Law, your unique case may not file the exact course set forth above. However, we will make sure that you are kept reasonably apprised as to the status of your claim and the various steps.
Now Is the Time to Take Action
Personal injury clients face a dilemma: large mega-firms treat them like case numbers and fail to take their individual priorities and circumstances into account, while small firms lack the resources to handle complex issues. At Henderson Law, we offer the best of both worlds. We are small enough to offer you the individual attention your case deserves, but we also regularly handle serious cases involving complex issues.
If you have been involved in a semi-truck accident anywhere in Maryland (including Baltimore and Annapolis) and Washington D.C., contact us immediately by filling out our online contact form or by calling (410) 721-1979 to set up an appointment for a consultation with us.
Henderson Law is accepting new cases in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Henderson Law is willing to take new clients across the State of Maryland, including, but not limited to, new cases arising in the following cities: Annapolis, Crofton, Bowie, Upper Marlboro, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Millersville, Odenton, Severna Park, and Pasadena. Please call Henderson Law for an initial consultation.