Often weighing up to 80,000 pounds, commercial trucks can cause severe injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death when they are involved in traffic wrecks. Victims of truck crashes often face high medical bills, significant pain and suffering, and time away from work they cannot afford.
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident in Baltimore, one of the first steps toward pursuing justice is determining who is responsible.
The Baltimore truck accident attorneys at McBride Bishop Law Group know the hardships faced by the wrongfully injured. Our firm has built a reputation for excellence in a range of truck accident claims, and we know the complexities involved with determining fault and seeking damages in these difficult cases. We are committed to helping you recover the maximum compensation you need to move forward.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Truck Accident Case?
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident in Baltimore requires a thorough investigation. Because of this, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. When a lawyer investigates your truck accident, he or she will look for evidence of liability, which may involve:
1. The Truck Driver
Many long-haul truck drivers own their own trucks. These owner-operators can be held personally responsible when they cause accidents; and, generally speaking, recovering financial compensation in these cases involves dealing with the truck driver’s insurance company.
2. The Company That Owns or Operates the Truck
If the truck driver who hit you or your loved one is an employee, his or her employer could be responsible for the accident. Many truck drivers work for companies, whether a trucking company, a delivery company or a retailer. Maryland law holds employers vicariously liable for their employee’s negligence, and employers can be held directly liable for their own negligence in many cases as well. For example, if the driver lost control because the truck had not been properly maintained, this could make the truck driver’s employer liable for the collision.
3. The Shipping Company, Broker, or Other Third Party
Shipping companies, shipping brokers, and other third parties will be legally responsible for truck accidents in some cases. Cargo loading errors, failing to disclose hazardous cargo, and various other issues can justify claims against these types of parties.
4. A Truck or Component Manufacturer
Many truck accidents in and around Baltimore result from truck defects. Faulty brakes, unsafe tires, and numerous other issues can cause truck drivers to unexpectedly lose control. When a defect causes an accident, the truck manufacturer or the manufacturer of the defective component can be held responsible under the law of products liability. Dealerships and other companies in the chain of distribution can potentially be held liable as well.
5. Another Driver’s Insurance Company
Truck drivers aren’t the only ones who can cause truck accidents. Other drivers can also be to blame. If someone cut off the truck driver, crashed into the side of the truck, or left you or your loved one with no way to avoid a collision, then that person’s insurance company may hold financial responsibility for the accident.
6. A Vehicle or Component Manufacturer
Did your (or your loved one’s) brakes fail? Did another driver lose control because of an issue with his or her vehicle? Just as truck defects can cause accidents, issues with other vehicles can cause accidents as well.
7. A Government Agency or Contractor
Sometimes, truck accidents result from issues with the road. Potholes, low shoulders, poorly designed onramps and offramps, and a variety of other road-related issues can all cause trucks to crash, jackknife, or tip over. When an issue with the road causes a crash, the government agency or contractor that is responsible for the road will typically be liable for the victims’ injuries and losses.
What If I Was Partially Responsible for My Truck Accident?
What if you were partially responsible for your truck accident? Or, what if your loved one made a mistake that played a role in his or her crash? Maryland law is unfavorable to accident victims and families in these circumstances. Maryland is one of a small number of states that follows the rule of “contributory negligence.” Under this rule, if a truck accident victim shares any responsibility for his or her accident, even .000000001%, this eliminates any possibility of financial recovery. While most other states allow victims and families to recover partial compensation in most circumstances, partial compensation is not an option in Maryland.
With this in mind, accident victims and families should never assume that they or their loved ones share responsibility for a truck accident. Determining what happened (and why) requires a comprehensive investigation. Before you make any assumptions or accept any responsibility, you should talk to a lawyer who can provide an in-depth assessment of your legal rights.
What If Two (or More) Parties are Responsible for My Truck Accident?
Oftentimes, multiple parties will share responsibility for a truck accident. For example, if a truck’s brakes fail and then the driver fails to maintain control, the truck’s manufacturer and the driver’s employer could both be responsible for an ensuing collision. In these scenarios, Maryland’s “joint and several liability” law applies. This law allows accident victims and families to recover full compensation from either company or pursue claims against both companies in order to maximize their financial recovery.
If you were hurt in a truck wreck, you need to know your rights. The accomplished truck accident lawyers at McBride Bishop Law Group have the knowledge and skill needed to pursue the full compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses that resulted from someone else’s negligence.
To schedule a free consultation, contact McBride Bishop Law Group today online or (410) 390-3101. We proudly serve truck accident victims across Maryland, including Baltimore, Ocean City, and other areas.