Being involved in a tractor trailer accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. These accidents often result in serious injuries, extensive medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a tractor trailer accident in Maryland, it’s crucial to understand your rights and options for pursuing a claim.
In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with a step-by-step approach to navigate the process of pursuing tractor trailer accident claims in Maryland. From understanding the legal time limits to documenting the accident, seeking medical attention, and hiring a skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer, we will cover all the essential aspects to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
In Maryland, there are specific time limits, known as statutes of limitation, within which you must file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage resulting from a tractor trailer accident. According to Maryland Courts & Judicial Procedure Code Annotated § 5-101, the time limit is three years from the date of the accident for both personal injury and property damage claims.
It’s essential to adhere to these time limits as failure to file within the specified period may result in the dismissal of your claim. However, it’s important to note that when filing a lawsuit against the government, such as a claim against a government agency responsible for road maintenance, different time limits apply. A formal claim must be filed within one year of the accident, and a lawsuit against the government must be filed within three years.
Immediately after a tractor trailer accident, it’s crucial to take certain steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. By following these steps, you can gather essential evidence and lay the foundation for a strong claim:
The first step is to prioritize safety. Take a deep breath and assess the situation. If possible, move to a safe location away from traffic. Then, call 911 to report the accident and request immediate assistance. It’s important to involve the police as they can document the accident and provide a detailed police report, which will be valuable for your claim.
Use your cellphone or any available camera to take pictures of the accident scene, including the position of vehicles, property damage, skid marks, and any other relevant details. This visual evidence will help support your claim and provide a clear representation of the accident. Additionally, gather contact information from any witnesses present at the scene. These will all be immensely valuable to your accident lawyer when they move forward with your claim.
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s crucial to seek medical attention after a tractor trailer accident. Some injuries may not manifest immediately, and a medical professional can assess your condition and provide necessary treatment. Ensure you keep detailed records of all medical visits, prescriptions, and any recommended follow-up appointments.
Navigating the legal complexities of a tractor trailer accident claim can be overwhelming. It’s highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. They will review the details of your accident, assess liability, and guide you through the legal process to seek the compensation you deserve. At Dubo Law, our attorneys have extensive experience handling tractor trailer accident cases and know how to maximize the value of any claim.
Tractor trailer accidents can occur in various scenarios, each with its own unique characteristics and contributing factors. Understanding the different types of tractor trailer accidents can help you identify the specific factors that led to your accident, thereby strengthening your claim. Here are some common types of tractor trailer accidents:
Rear-end collisions occur when a tractor trailer crashes into the rear of another vehicle. Due to the size and weight of tractor trailers, these accidents can cause significant damage and severe injuries to the occupants of the other vehicle. Factors such as driver distraction, fatigue, or inadequate braking distance can contribute to rear-end collisions.
Jackknife accidents occur when the trailer of a tractor trailer swings out to form a 90-degree angle with the cab, resembling the shape of a folding knife. These accidents often result from sudden braking or abrupt maneuvers, causing the trailer to skid out of control. Jackknife accidents can be particularly dangerous as they can lead to multi-vehicle pileups or rollovers.
Tractor trailers have large blind spots, also known as “no-zones,” where other vehicles are not easily visible to the truck driver. When a vehicle enters these blind spots, the truck driver may change lanes or make a turn without being aware of the presence of another vehicle, leading to a collision. It’s crucial for drivers to exercise caution when driving near tractor trailers and avoid lingering in their blind spots.
Rollover accidents occur when a tractor trailer tips over onto its side or roof. These accidents can be caused by various factors, including excessive speed, sharp turns, overloading, or uneven road surfaces. Rollover accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and significant property damage.
Lane change accidents involve a tractor trailer colliding with another vehicle when changing lanes. Due to their large size, tractor trailers require more time and space to maneuver, making lane changes more challenging. Failure to signal properly, driver distraction, or failure to check blind spots can contribute to lane change accidents.
Underride accidents occur when a smaller vehicle collides with the rear or side of a tractor trailer and becomes wedged underneath it. These accidents are often catastrophic, leading to severe injuries or fatalities. Underride accidents can occur when a tractor trailer suddenly stops, improperly merges, or fails to signal a turn.
Determining liability in tractor trailer accidents can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the following parties may be held liable:
Truck drivers can be held liable if their negligence or reckless behavior caused the accident. Examples of truck driver negligence include speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and violating traffic laws. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, the truck driver may be an independent contractor, which can complicate liability issues.
Trucking companies may also be held liable for accidents involving their trucks. They have a duty to ensure their drivers are properly trained, follow safety regulations, and maintain their vehicles in a safe condition. If a trucking company fails to fulfill these obligations, they may be held responsible for their driver’s actions.
In some cases, a defective part or mechanical failure in the tractor trailer may contribute to the accident. If a faulty component, such as brakes, tires, or steering, caused or exacerbated the accident, the manufacturer of the defective part may be held liable for the resulting damages.
Tractor trailers require regular maintenance and repairs to ensure they are in proper working condition. If a maintenance or repair company was negligent in their duties, such as failing to properly inspect or repair the truck, and it contributed to the accident, they may be held liable for damages.
In certain cases, government agencies may be liable for accidents caused by dangerous road conditions, improper signage, or inadequate maintenance. If a tractor trailer accident resulted from a road defect or negligence on the part of a government agency responsible for road maintenance, they may be held partially responsible.
Determining liability in tractor trailer accidents requires a thorough investigation and analysis of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. An experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer can assess the evidence, identify the responsible parties, and build a strong case to support your claim for compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages. The following are some of the types of compensation you can pursue:
Tractor trailer accidents often result in significant medical expenses, including emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care. You can seek compensation for these expenses incurred as a result of your injuries.
If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for the wages you have lost during your recovery period. Additionally, if your injuries have permanently affected your ability to work and earn a living, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost earnings.
Tractor trailer accidents can cause immense physical and emotional pain. Compensation for pain and suffering aims to provide financial relief for the physical discomfort, emotional anguish, and diminished quality of life resulting from the accident and injuries sustained.
If your vehicle or personal property was damaged in the tractor trailer accident, you can seek compensation for the cost of repairs or the fair market value of the damaged property.
In tragic cases where a tractor trailer accident results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and other damages associated with their loss.
Navigating the legal landscape of tractor trailer accident claims requires expertise and knowledge of Maryland laws and regulations. Hiring a skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer is crucial to ensure your rights are protected and to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation. Here are some key considerations when selecting a lawyer:
Choose a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and has extensive experience handling tractor trailer accident cases. Look for a track record of successful settlements and verdicts, as well as positive client reviews and testimonials.
Ensure that your lawyer has in-depth knowledge of Maryland’s laws and regulations pertaining to tractor trailer accidents. They should be well-versed in understanding liability, insurance requirements, statutes of limitations, and other legal intricacies specific to Maryland.
A reputable tractor trailer accident lawyer should have access to a network of experts, including accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and investigators. These resources can strengthen your case and provide valuable evidence to support your claim.
Effective communication is essential throughout the legal process. Choose a lawyer who is responsive, keeps you informed about the progress of your case, and promptly addresses your concerns. Accessibility and availability are crucial factors in establishing a strong attorney-client relationship.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive payment if they successfully recover compensation for you. This arrangement eliminates the financial burden of upfront legal fees and ensures that your lawyer is motivated to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
By carefully considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can find a skilled tractor trailer accident lawyer who will advocate for your rights and guide you through every step of the legal process.
Pursuing a tractor trailer accident claim in Maryland can be a complex and challenging process. However, with the right knowledge and guidance, you can navigate the legal landscape and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Remember to adhere to the time limits for filing a claim, document the accident scene, seek medical attention, and enlist the assistance of an experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer. By following these steps and understanding your rights, you can increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome and rebuilding your life after a tractor trailer accident in Maryland.
At Dubo Law, we pride ourselves in our ability to meet all of the above criteria in a client-friendly environment designed to maximize the value of any tractor trailer accident case. If you are a family member were injured in a tractor trailer accident in Baltimore City or anywhere else in Maryland, call Dubo Law today at (443) 275-6345.