The driver of a westbound tractor-trailer on Interstate 68 was recently involved in an accident that caused this road to be shut down for several hours while crews cleaned up the paint that his truck was carrying. The driver cited for illegally texting on a cellphone when he lost control of the vehicle about four miles west of Hancock, Maryland State Police said. While paint accidents are the most typical kind of accident involving tractor-trailers, accidents involving tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles are all too common.
Accidents are Common on Maryland Interstate 68 and beyond
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation has devoted thousands of hours of research to try and understand why accidents happen with tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Overturn (rollover) – Overturns and rollovers are the source of nearly 5 percent of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and 2 percent of all nonfatal crashes involving large trucks. These accidents can clog traffic as well as cause massive damage to any cars that are unlucky enough to be hit by the overturned trailer.
- Driver fatigue – It is well known that tractor-trailer drivers are notoriously tired. Many studies have found that drivers do not receive enough sleep and rest which is crucial to attentive driving. Unfortunately, drivers fall asleep behind the wheel and this leads to catastrophic damage and injury.
- Driver inattention – As noted above, drivers today face more distractions than ever from beeping and blinking GPS devices to ringing cell phones. There have been many federal, state, and local laws enacted to curtail using handheld devices and distractions while driving, however, even with these laws there are still problems with driver distraction that often lead to accidents.
- Brake malfunctions – Truck drivers put hundreds of miles on their vehicles every day. While driving on the highway may not pose too much of a problem for a driver’s brakes, trucks need to go through towns and communities to deliver their cargo. When a truck driver needs to stop his trailer it requires that the brakes be in top working condition, and even more so when there is bad weather. When a tractor is unable to stop because of faulty brakes it can lead to major accidents and injuries.
- Alcohol use – CDL Drivers have increased alcohol restrictions on their license. While it is never encouraged to drink and drive license have more stringent requirements for alcohol and driving. Alcohol is never a good idea for driving. Alcohol impedes a driver’s ability to make quick rational decisions and avoid accidents. Additionally, alcohol slows the brain’s ability to process information and to interpret difficult road conditions. Alcohol, unfortunately, leads to many accidents and injuries.
There are hundreds of reasons for a truck accident, and when you are driving on the road you need to be aware of what vehicles are around you, and what can potentially cause an accident.
Who is Responsible for a Truck Accident?
Anytime there is an automobile accident the first question that people want to know is who was responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, truck drivers are often blamed for an accident due to their vehicle being larger. When there has been an accident, some of the people or parties who may be responsible for a person’s injuries include:
- The truck driver
- The owner of the truck or trailer
- The Company that leased the truck or trailer from the owner
- The vehicle manufacturer, including the tire manufacturer, or other parts of the truck that may have contributed to the cause or severity of the accident.
Many people assume that because a truck driver can view the road from a greater height that they should be able to see and avoid accidents much easier. However, many people forget that because of the size of a tractor-trailer that even an experienced truck driver cannot maneuver their truck like a car.
How to Prove a Truck Accident Claim?
Truck accidents and all car accidents for that matter often turn on a theory of negligence and who owed who a duty of care. When there has been an accident, one thing is for certain, someone or multiple people are at fault. When you want to bring a lawsuit you will generally need to prove the following elements in order to win your case. Therefore, a person injured in a commercial truck accident must show that:
- That the defendant who may be either the driver, the trucking company or another party owed the other driver a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury. This depends on the circumstances of the accident and the road conditions.
- Next, you must show that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care. Generally, the law will state that the driver has “breached” the duty of reasonable care.
- Finally, a person who has been injured in a truck accident will have to show that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injury suffered by the plaintiff.
Negligence often is the basis of many personal injury claims, while this brief overview may give you some insight into this field, negligence can be a complicated process and a jury may find certain percentages of negligence, which may reduce or eliminate altogether your ability to recover damages.
Contact A Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer
To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call the law offices of Reiff & Bily Trucking at (800) 861-6708 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim.