There is much to be said about having a healthy respect for the sheer mass and power of semi tractor-trailers and similarly-sized commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The fact is, however, not all people traveling on our public roadways are aware of the potentially destructive nature of these huge machines, especially in cases where the driver behind the wheel has lost control of that vehicle. Regardless of the reason, if an 18-wheeler, gasoline tanker truck, or chartered motor coach has a mechanical problem that exceeds the ability of the driver to handle the situation, property damage is a very good possibility, as is bodily injury or even death.
As personal injury attorneys here in the Greater Baltimore area, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, are ready to offer assistance to victims of commercial trucking accidents and other traffic-related collisions. Especially in cases of large over-the-road transport vehicles, a beltway accident or high-speed interstate wreck is something in which nobody ever wants to be involved. Too many families have lost loved ones as a result of a single- or multiple-vehicle collision involving a CMV and a smaller, more vulnerable passenger car, minivan or SUV.
Under the best of circumstances, even a lightly loaded CMV can be a handful in heavy traffic, but when there is a mechanical problem or other serious issue with the truck, even a seasoned commercial trucker might find the task overwhelming. Mix a serious control-related issue onboard an 18-wheel tractor-trailer with Maryland’s usually busy interstate or beltway traffic and there will likely be complications involving injuries or fatalities of innocent people nearby that vehicle.
Take, for example, a typical tire blow-out scenario. At highway speeds, a blown tire can be a nightmare for the average motorist in a small sedan or economy car, but apply the same situation to a 30,000-pound (or heavier) CMV and the likelihood of a personal injury accident increases many times over. In addition, the debris that results following a deflated commercial truck tire at highway speeds that is, the shredded pieces of sidewall and tread can be a very serious hazard for motorcycle riders, as well as motorists in passenger cars.
Despite federal regulations requiring truck owners and drivers to maintain their tires, failures such as blow-outs and thrown treads happen with alarming frequency. And, even though rules and regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specifically prohibit CMVs from being operated with tires that have exposed tread belting or sidewall plies, it is not unheard of to see these exact conditions on vehicles that have been involved in serious beltway or interstate collisions.
Reduced tire performance or outright tire failure are a couple of the most frequent causes of deadly trucking-related accidents here in Maryland. Blowouts themselves can be the result of a number of factors; excessively worn or bald tire tread, overheating due to under inflation or overloading, or manufacturing defects may individually or in combination be responsible for a fair percentage of commercial truck accidents.
Aside from manufacturing defects, which often cannot be detected until it is too late, poor tire maintenance, incorrect trailer loading, or lack of proper vehicle/tire inspection procedures can be a major factor in serious traffic accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large over-the-road CMVs. Something as simple as checking the tire pressures on a vehicle before hitting the road can later result in a serious injury-related highway wreck between a truck and one or more passenger vehicles.
While most truckers understand the importance of maintaining their tires based on federal requirements, the key to avoiding trouble must also involve a greater amount of vigilance on the driver’s part. Even when commercial truck tires are in acceptable condition at the time a load is picked up, conditions on the roadway itself can have an effect on one or more of those tires during the trip. In fact, there are numerous road conditions that can and do lead to significant wear or premature failure during a long drive.
It is because of changing roadway surface conditions and unexpected road hazards that it is a necessity for truckers to regularly inspect and monitor the condition of their vehicle’s tires during any long-haul delivery job. Some factors that can lead to excessive tire wear include the following:
An incident involving a blown tire may cause the trucker to lose control of his rig and slam into other, often smaller, vehicles on the road. Even under the best of conditions, a loss of vehicle control coupled with an inappropriate reaction by a novice or untrained driver can result in a serious injury accident or even a fatal highway wreck. At high rates of speed, the kinetic energy of a fully loaded tractor-trailer can cause a violent impact with other vehicles on the beltway or interstate. When negligence is involved, a call to a personal injury lawyer skilled in commercial vehicle injury accidents may be in order.
The professional trial lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen recommend that victims of auto, truck and motorcycle collisions seek a skilled and experienced personal injury expert with training in the area of traffic-related injury law. Victims of Maryland commercial vehicle wrecks should realize that the aspects of a CMV-related personal injury case are often very different from that of a one involving only passenger cars. Tractor-trailer collisions are significantly different from other automobile-related injury accidents, because the many and varied laws and regulations that govern interstate transport companies and commercial truck drivers.
Unfortunately, with all of the rules and regulations in place, no single law or collection of regulations can guarantee anyone’s safety on the open road. If you or someone you know has been seriously hurt in a commercial trucking collision, we highly recommend that you contact a qualified automobile and trucking accident attorney to understand your rights and options going forward. Filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the best chance to recover damages resulting from the negligence of another driver.
Our approach to every injury or wrongful death case is to perform a thorough investigation and prepare our client’s case with the full intention of taking a lawsuit to trial. Preparation is the bedrock of any successful personal injury case, and as experienced trial lawyers, the trucking accident experts at Lebowitz & Mzhen will fight to ensure that past, present and future medical, rehabilitation and nursing expenses will be included as part of your injury claim. Please contact us toll-free at (800) 654-1949 to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with our helpful legal team. You may also email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to set up an initial consultation to discuss your case.