Trucking accidents are an unfortunate part of sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Every year thousands of innocent people are injured or killed following collisions with tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles. The sheer size and weight of these tractor-trailers, flatbeds, dump trucks, box trucks and car carriers make the injuries associated with trucking accidents more severe than those associated with other types of crashes.
Driver fatigue is one of the main causes of trucking accidents. Because truck drivers are professionals, they are required to adhere to specific federal and state safety regulations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. However, some trucking companies have provided incentives for drivers to deliver cargo on time or ahead of schedule, causing the drivers to sacrifice safety for the sake of speed. When this happens, both the driver and the company that employs the driver should be held accountable for any injuries sustained as a result of driver exhaustion.
Trucking accidents are not like accidents involving other types of vehicles. In Maryland, commercial drivers are held to specific standards and any lawyer that is handling a trucking accident case has to be familiar with Maryland's commercial vehicle law. A violation of those rules may be enough to hold a driver liable if something goes wrong while they're out on the road.
There are also other important considerations when investigating trucking accidents. Many tractor-trailers and semi-trucks contain "black boxes," or computers that record specific measurements while the truck is moving, similar to the black boxes that are found on some airplanes. The information contained in these boxes can be extremely helpful to any lawyer suing a driver or trucking company. Such valuable information is rarely if ever available when investigating crashes involving non-commercial vehicles.
One interesting technology that can be helpful in pursuing a case involving a truck or even a commercial bus is the onboard camera systems. Many tractor-trailers have a camera mounted on or near the front window of the tractor. Upon impact, like a DVR that records television programs, the camera has the ability to record the fifteen or thirty seconds before and after the collision, often showing what happened in front of the tractor and also what the driver was doing before or during the incident.
We have found it important to quickly insist that the trucking company or freight carrier preserve this video immediately so that it does not get lost or otherwise disappear. If the responsible party to a collision intentionally destroys the video recording, then the court can be asked to instruct the jury on what is known as spoliation of the evidence--an effort to conceal damaging evidence. Other times the recording may be lost simply because no request has been made prior to a pre-set time for the expiration of a digital video image.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, you should consult with a personal injury law firm who has the skills and experience to handle tractor-trailer and semi-truck accident cases. Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC is one such firm. Over the years, we have helped many of our clients who have been the victims of truck accidents, and who have suffered the interruption of their lives due to physical and emotional injuries, the imposition of hospital and medical bills, and financial losses including lost wage and property damage.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury because of a trucking accident that occurred in Maryland or Washington D.C., please call us -- toll free -- at 1-800-654-1949 to schedule your FREE consultation.