Beltway and Interstate Trucking Collisions Resulting from Driver Error
As Baltimore personal injury lawyers, we are experienced in automobile, commercial trucking and motorcycle injury accident claims. Our dedicated legal staff knows that any traffic accident can have a great impact on individuals and their families. The suddenness with which roadway collisions take place can take even the best drivers by surprise, all the more at highway, interstate and beltway speeds. When traffic is traveling at higher rates of speed, the force of an impact is increased when compared to that of a relatively slow-speed crash on a city street.
The faster a car or truck is traveling, the greater the opportunity for serious bodily injury if and when a collision does take place. Although limited access roadways are generally safer than surface streets -- mainly due to the lack of intersections and the close proximity of other vehicles in opposing lanes -- the higher rates of speed make for more severe wrecks when they do occur. This is obviously a mixed blessing for those motorists navigating the Baltimore and Washington D.C. beltway system.
As Maryland auto, motorcycle and trucking accident attorneys, the professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, understand how easy it is for a driver, passenger or pedestrian to become a victim of a bad road accident; many times, those who are the most seriously injured had no fault in terms of causing the collision. As motorists and commuters ourselves, we fully understand that higher speeds raise the odds of more substantial bodily injury.
From lacerations and broken bones to life-threatening spinal cord injuries and closed-head trauma, there is a wide range of medical problems that can result from a momentary loss of concentration by a commercial truck driver along any roadway. And while it is incumbent on every driver to be aware of his or her surroundings when operating a motor vehicle, the ability to remain safe is not a one-sided proposition. Traffic safety takes a concerted effort by all drivers. If one person, especially a trucker, makes a driving error at highways speeds and in dense rush hour traffic, many others may suffer the consequences.
We completely understand that avoiding being caught up in a serious roadway collision is not always possible, even though one takes many precautions. The fact is, when sharing the road with other drivers, there is always an opportunity for serious collisions. If and when an innocent person is badly injured in a Maryland car, truck or motorcycle collision, it is a wise course of action to contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as is practical to learn about one’s rights under the law.
When looking at accident statistics all across the nation, the odds of someone making a driving error or committing a traffic infraction can be shockingly high. For example, nearly one-half million drivers in the U.S. are cited for speed-related offenses every week. In fact, on average more than 15 percent of the driving population receives a speeding ticket on an annual basis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has determined that almost one-third of all fatal motor vehicle accidents are directly related to excessive speed.
The role of speed, at least in terms of severity of a traffic accident, is an obvious concern. And when a passenger car driver is operating his or her car, minivan or sport utility vehicle at a high rate of speed, the consequences may be serious. Taking this one step further, and applying it to the trucking industry, it can be concluded that excessive speed can only exacerbate the effects of a commercial truck accident on the innocent victims in other vehicles.
The sheer physical size and tremendous mass of a fully loaded 18-wheel big rig has made it necessary for all commercial truckers to be trained, certified and licensed to operate tractor-trailers on public roadways. At interstate and beltway speeds, physics tells us that drivers have less time to react to any traffic accident situation when compared to events that might happen on the streets of Annapolis, Bowie, Rockville and the District of Columbia.
At 70mph, a commercial delivery truck or 18-wheeled tanker will travel an average of 115 feet before the truck driver could even begin to react to a potential accident situation. For reference, the truck will travel nearly seven car lengths before the driver can apply the brakes or steer away from danger. The legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen recognizes the potential for injury, even under the best circumstances, when a truck driver is impaired, distracted or otherwise negligent in the operation of his or her vehicle.
Keep in mind, too, that the stopping distance of a fully loaded tractor-trailer rig is nearly twice that of the average passenger car. If a commercial trucker is not paying strict attention to the traffic situation in front of him, the ability to stop a large commercial semi tractor-trailer combination in order to avoid a collision may be difficult or impossible, depending on the circumstances.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our legal staff knows that the physics behind a roadway collision can make the difference between a minor crash and a deadly high-speed wreck. In either case, should injuries or fatalities result, our experienced trial attorneys are ready and willing to help the victim and/or his family to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
There are many different sources of potential negligent liability related to a highway or beltway traffic collision. Because high-speed collisions can lead to very complex injury lawsuits, a qualified commercial trucking accident lawyer can help guide the plaintiffs through the process. Here is a short list of just a few factors that may be involved in a trucking injury claim:
- Vehicle speed in excess of posted limits
- Weather conditions at the time of the crash
- Roadway design elements near the accident site
- Directional and traffic control signage -- orientation and location
- Construction zone or other mitigating factors
- Driver fatigue, distraction or alcohol/drug impairment
- Improper mechanical maintenance on the truck
- Malfunctioning or defective vehicle equipment
- Reckless or aggressive driving on the trucker’s part
Having a skilled attorney on one’s side can mean the difference between a successful injury case and one that fails because of poor preparation or improper legal procedure. For many accident victims, insurance companies representing the trucking company may offer a monetary settlement that is less than the damage sustained or injuries received by the victim. As Baltimore commercial trucking accident lawyers we believe this is unacceptable, especially in cases of severe physical injury, permanent disability or wrongful death.
As traffic accident lawyers, the personal injury specialists at Lebowitz & Mzhen understand Maryland personal injury and insurance law. We know how to apply the rule of law to those victims who seek compensation following a negligence-related trucking collision. As skilled legal professionals, we have the training and courtroom experience to recover damages from those responsible. We consider all costs arising from an injury accident, past, present and future. Please contact us toll-free at (800) 654-1949 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. Or email your request to either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen, and we will set up a one-on-one meeting to discuss your legal situation.