Commercial Delivery Truck and 18-Wheeler Accident Resources
If you’re like most people, you probably expect that a professional in any line of work will perform his job in the best way possible during the course of his work day. For commercial truck drivers, not only does this mean getting the job done right and on time, it also means accomplishing one’s job duties in the safest way possible without injury to others. As any motorist can understand, driving may be a privilege, but it also involves a great amount of responsibility. As personal injury lawyers, we understand this and believe that professional truckers must constantly endeavor to perform to the highest standards expected of them, if not simply to ensure their own safety, but also that of the driving public.
Operating a 30-ton machine at highway speeds in heavy traffic is no mean feat, but doing so consistently with safety and consideration for the rest of the drivers and passengers on the road is the mark of a consummate professional. Sadly, however, there are some truck drivers -- as well as some trucking companies -- who do not always take their responsibilities seriously. Even with very specific federal and state safety regulations, including those of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), some truckers flout the law and thereby risk injury to themselves and to those with whom they share the roadways.
While commercial trucking accidents will likely always be a part of a fast-paced modern society, as Maryland automobile and trucking accident attorneys, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, believes that those commercial drivers who cause serious injury accidents due to their thoughtlessness, lack of care, or outright negligence should be held accountable for their actions. Every year in this country, thousands of innocent people are killed or injured as result of commercial vehicle wrecks.
Incidents involving large commercial vehicles -- such as 18-wheeled tractor-trailers, flatbeds trucks, heavy construction vehicles, box-type delivery trucks, auto carriers and tanker trucks -- are bad enough when they are not tied to negligence. But when a serious injury-related crash or fatal accident is caused by a poorly trained or reckless driver, the pain and suffering of the victim and his or her family can be a terrible burden. Lump this together with the expensive medical treatment and hospital costs needed to help the injured victims and the desire for just compensation on the part of the victims is only natural.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we recognize that commercial trucking accidents are hardly the same as a typical passenger car collision. The sheer size and weight of a typical tractor-trailer can turn even a low-speed collision into a nightmare scenario for an innocent victim and his or her family. At higher speeds, such as those encountered on the interstate or along the beltway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the chances of serious and debilitating physical injuries in the wake of a commercial truck accident can be quite high, with multiple victims and occasional fatalities.
To assist you in the event of a traffic accident, we offer the following tips and resources. To protect your rights under the law, we suggest that you print out the following and leave it in a convenient place in your vehicle (such as the glove box). We also suggest that you consider using a camera to take photographs of an accident scene and the cars or trucks involved if you find yourself caught up in a traffic wreck.
- Safely stop your vehicle, no matter how minor the accident
- Phone the police to alert the authorities of the accident
- Cooperate fully with the patrolmen arriving on-scene
- Do not discuss the facts of the crash with anyone except the police
- Share your insurance information with the other driver(s) before departing the accident scene
- Obtain the name, address and vehicle license number of the other driver
- Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses to the crash
- Use a camera, cellphone or smartphone to take photos of the damage to your vehicle, as well as that of the other vehicle, and any other notable evidence (such as skid marks on the roadway)
- If your vehicle needs to be towed, remove any valuables from inside
- Do not provide any insurance companies or their representatives a recorded statement of events until enough time has passed for you to know whether or not you have sustained an injury as a result of the collision (also the severity of those injuries)
- If injured, get to a doctor’s office or emergency room as soon as possible to have yourself evaluated by a medical professional
If you were injured in a commercial trucking accident, try to do your own research into the company that owned the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that hit you, as well as the driver, in order to make your initial consultation with a Maryland trucking accident lawyer as productive as possible. At the very least, you should do this in advance of any meeting with the trucking company and its driver. Remember to never admit guilt or liability for a traffic accident involving a commercial truck and do not sign any waivers or liability release forms until you have had an opportunity to speak directly with a personal injury attorney.
For those individuals who have been involved in a trucking-related traffic collision, it is important to understand that you will need to work with your automobile insurance carrier, and also with a commercial truck accident lawyer, if you choose. The following list of resources should help get you started with your research to better prepare for your personal injury claim.
- American Trucking Association: This entity advocates for the trucking industry by providing information and research on highway and truck driver safety, among others
- Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance: This organization is comprised of industry representatives and safety officials from a variety of government entities and provides research and suggestions to help standardize truck safety
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): This division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) determines trucking regulations and provides safety-specific programs, as well as facts related to preventing trucking-related injuries and fatalities
- Insurance Information Institute (III): Provides a wide range of auto insurance information, from understanding insurance policies to highway safety tips
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): Offers valuable information on safety surrounding large commercial trucks, as well as statistics on injuries and fatalities, plus regulatory policies, vehicle safety ratings, and other safety-related information
- Commercial Motor Vehicle Traffic Enforcement (NHTSA): Detailed information on commercial vehicle safety laws and regulations
- National Safety Council: This group’s website features general information regarding defensive driving, improved safety on the road, and other motoring-related safety topics
- Truck Driving Safety Tips (American Family Insurance) - Practical safety tips for commercial truck drivers, covering topics such as distracted driving and the importance of checking and rechecking blind spots.
- American Automobile Association (AAA): The AAA Exchange offers educational topics on commercial vehicle safety, as well as other driver safety tips
Unfortunately, even with the large number of rules and regulations currently in place, trucking-related injury accidents continue to occur here in Maryland and in all corners of the country. While no individual law or regulation can guarantee the safety of any motorist, for those who find themselves in the hospital due to the negligent actions of a commercial truck driver or fleet operator, the law does provide avenues for compensation for one’s injuries.
If you have been badly injured in a commercial trucking collision, we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified trucking accident attorney to better understand your rights under the laws of Maryland, as well as to consider your legal options going forward. As professional injury accident lawyers, Lebowitz & Mzhen know that filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party(s) is one of the better ways to recover damages resulting from the negligence of another individual or company.
During our preparation for an injury or wrongful death lawsuit, we thoroughly investigate the facts surrounding a traffic collision in order to prepare our client’s case. And, we do so with the full intention of taking every lawsuit to trial. We believe that comprehensive legal preparation is the bedrock of any successful personal injury case. As experienced personal injury experts, Lebowitz & Mzhen will fight to ensure that past, present and future medical, rehab and future nursing expenses will be included as part of your injury claim. Please call us toll-free at (800) 654-1949 to make arrangements for your free, no-obligation consultation. You may also email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to set up your free initial consultation.