Fatal Rear-Ending Collisions due to Faulty / Inoperative Trailer Lighting
Most anyone who has driven for any length of time has probably experienced one of the more scary traffic-related scenarios: operating a car, light truck or motorcycle at night along a dark and dimly-lit roadway with rain and fog obscuring one’s vision. Under such conditions, even the most seasoned drivers can run into a situation where a car or truck ahead has broken or poorly operating rear taillights. Depending on the road conditions, vehicle speed or traffic situation, the odds of a collision may be quite high.
While individual passenger cars are can have maintenance issues, mechanical or electrical problems affecting some commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) can be downright deadly from the standpoint of everyday motorists. Approaching a dirty or poorly lit CMV stopped at an intersection can be very surprising when visibility is reduced due to rain, sleet, snow or fog. Many rear-ending accidents can likely be traced to the victim not being able to see a commercial truck ahead simply because the driver or owner failed to keep the rear lights clean or working properly.
At the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, our knowledgeable team of trucking accident lawyers have years of experience working with victims of trucking-related injury accidents. Our goal is to help innocent victims recover damages following a traffic collision caused by another driver or the actions of a negligent third party. In the case of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) wrecks, the opportunities for serious injury or death are many and varied, depending on the size of the CMV, roadway conditions at the time of the crash and the speeds involved. Whether on a country road, busy city street or Maryland beltway, the chance of sustaining serious bodily injury can be quite high.
In addition to the typical bumps, bruises and abrasions that can accompany more mild car and truck collisions, those more serious high-speed interstate and beltway crashes can result in broken bones, compound fractures, closed-head trauma and other life-threatening injuries. In the case of rear-ending crashes where a passenger vehicle hits a tractor-trailer rig from behind, the chances of underride-related injuries can be very high. Even with underride safety devices, the speed of a collision between a fast-moving car and a slow-moving or stationary CMV can make for a deadly combination.
If the rear-end lighting on an 18-wheeler or other large commercial truck is dim or inoperative for any reason, the chances for a crash rise exponentially, especially in the aforementioned situations where nighttime driving is coupled with inclement weather. This kind of accident, where a crash is likely the result of badly maintained or non-existent trailer lighting, can end up with a personal injury lawsuit being lodged against the driver of the rig, the owner of the truck, or the maintenance facility that repairs and maintained the truck.
It is understandable that most people prefer not to spend their hard-earned dollars on simple maintenance items, but when the saving of money has the direct result of causing a deadly roadway wreck, then the question must be asked why were steps not taken to ensure vehicle safety. Even those large costs, such as the replacement of tires or braking components on an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, are a far cry from the damages that a trucking company may have to pay if a court finds that firm liable for the injury or death of one or more innocent people.
As personal injury lawyers experienced with car, truck and motorcycle accident cases, Lebowitz & Mzhen understands the pain and suffering that can result from even the most seemingly minor omission in a vehicle maintenance schedule. Commercial vehicle operators and owners have a responsibility to keep their trucks in good running order and maintain the vehicles’ safety-related components. Failure to do so can leave the responsible parties negligent and open to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
As with passenger cars and motorcycles, vehicle lighting is designed to help the driver see the roadway ahead during the evening and nighttime hours, as well allow the vehicle itself to be seen by other drivers on the roadway. If a trucking firm or tractor-trailer driver fails to properly care for the vehicle’s lighting system, the fate of the driver himself and other innocent people may hang in the balance.
Although maintaining a truck to required operational and safety standards may be costly, doing so can be of great financial benefit to trucking companies in terms of avoiding a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Here in Maryland, with the high volume of commercial truck traffic passing through and around cities like Gaithersburg, Bowie and the District of Columbia, just one poorly maintained CMV can put many people at risk of bodily injury. While improperly maintained vehicle lighting may not seem as serious as faulty brakes or worn-out tires, the potential for a severe traffic accident is just as real.
If you or someone you know has been badly hurt in a trucking-related roadway crash, we highly recommend that you contact a skilled personal injury lawyer to discuss your options going forward. Our trained trial attorneys are ready and willing to review your case and advise you of your rights to compensation under the laws of Maryland. As experienced litigators, Lebowitz & Mzhen knows personal injury law and how to apply it to injury-related and fatal commercial trucking accidents.
In many instances, the driver or third party responsible for the maintenance of the CMV may be held liable for negligent actions pertaining to vehicle maintenance, or lack thereof, especially in situations where the victim is killed or left in a permanently compromised state. The qualified legal professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen can be reached by phone at our toll-free number -- (800) 654-1949 -- or via email. Feel free to contact us regarding your Maryland commercial trucking accident case by phoning or sending an email to either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen.