Injury Claims by Occupants of Passenger Cars Involved in Commercial Trucking Crashes

It is almost a certainty that most every Maryland motorist knows of the often high potential for bodily injury on our congested thoroughfares. In fact, as drivers ourselves, we can fully understand that no matter how conscientious one may be while driving his or her own vehicle, there is always a chance that another motorist or commercial driver may make a simple, yet serious mistake that could suddenly impact the lives of numerous innocent people.

As Maryland and Washington, D.C., personal injury attorneys, our staff is well aware of the consequences that can arise if another driver loses his or her ability to control their vehicle. Accidents involving all manner of motor vehicles take place on a daily basis all across the state. From Annapolis and Baltimore to Gaithersburg and Columbia, a moment’s inattention on the part of a commercial trucker can end up changing the course of someone’s life.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we provide skilled legal representation to injured victims of car, truck and motorcycle collisions. Being involved in any kind of a traffic accident is never a pleasant experience, but those collisions involving commercial vehicles can be particularly devastating. And while drivers have a generally confident sense of control, the occupants of a passenger car or city bus do not. Yet, at least as many passengers are injured or killed each year as drivers behind the wheel.

When it comes to those vehicle occupants who receive serious injuries in a traffic collision -- whether the crash involves two smaller passenger cars or an automobile and a large commercial truck -- the injured passengers may often have a better legal road to travel when seeking damages; certainly better than the driver of the vehicle in which that individual was a passenger.

In a strange twist of fate, vehicle passengers who are injured in traffic accidents typically do not have to be concerned with proving liability when filing a personal injury lawsuit. And the reason is simple -- an individual who has been injured in a car crash while a passenger should have no liability himself, whereas one of the two drivers would necessarily prove the other motorist was at fault. The passenger essentially has no responsibility to prove who caused the accident, only to claim damages as a result of the accident.

Interestingly, the unique position of a passenger arises from the fact that occupants typically have no control over the vehicle in which they are traveling. This means that they typically have no liability in any case. The difference is rather significant. With any personal injury claim involving one or more vehicles, the plaintiffs must be able to prove two things: which driver was liable for causing the crash, and the extent of their injuries. Since at least one driver is usually found to be responsible for a collision, the injured passengers should always be able to prove negligence on someone’s part.

Even more so following an instance of a single-vehicle crash, such as a city bus or chartered motor coach, the bus driver may have a difficult time filing a personal injury claim, but that is usually not the case for those passengers who were hurt in the crash. For example, if one or more bus passengers are hurt after a motor coach leaves the roadway and hits an abutment, the driver will most likely be found liable for the collision; the plaintiffs then must be concerned mainly with proving the extent of their injuries in order to claim damages against the responsible parties.

Needless to say, where commercial trucks are involved -- such as 18-wheelers, automobile transporters, fuel tankers and heavy construction machinery -- the injuries received by occupants of another vehicle can be many and varied. From closed-head trauma, neck and back injuries, internal bleeding, simple and compound fractures, as well as severe cuts and lacerations, not to mention second- and third-degree burns, the opportunity for serious bodily injury is not uncommon.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our legal staff understands that recovering from a serious commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accident is just half the battle. Recovering monetary damages -- which come in the form of emergency room costs, doctor bills, rehabilitation expenses and even charges for long-term nursing care -- is a major part of getting back to some semblance of a normal life for victims of trucking-related accidents. Recovering one’s lost wages is often a close second, though it should never be overlooked in any case.

Although a personal injury claim filed by the innocent occupant of a car that is struck by a commercial vehicle may seem straight forward enough, there are important considerations that commercial trucking accidents represent from a legal standpoint. It is therefore very important to locate a qualified attorney versed not only in personal injury law, but also one who has experience litigating cases involving commercial trucks.

As commercial trucking accident experts, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready to assist clients in recovering damages from multiple parties, including the vehicle operator, his or her employer, the company that services and maintains the CMV, and even the firm that loaded cargo into the vehicle for shipment. When negligence is suspected there is no reason not to consult a qualified personal injury lawyer.

One reason for discussing a trucking-related injury case with a Maryland injury attorney could come about when none of the parties wishes to settle a claim brought by an injured passenger. Occasionally, the determination of the amount of fault on the part of each party can result in a conflict. These kinds of situations often call for the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, whose knowledge of trucking-related accident cases can be a valuable asset for his or her client.

If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a commercial trucking accident, whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, the skilled legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen recommend that you contact a qualified injury lawyer who has a strong background in handling commercial trucking injury claims here in Maryland or in the Washington, D.C., area. Our skilled staff is ready, willing and able to review your case and provide the legal options open to you under the law. Please call us toll-free at (800) 654-1949 to set up a meeting to discuss your case. You may also email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.