Investigating Liability in Maryland and Washington, D.C., Commercial Vehicle Collisions
Quite frequently, after a very bad traffic collision, victims of the crash can be facing such dire health-related complications that just thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit is too difficult. Even after a person is discharged from the hospital after a lengthy recovery from a severe traffic collision, it may be too much to expect that individual to pursue an automobile injury accident claim against the responsible party(s). This can be even more daunting when the injury is caused by a commercial truck driver.
Most people consider that a large trucking company has more wherewithal than the average motorist, which can often be the case. Yet, despite the fact that trucking companies and their insurers have a great deal of financial and legal resources at their disposal, a skilled trucking accident attorney can assist victims who feel that they cannot easily pursue monetary recovery for their medical costs, lost wages and other accident-related expenses.
Having an experienced legal advocate on one’s side is very important when going toe-to-toe against a large corporate entity such as a commercial trucking company or insurance carrier. One thing that many victims of trucking-related accidents fail to fully consider is the issue of liability as it applies to a trucking-related traffic collision. Although understanding the causes of an accident is rather critical to a successful personal injury claim, the knowledgeable trucking accident lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have the skills and training to help our clients by determining which party was liable for a particular traffic-related injury accident.
Quite simply, the term “liability” can be roughly translated into “Who caused the accident?” In the legal arena, liability is known as the “legally bound obligation to pay debts.” This is a rather simple concept that describes instances where a person is financially and legally responsible for something. Such instances can involve either civil or criminal law. In general, liability comes into play in a number of different areas, from tort and contract judgments to fines and taxes levied by government entities.
Under what is called “strict” liability -- which may be included in either a civil or criminal action – an individual is liable when he is legally responsible for some type of damage (or loss) resulting from his or her action or inaction; this is true regardless of culpability. Where strict liability is concerned, tort law is often involved, especially in regard to cases of products liability.
Under the theory of strict liability, although the plaintiff is not required to prove fault, the defendant can argue absence of fault. Absence of fault can often take place in cases involving products liability. In these types of cases, the defense might argue that a product defect actually resulted from the plaintiff's own actions versus a specific problem or fault of the product itself. This is all very important in personal injury cases where the victim claims that a defective part, such as a truck’s brake pads or similar safety item, failed and, thereby, caused the accident that resulted in the victim’s injuries.
Injury claims arising from commercial trucking accidents can involve the question of liability as it pertains to the truck driver’s actions. Depending on the facts of the case, liability can often reside with the truck driver or another negligent party, such as the maintenance facility that serviced the truck prior to the crash, even the trucking company itself; or it may pertain to all of the named defendants.
A commercial trucking accident claim is often a “negligence” claim, which means in this area of the law, carelessness or recklessness on the part of the truck driver or his employer. As Baltimore commercial trucking accident experts, the lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen prepare our clients’ cases in order to prove that the trucker, his employer or another party was negligent in terms of the safe operation or safety of the commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Some of the more common actions that can point toward negligence on the truck driver’s part can include the following:
- Making an illegal or prohibited turn
- Following the vehicle ahead with insufficient stopping distance
- Traveling on a restricted roadway
- Ignoring a traffic signal or stop sign
- Speeding or driving too fast for roadway or weather conditions
- Failing to pay attention to the traffic situation
- Changing lanes in an unsafe manner
- Operating the truck while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
Under some circumstances, such as rear-end collisions, liability on the part of the truck driver is presumed if the truck hits the victim’s vehicle from behind. It should be stated, however, that not all rear-ending accidents are automatically blamed on the driver whose vehicle hits the back of another car or truck. For this reason, and many more, it is imperative to speak with a Maryland personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been involved in a serious trucking-related collision.
Whether an injury or fatality takes place in the Baltimore area, over in Gaithersburg, or in the District of Columbia, speaking with a qualified legal expert will help victims to understand their rights under Maryland law. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we can explain important legal issues, such as the difference between comparative negligence and contributory negligence. The latter, which is part of Maryland law, is considered by many to be a much harsher rule, which can negate a victim’s injury claim if the defense can show that the victim was even partially at fault in the accident.
At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have a full understanding of Maryland auto and trucking accident law, as well as the state legal statutes that govern motor vehicle insurance companies. Determining whether or not a personal injury claim has merit is part of our job. If you or a family member has been badly hurt in a commercial trucking wreck, we highly recommend you contact a qualified legal expert in the field of auto and trucking accident law. The professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready to help. Contact us if you wish to learn more about your rights under Maryland personal injury law. You may call our offices at (800) 654-1949 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation; or, email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to set up an appointment.