Experienced Injury Lawyer Serving Truck Accident Victims throughout Howard County and all of Maryland
In Maryland, commercial vehicles transport various types of products that are needed for businesses, consumers, and the economy all across the state and to out-of-state destinations. Large commercial trucks only account for a small amount of vehicles on the road. When truck accidents occur, however, they result in serious injuries and fatalities because of the massive size and weight of the vehicles. Based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one-ninth of all vehicle fatalities in 2008 resulted from truck accidents. If you are injured because of a collision with an 18-wheeler or lost a loved one in a truck accident, I can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. As a seasoned Maryland personal injury attorney, I have a strong knowledge of what personal injury cases of this kind require.
Liability in a Truck Accident Case
Drivers of large commercial trucks and the companies that employ them are held to high standards because of the devastating impact that can result from a truck accident. Commercial vehicle drivers can be arrested for drunk driving if found with a blood alcohol content level of 0.04%, whereas drivers of cars and other types of vehicles are considered impaired at 0.08%. Occupants of other vehicles and motorcyclists involved in a truck accident are most susceptible to injury. If you have been harmed due to the negligence of a truck driver or another individual responsible for the accident, I encourage you to speak with my firm today.
What Steps Are Involved in Being Compensated for a Truck Accident?
What to Do the Day of the Accident.
Your first action after involvement in a truck accident should be to stop your vehicle and remain at the scene. The law requires that drivers exchange driver’s license, registration and insurance information before leaving the scene of an accident. In Maryland if a police officer is dispatched to the scene, he will assist in the exchange of this information. You can be criminally charged with a hit and run if you leave the accident location. If possible take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles involved. These can prove very useful later as many cases do not get to court for years.
Seek Medical Treatment
If anyone is injured, immediate medical assistance should be obtained and the police should be contacted to report the accident. A police report of the accident can help support your insurance claim and any liability claims. Use caution and discretion during any conversations and do not plead guilty or admit fault at the scene of the accident. Let an attorney review the facts of your case and discuss it with you. It is advisable to politely refuse to comment on the situation with anyone at the scene until you speak with an attorney.
In Maryland you will have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) available to assist you with paying for your medical bills, unless you have specifically waived it. PIP is no fault insurance available to you to pay medical bills and to compensate you for wages lost because you are injured.
It is not unusual for you to feel fine at the scene of the accident and wake up stiff, sore, and in pain the next morning. If this happens you should seek medical treatment.
The Demand Package
When your medical treatment is complete, I will collect all of your medical records and the related bills as well as documentation to support your claim for any lost wages. These collected documents will be assembled into a demand package for submission to the opposing parties insurance company.
Usually while the client is in treatment, the insurance takes a position on liability, which essentially means are they going to pay or fight the claim. If the insurance company denies the claim before the client completes treatment no demand package is prepared and a case is filed with the court.
After the opposing person receives the demand package insurance, they conduct a review of the medical records and bills. Each insurance company has its own way to evaluate bills and medical treatment. Most will also call the employer and verify the lost wages claim.
After this review and verification is completed, I will speak with the insurance company’s claims adjustor. Typically the insurance company will make an initial offer to settle. I will make a counter demand on behalf of the client. It is not unusual for there to be multiple rounds of offers and demands. If a settlement amount can be agreed on, the insurance company will prepare a release for the client to sign and mail a check to the client’s attorney. I deposit the check and when it has cleared, I pay any outstanding bills and give the remaining balance to the client in the form of a check.
If a fair settlement cannot be agreed upon or the insurance company denies liability, the case will need to proceed to Court. I always meet with a client before filing suit to make sure they understand what is entailed in the court proceeding, what expenses to expect and to agree on what court we are going to file in and whether the matter will be submitted to a judge or jury.
When filing suit in Maryland you can file in either the District Court or the Circuit Court. Judges conduct the trials in the District Court and juries are available in the Circuit Court. Small claims are all claims under $5,000.00 and the rules of evidence are relaxed. District Court cases can be filed for up to $30,000.00 and cases demanding over $30,000.00 are filed in the Circuit Courts.
Truckers and trucking companies are subject to many laws and federal regulations. If a truck driver is found at fault for an accident, the victim of the smaller vehicle can potentially obtain a substantial amount of compensation. The difficulty in these cases is proving liability. At Raymond Carignan, Esq., I can help present evidence to prove that the truck driver, manufacturer, or freight company is at fault for the accident and your injuries. Schedule a free evaluation of your case today for the legal assistance you need from my firm. Contact Raymond Carignan, Esq., right away!