Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

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A California jury has awarded an Oregon girl $24.3 million in damages for being run over by a tractor trailer truck. The defendant was a transport company that was the carrier, insurer and guarantor of delivery for the truck’s contents.
At the time of the accident, the girl was 14. She was run over when the truck driver, who actually was the girl’s father drove away from a rest break without realizing that his daughter was still outside the truck. The girl was caught under the truck’s rear wheels and suffered severe injuries to her entire lower body that will require many future surgeries. Interestingly, the judge in the case ruled that the jury would not be told that it was the girl’s father who caused the accident, as that fact was irrelevant to the issue of negligence and damages. A copy of an article regarding the case can be found here.

My name is Andrew Slutkin. As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland attorney who specializes in catastrophic injury cases, I have successfully handled a number of truck accident cases. These cases require aggressive representation as the insurers and attorneys for the trucks almost always fight these cases tooth and nail. Knowledge of the insurance regulations and federal regulations regarding trucks also is important. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.

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Experienced personal injury attorneys know there is no question asked more often and as difficult to answer than; What is my case worth? The answer to this question is based upon many factors which an experienced personal injury lawyer can best answer.

Our system of civil justice is terrible at valuing the loss, but rather consistently values the lawsuit. For instance, there are many cases involving horrific tragedies such as the death of a child, the loss of which can never be compensated for. Nonetheless, our judicial system attempts to assign a value to such an incomprehensible losses. Hence, the value of most lawsuits never truly compensate for the irreplaceable loss of life or limb. So how do we lawyers come up with a value for injury cases? Understanding this is an imperfect science, lets get cracking.

Most experienced personal injury lawyers will consider the below factors, as well as personal experience, to provide clients with a range of what a case may be worth. The factors that determine value of a personal injury case include:

1) Strength of liability
2) Venue
3) Severity of Injury
4) Medical Bills: past and future
5) Economic Loss: Wages and Loss of services
6) Aggravating Factors
7) Skill of Attorneys

Strength of liability: The settlement value of a case will often be greatly affected by the strength of the liability. For instance, if two auto accident plaintiffs have the same injury (broken back) the pretrial settlement offers may vary greatly based upon the strength of the liability argument.

If liability is clear (rear end collision), than the pretrial offer will be higher to take into account that there will be a verdict, and it is just a question of how much. On the other hand, if liability is disputed and the defendant has a chance of winning on liability, the pretrial settlement offer will be considerably less to reflect the real possibility that the defendant may walk away paying nothing.
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Nissan recently decided to recall 204,361 vehicles from its 2007 and 2008 model years in the United States due to the possibility that a passenger side airbag could fail to deploy properly in an accident. The recall covers 2007 and 2008 Nissan Altima, Altima Coupe, 350Z, Murano and Rogue; and Infiniti G35 Sedan, G37 Coupe and EX35 built from March 12, 2007 to May 27, 2008. Please click here for the full article.

The defect was in the passenger side “Occupant Classification System,” which figures out whether the front passenger is present, and if so, whether it’s a child or small adult. Apparently, the problem is with Nissan’s “Occupant Classification System,” which didn’t work properly since it was out of spec. As a consequence, the passenger airbag may not deploy in a serious crash.

For more information regarding Nissan’s recall, or to speak with a trial attorney with experience litigating similar product liability claims against automobile manufacturers, please contact us for a free consultation.

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As leading Maryland personal injury lawyers, we are often asked to explain Maryland law regarding wrongful death lawsuits.

Generally, a wrongful death claim is brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent. A Survival claim is brought by the personal representative of an estate.

To recover for a Wrongful Death cause of action, plaintiff must prove: 1) death; 2) negligence of the defendant; and 3) defendant’s negligence proximately caused death of decedent. Weimer v. Hetrick, 309 Md. 536, 547 (1987). In addition to the elements set out by case law, the Wrongful Death statute provides that the plaintiff must be within a category of defined beneficiaries under the statute and the claim must be brought within the applicable time period, 3 years after death of decedent. Md. Cts & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-904.

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Each year, more than forty percent of the total number of traffic fatalities are alcohol related. In this country, nearly 17,000 thousand people are killed on an annual basis in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Sadly, notwithstanding these horrific statistics, Maryland law does not permit a cause of action against a bar owner, restaurant, homeowner or other individual or entity responsible for negligently serving alcohol to individuals who later get behind the wheel of a car and cause serious, and oftentimes catastrophic, injury to others. See Veytsman v. New York Palace, Inc., 170 Md.App. 104, 122 n.11 (2006). Such a claim is known as tavern liability or “dram shop” liability. In fact, Maryland is one of only three states that do not permit such lawsuits. Maryland law also does not allow an injured victim to recover punitive damages in automobile accident cases, even in instances where the driver that caused the injury has consumed excessive quantities of alcohol or other mind-altering drugs. See Komornik v. Sparks, 331 Md. 720 (1993).
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Many individual automobile insurance policies do not provide adequate coverage for catastrophically injured victims. As a result, a product liability case against the manufacturer of the automobile may need to be explored. Such cases can be extremely complicated and expensive to prosecute effectively. As such, it is imperative to consult a trial attorney with significant experience handling such cases.

In addition to a simple “negligence” theory, Maryland law recognizes the “crashworthiness doctrine” and doctrine of “strict liability.” A claim may also be pursued under Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act in appropriate circumstances. Pursuing such avenues may be the only way to obtain full compensation for the catastrophically injured client. Therefore, at the beginning of a case, counsel should take affirmative steps to determine whether a product liability theory of recovery should be considered. At a minimum, counsel should take steps to secure the vehicles involved in an accident and send a “spoliation” letter to any parties involved in the accident to preserve evidence for later inspection.

My law firm and I recently obtained a substantial settlement from an automobile manufacturer in a product liability case on behalf of a woman who was blinded in an automobile accident case by the vehicle’s airbag. For more information regarding your catastrophic automobile injury case, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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Maryland is a major transportation corridor for trucking and other interstate travel with Interstate 95 running from North/South and Interstate 70 running East/West. As such, accidents involving tractor trailers and other large motor carriers oftentimes occur on Maryland’s frequently traveled roadways. In many of these cases, the tractor trailer is equipped with a “black box” containing critical information, such as average speeds of travel, top speeds, braking information for “hard stops” or other valuable information just prior to the point of impact. It may also contain information regarding the number of hours the truck was in operation; information that can be compared with the log books the driver and trucking company are required to keep. The black box can be a gold mine of information. The information contained in the black box can be critical to proving liability not just for the negligent truck driver, but for the company that employs him or her. This information can be used to show that a trucking company should have known there were problems with a particular driver.

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident involving a tractor trailer or other trucking company, it is important to retain counsel early and act quickly. Counsel should send a “spoliation” letter requesting that the trucking company take affirmative steps to preserve evidence, including the data contained in the black box. A substantial amount of the data can be lost if the tractor trailer is put back into service after an accident. Counsel should notice the inspection of the tractor trailer unit. Counsel should also retain expert assistance to download the black box information. You don’t want the defendant-trucking company to beat you to the punch because they can easily erase critical information in the process. In addition to a black box, some trucking companies also use satellite tracking on their vehicles. This too can be a critical resource to explore when prosecuting a trucking accident case.

If you’ve been injured by the negligence of a truck driver, contact an experienced Maryland plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer for a free consultation about how best to pursue your claim.

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The driver of a tractor trailer was tragically killed on Sunday morning when his 18-wheeler plunged into the Chesapeake Bay. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the accident occurred on the east bridge when a Camaro and the truck collided. The tractor trailer spun out of control, hit the jersey wall and plunged into the Chesapeake Bay. The driver of the tractor trailer was killed and two passengers in the Camaro were flown to University of Maryland, Shock Trauma.

The accident occurred during a time of two-way traffic. In this case, the west bridge was closed for repair so traffic traveling in opposite directions were using the west bridge. Authorities are still investigating the accident and the cause is still undetermined.

Lawyers in our law firm who regularly handle trucking accidents advise me that the investigation may take weeks. The driving and cargo logs of the truck must be reviewed. In addition, the investigation will also look into whether the tractor trailer was in compliance with numerous Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

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Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys know the various ways to recover for injuries suffered if involved in an accident with a vehicle owned by a business or company. If a Maryland resident is injured when their vehicle is struck by a company or business vehicle driven by another person, there are several sources of recovery for their injuries, including the company’s insurance, the other driver’s insurance or their own insurance company. If a Maryland resident is driving a company vehicle that is involved in an accident, they potentially may recover from; 1) Workers’ Compensation, 2) the other driver’s insurance company or 3) their own insurance company.
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