When you have questions about your Maryland semi-truck accident, we’re here to help. Below, the team at Zirkin & Schmerling Law answers common questions about accidents involving truck crashes, truck accident injuries, how to handle insurance, and seeking compensation for your damages.
If you have additional questions or need insight into your motor vehicle or commercial truck accident, please call us 24/7 at 410-356-4455or schedule your free consultation online.
Semi-Truck Accident FAQ
After a truck accident in Maryland, there are certain steps you should follow to preserve your rights and protect yourself:
- Make sure that you and others in the truck are not experiencing a life-threatening injury.
- Do not move the truck until you get pictures of the crash, but also make sure that you are somewhere safe.
- After you have checked on everyone in the truck make sure to call 911 to report the crash.
- While waiting for the police make sure to take pictures of the property damage and license plates of all vehicles involved in the crash. During this time if the other drive comes to speak with you do more listening then talking. Immediately write down anything the other driver said to you so you don’t forget.
- When the police come to the scene make sure to give them a statement of what occurred. Before the police leave, they will provide you with an accident exchange of information sheet. This document will help your attorney track down the actual police report written by the police officer.
- Make sure to have a picture of the other drivers license and registration before leaving the scene of the crash.
- If at any point while on the scene of the crash you feel like you need immediate medical attention then make sure to take an ambulance to the hospital. If your truck ends up getting towed make sure you know where its being towed. Then call a lawyer at Zirkin and Schmerling Law. Our office will make sure you are treated fairly by the insurance company and that you get the compensation you deserve.
The value of your truck accident is found by doing individual calculations on a number of factors. These factors are then added together to determine the total value of your case. Ultimately, the value of your case is established either by an out-of-court settlementor an in-court decision by a judge or jury.
This should be similar to the auto accident. We need to discuss past and future meds, past and future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
Maryland truck drivers are obligated to follow a set of restrictions known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). When they fail to follow the rules, this can be used as evidence against them in insurance negotiations and court cases.
Truck drivers must stay in compliance with FMCSR guidelines by doing things like:
- Making sure their truck is within the federally-mandated height and weight restrictions
- Having an appropriate truck driver’s license
- Limiting the length of their shifts and hours worked each week according to the rules
- Passing a comprehensive certification exam
- Meeting certain physical standards
- Carrying an insurance policy that meets certain requirements
Trucking companies carry huge insurance policies to cover their drivers in the event of a crash. For them, having a large insurance policy is just part of doing business. Often their policies will be at least $5,000,000. Typically the issue won’t be if there is enough insurance coverage in these cases. The bigger concern is being able to prove to the trucking company and their insurance company what is the true value of the case. That is one of the reasons why it is so important to hire an attorney. Zirkin and Schmerling Law will hire the right experts for your case that can put together past and future damages for an insurance company, judge or jury to review.
There is never a guarantee that a trucking company’s insurance carrier will pay They may stall you and shy away from your requests, making you feel as if you’ll never get a check! That’s why you need a semi-truck lawyer who knows how to handle your case and pursue a positive outcome.
There are also other avenues of compensation, like suing the trucker individually, pursuing an owner/operator, and starting a claim against a government entity that is responsible for the truck. An experienced trucking lawyer will investigate each of these options to see if they are applicable.
In terms of the types of damages available, truck accidents are similar to other accidents. However, the total amount of the damages tends to be much higher with truck accidents because they are much more severe than passenger car accidents. Damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Your economic damages include your past medical bills, future medical bills, past lost wages, future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and the cost of your vehicle repairs or replacement. There is no limit and no cap on the amount of economic damages you can receive in Maryland.
Non-economic damages involve harm to your quality of life, your physical disfigurement, and your pain and suffering. In Maryland, these damages are capped at about $900,000. The non-economic cap in Maryland goes up by $15,000 each year.
Maryland has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, which includes semi-truck accidents. The limit is three years, based on the date of the injury and not the date when you may have reported the accident to the police or insurance company.
If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, it is very unlikely to be extended by the court, so don’t miss your chance. Find an experienced truck accident lawyer to help as soon as possible after the crash.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL A LAWYER?
When it comes to truck crashes it is important to call a lawyer immediately. Most large trucking companies have lawyers on retainer. When the trucking company is involved in a crash they will usually have a lawyer race to the scene of the crash. The lawyer for the trucking company is trying to gather evidence that will negatively effect your case. It is important that you get a lawyer right away to gather evidence that will help your case in a positive way. The trucking company will have their lawyer working for them on day one. You need to make sure you also have representation that can match them step by step.
Your semi-truck lawyer will help you start an investigation into who was liable in the crash. If the truck driver themselves is liable and owns and operates their own vehicle, you’ll pursue their insurance company or sue them personally.
In most cases, the truck driver works for a company that owns a whole fleet of trucks and covers them all with a large insurance policy. So you’d arrange an insurance payout with the trucking insurance company.
In most cases the trucking insurance company would pay any settlement or judgment. In some cases that company will be self-insured so the actual trucking company will pay out of pocket. Either way if the case needs to go to litigation you would typically file suit against the truck driver and the trucking company to cover all of your bases.
It’s not always as simple as it sounds, though. Today, trucking insurance companies are trying to pay less and less to injured victims. You may discover that the insurance company will balk at paying, just like the trucking company and the trucker themselves. You’ll need an experienced semi-accident lawyer to hold the right party responsible for paying.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights after a semi-truck or large trucking accident, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call our law firm at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers today.