A lot of individuals who opt to live in Prince George’s County select Bowie for its abundance of parks and overall suburban vibe. While you might assume there aren’t as many trucks in our area, as compared to other Counties, there are. These trucks are still needed to haul goods to our local stores and elsewhere.
There are unique dangers to more spread-out residential communities like ours, that make coming in contact with trucks a risky proposition that can lead to getting hurt. If this happens to you, this is where a Bowie truck accident lawyer like ours comes in.
We help injury victims and surviving family members of those who die in truck crashes. And, we want to help you, too, if you or your family has suffered harm in a similar accident due to no fault of your own.
Schedule an initial consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss what led to your injuries.
It doesn’t cost you anything to have this conversation. Learn how Maryland law affords you rights when another motorist, like a trucker, is negligent.
Trucking Injury Statistics
While the circumstances surrounding the crash that harmed you, or a close relative, are certainly unique, trucking accidents in general, are not.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the 154,993 large truck non-fatal injury accidents that occurred in 2021:
- At least 13,823 (9%) stemmed from single-vehicle accidents
- An estimated 28,341 (18%) of those injuries occurred during multi-vehicle collisions
- At least 109,981 of those crashes (71%) caused motorists in other vehicles to suffer injuries
- Another estimated 2,848 individuals (2%) of those hurt were others described as non-occupants
As for fatalities, those same statistics show that:
- At least 582 of those deadly truck crashes (10%) involved just a single vehicle, whereas 7% (426) included multiple vehicles
- An estimated 4,149 (72%) of these collisions claimed the lives of others besides just truckers, and around 11% (631) killed non-vehicle occupants
Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Collisions
Just as 18-wheeler wrecks resulting in injuries or fatalities aren’t uncommon, there are certain patterns as to why these crashes occur, as well.
Our firm investigates tractor-trailer crashes to determine why they occurred so that we can hold the correct party liable for what happened. Our experience is that the most common contributing factors that result in these collisions include:
- Recklessness or carelessness: This is a broad category that covers any driver errors and anything else that constitutes the dangerous operation of a semi-truck, including distracted, fatigued, or drunk driving, failing to yield to the right of way of others, or speeding and delayed braking. Also, operators may neglect to check their blind spots, which endanger those in front, around, and behind them.
- Mechanical issues: A big rig is like any other motor vehicle in that it requires regular maintenance and repair of any known issues, in a timely fashion, to ensure that it remains roadworthy. Additionally, it’s the responsibility of the semi-truck manufacturer that the product they release on the market undergoes a quality assurance process to minimize the chances of an unsafe vehicle making it on the road.
As you can see from these factors, the big rig’s operator, a manufacturer, auto repair person, or someone else involved, may either be wholly or partially responsible for what happened. However, that’s not always the case, as we’ll discuss below.
This is why any Bowie truck accident lawyer in our office would strongly recommend that you be careful when recounting how your crash occurred, and stick soley to the facts.
Our attorneys can discuss with you why we give this advice, and what it means to you, during your initial consultation.
Ways Motorists Can Contribute to Causing Truck Crashes
A lot of focus gets placed on truckers and how their actions result in accidents, but car drivers can play a role in causing these wrecks, too.
This often occurs due to a lack of knowledge of how to safely share the road with big trucks, especially as far as the following are concerned:
- Following trucks too closely: You run the risk of having a ride under or override accident with a tractor-trailer if you tailgate them. Especially if they encounter traffic congestion or some other road hazards, requiring them to apply their brakes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that passenger car operators give themselves the equivalent of one second for every 10 feet of between them and the vehicle ahead, to reach a full stop (assuming they’re traveling 40 MPH or below.) They also suggest that motorists tack on one more second when traveling at speeds above this limit. And, in cases of inclement weather, to increase spacing even more.
- Making quick lane changes in front of large trucks: When pulling in tight ahead of others, the biggest risk is the potential of not giving your fellow motorist ample time to respond, and avoid a crash. More than just braking distances go into this, even though those are important as well. Perception matters, also. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contends that a motorist’s total stopping ability, including time and distance, is impacted by speed, weight, and reaction time (among other factors).
- Not making oneself visible enough: One of the more common reasons that motor vehicle accidents with trucks occur is visibility issues. This may be because a bike or motorcycle, for example, has too narrow of a profile for a trucker to clearly see it at a distance, especially when approaching the intersection. Additionally, a passenger car’s color may blend in with certain environments, or its profile may be so low to the ground that, if it’s too close to the truck’s front end or rear, it may be challenging for the trucker to see. While there may be little you can do about these factors, other than purchasing a more visible vehicle, installing reflectors and turning on headlights can be effective in drawing increased attention to yourself and preventing tractor-trailer crashes.
- Blindspots: As a motorist, it’s important to know where a commercial trucks’ blind spots are. The FMCSA and it’s Our Roads Responsibility initiative teaches motorists how to safely share the road with trucks. The federal agency warns that the “safe zones “, where truckers are most apt to notice fellow motorists, are at least 20 feet ahead, 30 feet behind, and at least a 2-lane distance to the right. Another blind spot occurs when trucks are making turns. According to the FMCSA, tractor-trailers require a 55-foot radius when turning.
- Braking distances: The same FMCSA initiative also that trucks require at least 40% more time, which equates to the distance of two football fields, to reach a full stop as compared with other vehicles, when traveling at a rate of 65 MPH.
Complexities Involved in Winning Truck Crash Cases in Maryland
Our state allows you to hold anyone who acts negligently accountable for their actions in causing your crash, but only when you don’t share any fault in the incident.
This means that if you make one simple misstep that implies guilt when talking with law enforcement, your medical providers, or insurance adjusters, you could easily ruin your chances of securing any financial recovery in your case.
Given how often truck-involved crashes result in serious injuries or fatalities, and how there are so many different parties who may have contributed to causing the crash, it’s best that you consult with a Bowie truck accident lawyer.
Contact GDH Law as soon as possible after an accident to learn how to navigate the claims process, estimate your fair compensation, and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
A case review and consultation with one of our expert truck accident lawyers is completely free, so call or message to meet with us today!