What Is “Contributory Negligence” and How Can It Affect My Maryland Truck Accident Claim?

If you’re injured in a truck accident in Maryland, particularly by a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or box truck, there’s an excellent chance your injuries are severe. Therefore, you may need immediate and ongoing medical treatment for months or years. First, you must note that you and your truck accident law team must prove liability to receive this much-needed compensation.

Contributory Negligence

Maryland is one of the few states that legally operates under a strict legal doctrine called “contributory negligence.”

The contributory negligence law mandates harsh and restrictive conditions regarding who is at fault in your accident. Let’s say you are even minimally at fault for the truck accident that injured you; you will be unable to recover any compensation.

The defense will always use contributory negligence to bar you (as the plaintiff) from obtaining the compensation you deserve. In most of these truck accident claims, the “at fault” or defendants’ lawyers will work to prove that your negligence contributed to the accident and your injuries.

Since this law is so restrictive, you must consult with an experienced, knowledgeable, and empathetic truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Your Pikesville truck accident law team will work tirelessly to develop a strong case that entirely places fault on the truck’s driver and, possibly, their company.

These cases are usually challenging and legally complex, as who’s to blame is not always clear.

Is Maryland an At-Fault or No-Fault State?

There is another Maryland legal issue that adds to the complexity of your truck accident claim. Maryland operates as an at-fault state for all vehicle accidents. This legally translates that you (as the driver) can sue the truck driver (and their company) for compensation after your crash. However, you may have specific insurance benefits which provide additional options to recover medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault.

Maryland insurance policies

One of these options is Personal Injury Protection (or PIP).

All insurance companies operating in Maryland must offer PIP coverage, and you can include PIP for the driver as part of your insurance policy. Maryland insurance policies provide PIP coverage for minors under 16 years old and for adult passengers who do not own or drive cars without insurance.

All PIP coverage is viewed as a no-fault benefit. With PIP coverage, drivers and passengers can be reimbursed for their medical expenses and even a percentage of their lost wages after their accident. Although there usually are dollar amount caps to PIP, so all of your medical bills and lost wages may exceed the PIP limit if you’re severely injured.

The most significant advantage of having PIP is that you don’t have to supply evidence of fault to receive compensation; these benefits are commonly paid quickly.

Although, if your PIP doesn’t cover your medical expenses, etc., you must still file a claim and supply solid and convincing evidence that another party is at fault before you get the money you need and deserve.

So, PIP does help, at least with some of your accident-related expenses, and you can obtain it quickly while you wait for your claim to settle. PIP laws can be confusing, so if you are injured in a truck accident consult with your Pikesville truck accident law team.

Your competent, diligent, and empathetic truck accident law team knows that you and your family need help now and their advice and guidance will be invaluable.

How Can My Lawyer Prove the Truck Driver Was At Fault?

Your experienced truck accident lawyer will know how to proceed once they have all the facts about your case. In most instances, you can obtain a free case consultation the same day you contact your law team, make sure to call your Maryland truck accident law team as ASAP and they will evaluate and provide you with the legal options you need.

In most truck accident cases, truck driver error is the leading cause of truck accidents. Many professional drivers take their jobs and hazards seriously, but others are negligent in their safety and maintenance concerns.

If the driver engages in risky or dangerous behavior, they will commonly always be found liable. Some examples of negligent behavior may include:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Texting or talking on their phone while driving.
  • Excessive speeds or driving too fast for the current road conditions.
  • Driving while distracted.
  • Disregarding local traffic laws, signage, etc.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel or driving too long and becoming fatigued.
  • Reckless, aggressive, or overall poor driving.

Your Pikesville truck accident law team will do whatever it takes to gather information from police reports, witnesses, medical records, driver logs, and more to prove that the driver was responsible for the accident and your concurrent injuries.

What Types of Compensation Could I Receive For My Truck Accident Claim?

Having a car vs. truck accident is a situation that every driver on the road hopes never happens to them. However, there are more trucks than ever on the highways and streets, and the dangers of colliding with a truck are too numerous to count. Also, due to the weight of the trucks and the speeds involved, there is a highly elevated risk of you or a family member being seriously hurt or even killed.

Therefore, medical expenses, recovery costs, and lost wages begin to mount almost immediately after your accident. So, when you or someone you love is injured in a truck accident, it is vital to understand all your legal options.

Your lawyer will explain that you may be entitled to three types of compensation, and they can add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions.

Types of compensation for truck accident claim in Maryland

These are:

1. Economic damages

 These damages and costs are easily calculated and are derived from medical bills, recovery and hospital expenses, and other dollar amounts that involve immediate and initial payment.

2. Non-economic damages 

These damages and the amounts are harder to calculate because they may be intangible and might not be easily assigned a dollar value. Future medical expenses, for example, can be estimated based on your doctor’s prognosis, but current bills don’t exist.

These non-economic damages could include:

  • Loss of future earnings.
  • Pain and suffering for you and your family.
  • Pre-impact fright.
  • The inconvenience of the time spent at doctors’ appointments..
  • Grief and emotional counseling.
  • Future care & medical expenses.

3. Punitive damages and compensation 

These damages are rare, but you might be entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically added to the other economic and non-economic payments you receive from your truck accident claim. Courts award these damages usually to make an exemplary case of a negligent driver or trucking company.

I’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident; What Should I Do?

First, note that truck accidents can be devastating. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, immediately contact a local truck accident lawyer who has a winning and comprehensive history of drafting, filing, and litigating truck accident cases.

The Maryland truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky, P.A. spend more than 80% of their time-fighting personal injury accident cases. They are experienced in truck accident litigation and will organize an extraordinarily successful case so you and your family receive the compensation you need and legally deserve. Call them at (410) 484-0400 for a free consultation and begin your financial and physical recovery today.