The Top 3 Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents in Maryland

Semi Trucks on Freeway

Trucks play an essential role in Maryland’s economy, transporting products from manufacturers to consumers in 93% of the state’s communities. In fact, trucks carry 88% of total manufactured tonnage or 138,800 tons of goods per day into the Old Line State, according to the Maryland Motor Truck Association, Inc.

With these many trucks traveling through and sharing the roads in Maryland, accidents are bound to happen. For instance, truck accidents frequently occur in major interstates like I-95 and Route 70 (one of the top 10 most dangerous roads for truck drivers between 2013 and 2016, according to the Department of Transportation). These accidents can cause damage to property, serious personal injuries, and even death.

Many factors lead to accidents involving large trucks. Here are the top three most common causes of commercial truck accidents in Maryland.

  1. Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue, usually manifesting as drowsiness, is a hazardous situation for both the driver and others on the road. Drowsiness reduces the driver’s attentiveness, slows reaction time and adversely affects decision-making.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving causes more than 6,400 deaths in the U.S. annually. Meanwhile, the destruction it leaves behind costs the society $109 billion, excluding property damage, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. And one of the most at-risk groups are—unsurprisingly—commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers.

  1. Faulty maintenance

Drivers who operate trucks that lack maintenance or are maintained improperly risk serious accidents on the road. Regular truck maintenance, as mandated by law, is essential in keeping vehicles in good running condition and by extension, everyone’s safety—motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike.

Commercial trucks have many parts and components that need to be maintained, but tires appear to pose the greatest threat. In its Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016 report, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that tires were the second most common vehicle-related factor for large trucks involved in fatal crashes.

  1. Distracted driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” This includes talking to other people in the vehicle, fiddling with the vehicle’s entertainment or navigation system, and the most dangerous of all, using your cellphone.

According to the FMCSA, distracted driving accounted for 6% of fatalities involving large trucks in 2016, of which 16% was due to cellphone use. Using the cellphone while driving is so hazardous, in fact, that many states in the country ban hand-held cellphone use as well as texting while driving.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. And with so many possible causes, truck accidents are never simple cases. These complex cases are best handled by an experienced truck accident lawyer, such as Nick A. Parr who has held several serious truck accident cases. He works with medical professionals, life planners, and others to ensure you receive full compensation for any injuries or damages resulting from commercial truck accidents.

Contact Nick A. Parr for a free consultation today!

Maryland Traffic Accidents Are On The Rise

Accidents are increasing because of texting and driving.

Driving in Baltimore or another city is becoming more dangerous. Be sure you already know who to call if you have a personal injury.

Having the unfortunate luck of being involved in an auto accident can mean months of dealing with insurance, visits to the doctor, and even using up your leave from work. Not to mention the toll an accident can have on your body and emotional well-being. It’s something everyone wants to avoid, but in Maryland, car crashes and injuries happen all too often.

Why are there so many accidents?

If you’ve wondered if traffic has gotten worse over the years, it’s not just your imagination. Over the past five years, Maryland has seen a nearly 20% increase in traffic accidents and injuries from accidents have increased by over 15%.

Drivers distracted by mobile phones may be mostly to blame since drunk driving has steadily declined, but other factors could have contributed to these disturbing statistics.

Factors like poor road conditions and declining infrastructure cost each motorist in Maryland about $550 per year in repairs. Even more worrisome is that nearly a fourth of Maryland’s roads are considered to be in poor condition, which just goes to show how hazardous an everyday commute can be.

What causes car accidents in Maryland?

The main cause of accidents everywhere is typically driver error. Driver errors include things like failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. Aggressive driving is also a driver error.

One example of aggressive driving is tailgating, which means following behind someone too closely. These examples may not seem like a big deal, but they can easily lead to an accident leading to serious injury.

Here’s what to do if you’re in an accident

Getting into an accident is often very stressful since many steps are involved in making things right again. Having someone in your corner with experience in handling these types of situations can take a huge burden off your shoulders.

Let Nicholas A. Parr help you get the justice you deserve and help you navigate your rights through any situation in Baltimore Maryland.

If The Accident Wasn’t Your Fault Why Is Your Insurance Involved?

Baltimore Car Accident Attorney explains your insuranceSo you were involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and now your insurance is involved, how could that be? There are several possible reasons.

The most obvious reason to an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer is a claim for personal injury protection benefits or “PIP”. If you have PIP you should use it (you pay extra for it every month). It is “no fault” coverage, your insurance rates won’t go up, and you can use it to pay for medical bills so you will get more money from your bodily injury settlement. Usually, PIP will add $2,500 to the typical settlement (unless you use it for lost wages).

There are less obvious and more annoying reasons. For example, maybe the driver of the car that hit you didn’t contact his insurance or isn’t returning calls. In that case, you could be stuck with a damaged vehicle and no way to get it fixed. The other driver’s insurance isn’t going to accept the claim unless they speak with their insured. So what are your choices? You can drive around a damaged car or, even worse, have your car totaled and stuck in some tow lot collecting storage fees. The inconvenient truth is that you may be stuck with one option, pay your deductible and get your car fixed through your own insurance. Your rates won’t go up since the car accident wasn’t your fault and, if you are lucky, your insurance will waive your deductible or get it back through subrogation.

You could be stuck going through the same scenario if the other driver is disputing liability. People lie all of the time. You know the accident wasn’t your fault, after all the guy was nice and even apologized. The other driver might have a completely different story when his insurance asks how the accident happened. The other driver’s insurance isn’t going to pay for your car repairs if their insured is pointing the finger at you.

A significant percentage of drivers are uninsured. If the other driver was uninsured, your deductible will most likely be less but it will not be waived or reimbursed. In addition, you would have to make your bodily injury claim through the uninsured motorist coverage under your insurance policy. Again, an uninsured motorist claim will not make your rates go up since the car accident wasn’t your fault. Making an uninsured motorist claim may seem confusing at first but it is very simple. Your insurance takes the place of the at-fault driver. Uninsured motorist coverage is required in Maryland!

Your insurance could also be involved due to an under-insured motorist. Maryland minimum limits are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. If your bodily injury claim is worth more than the minimum coverage and your insurance policy has greater than the minimum limits, you will need to make an under-insured motorist claim.

People who are in accidents are weary involving their own insurance but there is nothing to be worried about if the accident wasn’t your fault. You pay a monthly premium so the insurance company is there for you when you need it. You hire an experienced personal injury attorney like me to make sure your insurance company keeps up its end of the bargain!

If I am in an accident with a drunk driver will I get a bigger settlement?

Injured in an accident caused by a drunk driverIn Maryland, the answer is probably no. An individual injured by a drunk driver or the family of someone killed by a drunk driver will  probably not get more. That is because Maryland doesn’t allow punitive damages in car accidents caused by drunk drivers, even if that car accident caused a death or serious injury. Punitive damages are payments made over and above fines and standard compensation to victims. They are designed to punish an offender for conduct that either arises from an evil motive, or reckless indifference to others. The latter definition would apply to drunk driving. The idea of punitive damages against drunk drivers has been debated in the Maryland legislature but attempts to provide punitive damages have failed. Some say that punitive damages are an undeserved reward. Others respond that they are needed as a deterrent. Today most states have laws that allow punitive damages in at least some drunk driving accident cases. For example, our neighbor to the south, Virginia, allows for punitive damages in certain drunk driving cases. Maryland does not allow punitive damages in drunk driving cases and believe me the insurance companies lobby hard to keep it that way.

Recently, I explained to two clients that the fact they were injured by a drunk driver will not necessarily lead to a bigger settlement. They were surprised. I think most people assume that if they were injured in an car accident caused by someone who was dumb enough to drink and drive that they are entitled to a larger settlement or judgment. That concept makes sense and seems fair but life is not fair, especially in Maryland. Sure, during settlement negotiations a lawyer can remind the insurance adjuster that the at fault driver was drunk as a skunk. However, most insurance adjusters know that a Maryland jury will never hear about drunk driving. A Maryland jury will never hear about the fact that the other driver had 18 shots of Fireball before he or she decided to smash into a family minivan filled to the brim with children. In my client’s case, a Maryland jury will never hear that his truck was totaled by a drunk driver on Christmas morning. Why won’t the Maryland jury hear those stories? Once the other driver admits fault, liability can be stipulated to and motions can be filed by the insurance company’s lawyer to ensure no one will ever hear the words “drunk driver”. The case is essentially treated the same as if the driver was simply careless and made an honest mistake.

If you are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact The Law Offices of Nicholas A. Parr. Speak directly with the attorney who will fight to make sure you get what you deserve.

Baltimore City Police Reports

Baltimore Personal Injury AttorneyFor those of us who live, work in, or visit Baltimore City it is pretty obvious that the police were on vacation in 2017. Their absence leaves Baltimore in the throws of a crime wave the likes of which hasn’t been seen since crack cocaine hit the Baltimore corners in the 1980’s.  Maybe they will return to work in 2018. Do I blame the police? Not really, they were stabbed in the back by an inexperienced states attorney trying to make a name for herself instead of protecting the city we love. The lack of law an order in the streets of Baltimore can be seen on so many levels. Random violence in the streets, lack of response to 911 calls,  administrative shortcomings and delays – all a byproduct of failed leadership at the highest levels.

As a Baltimore personal injury attorney, I see the ramifications of a listing Baltimore City Police Department everyday. For example, if you are involved in a car accident in Baltimore and need a police report, don’t hold your breath. If the police decide to respond to your accident, chances are they won’t do much. In Baltimore, the police won’t prepare accident reports unless someone leaves in an ambulance. In many cases, the Baltimore City Police are no longer preparing reports for hit and run accidents even though a crime was committed . When the Baltimore City Police do prepare accident reports, it can take several months before the report is available.

If you are involved in an accident in Baltimore, you cannot rely on the police to obtain the other driver’s information. If you are in a car accident in Baltimore, it is essential that you, at the very least, get the tag number of the other vehicle(s) involved. A tag search can identify the owner and the insurance company. Doing a tag search is much easier than obtaining Baltimore City police reports. A picture of the other driver’s license and insurance card is also very helpful but the tag number is the catch all. If you are involved in a hit and run accident, do everything you can to document the incident. In the age of camera phones, taking pictures of the car accident is not difficult. Pictures of the scene can be helpful.  If you are transported by ambulance, but still coherent, find a way to get they other driver’s information. Snap a picture of the license plate or ask someone to do it for you. The most difficult situation occurs when someone is so seriously injured in an accident that they are unresponsive or incapacitated. The individual who is injured is at the mercy of the Baltimore City Police. Lets hope they step up their game in 2018. If you are injured in an accident in Baltimore, not having the other driver’s insurance information can delay your claim and recovery. It is essential to contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney, call the Law Offices of Nicholas A. Parr, we can help.

My Last Baltimore Motorcycle Accident Case

Nicholas Parr motorcycle accident lawyer, based in Baltimore, MarylandI was writing content for the Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyer section of my website and it made me think of my last serious Baltimore motorcycle accident case. Liability was disputed meaning my client, the motorcyclists, and the other driver were blaming each other for causing the accident. Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries and my client was no exception. He suffered a broken leg. To make matters worse, there was a witness who supported my client, but the witness passed away before trial!

When liability is disputed, a lawsuit almost always needs to be filed. I filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court. My client’s case had a weakness. There was a Baltimore City police report which placed my client at fault. However, my client’s version of the motorcycle accident was different from the Baltimore City police report and the version in the Baltimore City Police Report didn’t make sense. Defense counsel subpoenaed the Baltimore City police officer for trial. On the day of the trial, the officer was present and ready to testify for the defense. When I spoke to the officer prior to trial, I noticed that her version of the accident or at least the version the driver told the officer was different than what the driver had provided to me. So, what does an experienced trial attorney do in this situation? First, you ask for a Rule on Witnesses. A Rule on Witnesses means any witnesses who aren’t a party to the case must leave the courtroom until they testify. I did not want the defendant to hear the officer’s testimony and I did not want the officer to hear the defendant’s testimony. The Baltimore City police officer had to wait in the hallway.

Then I threw a curveball. Traditionally in motorcycle accident trials, the plaintiff will testify first about how the accident happened and any resulting injuries. However, I didn’t want the defendant to hear my client’s version before testifying and I wanted to catch the defendant off guard. My plan worked to perfection. I had the defendant draw a diagram of how the car and the motorcycle were positioned and how the accident happened. Then I called the police officer to the stand and had her do the same thing. The two diagrams and versions were totally inconsistent. Then my client, the biker, took the stand and stole the show. His version made the most sense and was more likely than not what happened. We won on liability and the insurance carrier offered the policy limits.

What happens when a family member causes an accident?

Baltimore Car AccidentWe all have them in our families-bad drivers. Car accidents happen and sometimes our loved ones are to blame. Hopefully, everyone is ok and the only worry is getting the car fixed but car accident injuries are not uncommon. Maybe your wife jams her shoulder or you son’s head bangs against the headrest. The reality of the situation is that the injured passengers have a claim against the negligent driver regardless of whether that person is a family member. The injuries still need to be treated and medical bills will need to be paid. Making injury claims will not increase insurance premiums because an at fault accident claim already exists. In fact, you pay your monthly insurance premium to cover injuries to strangers AND your own passengers. More often than not those passengers are loved ones. Many Maryland insurance policies have personal injury protection coverage which will usually pay $2,500.00 of medical bills and/or lost wages. In addition to the personal injury protection coverage, passengers are entitled to be reimbursed through the liability coverage of the vehicle in which they were passengers. The vehicle driven by mom, dad, grandma, or pop pop. Maybe your husband should have listened to you when you told him to stop texting and driving for the 100th time. The fact of the matter is that auto insurance is a monthly expense, use the benefits. When there is an accident people need to know all of the coverage benefits that are available. The family member whose bad driving injured you has insurance (you might even be the one who pays the premium), so use it!

I recently had a case where a father was driving his son to an appointment in Baltimore. The father made a negligent left turn and the car was t-boned. It was the father’s fault, no question. The car accident caused the son and father’s heads to bang together causing a fractured nose for the son. USAA was the insurance carrier. Personal injury protection covered the majority of the medical bills. In addition, the liability coverage through USAA reimbursed the son for all of the medical bills and any pain and suffering. You pay for insurance so use it when needed. Don’t leave money on the table because insurance companies aren’t going to do you any favors. Make sure if you are injured in an accident you contact an experienced Maryland car accident attorney who can explain all of your options.