The size and weight of a truck can cause catastrophic damage. However, driving such a massive vehicle for long hours puts many truck drivers at risk of fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel. Truck accident victims may seek compensation from the at-fault driver, but because Maryland follows a contributory negligence system, it is often difficult to do so.
How contributory negligence works
Maryland is an at-fault state where accident victims are responsible for filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, victims may only file an injury claim if they were completely blameless in the accident. If the jury finds the victim partially at fault, the victim’s claim will be rejected under the state’s contributory negligence law.
Evidence to prove liability
If the at-fault driver’s insurance denies a victim’s claim, the victim can pursue legal action. The victim may consider collecting the following evidence to help the court determine who was at fault.
Officers who appear at the scene typically issue a report after checking the accident site and gathering witness statements. The driver may be liable if they violated traffic laws, such as speeding.
Trucker’s driving record
A truck driver’s accident history may show they do not take necessary precautions when behind the wheel and are thus likely responsible for the accident. A company that continues to employ an irresponsible driver may also be liable.
Trucking company’s policies and records
If the company breaches its duty of care to other motorists on the road by violating federal regulations, failing to maintain and repair its vehicles, or not screening its drivers, the company may share liability.
Third parties who saw the accident may be able to give an unbiased view of what happened. They may provide invaluable information for identifying the cause of the accident.
Expert witness report
An expert witness does not have to see the accident happen in person. Instead, they will use their specialized knowledge, training, or experience to make informed inferences about what happened. Their expertise may sometimes convince an insurance company to stop challenging an injury claim.
Maryland’s contributory negligence system complicates liability. Truck accident victims may need legal representation to help collect evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, or reach a settlement.