Two Recent Maryland Accidents Reveal Dangers of Box Trucks
Two recent Maryland motor vehicle accidents made headlines, not only because they caused tragic fatalities, but also because they involved the same type of vehicle – a box truck.
According to a November 14, 2018 article appearing in the Baltimore Sun, one man was killed and another victim was injured when an SUV collided with a box truck. Though the investigation is pending, Maryland State Police reported that the accident occurred on southbound Interstate 95 just after 4:00 p.m. The driver of the SUV died at the scene of the crash, while his passenger was transported to University of Maryland Shock Trauma center with unconfirmed injuries.
In a separate incident, two people were killed and another victim was listed as critical after a collision with a box truck. The accident occurred in the early morning hours of November 10, 2018, according to a report from WTOP News. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, they discovered three people trapped and unresponsive in a Toyota. The driver of the car died at the scene, and a passenger later died after being transported to the hospital. The driver of the box truck, a Peapod delivery service vehicle, was not injured.
Though you may expect that 18-wheeler semi trucks are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road, box trucks also present a considerable risk to Maryland motorists. If you were injured, discuss your situation with an experienced truck accidents lawyer right away. Some important information may also be useful in understanding your rights.
Characteristics of Box Trucks
You may not recognize them by name, but you are most likely familiar with vehicles categorized as box trucks. They are high-sided, square-shaped, and usually have no windows in the cargo area. They range in length from around 12 to 22 feet long, and can reach up to 13 feet in height.
Box trucks are primarily used by companies for delivery services. Many do not even have doors for the driver and/or passenger, so operators can get in and out quickly. They travel wherever delivery services are needed, so box trucks are not confined to certain traffic environments. You may see them around residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and downtown Baltimore businesses, but they are just as common on major highways. Besides the familiar Peapod trucks, other recognizable box trucks include UPS and FedEx vehicles, as well as U-Haul moving trucks.
Why Box Trucks are so Dangerous
There are many factors that lead box trucks to be one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road, such as:
- There is a considerable difference in size between a box truck and a passenger car, especially when the truck is fully loaded with cargo. A collision that would be minor between two equally sized vehicles can be deadly when one outweighs the other by thousands of pounds.
- The high-profile design of box trucks makes them extremely unstable. They are more likely to tip if the driver takes a turn too quickly. Plus, these vehicles can be extremely hazardous in windy conditions. The box truck can be pushed into another lane by a gust of wind if the driver can not react quickly.
- Unlike operators of 18-wheel semis, drivers of box trucks do not need special qualifications or credentials. A commercial driver needs a CDL, which involves hours of training, testing, and other skills. Anyone with a regular driver’s license can operate a box truck in urban settings or major highways. A box truck driver could be inexperienced at handling the vehicle, and in loading it. Unbalanced cargo can lead to serious accidents.
- Box trucks have considerable blind spots. Even with mirrors, operators may not be able to see vehicles traveling right next to them. Visibility is a serious issue when the driver is changing lanes.
- Delivery companies may put significant pressure on drivers to complete their routes by the end of the day, which means operators could be rushed. When the are on a tight schedule, they may speed or drive recklessly. Plus, drivers may be making deliveries to unfamiliar areas. When they are distracted by searching with a GPS or smart phone, collisions may occur.
Filing an Injury Claim After a Box Truck Accident
In many ways, a box truck collision is similar to other types of personal injury accidents: You must prove that the driver was negligent in operating the vehicle, and that you were injured as result. It is also necessary to show that you sustained damages due to your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other personal losses.
However, filing a claim for compensation after a box truck crash is a unique process in other ways. Certain factors and circumstances make box truck accidents extremely complicated. For example:
- If the vehicle is operated by a driver for a delivery company, he or she is acting within the scope of employment. This means you may have a claim against the employer under the legal theory of respondeat superior, otherwise known as agency principles.
- The size differential involved with a box truck typically leads to more severe injuries to victims, which means enormous medical bills. You could also be out of work for a longer time, and endure horrific pain and suffering, as compared to being hurt in a car accident.
- Most delivery companies carry considerable insurance coverage amounts for the drivers, knowing that box trucks are more likely to cause severe injuries in an accident. With more serious injuries comes a higher claim amount, so the insurance company has a significant risk of loss. With such high stakes, the insurer will assign its most experienced, skilled employees to such a claim.
Set Up a Free Consultation with an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you would like more information about your rights as the victim of a box truck accident, please contact Bob Katz Law. You can schedule a no-cost consultation at our Baltimore, MD, Tysons Corner, VA, or Bethesda, MD location by calling us at 410-576-4287 or by visiting us online. Our truck accidents attorneys are happy to discuss your circumstances and explain your legal options.