Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles can cause serious damage, injuries, and even death upon a collision with a passenger car. A February 12, 2018 wrongful death case before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland arose after a woman died in a car accident involving a cement truck. The victim’s family brought a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit against the cement truck company, arguing that it was overloaded. When the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the plaintiffs appealed.
At the time of the accident, the victim was driving on a two-way road while the surface was wet with rain and snow. As she attempted to give way to an oncoming emergency vehicle, she lost control of her car and crossed over the center line into oncoming traffic. Her vehicle was struck by a loaded cement mixer delivery truck owned by the defendant. The cement truck, weighing more than 60,000 pounds, was determined to be over the allowable weight limit of 10,000 pounds for the road on which it was traveling. The driver was also going about five miles over the posted speed limit.
The trial court granted summary judgment on the basis that the victim’s vehicle crossing into the oncoming traffic lane was the proximate cause of the accident, implicitly finding that the defendant’s actions did not cause the accident. The plaintiffs argued that the defendant’s violation of the weight restriction was evidence of its negligence, and they alleged that the violation contributed to the victim’s injuries and death.