On any given day in New York, you will probably notice dozens of large trucks on the highways of Long Island, most of which complete routes without any issues. However, when a large truck is involved in a roadway accident, it can be devastating. If you or your loved one was involved a truck accident, speak to a Long Island truck accident lawyer who specifically handles cases involving large semi-trucks.
Cases of this nature are tricky because they involve federal rules and cause extensive damage; an attorney familiar with trucking accidents can help you navigate the claims process efficiently and effectively. To speak with a trucking accident attorney, call Goldstein and Bashner at 516-222-4000 and request a free consultation.
Why do most truck accidents occur?
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV), there were 11,848 truck accidents in the state in 2014. Seventy-four people died and 3,760 were injured as a result.
The term “accident” is really a misnomer because they are not really accidents, per se. Rather there is usually a cause or contributing factor to which you can trace the accident.
For instance, a truck driver might have insufficient training or continue to drive even when he is exhausted. The truck might have faulty parts, or the truck carrier might skimp on fleet maintenance. Maybe the workers at the loading dock did not secure the cargo correctly, or maybe the truck driver did not inspect his load at regular intervals, as the law requires him to.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers of passenger cars can contribute to a truck accident too. They might ride in the truck’s no zones, travel while distracted, or fail to yield right-of-way. Walking, cycling, or driving while intoxicated is another culprit.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency that regulates the trucking industry, examined 120,000 large truck crashes and looked for key underlying causes for these accidents. They identified over a hundred factors that can lead to a wreck, including driver performance, driver’s faulty decisions, and truck problems. According to the survey, below are the top ten most common factors:
- Brake problems
- Prescription drug use
- Driving on unfamiliar roads
- Roadway issues
- Required to stop before crash (such as at a crosswalk)
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
What kinds of damage do truck accidents cause?
Given the sheer size and weight of truck accidents, the injuries victims sustain are often catastrophic, if not fatal. Some of the physical injuries our firm helps victims recover for include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
However, the harm goes beyond the physical. When people sustain severe trauma, the emotional ramifications can be substantial. Truck accident victims often experience depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder due to their injuries. This can affect their relationships, family life, and their ability to function at full capacity at work. The road to recovery can be long and challenging, and it can take some time for injured and disabled victims to regain a sense of normalcy after an accident.
Then there are the financial implications that can cause serious financial hardship:
- Emergency care and hospital bills
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Additional expenses
This is also true when survivors lose their loved one in a truck accident. Family members will not only have to contend with the hurt of losing a loved one, but they must grieve while having to deal with medical and funeral bills, loss of future contributions their loved one would have provided, and the other important issues.
Health and your own auto insurance — and even private disability or life insurance — may not completely cover your needs. This is why victims should carefully explore all potential courses to get compensation after a serious truck accident.
Can I recover compensation for my injuries?
Yes. There are several means of recouping your losses after a truck accident. New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your primary source for compensation is your own insurance company. By law, you are entitled to at least $50,000 in no-fault benefits. You can submit a no-fault claim to your insurance company requesting compensation for your losses.
If your damages exceed $50,000, you can obtain additional recovery if you purchased extra Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for your policy. Check your policy for coverage information.
If you max out your no-fault and PIP coverage and still have remaining compensable damages, you can exercise your right to file a lawsuit against any at-fault parties. In the case of a truck accident, you might be able to file suit against the trucking company, truck parts manufacturer, or other third party that contributed to your accident.
You must be able to prove the other party was negligent. For instance, if you can show that the driver was texting while driving, intoxicated, drowsy, or speeding, you may be eligible to pursue a lawsuit based on negligence.
How do truck accident cases differ from other vehicle accidents?
Truck accident cases have some of the same elements as other vehicle accidents, but they may be more complex. There are dozens of federal trucking laws that might come under review and victims’ damages can be massive, not to mention the fact that there could be several potential defendants involved. Determining liability and proving fault is not always cut-and-dry after a truck crash. It takes investigation, examination of facts, and legal insight.
If you pursue a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the trucker or carrier was at fault. Familiarity with federal regulations (and violations) as well as the process for navigating civil proceedings is important. These are some of the reasons why most truck accident victims secure legal representation for help with their case.
In addition, the truck company might destroy or “lose” important evidence that could make or break your case if you do not take the steps to secure it. The law only requires trucking companies keep certain records like drivers’ logbooks and maintenance records for a specified amount of time.
To preserve this evidence, your attorney can send a letter of spoliation to the carrier. This will notify it that you are seeking compensation, list the evidence it needs to keep, and reminds the company of the consequences of destroying evidence.
Does Goldstein and Bashner accept truck accident cases in New York?
Our legal team at Goldstein and Bashner on Long Island can handle any type of personal injury case in New York — including truck accidents. Contact our office today at 516-222-4000 and request a free, no-obligation consultation.