NYC Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents happen every day in New York City and other parts of the state. Unfortunately, other motorists and pedestrians pay the price for debilitating injuries and costly damages.
When this happens, many turn to an experienced New York truck accident lawyer at The Platta Law Firm to obtain the compensation they deserve. From investigating the accident to building a robust claim, we use our legal skills and unwavering determination to resolve the case successfully. Call us 24-hours a day at (212) 514-5100 to set up a free case review. We know accidents are not on a nine-to-five schedule and neither are we.
Statistics on Truck Accidents in New York
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,119 people died in a truck accident in 2019. Sixty-seven percent of those who died were occupants of a passenger vehicle. Another 16 percent were motorcyclists, walkers and bicyclists. Roughly 16 percent were truck occupants. Other statistics are:
- A semi participates in 74 percent of fatal accidents.
- Single unit trucks such as box trucks are in a fatal crash 28 percent of the time.
- 51 percent of fatalities occur on major roads.
- 34 percent of fatalities in a truck accident are on highways.
- The majority of truck accidents occur between dawn and 3:00 p.m.
- A large number of truck occupant deaths happen in rollovers.
- 24 percent are due to a truck hitting the passenger vehicle broadside.
- 24 percent are due to a passenger vehicle rear-ending a truck.
- 29 percent are due to a head-on collision between a small vehicle and a truck.
- Almost 97 percent of those who die in a passenger vehicle collision with a big rig were occupants of the smaller car.
How Much Insurance Do Trucking Companies Carry?
Trucking companies are required to carry large liability insurance policies. The following are the basic requirements, which may differ depending on the nature of the cargo:
- Oil transport trucks carry $1M in liability insurance.
- General freight carriers need liability insurance of $750,000.
- Trucks transporting household goods need $300,000 in liability insurance.
- Trucks carrying hazmat-graded material must have a minimum of $5M in liability insurance.
Differences Between a Car Crash and a Truck Accident
An accident involving a truck differs from one involving a passenger vehicle because of the truck’s size and weight. A semi-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds fully loaded as compared to roughly 4,000 pounds for a passenger vehicle. This difference makes the truck’s impact greater than that of a passenger vehicle. Some other ways a truck accident is different are:
- Stopping is harder because a truck has increased momentum.
- Truck drivers find it harder to maneuver their vehicles safely.
- A truck driver must make wide turns, usually moving into an adjacent lane.
- Blind spots are areas around the truck where the driver cannot see passing vehicles. In addition, the shape of the truck’s windshield and its dash contribute to blind spots.
Liability in a Truck Accident
Truck accident liability is complex and your New York truck accident attorney will investigate to determine who is to blame. Let’s explore liability in a truck accident:
Reckless behavior or inexperience are responsible for many trucking accidents. This type of liability is clear-cut and ranges from distracted driving to aggressive behavior. On occasion, inexperienced truckers operate these dangerous vehicles. Given that trucks are difficult to maneuver, often travel at high speeds and are massive, the potential for an accident is high.
Cargo placement is an essential aspect of truck safety. If the shipment is not properly distributed, it can make the truck unstable and lead to an accident. For instance, heavy items should be closer to the cab and along the sides of the trailer. Securing cargo is a way to maintain placement. Reports from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show that 200,000 accidents and 500 fatalities were due to unsecured or improperly secured cargo. Not all cargo is loaded by the trucker and another company may be liable.
Your New York truck accident lawyer will determine if the driver or a trucking company owns the truck. The trucking company may be responsible for the accident. This liability is true even if the trucker caused the accident because the employer is liable for the actions of their employees. Sometimes, the trucking company may be liable if lack of truck maintenance caused an accident.
Defective Trucks and Mechanical Failure
Truck design and manufacturing defects can pose a big liability risk. Many trucking companies and independent drivers hire outside mechanics to fix their vehicles. If the mechanic provides poor service, they may be responsible for an accident.
Using Black Box Data to Prove Liability in a Truck Accident
Your New York truck accident lawyer will request access to the big rig’s event data recorder (EDR), commonly called a black box. It records information about the vehicle before the accident and becomes a large part of an investigation. The data usually remains for 30 days, after which new information replaces it. The data from a truck’s EDR includes:
- Tire pressure.
- Accelerator use.
- Seat belt usage.
- GPS location.
- Airbag deployment.
- The number of hard stops.
- The truck’s speed before the crash.
- If the trucker applied the brakes.
- Acceleration or deceleration.
- Minimal and maximum speeds.
- Trucks activity level on a daily basis.
- If cruise control was operational.
- Previous truck crashes.
- Hours driven between breaks.
- The truck’s RPMs, measuring how fast the engine was operating.
How Is the Information in a Black Box Preserved?
Preservation of the black box data is crucial. However, this data is often lost. For instance, the trucking company may erase the information during the black box download. Your New York truck accident lawyer can prevent the loss of this information by setting a time when the download will occur. That way, the attorney can be present and ensure the information is intact. Your New York truck accident attorney will often have an expert on hand to make sure the data download proceeds as intended. This tactic protects against a download mishap that could help the trucking company avoid liability.
How Federal Laws Affect a Truck Accident
Many federal laws apply to truck safety, and truckers and trucking companies must abide by them. One of the biggest involves limits on the hours of service. Truckers record this in a written log or an ELD device. In addition, a trucker cannot text while driving unless it relates to an emergency. They also cannot drink, and their legal BAC level is below 0.04 percent, unlike other drivers.
Also, many trucking companies often want quick product delivery and financial profits. To do this, they push their drivers to maintain an impossible schedule, causing more accidents every year.
Cost of Hiring New York Truck Accident Lawyers
A truck accident lawyer in New York works on a contingent basis. This means the client pays only when they win. This is helpful for many clients because they already may be hurting financially. The average fee for personal injury lawyers in New York is usually one-third of the settlement or court verdict award.
Compensation in a Truck Accident
Damages in truck accidents can be costly. Your New York truck accident attorney will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Some of the most common damage compensations are:
These may include travel to a medical facility, emergency room care and tests performed upon arrival. They also include hospital care expenses, physician bills and surgical costs. You may also be eligible for long-term aftercare.
The lawsuit provides for long-term and short-term wage loss. If the injured party is permanently disabled, the coverage includes all wages, benefits and job perks up to retirement.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Some injured people cannot work at the job they had before the accident. Instead, they must find other work that may pay less They will receive compensation for the pay difference.
This compensation involves the loss of income associated with a disability, either short-lived or over the person’s lifetime.
This compensation covers the cost of accident-related property damage.
The injured party receives compensation for chronic pain due to the truck accident.
Loss of Life’s Enjoyment
Reimbursement for loss of enjoyment of life is part of the damages.
Emotional trauma such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is covered.
Scars and other types of disfigurement are common in a truck accident. Plastic surgery is generally not covered by existing health insurance plans.
Injuries Due to a Truck Accident
A truck accident can cause brutal injuries or death. The injured party must be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some of the most common injuries are:
- Head injury
- Wrongful death
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Crush injuries, including lost limbs
- Burn injuries
- Injuries of the neck
- Back injuries, including herniation
- Soft tissue injuries
- Concussion and other traumatic brain injuries
Causes of a Truck Accident
Common reasons why a truck accident happens are:
- Fatigued driving
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Making an illegal turn
- Not maintaining a lane
- Traffic congestion
- Inclement weather
- Drunk driving
- Defective vehicles or parts
- Poor road conditions and maintenance
What to Do After a Truck Accident?
- See a medical professional. If the injury is severe, call 911.
- Call the police as soon as you can.
- Take photos of all the vehicles in the truck accident.
- Obtain the contact information of all drivers, passengers and witnesses.
- Put flares out to alert other drivers to the accident.
- Take pictures of your injuries when you get home.
- Don’t leave the scene of the crash because this is a criminal offense.
- Keep a log of all expenses, and of your physical and emotional condition daily.
- Call your insurance company to report the incident. Answer their questions honestly but don’t guess. They may ask to record the phone call but you do not have to agree with this option. Your truck accident lawyer in New York can speak to the insurer in your place.
Where Do I File a Truck Accident Case?
There are special rules regarding filing against an out-of-state trucker. Your choice is to file in the state where the accident occurred or the state where you or the trucking company resides. If the trucker is an employee of a trucking company, you can file in the state where the business has its principal office. However, you may need different attorneys for each state. You can discuss where to file with your New York truck accident lawyer.
The Platta New York Truck Accident Law Firm
Debilitating injuries due to a truck accident occur on any street in town or on a highway. People should not face fallout from a negligent trucking company or defective rig. The injured party has the right to obtain the compensation they deserve. That is where The Platta Law Firm can help. Call us at (212) 514-5400 or contact us online to learn how we can help you.