Bronx Truck Accident Lawyer
More than 22,000 large trucks were involved in vehicle accidents on New York roadways in 2013. As a result, 105 people lost their lives and more than 5,000 suffered an injury. Passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for more than 50 deaths after a truck accident.
While nearly 7,000 accidents resulted in property damage, nearly 3,000 people reported at least minor injuries, more than 500 reported moderate injuries and more than 300 reported serious injuries. A truck accident lawyer can help victims of a truck accident recover financial damages for injuries including lost wages and medical expenses.
Why should I hire a truck accident lawyer instead of a car accident lawyer?
Many personal injury attorneys practice both car and truck accident law. However, law firms with experience in litigating high-value truck accident cases familiarize themselves with federal trucking regulations and easily spot unique legal violations. It often costs nothing to speak with and retain a qualified Bronx truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond.
What Types of Accidents Occur With Trucks?
As with any type of motor vehicle accident, there are a range of accident types and causes. Because a truck is so much larger than a standard automobile, they are often more difficult to stop and turn.
Pedestrian accidents can occur when a truck has insufficient time to stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, a bicycle-involved truck accident can occur when the driver cannot see the biker and car accidents can range from head-on collisions to rear-end collisions. Regardless of the type of accident, proving the truck driver was at fault in an accident is one of the requirements in order to establish fault.
Leading Causes of New York Truck Accidents
Accidents are classified into three categories, those that involve human error, those that involve mechanical problems and those that involve environmental conditions. Proving who is at fault for an accident can be complicated. This is especially true when weather-related accidents occur unless it can be clearly demonstrated the driver of the truck was not exercising proper caution. In each category, there are some specific areas that may make it easier to prove fault in a truck accident including:
- Human error issues – Drivers who were intoxicated, distracted, or not following basic safety procedures such as yielding, not following too closely or staying in their own lane were involved in more than 7,000 accidents in New York during 2013.
- Mechanical problems – Defective brakes, headlights and accelerator defects were deemed responsible for more than 100 roadway accidents involving trucks. Tire failure and other defects were identified as a causing factor in more than 500 accidents.
- Environmental factors – Overall, nearly 1,700 accidents on New York roadways during 2013 were as a result of environmental conditions. Animals jumping into the roadway were identified as a cause in more than 200 accidents, obstructed views were a cause in more than 350 accidents and slippery roadways were identified in more than 800 accidents involving trucks.
Truck crashes – including accidents involving semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and commercial work vehicles – often cause substantial damage to people and property in the Bronx. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), operator errors and brake system failures commonly cause commercial motor vehicle crashes.
More specifically, truck crashes often result from the following:
- Truck driver distraction
- Speeding, including driving too fast for weather conditions
- Following small vehicles too closely
- Truck driver fatigue and illness, including falling asleep at the wheel
- Brake and tire problems
- Loss of control of the truck or cargo
- Prescription drug and alcohol use
To reduce distraction and fatigue, truck drivers must follow federal safety guidelines related to hours of service. Operators cannot drive for more than 11 hours within a 14-hour window and must rest periodically. Further, truckers must record their sleep, rest breaks, tire checks, and driving hours during each trip. Experienced personal injury attorneys might demand these records to determine if a truck accident was related to driver fatigue or federal violations.
Are there different types of truck accidents?
Additionally, tractor-trailers are more susceptible to certain kinds of accidents, including:
- Undercarriage – These often-fatal crashes occur when the front of a passenger motor vehicle gets trapped and crushed under a semi-trailer.
- Rollover – Large trucks have a higher center of gravity and are more likely to roll over onto other vehicles during turns.
- Jackknife – These often occur after a semi-truck has unloaded its cargo. The lighter trailer may not stop with the tractor when brakes are applied, and instead fold the entire vehicle into a V or L-shape as the trailer slides past the slowing tractor. At the very least, jackknife accidents block traffic, but also have the potential to strike other vehicles on the road.
- Blindspot – Eighteen-wheelers have substantial blind spots along each side of the trailer, and behind it. On the Grand Concourse, a distracted truck driver could accidentally merge into a smaller vehicle in one of these blind spots, leading to life-changing injuries
- Cargo loss – Utility vehicles and flatbed trucks are required to adhere to stringent cargo safety guidelines, but unfortunately not all trucking companies comply. Safety violations may cause logs, pipes, and other dangerous cargo to fly off a truck, obstructing traffic and potentially injuring drivers
The truck crashes listed above seldom occur if no driver error or safety violations take place. Speak with a Bronx personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond immediately if you suffered serious injuries in a Bronx truck accident.
Establishing Fault After a Truck Accident
Establishing fault is the first element of a personal injury case. Following a truck accident, fault can be assigned to various parties including:
- Truck Driver – A driver who was not acting properly by either using a cell phone, driving intoxicated or traveling to closely may be held responsible for the accident.
- Trucker’s Employer – Truckers have very strict requirements for rest periods. An employer may be held responsible for accidents caused because a driver was overtired and fell asleep at the wheel. Employers may also be held responsible if a mechanical failure caused by poor maintenance was found at fault for the accident.
- Manufacturer – In the event of defective tires, brakes or accelerators, the manufacturer may be found to be at fault for the accident.
Keep in mind, New York has a no-fault insurance policy. This means immediately following an accident you can put in a claim to have your medical bills and lost wages reimbursed to you immediately. You only have 30 days to file this type of claim. Victims who suffer serious injuries that exceed the limits of a no fault policy have the right to work with a truck accident lawyer to file suit against the responsible parties.
Do New York no-fault laws apply to large truck collisions?
Yes. New York vehicle occupants injured due to truck driver negligence must still use their no-fault benefits. These personal injury protection (PIP) policies cover immediate medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. However, this also means personal injury plaintiffs must meet the New York serious injury threshold to bring truck accident litigation.
Serious injuries include those resulting in death, significant loss of an essential bodily function, over $50,000 in direct economic damages, permanent disfigurement, a bone fracture, or the inability to perform normal activities for at least 90 days in the 180 immediately following the accident.
Who might be liable for a truck crash in the Bronx?
Truck accident litigation presents unique legal issues because most drivers were working when the accident occurred. Injured claimants may hold large-truck owners and trucking companies vicariously liable for truck driver negligence under N.Y. VTL § 388and a principle called respondeat superior. Experienced truck crash lawyers will also look for evidence that employers knowingly entrusted a truck to a dangerous driver, or that company policies discouraged drivers from taking necessary rest breaks.
Semi-trucks operating in the Bronx usually carry a minimum of $750,000 in commercial liability insurance. However, chain-reaction crashes often result in multiple victims, and serious injuries may cost hundreds of thousands to treat. Bronx claimants might recover additional monetary compensation directly from negligent fleet owners and trucking companies.
What damages can I recover if a truck hit me in the Bronx?
Motor vehicle occupants injured by negligent truck drivers may recover compensation for direct economic losses and indirect suffering.
Examples of direct damages potentially available after a truck accident include:
- Lost wages, commissions, and bonuses
- Direct loss of employer benefits
- Vehicle destruction
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Home health aides
- Medical transportation
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Paid assistance with daily activities
Direct damages also include past and anticipated future losses.
Individual insurance may cover many direct expenses, but it won’t compensate beneficiaries for indirect losses, such as inconvenience and mental anguish.
With the help of an experienced Bronx personal injury attorney, victims injured in a truck crash may recover damages for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Frustration and inconvenience
- Inability to perform activities of daily living
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Lost future career and educational opportunities
Victims and their families may testify about their pain and make a reasonable demand for compensation. Expert economists, physicians, and occupational therapists can interview injured claimants and calculate the anticipated future value of economic and non-economic losses. Experienced Bronx accident lawyers normally submit evidence of all past and future damages while making an overall demand for compensation. Commercial liability insurers and trucking companies typically offer to settle viable truck accident claims for a single sum.
What common injuries do passenger vehicle occupants suffer in large truck crashes?
Due to the weight and size of 18-wheelers, even a minor impact with a car may cause vehicle occupants serious personal injuries. Severe whiplash and spinal disc herniations generally occur when the force of a vehicle-truck impact travels through the body.
Additionally, you might suffer from the following injuries after a Bronx truck crash:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Facial lacerations
- Nerve damage
- Shoulder and knee dislocations
Under N.Y. CPLR 214, Bronx residents must file lawsuits for personal injuries caused by negligent truck drivers within three years of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, call Attorney Ivan M. Diamond at 877-960-1702 immediately. As an experienced Bronx attorney, I can help ensure you are made financially whole after an accident.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond888 Grand Concourse #1L Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: (718) 588-2000 Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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