The size and weight of an 18-wheeler contrasted with a sedan, sports utility vehicle, or even a pickup truck, never mind that of a motorcyclist or bicyclist, creates a dangerous situation in the event of a collision. The smaller vehicle tends to suffer the most significant damage in a crash between an 18-wheeler and a smaller car. Furthermore, the height of the large truck, with its high center of gravity, forces the weight of the truck out of balance, causing jackknife and rollover accidents.
The size and weight, also the weight distribution, means that truck collisions differ from the average car accident. The standard 18-wheeler measures 53 feet in length and is allowed to have a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds. The tractor-trailer truck’s length and weight dramatically reduce maneuverability and stopping response time of the vehicle, and when traveling at highway speeds, it can impart tremendous and lethal force against the smaller vehicle.
New York 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Statistics
The Institute for Traffic Safety and Research published a fact sheet regarding large truck crashes in New York. The basis of the statistics published comes from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles records. In 2016, 1,029 people died in motor vehicle accidents in New York. Among those, 97 were truck accident fatalities. Although that number is only 9% of the total, the overwhelming majority of those killed in 18-wheeler accidents were in smaller cars. In addition, 3,860 people suffered injuries of varying degrees after a collision with a semi-truck.
The time of day is highly relevant when assessing the dangers of sharing a New York road with a tractor-trailer truck. An incredible 88% of all fatal and collisions inflicting personal injuries occur between Monday and Friday. Also, 81% of those collisions occurred between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. These numbers make sense because the days and times referenced are the busiest days and hours on New York roads.
Another interesting statistic cited by the Institute for Traffic Safety and Research is the frequency that multiple vehicles were involved in collisions with large trucks. The figures indicate that 88% of all fatal and personal injury accidents involving tractor-trailer trucks involved at least one other vehicle. That means only 12% of all of the truck accidents in 2016 solely included the large truck. By contrast, 69% of passenger vehicle accidents are multiple vehicle crashes.
The Types of Catastrophic Injuries Often Sustained in Truck Accidents
The forces generated by a large truck in a collision with a smaller car. The forces make the occupants of the smaller car vulnerable to death or severe bodily injury in a collision with a semi-truck. Parker Waichman LLP’s truck accident lawyers have represented clients whose bodies were ravaged in a collision with a large truck.
The most common injuries Parker Waichman’s clients suffered in an 18-wheeler accident are:
- Broken bones,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Head and neck injuries,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Internal injuries,
- Second and third-degree burns,
- Dislocated joints,
- So-called soft tissue injuries like whiplash, as well as additional strains and sprains, and
- Severe lacerations.
Causes of Truck Accidents in New York
Tractor-trailer truck accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but the mechanism of the accident, or the manner in which vehicles contact each other, are limited. Tractor-trailer truck accidents are frequently:
- Turning, and
The possible causes of truck accidents are numerous. Most often, large truck collisions occur when the driver loses control over the load. When the driver loses control over the weight by speeding, for example, the truck driver can oversteer and cause the trailer to jackknife. At that point, the tractor could roll over, or the sliding trailer could override another car on the road. Other motorists are at an elevated risk of Underriding the trailer if the rig slides into a jackknife.
Truck drivers can lose control over their rigs when driving while fatigued. Semi-truck operators must comply with the strict rules issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) regarding the number of hours a truck driver can be on duty as well as being behind the wheel. Drivers who refuse to comply with these mandates endangers all others on the road. These restrictions were instituted to protect other motorists as well as the truck drivers themselves.
Notwithstanding these strict limitations, truck drivers continue to push the limits and drive while fatigued. Large truck drivers say that one of the reasons why they push as long as they can despite driving hour limitations is due to pressure applied by the trucking companies for whom drivers work. These companies impose tight deadlines on deliveries and frequently over-promise when their shipment may arrive. The burden then falls on the 18-wheeler operator to make up for any delays. Those deadlines mean truck drivers must drive while fatigued, which is a violation of federal regulations itself and violating the rules relating to time on duty and behind the wheel.
Driving while fatigued is dangerous because feeling tired impairs the judgment of the operator. Additionally, fatigued driving slows reaction time, blurs vision, and dulls the senses. There is no allowance for error with a large truck. Even nodding off for one millisecond could cause the driver to lose control over the load, ending in disaster.
Statutes of Limitations in New York Truck Accident Legal Claims
The Statute of Limitations in New York for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident. Additionally, any claims of negligent infliction of emotional damage are also three years. The three-year time frame does not allow for procrastination. The three-year period allows for victims to investigate their claims fully and reach a medical end result with their injuries. Furthermore, the three-year statute of limitations protects potential defendants from claims that happened in the distant past, thereby depriving them of an opportunity of fairly defending the claim.
Any victim with a claim for damages from a truck accident must not wait until the very last minute before filing a claim. Doing so places the victim at an extreme disadvantage and highly prejudices his or her claim. The most successful truck accident claims begin shortly after the accident. Getting Parker Waichman’s 18-wheeler truck accident attorneys involved in the victim’s claim as soon as possible significantly increases the accident victim’s chances of winning a substantial monetary award.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Did you or a loved one suffer an injury due to an accident caused by a negligent truck driver? Parker Waichman LLP helps victims and families receive justice and full monetary compensation for harm caused by a truck accident. Trust your case with our truck accident lawyers. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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