TRUCK ACCIDENTS ATTORNEYS IN NEW YORK
People injured in truck accidents might never be able to return to work. If the injured person is the primary earner in a family, family members find themselves in a situation of financial instability. The New York Truck Accident Lawyers at Parker Waichman believe victims and their families should be able to focus on physical and emotional healing, rather than worrying about money. That’s why we fight every day for the compensation people need. Our attorneys are committed to easing victims’ financial burdens.
The Reasons Why 18-Wheeler Tractor Trailer Truck Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
Trucking accidents can be particularly traumatic because of the size of the tractor-trailers and because the trucks are often carrying heavy, dangerous loads. Truck accidents, unfortunately, lead to hundreds of fatalities in New York every year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 474 New Yorkers died in accidents with light trucks, and 116 people died in accidents with large trucks. Those figures were similar in 2011, with 499 and 112 people respectively dying that year in New York. Alarmingly, truck accidents rose by 17 percent between 2009 and 2013, reaching 3,964 deaths in 2013. Of those 3,964 deaths, the vast majority were drivers of automobiles, while 586 were truck drivers or passengers.
How Truck Accidents Differ from Car Accidents
Trucks are significantly larger than other motor vehicles, which gives them the potential to be far more destructive in an accident. These big-rigs trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The size of the trucks alone creates maneuvering challenges, placing other motorists at risk for severe injury and death.
Types of Truck Accidents
More often than not, the destruction in a tractor-trailer accident comes from the movement of the truck during a collision. These trucks do not respond well to quick-reaction situations, and the length and weight of the trailers severely limit maneuverability once the truck has lost control. The most common 18-wheeler crashes we see can be described as:
- Rollovers accidents
- Carriage override or “underride” accidents
- Jackknife tractor-trailer collisions
These accidents can occur for various reasons, but the NHTSA estimates that as much as 88 percent are associated with the behavior or actions of the truck drivers.
Causes of Truck Accidents in New York
New York’s state government and the federal government impose strict regulations on the trucking industry to try to prevent harm to truck drivers and other motorists. Some of these regulations include Hours of Service limitations, random truck driver alcohol/drug screening, routine truck inspection, regular driver medical evaluations, and training regarding proper cargo storage. Despite this government oversight, we have found in our practice that truck accidents in New York are frequently caused by negligent driver conduct, including:
- Inadequately treated or overlooked medical conditions of truck drivers
- Truck driver fatigue (not obeying Hours of Service Rules)
- Brake failure or improper truck maintenance
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Inattentive truck driving
- Speeding or reckless truck driving
Of these, truck driver drowsiness and driver fatigue are significant problems. Fatigue can refer to a temporary feeling of being overly tired or a chronic feeling of unrelenting exhaustion. When you become chronically fatigued because of stress, physical exhaustion, poor sleep, or not enough sleep, one good night’s rest will not provide relief. At this point, you need several days of rest and restful sleep.
When truck drivers go too long without rest, they can become fatigued. Too many days in a row without enough rest will leave them in a state of chronic fatigue where they cannot manage to sleep enough between shifts to feel better. In this state, they make poor decisions, sometimes unaware of their own fatigue. Their attention to the road suffers, their ability to react quickly diminishes, and they might fall asleep at the wheel altogether. When truck drivers are operating these massive tractor-trailers while fatigued, everyone else on the road is at risk.
Businesses depend on trucks to provide consistent, timely delivery of goods, and faced with the pressure of an important delivery deadline, many truckers push themselves to drive extremely long hours with minimal rest. Though this sometimes violates state or federal law, truckers want to meet their deadlines and keep driving.
By law, truckers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours at one time. At the 11-hour point, they must take a 10-hour break. They are also not allowed to drive more than 77 hours in seven days. At the end of a stretch like this, drivers must take at least 2.5 days off in order to return to driving. Shockingly, some trucking companies use deception and intimidation to meet their financial bottom lines. They might falsify log books or tell their drivers to do so. Especially if a pattern or practice of encouraging excess driving hours is discovered, the trucking carrier can be held responsible for accident injuries. This is why it is extremely important to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to investigate your case.
Sadly, when truckers push themselves beyond safe driving limits or make other poor driving decisions, people are at risk for severe injuries, which can often include death.
The Types of Truck Accident Related Injuries
Truck accidents can result in horrific injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. On a national level, approximately 4,000 people were involved in fatal tractor-trailer accidents in 2015, and accident reports show people in the colliding car made up the vast majority of those fatalities. In our experience taking New York truck accident cases, we often see people with the following injuries from truck collisions:
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Head and neck injuries
- Disfigurement requiring reconstructive surgery
- Internal bleeding, organ damage, or soft tissue injury
- Brain injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
Injuries from truck accidents usually require costly medical treatment, leading to financial strain on the victims and their families. We recognize the stress our clients face from medical bills and work diligently to ease this burden with adequate injury compensation.
Truck accidents can be particularly complicated, in part because of the potential for the crashes to affect multiple vehicles and people at the same time. Having several parties to one accident case can make things confusing, but we understand how to navigate this system and will make sure your voice is heard.
Tractor-trailer cases are additionally complex because of their frequent corporate involvement. Truckers are usually on duty at the time of a crash, working for a commercial carrier trucking company. This means injured parties have to face fierce corporate counsel and insurance companies in trying to secure damages. The carriers’ teams constantly litigate trucking cases, and they come to the table with enormous resources and initial reports that can make it seem like you have no chance to succeed.
The attorneys at Parker Waichman have never shied away from a complex case. We know how to handle insurance companies and back your case with our decades of trial experience. When you hire our firm to litigate your New York truck accident claim, you can rest assured that your lawyers will not be intimidated, and will aggressively seek every dollar of compensation you and your family deserve.
Statutes of Limitations on New York Truck Accident Cases
To file any case in New York, you must be sure your claim has not expired per the state’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations acts as a time limit on filing all claims in the state of New York, and it can change based on the facts and circumstances of your case. If you do not file your claim within the time limit prescribed by New York’s statute of limitations, you will never be able to file it.
New York generally has a three-year statute of limitations on truck accident claims. This means you have three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit related to your accident injuries. All states in the United States set statutes of limitations because they encourage people to not waste time in filing their claims. If you do not delay in filing your case, you are far more likely to have access to medical records and documents related to your claims, and your witnesses will have fresher memories of the accident.
The three-year time limit on your New York case can vary depending on the circumstances of your individual claim. The best way to definitively determine the correct statute of limitations on your case is to hire an experienced New York attorney. The attorneys at Parker Waichman diligently calculate the statute of limitations on every case, right when it comes into our office. You can be sure when you hire Parker Waichman that your attorneys are protecting your rights to seek compensation for your injuries.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Your highly skilled New York attorney from Parker Waichman LLP can help you recover for every way your life has been affected by a truck accident. We understand the turmoil this accident has placed on you and your family, and we want to make sure you are adequately compensated. When you work with one of our compassionate truck accident lawyers, you will be able to seek compensation for all of the following:
- Lost wages, if you had to take time off work or cannot currently work because of your accident injuries;
- Lost future wages, if you are not able to return to work in the near future;
- Past medical bills related to any treatment to have received for your injuries to date;
- Future medical bills, should you need further treatment for your injuries;
- Compensation for the physical and mental pain and suffering you have experienced because of your injuries;
- Loss of consortium damages if any of your injuries have affected your relationship with your spouse.
Parker Waichman LLP will pursue damages for the full extent of your injuries to achieve the highest award possible. We want to help you move forward with your life, and we will do everything we can to make that happen. We understand that a settlement cannot truly make up for everything you have lost, but we will fight to help ease the burden that has been placed on you and your family.
The Truck Accident Claims Process
Our legal team knows that initiating a lawsuit can seem scary, so we want to always be sure to thoroughly explain the process to put our clients’ minds at ease. We work hard to keep our clients updated because our attorneys know it is very important for you to have current information to feel comfortable about the direction your case is headed.
Throughout the course of investigating and reviewing your truck accident case, your attorney from Parker Waichman LLP could gather the following for your case:
- Obtain a detailed report of the accident from you and any passengers;
- Request any police or accident reports;
- Order medical records for any treatment you received following the accident;
- Collect photographs from the scene, including any damage to vehicles or property;
- Collect photographs of any injuries;
- Interview witnesses to the accident;
- Contact insurance providers;
- Consult with medical experts or truck accident specialists;
- Identify the statute of limitations for your claim;
- Make a determination about the proper venue for filing your case;
- Draft a Petition for Damages and file it on your behalf.
Our New York lawyers are experienced truck accident litigators. We know how to navigate the laws in these cases and how to build a case that has the absolute best chance of resolving in your favor. Contact our New York office today to find out more information about how we can help you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions About New York Truck Accident Cases
When people call into our office about potential trucking accident cases, they often have several questions they would like to ask about their own cases and the laws applicable to truck accident claims as a whole. We always do our best to answer clients’ questions because their peace of mind is extremely important to us.
Below you will find a few of the questions we hear frequently about these cases, along with our answers to those questions.
How Can I Prove My Case?
In a New York trucking accident case, your lawyer will allege the truck driver and the company he or she worked for at the time of the accident were negligent. This involves bringing a lawsuit under general New York negligence law, which requires proof of four things in court:
Duty means the obligation people have to use reasonable care. The law does not require truckers to anticipate completely unusual scenarios, but rather, foreseeable consequences of certain conditions. For instance, if a trucker knows he is too tired, he also knows he might fall asleep at the wheel, and he knows that falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous. In that situation, he can reasonably anticipate that choosing to drive while overly tired could result in injury to someone else on the road.
Breach means that someone failed to use the required reasonable care to prevent harm. To determine whether someone failed to use reasonable care, courts examine the potential for alternate action. The law focuses on what should have been done compared to what was done. If someone could have acted differently with minimal burden to himself, he has breached his duty to use reasonable care. If the tired trucker could have stopped to sleep instead of continuing to drive, he has breached his duty to use reasonable care.
Lastly, you have to prove that you were harmed, and that your harm was actually caused by the truck driver’s negligence. If you cannot tie the harm back to the actions of the truck driver, you will not be able to recover for your claims.
As you can see, these cases take some time to adequately prepare, and the law also requires that they be filed within the appropriate period of time, as determined by state law. This is why it is so important to hire competent counsel to represent you. Parker Waichman will prepare a solid case for you to maximize your potential for recovery.
How Much Money Will I Receive from My Case?
We hear this question a lot, and it is not easy to answer. It is important to understand that while we will fiercely advocate for compensation for you and your family, we can never be completely certain about how receptive the defense will be during negotiations. For this reason, we can never guarantee that a settlement will take place or that a verdict will be in your favor. However, we can guarantee that we will strongly pursue every possible avenue for recovery, which will include fighting for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost employment wages
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (if applicable)
- Punitive damages (if appropriate)
We know this accident has taken a toll on you, and we will strive to help you recover for every part of your life that has been affected.
Do I Have to Testify?
During the litigation process, your legal team will engage in discovery with the defendants and their lawyers. This will involve conducting several depositions, wherein people provide sworn testimony about the case. This is different from trial testimony in that it takes place outside of a courtroom, in front of a certified court reporter.
As the plaintiff in the case, your deposition will very likely be required. The defense will want to question you about the accident and your injuries. Prior to the deposition, however, we will spend ample time preparing you so that you know what to expect and feel confident going into the experience. Should your case proceed to trial, you will likely be called to testify there, too, but we will again sufficiently prepare you to testify in court.
We understand this process can seem intimidating, but we will make sure to ease your fears. We have extensive deposition and trial experience in truck accident cases and know exactly what to do to build the best possible case.
Why Choose the New York Truck Accident Lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP?
The Trucking Accident Lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP are top-rated and have decades of combined legal experience litigating trucking accidents. Our attorneys fight tenaciously to achieve the results accident victims and their families need. We understand how devastating these accidents can be, and we want to help you receive the compensation you need to move forward.
A National Reputation For Integrity, Professionalism and Results
Throughout our years practicing in New York, as well as several other states, we have earned a reputation for integrity and professionalism. Colleagues, judges, and clients have bestowed our firm with tremendous honors, including:
- 8 (out of a perfect 10) Rating by AVVO (a service that rates every attorney in the United States)
- “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating (Martindale-Hubbell® – a company that, for more than 100 years, has rated attorneys across the United States and the world based on feedback from judges and their peers)
- Highest Ranking of “5 Dragons,” based on peer review by Lawdragon
- Listing in Best Lawyers Publication, determined by Extensive Peer Review
If you have or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in New York, contact our skilled attorneys today.
Our Offer to You
The compassionate New York attorneys at Parker Waichman offer you a free and confidential truck accident injury consultation. We understand that you have been through enough and are likely already struggling to make ends meet because of time off work and costly medical bills. This is why we provide case review and investigation at absolutely no cost and contract cases on a contingency fee basis. If you don’t recover, neither do we. Contact Parker Waichman LLP’s New York office today to find out more.
Call For Your No Risk, Free and Confidential Consultation With Parker Waichman LLP
When a truck driver injures you, either because of the driver’s poor decision or because of dangerous company policy, you deserve to be appropriately compensated. If you were involved in a trucking accident in New York, contact our law firm today for your free consultation by filling out our online form or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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