Below are a few frequently asked questions about truck accidents:
Yes and no.
In the eyes of the law, truck accidents are the same as car accidents in the way that responsible drivers will still be held responsible, and compensation for injured parties can still be sought. However, truck drivers have different state and federal laws regarding their driving times and the training required of them. Truck drivers are also very rarely independent contractors that are driving on their own time, for their own profit. Usually they are part of a much larger company that has insurance and a large team of lawyers to protect them should a truck crash occur with one of their drivers. For this reason, fighting for your rights in court, or trying to settle with the trucking company out of court, can become much more difficult and complex.
The injuries received in truck accidents can also vary greatly from those received in car collisions. Because 18-wheelers and tractor trailers can weigh more than 80,000 pounds, the damage they can do is much more severe, especially when they make contact with a passenger vehicle, which is much smaller and won't be able to withstand the impact.
As mentioned, there are certain rules that apply to truck drivers on the road. These rules were designed with the intent to keep both truckers and other drivers safer while sharing the road. Some of the additional federal laws that apply to truck drivers, and trucking companies, are:
- All trucking companies in the United States must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator's regulations concerning equipment and hours of service.
- Truck drivers must maintain a driver's log.
- Commercial truck drivers must carry certain levels and types of insurance. The type of cargo they are hauling is usually taken into consideration when determining what insurance is required, so trucks carrying dangerous materials will be required to carry higher levels of insurance.
- Truck drivers must receive a certain amount of sleep per day, usually 6-8 hours. This prevents driver fatigue, and reduces truck accidents caused by truck driver error.
- Trucking companies are responsible for following particular rules when loading materials onto a truck.
- Many trucks in the United States are now equipped with a speed-limiting device to prevent trucks from speeding on highways, which also aims to reduce the amount of truck accidents on the road.
It depends on the case, but usually the injured victim and his or her spouse can sue. If a death occurs, the family of the victim can usually sue on the victim's behalf.
Every case is as different as the people involved in it. However, if you were injured in a truck crash, you could potentially be eligible for compensation related to the costs of your injuries, the amount of future medical care needed, lost time from work, emotional pain and suffering, and more. A New York truck accident attorney can help evaluate your compensation and the value of your potential truck accident lawsuit.
Injuries sustained during a truck accident can be severe, and costly to treat. Injured parties likely won't receive compensation, either from the trucking company or the courts, right away, even though their medical bills will already be piling up.
Luckily, the insurance carried by the driver of the car, or other vehicle, will often cover many of the medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. However, insurance companies often do everything they can not to pay out on insurance policies and can often confuse someone into believing they're not entitled to any compensation – especially when that person is distressed and injured. For this reason, you should never speak to any insurance company after a trucking collision without first speaking to a qualified New York personal injury attorney, such as us here at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP.
When seeking a NY truck accident attorney, look for a law firm that specializes in personal injury and has a substantial track record in successful accident litigation. The ideal attorney has the legal knowledge it takes to get you compensation and the resources and support staff, including expert witnesses and investigator, it takes to effectively present your case in court. Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP is just such a law firm. Contact us today at (212) 986-7353 for more information on our effective, aggressive truck accident litigation services – your case consultation is completely free of charge.
While every truck crash is unique with its own set of circumstances, there are some common types of truck accidents. They include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Broadside collisions, when either driver fails to yield to those who have the right-of-way, and hits another vehicle in the side
- Center lane crossover, or when a portion of the truck (typically the trailer) crosses over the center lane. This is most common when trucks are turning.
- Lane change accidents
- Jack-knifed trucks, when the trailer portion of the truck becomes perpendicular to the tractor portion
The causes of truck accidents vary from case to case. However, common causes include driver error, improperly trained drivers, malfunctioning equipment, adverse weather or road conditions, driver fatigue, drug and alcohol abuse, and error on the part of passenger vehicles sharing the road with a big rig vehicle.
The consequences of a truck accident can range from minor property damage and insignificant injuries to life-threatening medical conditions, temporary disability, and even death. Injuries suffered in a truck collision can affect the victim's ability to participate in everyday activities, including going to work, and can have long-lasting financial ramifications.