Truck drivers and passengers are governed by local, state, and national laws designed to regulate traffic and protect drivers - laws that could affect you. Read on for more information regarding New York truck accident laws.
Federal laws govern interstate commerce, including the conduct of most tractor-trailer and big-rig drivers. These laws dictate driving procedures such as possession of a commercial driver's license, and prevention of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In addition, federal laws regulate the amount of hours a driver can take to the road in an effort to curb driver fatigue.
Both New York and federal laws require that trucking companies carry large amounts of insurance to cover property damage and hazardous materials carriage. New York laws also regulate the amount of time in which victims (or the families of deceased victims) can file for compensation under New York personal injury laws.
Victims have a three-year statute of limitations (two years in wrongful death claims) to file their truck accident lawsuit. Because of state statutes of limitations, it is recommended that victims file their lawsuit as soon as possible after their injury.
Because the truck driver is the one operating the truck, if they hit someone, it's natural for the driver of the other vehicle to assume that the truck driver is at fault. However, that's not always the case. Simply put, the truck driver might be one person at the end of a long line of people that have handled that truck and/or the load it's hauling; and any one of them could be responsible for the crash.
Consider for instance, that perhaps the trucking company did not properly inspect the truck, or fix a problem when they knew it needed repairs. Those who loaded the cargo onto the truck may not have done so properly, or the manufacturers may have not properly installed the brakes, lights, or other vital safety elements of the truck.
Any of these parties could be responsible for truck collisions that occur down the road, even when the driver is using proper caution and driving responsibly. Because of this, if you're injured in a truck accident, it's important that you identify every single individual or business entity that could be responsible.
This is extremely important because if the case goes to court, and it's later found out that an unnamed individual or business is partially or fully at fault for the accident, too much time may have passed and those responsible might not be held liable. If those unnamed parties are found to be significantly at fault, it might hurt the entire case, and cause it to be thrown out of court simply because those parties aren't there.
Determining who is at fault can be a tricky task, especially for someone unaccustomed to dealing with big trucking companies and their drivers. Because of this, it's important to call a personal injury attorney that has the experience needed to find who's at fault. Here at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, we've done it before, and we're waiting to help do the same for you.
One might assume that once you determine who's at fault, liability is also determined. However, this isn't exactly true. This is because not only do plaintiffs need to determine who is at fault before they get to court, they also need to determine how they are at fault, or rather, what actually happened.
There's also another caveat that comes with liability, and those are the "vicarious liability" rules. According to these rules, someone can be found at fault even though they didn't have anything to do directly with the accident. For instance, if the truck driver is the one responsible for the accident, they may not be the only one held liable. If it's found that the trucking company knew of the driver's incompetence, or the driver had drug or alcohol offenses on their driving record in the past, the employer could be found indirectly liable based on the fact that they still employed the driver.
Liability is another area that can become very difficult to prove, and this is another time when having a New York personal injury lawyer such as us here at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help.
In New York, in addition to proving negligence, the victim must also provide detailed evidence of the circumstances of the accident itself in order to obtain compensatory damages related to the cost of the crash, any applicable property damage, and compensation related to future medical care, job loss, or emotional distress.
In order to do this, and gain the maximum amount of compensation they deserve, injured parties must be examined by their doctor and given a full doctor's report that can be taken to court. This will give the court an idea of the cost of medical bills, and the cost of current and future medical treatment required. Also, employers may submit statements detailing the loss of income suffered, or paycheck stubs can be used to prove how much income the plaintiff made before the accident, and how much they will be losing as a result of it.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP is a law firm passionate about helping personal injury victims, including those who were injured in truck collisions. We consider all applicable local, New York State, and federal laws when construction legal arguments on behalf of our personal injury clients. Our deep legal knowledge is combined with a stellar track record and an eye for detail - and our office is equipped to handle even the most complex lawsuit. Think you might be eligible for truck accident compensation? We can help. Our NY truck accident lawyers will evaluate your case, develop a legal strategy, and protect your legal rights in court. Call (212) 986-7353 today for more information and a free case consultation.