With the largest municipal and regional economy in the United States, it is no surprise that a significant amount of commercial truck traffic comes through New York City. Companies all over the country are regularly delivering goods to and transporting property from the New York area using large semi-trucks.
The increased presence of semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles on roads in New York can make for congested roadways and increase the risk of severe crashes. When a semi-truck is involved in any kind of accident, its sheer size and weight usually mean that occupants of other vehicles will be severely or possibly even fatally injured.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one was killed in a semi-truck crash in New York, contact a lawyer who has what it takes to get you the compensation that you deserve. The skilled semi-truck accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox have recovered over $1 billion for our clients, and we’re ready to put our experience to work on your case.
Call or contact us online now to set up a free consultation.
Table of Contents
Who Is Liable for a Semi-Truck Accident?
Crashes that involve semi-trucks are different from typical car crashes because the driver involved is not always the only liable party. Unlike most traditional automobile accident claims in which one driver’s insurance company usually covers all of the damages involved, a commercial truck crash could possibly involve multiple parties that could be responsible for a victim’s injuries.
Examples of other potentially liable parties include:
- Trucking companies
- Truck owners
- Trailer owners
- Cargo owners
- Truck part manufacturers
- Maintenance companies
- Cargo loading companies
- Shipping agencies
- Governmental entities
- Other drivers
Many of these parties will deny liability, and some may attempt to shift blame to others. A lawyer with experience handling these types of cases can investigate the crash and to identify any and all parties that could be held liable for your injuries and damage to your property.
What to Do If I Am Involved in a Semi-Truck Accident
You should always make sure that you receive medical attention after any commercial vehicle accident. You should still go to a hospital even if you do not think at first that you were hurt. Not all injuries have immediate symptoms, but they could cause major complications if left untreated.
Be sure to contact the local law enforcement agency and make sure that a police report is filed. The police report could be a valuable piece of evidence in your personal injury case. However, keep in mind that the police do not have final say on civil liability for a semi-truck crash.
Another important step you can take is to get pictures of your accident scene. Try to capture photographs of all the vehicles, people, and other factors of note involved in your crash, and try to get pictures from as many angles and distances as you can.
When there are individuals who saw your accident, ask them for their contact information in case they are needed as witnesses. If you cannot take these steps yourself, then ask a friend, family member, or someone at the scene to do this for you.
Trucking companies may dispatch agents to crash scenes to get injured victims to sign paperwork that is presented as being just part of the claims process, but you should never sign anything without getting it reviewed by an attorney. You should also refuse to speak to the other party’s insurance company or claims adjuster and refuse to give a recorded statement until you have secured legal counsel.
Common Injuries in Semi-Truck Crashes
The sheer size of a semi-truck is a significant factor in the severity of injuries caused in accidents involving semi-trucks. Depending on other factors, such as the speeds of the vehicles involved, people often sustain devastating injuries in these types of crashes.
Typical kinds of injuries in commercial truck accident cases include, but are not limited to:
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
- Burn injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
All of these kinds of injuries have the potential to require follow-up care well after initial hospital stays, leading to overwhelming medical expenses. Some injuries also prevent people from returning to work, and certain victims may be permanently unable to ever again maintain regular employment.
What Makes Semi-Truck Accidents Different?
Crashes involving commercial vehicles often become much more complicated because of the number of potentially liable parties and the severity of injuries due to the massive size of semi-trucks. With large losses and frequently higher insurance limits, lot of money may be on the line in semi-truck crash claim. You can count on defendants to vigorously defend these claims. You need a lawyer who will fight for your interests.
Semi-truck accidents can have causes that are unique to these types of crashes, but some incidents can also be the result of common kinds of driver errors that any motorist could commit.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving, including the use of certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs
- Inadequate driver training
- Brake failure
- Failure to maintain vehicle
- Overloaded trailers
- Mechanical defects
- Unsecured loads
- Inclement weather
Trucking companies often try to pass the blame to other parties and may even blame those who did nothing wrong and were hurt in the accident as a result. A skilled attorney like those at Belluck & Fox can aggressively protect your rights and fight to prove that another party’s negligence caused your crash.
Death by Semi-Truck – Can I Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 5-4.1 allows certain surviving family members to take legal action to recover damages for a wrongful act, neglect, or default that caused someone’s death.
Legal action for a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death, which is a different starting point for the statute of limitations than the date of the accident that dictates personal injury claims.
Damages in wrongful death actions in New York are limited only to economic damages, or actual tangible losses such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage. You cannot recover compensation for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or emotional distress.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a semi-truck vehicle accident in the greater New York City area? If so, contact a knowledgeable attorney at Belluck & Fox as soon as possible.
Our firm is willing to travel to all areas of New York to meet with clients in their homes or hospital rooms when they cannot come to our office. You can have our lawyers discuss all of your legal options when you call or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.