Even though federal regulations require trucking companies to perform routine inspections and repairs on their fleets, not all carriers follow the rules. When equipment fails and an accident occurs, the consequences can be deadly.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, missed wages and other losses. You need to speak with an experienced NY truck accident attorney right away.
The nationally recognized attorneys Belluck & Fox have more than 25 years of combined experience handling truck accident claims. Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources needed to find out exactly what happened in your case and determine who should be held liable for your injuries. We demand maximum compensation for our clients each time, every time.
Call (646) 480-8135 or contact us to arrange a free consultation.
Table of Contents
What Are New York State Trucking Regulations?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that trucking companies and truckers adhere to numerous safety standards. These rules cover topics such as how long a driver’s shift can be, recordkeeping requirements, weight limits, driver qualifications and maintenance schedules.
In general, New York has adopted many of the FMCSA regulations governing the trucking industry. However, specific exceptions apply to some regulations for vehicles operating strictly within the state.
All motor carriers who receive a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number for interstate transportation must successfully complete a safety audit. The New York State Department of Transportation examines required records to assess compliance with the FMCSA regulations, applicable hazmat regulations and related record-keeping requirements. Areas for review include but not are not limited to:
- Driver qualifications
- Hours of service requirements
- Vehicle maintenance
- Accident records
- Controlled substance and alcohol testing
- Hazardous material transportation requirements.
Violating any of these rules can result in serious penalties. Because truck accident law involves a complex interaction between federal and state regulations, it’s essential to contact an experienced attorney who can determine what rules apply in your case.
What Happens If A Truck Is Poorly Maintained?
When a commercial truck is not properly maintained, it can lead to dangerous equipment failures. Each issue presents its own unique safety threat.
Some of the most common issues stemming from a failure to maintain commercial trucks include:
- Tires: When a company does not replace old or worn tires, they are far more likely to blow out and cause major accidents. Tread separation, worn tires, improper inflation and sidewall damage are other tire problems that can be tied to poor maintenance.
- Brakes: Brakes or brake pads that are not properly maintained can leave drivers powerless to stop their vehicles.
- Lights: Failure to check headlights, taillights, or turn signals can affect how other drivers anticipate a truck driver’s moves, possibly causing collisions. The most frequent violation cited in recent FMCSA safety statistics was that trucks had inoperable lamps.
- Steering Equipment: Different elements affecting steering need to be diligently cared for so that truckers do not lose control.
- Batteries: Failure to check batteries can leave drivers unable to move their vehicles, possibly in dangerous settings.
Many maintenance problems can be prevented with regular inspections and repairs. Unfortunately, the third-most common violation noted by FMCSA in 2017 was a lack of periodic inspections by drivers and trucking companies.
What Are the Common Accidents Caused by a Poorly Maintained Truck?
The type of truck accident a person is involved in can vary depending on the maintenance issue involved. Every crash is different and involves its own unique factors.
Maintenance issues could cause problems with the operator’s control of the vehicle or the performance of the vehicle in general. Examples include:
- Tire blowouts, tread separation and other tire failures
- Brake failure
- Steering equipment malfunctions
- Trailer issues
Some common accidents that could be caused by poor maintenance include:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Jackknife accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- Truck rollovers
- Underride accidents
- T-bone accidents
It is important to remember that maintenance issues may not be immediately evident after a wreck. For this reason, you will want to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to have them investigate the crash before vital evidence is removed, altered or destroyed.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
Many different entities could be responsible for safely maintaining a commercial vehicle. As a result, it may be possible that multiple parties share liability for a person’s injuries, including:
- Truck drivers
- Truck owners
- Maintenance companies
- Truck part manufacturers
- Cargo loading companies
Insurance company representatives will often reach out to victims soon after a crash. Avoid speaking to them until you have consulted an experienced truck accident attorney. Never provide a recorded statement without legal representation.
Insurers are in the business of saving money, not giving it out. An adjuster may offer you a lump sum settlement to resolve your case, usually reinforced by the idea that doing so will let you keep more money for yourself without having to pay a lawyer. This is an empty promise, because whatever you are being offered is likely to be nowhere near what you are actually entitled to.
An attorney can help you recover a fair and full settlement for your injuries. The lawyers at Belluck & Fox prepare every case as if it is going to trial. While most cases resolve with a settlement, our lawyers fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount possible for your truck accident claim.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a commercial truck crash in New York, the compassionate attorneys at Belluck & Fox are ready to help you.
During a free consultation, our lawyers will review the facts of the case and explain your legal options. You should also know that our firm represents our clients on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t pay us unless we recover compensation for you.
Contact us now to schedule your no-cost case review.