Truck Accidents | Personal Injury Lawyers & Attorneys
Truck crashes are uniquely dangerous and often cause catastrophic or deadly injuries. Not only is the risk of serious injury heightened by the size, weight, and reduced maneuverability of these vehicles, receiving proper compensation for injuries or the death of a loved one is often more complicated than with the more common automobile accident.
Frequently Asked Questions about Truck Accidents
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor trailer, snowplow or other type of truck, you have likely suffered serious injuries and sought medical treatment. Your next step is to fill out a no-fault application to ensure that all medical bills, lost earnings, and reasonable and necessary expenses incurred are paid through available automobile insurance coverage. If you were in a vehicle, the insurance company for the vehicle you were in will cover these costs and expenses. If you were a pedestrian, runner, or bicyclist the truck’s insurance will pay these bills and expenses. It is important that you cooperate with your own insurance company. However, you should not speak to the insurance company for the truck driver as there is no obligation that you do so. If you have suffered serious injuries, you should also reach out to a personal injury lawyer who handles truck accident claims. The lawyer can meet with you and explain the process of pursuing an injury claim.
Yes. It is important to hire a lawyer that understands the unique aspects of a truck accident crash and has the skill, ability, resources, and experience with experts to successfully pursue a claim on your behalf. There are special rules and regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must follow. If a failure to follow the rules results in injuries to another motorist or pedestrian, a truck accident lawyer can hold the driver and the employer responsible for their actions and negligence.
If you are injured in a truck accident crash, a personal injury lawyer will examine your case from two primary angles which include 1. Liability and 2. Damages. In terms of liability, first, the lawyer will want to know who is “liable” or at fault for the crash. Additionally, an attorney will want to understand the full extent of your harm and injuries. Sometimes, the long-term ramifications of injuries are not known, and experience in this area can aid in better understanding what may be still to come.
If it appears that the truck driver was primarily responsible for the crash, and if you have suffered serious injuries, an injury lawyer will likely be able to pursue a claim on your behalf.
Yes. Under New York Law, to bring a claim against an at fault truck driver or trucking company, it is necessary that your injuries be “serious” as that term is defined by the insurance law in New York. A serious injury includes:
- Significant Disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss or use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
It will likely not cost you anything to pursue your personal injury case as your truck accident lawyer will likely work on a contingency fee basis. In contingency fee cases, your lawyer will only receive a legal fee if he/she is successful in pursuing your case. When your case resolves or there is a verdict at trial, your lawyer will be entitled to 33.33% of the settlement or verdict.
Additionally, during the process of the personal injury case, your lawyer will may advance the costs and expenses associated with prosecuting the claim, including costs to obtain medical records, retain expert witnesses and consultants, costs for court filing fees, and costs associated with taking depositions. If your lawyer advances these costs and expenses, upon successful resolution of your case all outstanding costs and expenses will be repaid to the lawyer from the settlement or trial verdict.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck or 18-wheel vehicle and have suffered injuries, a truck injury lawyer will meet with you to get an understanding of how the accident happened. There are many causes of truck accidents including brake failures, tire failures, mechanical violations, speed, rollovers, or driver error. Depending on the type and severity of the crash, the police will prepare an accident report and/or an accident reconstruction report. Your lawyer will talk to witnesses and obtain necessary experts to review and explain reasons for the crash. Once an investigation is complete, your lawyer will be prepared to file a lawsuit against the driver, the company who is responsible for causing your injuries and any other party that may have contributed to the crash.
In a negligence action against a truck driver who caused a crash, unless the truck driver and/or his employer admits fault, your attorney must prove the truck driver’s negligence and the injuries resulting from the truck driver’s wrongful conduct. To prove negligence, your truck accident lawyer will obtain the police investigative materials and speak to relevant witnesses. Additionally, there may be camera footage that exists in the vicinity of a crash.
Once a lawsuit is filed, your lawyer will seek access to company records regarding maintenance of the vehicle and the driver’s logbook. It is important to confirm the driver has not exceeded the number of driving hours in a day or a week. It is also important to confirm the truck was not overloaded or overweight for its size. Truck inspections are critical to the safe operation of the truck. Additionally, your personal injury lawyer will determine if any state or federal trucking regulations were violated and find out if there were any medical conditions that caused or contributed to the crash.
Yes. Companies have an obligation to ensure their drivers are safe to drive and must perform regular tests to confirm the safety of their drivers. Additionally, trucking companies are obligated to perform proper maintenance on the trucks their drivers operate. Although drivers of large vehicles must possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL), having a CDL alone does not necessarily mean the driver has been properly trained or has the experience to operate such a vehicle. Employers should examine the driver’s history to confirm the driver should be operating the vehicle. Finally, unrealistic, or unsafe delivery deadlines can lead to driver fatigue which can be very dangerous to other motorists.
In any personal injury claim, it is important to consider anyone who may be at fault in causing the crash. In most instances, the initial person responsible is the truck driver who caused the crash. There may be other avenues of liability as well, including the truck driver’s employer, the repair facility that performed work on the truck, the manufacturer of a defective part, or even a governmental entity responsible for a dangerous road.
Yes. Even if you are partially at fault for causing an accident, the law in New York state still allows you to bring a claim against another party who was also at fault. The legal term for this is called “comparative fault”. Under this theory, you may still recover at least some portion of compensation for your injuries. If the truck driver claims you were at fault, it is the truck driver’s burden to prove that you were negligent and that your negligence contributed to causing the crash.
Yes. Generally, the statute of limitations in New York for a truck accident claim is 3 years from the date of the incident. However, if the truck that hit you was owned by a town, city, village, or county, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days from the date of the incident. If the truck that struck you was owned by the state of New York a claim or notice of intention to file a claim must be filed within 90 days of the crash.
There are many factors to consider in determining the value of your personal injuries. Your truck accident attorney must first consider who was at fault and if any fault lies with you that would reduce the value of your claim. In other words, if you are 50% at fault for the crash, you will only receive 50% of what your claim is fully valued at. Additionally, your lawyer must examine all your medical records, consult with medical doctors, and have the experience to understand the range of value your injuries may garner by way of a settlement or trial verdict. The value of injuries depends on the long term impacts the injury has on your life. For instance, a fracture without surgery is worth less than a fracture that requires surgery and the placement of hardware. An injury that heals and leaves no long-term impacts on a person is worth less than an injury that impacts a person’s ability to work and enjoy life. Brain injuries such as a mild concussion or contusions are much different than a traumatic permanent brain injury that impacts a person’s ability to work and function. It is important that your injury lawyer takes the time to truly understand the significance of your injuries and the impact the injuries have on your life.
Maybe. In many instances, after your personal injury lawyer determines the cause of the crash and obtains all the necessary medical information, a settlement can be reached. In some instances, a settlement can be reached prior to filing a lawsuit, and in other cases a settlement can be reached after a lawsuit is filed, but before trial. One of the most important aspects of reaching a settlement is to make sure the full extent of your harm and injuries is known and understood before a settlement is attempted so you obtain the full money value for your injuries. Consulting with medical doctors is very important to understanding the full extent of your injuries.
No. Once a case is settled, it is final and there is no ability for any lawyer to reopen the case. Therefore, it is crucial to know the full extent of your harm and injuries before a settlement is reached.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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