Hach & Rose, LLP Handles Big Truck Accidents Across New York
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, we can help you take action. Contact the New York truck accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today to speak with a qualified legal professional about the possible merits of legal action in your case.
Large commercial trucks are extremely important in our economy, transporting trillions of dollars worth of goods and cargo across our nation’s highways every year. Unfortunately, because of their size and weight, these vehicles can place other drivers on the road at risk of suffering a serious injury or worse in the event of an accident. Because of the terrible impact these types of injuries can have on an individual’s life, those hurt in a truck accident may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for their losses.
How We Can Help
Large commercial trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on our nation’s roadways. Therefore, a failure to exercise appropriate care and caution with these vehicles can put unsuspecting motorists at risk of devastating accidents. At Hach & Rose, LLP, we have the experience necessary to represent clients in cases involving:
Truck drivers are held to the same, if not even more rigid, safety expectations as other motorists on the road regarding substance use. If these truck drivers choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, regardless of the reason, they may seriously endanger themselves and anyone else on the road with them. Unfortunately, accidents involving an 18-wheeler and another vehicle in traffic can prove devastating, often leaving the other motorist with severe injuries that may require immediate medical care.
Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime that puts the lives of innocent people in danger. Truck drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol should be held accountable for their irresponsible actions. Since the potential damage of a truck driving accident is much more dramatic than other vehicular accidents, truck drivers that work while intoxicated can be penalized severely, and deservedly so.
When a large commercial truck suffers a mechanical defect while on the road, the truck driver may not be able to respond quickly enough to prevent an accident. These accidents often result in catastrophic consequences, as 18-wheelers and semi-trucks dominate virtually all other vehicles on the road. If another motorist is injured because of the defective truck component, the manufacturer or designer responsible for the auto part may be liable for the injury’s cost.
Our tenacious legal team can help you secure compensation if you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by any of the following:
- Brake Malfunction – Brake malfunctions put New York residents in serious danger of injury or death. Brake malfunctions can occur for a number of different reasons, including improper maintenance by auto repair shops, failure to maintain brakes, and overheating brakes.
- Tire Defects – Defective tires on any vehicle can be dangerous, and serious accident in New York increases greatly when an 18-wheeler has defective tires. Due to the sheer size of commercial trucks, any vehicular malfunction can cause serious accidents that result in devastating injuries and property damage.
- Insufficient Underride Protection – Underride guards are required on all trucks with semitrailers and come standard on most 18-wheeler trucks. Unfortunately, some trucks do not come equipped with the necessary protection for other cars in the event of a collision.
- Trailer Malfunction – When a truck malfunctions, everyone on the road becomes endangered due to the weight and size of trucks and the loads they carry. Trailer malfunctions may result in dangerous situations, including broken hitches, cracked frames, faulty support chains, unsecured doors, and unsecured locks for the trailer ball.
You should not have to cover the costs of any injuries caused by a truck malfunction on your own. Instead, the auto part designer or manufacturer at fault may be obligated to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers and vehicles are safe, which in turn protects others on the road. Critical mistakes during the hiring, training, and scheduling process may put a driver incapable of safely operating a vehicle behind the wheel of a powerful 18-wheeler truck. Failing to correctly inspect and perform maintenance on the truck’s fleet of vehicles can also put unsafe vehicles on the road. As a result of any of these negligent actions, innocent parties may suffer extreme and long-lasting harm. The following types of negligent actions may be common causes of an accident:
- Failure to Train / Inadequate Training – Proper training for truck drivers can mean the difference between safe driving and serious collisions. Trucking companies must train their employees and ensure they can handle the conditions and situations of long-distance hauling. Some of the most common inadequate training violations include failure to pass road tests, failure to understand hours of service regulations, improper training on transportation of specialized materials, and failure to train with an experienced professional. Inadequate training can lead to serious accidents on the road when drivers are unequipped to operate their commercial vehicles.
- Hours of Service Violations – Because truck drivers often travel long distances across state lines, there are hours of service regulations to ensure they get enough rest between driving stints. Unfortunately, many truck accidents are caused by fatigued drivers, some of whom may have violated the hours of service rules. These rules include a maximum of 14 hours on the road before a driver is required to take a 10-hour break, one mandatory 30-minute break during the 14-hour shift, and a limit of 60-hours over seven days or 70 hours over eight days.
- Negligent Hiring – Trucking companies are accountable for ensuring their employees are qualified and responsible drivers before hiring them. Unfortunately, some trucking companies make poor hiring decisions and employ drivers with either a history of reckless driving or a lack of qualifications. A New York trucking company may be liable for negligent hiring if they choose to employ someone with an expired license, is underqualified, has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, or has previous driving infractions.
- Failure to Inspect Vehicles – When trucking companies in New York fail to inspect vehicles, seriously damaging accidents are far more likely to occur. Some consequences of failing to inspect vehicles include defective parts, leaking fluids, and worn brakes. These vehicle maintenance problems can cause serious car accidents on the road.
Trucking companies must prepare both driver and vehicle for the often lengthy travel expected from truck drivers. Failing to do so puts these drivers at a higher risk of collision, threatening the health and safety of others in the process.
All drivers are responsible for acting responsibly on the road, but this duty is even more essential for those who drive 18-wheelers and semi-trucks. Due to their enormous size and power, commercial trucks can cause catastrophic accidents should their drivers act negligently behind the wheel. Here in New York, the high traffic volume makes the damage that can occur from truck driver errors even more significant. It is imperative for victims of truck accidents to take legal action against the careless drivers at fault for their injuries to discourage this dangerous behavior in the future.
Truck drivers must know how to operate their vehicles safely while following traffic laws. Mistakes are inexcusable when you operate large and potentially destructive machinery. Drivers unable or unwilling to put safety first may be held responsible for truck accidents caused by the following:
- Aggressive Driving – Sometimes truck drivers get impatient on the road and take out their frustration by driving aggressively. Driving aggressively dramatically increases the likelihood that a trucker will make a mistake and hurt innocent people.
- Driving in Adverse Conditions – Driving an 18-wheeler on a clear day in New York is difficult, and driving one in adverse conditions merely exacerbates the challenge. There are inherent dangers associated with driving in adverse conditions because poor weather can reduce visibility, make stopping suddenly impossible, decrease reaction time, cause hydroplaning/sliding, and affect the vehicle’s overall stability.
- Driving with Overweight Load – While there are both strict federal and New York state guidelines regarding the amount of weight a commercial truck may haul, some trucking companies choose to ignore these guidelines and send their trucks out with overweight loads. An overloaded trailer can seriously impair a driver’s ability to control their truck by reducing their ability to slow or stop adequately, minimizing maneuverability in emergencies, and limiting control during freeway turns.
- Failing to Signal Turns – A failure to signal will usually mean the driver themselves was negligent, but it may be possible to hold their employer negligent as well. If the trucking company failed to run background checks or ignored a bad driving record when hiring the driver, or if they failed to train them properly, the company may share responsibility for your injuries.
Drivers who fail to uphold basic safety expectations that cause accidents in these situations may be liable for any damages or injuries they cause due to their reckless behavior.
Semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are large vehicles, making it impossible for truck drivers to see around the bulk of their trailers adequately. As a result, these drivers must deal with large blind spots in four main areas around their vehicles. Although drivers are warned to stay out of these “no-zones,” truck drivers are also responsible for monitoring vehicles going in and out of these blind spots. The blind spots around a large commercial truck depend on the size of the truck and trailer and the kinds of mirrors a truck driver uses to see around his or her vehicle. However, most 18-wheelers and semi-trucks have the following blind spots:
- A significant area directly behind the trailer
- A small area directly in front of the truck
- An area directly next to and slightly behind the driver’s side or the left of the vehicle
- A large area extending behind most of the passenger’s side, or the right of the vehicle
If a truck driver fails to check for other vehicles in these areas carefully, he or she may collide with another motorist and cause a devastating accident.
Garbage trucks are some of the largest vehicles operating on city roads, and as a result, they can potentially cause extremely serious injuries if they are involved in an accident. The victims of garbage truck accidents may need extensive medical treatment to recover from their injuries, and the consequences of the accident may leave victims struggling to get their lives back together. In most places around the country, garbage trucks are operated by municipalities, making it difficult for injured victims to recover compensation for their injuries.
In New York, municipal garbage operators service residential trash collection, but private garbage collection companies aggressively compete for commercial businesses. This means that the fastest-performing collectors make the most money, but unfortunately, speed often jeopardizes safety. With garbage truck accidents steadily rising in the five-borough area, it is time to hold all garbage operators accountable for the pain and suffering they cause accident victims.
Example Motor Vehicle Accident Results
Jury verdict for passenger on motorcycle involved in collision with car
Settlement for a motor vehicle occupant involved in workplace accident.
Jury verdict obtained for a pedestrian who was struck by a New York City Transit Authority bus.
Settlement for client in car accident.
Jury verdict for a union member involved in a car accident.
Settlement for motorcycle driver in collision with car door
For a man injured in an automobile collision with a tractor-trailer whose operator was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Settlement during trial for woman involved in intersection collision
Settlement for a young woman who injured her back when struck by an automobile.
U.S. Trucking Accidents – Statistics
The 2017 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts (LTBCF) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Analysis Division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) states that there were 121 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in 2017. This increased from 106 fatalities in 2016 but less than 126 in 2015. In the past decade, the most fatalities occurred in 2017, with 155, and the least occurred in 2014, with 98. Of all the fatalities, 841 were occupants of large trucks.
Regarding the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks, the 2017 LTBCF reported that New York had 112 in 2017, again an increase from 100 in 2016 but less than 113 in 2015. The same years also had the highest and lowest totals, with 137 crashes in 2007 being the most of this period and 91 crashes in 2014 being the least.
There were 69 multi-vehicle crashes involving large trucks in New York in 2017. There were 42 single-vehicle fatal crashes involving large trucks that same year. With a state population of 19,849,399 in 2017, New York had a rate of 5.64 fatal crashes involving large trucks per million people, which was lower than the rate of 5.73 in 2010.
The states with the highest fatal crash rates in 2017 were Mississippi (31.17), Oklahoma (30.53), and Wyoming (29.35), while the three lowest rates were the District of Columbia (0.00), Massachusetts (3.94) and Hawaii (4.20).
The 2017 LTBCF stated that the 4,889 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were a 9-percent increase from 2016. While the 2017 total was 7 percent lower than the 21st-century peak of 5,231 in 2005, it was also a 42 percent increase from the low of 3,432 in 2009.
The most recent statistics show 119,000 injury crashes involving large trucks or buses in 2016, 125,000 large trucks or buses involved in injury crashes, and 180,000 persons injured in large truck and bus crashes. That same year, there were 418,000 property damage-only (PDO) crashes involving large trucks or buses and 443,000 large trucks or buses involved in PDO crashes.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that 2,797 deaths in crashes involving large trucks in 2017 (68 percent) were passenger vehicle occupants, 683 (17 percent) were large truck occupants, and 580 (14 percent) were motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. IIHS also reported that 97 percent of fatalities in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks were passenger vehicle occupants. Of the fatal large truck crashes, 3,043 deaths (74 percent) involved tractor-trailers, 1,042 deaths (25 percent) were single-unit, and 94 deaths (2 percent) were unknown.
According to IIHS, 1,297 deaths in large truck crashes (32 percent) occurred on interstates and freeways, 2,132 deaths (52 percent) occurred on other major roads, and 616 deaths (15 percent) were on minor roads.
Truck Accident Articles
Frequently Asked Questions
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals harmed because of another party’s recklessness or negligence. To help keep our clients and potential clients as informed as possible, our team of New York truck accident attorneys has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers for you to review. If you don’t see your questions addressed here or would like to discuss any of these topics further, feel free to complete our online form, chat live, or contact our offices at (212) 779-0057 so we can personally assist you with your concerns.
The answer to this question lies entirely in your own situation. There are two types of damages that people seek: punitive and compensatory. You’ll likely seek compensatory damages, which means the responsible party will be asked to pay for costs incurred because of your injury or during recovery. These are often cut-and-clear costs, like how much you owe a hospital or wages you lost during time off, but can include harder-to-calculate amounts, like pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be sought if you received an extreme injury or your loved one died due to a truck accident. These damages are meant more to punish the responsible party than to provide compensation for the injured party, which is why most personal injury lawsuits will not include them.
New York commercial truck drivers cannot drive their big rigs if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.04% or greater. If your family member was injured in this crash, the trucker and the company that hired him can both be legally responsible for any physical and emotional injuries that your loved one has experienced.
Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver, the owner, or the company that the truck driver works for could be liable for your injuries. If the company that the truck driver works for or the owner fails to inspect the tires properly, they could be liable for your injuries. If the tires were defective, the manufacturer may be obligated to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. These are only two of the possible scenarios.
It is best not to make any statement to the other insurance company except to let them know you have legal representation. Then, let your attorney know that they called. It is also important to remember never to sign anything without your attorney present. Anything that you say or do may be used to limit your compensation. Your personal injury attorney will speak to the insurance company on your behalf, and he or she knows how to interact with insurance adjusters.
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