New York Truck Accident Lawyers
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 fulfill an extremely important role 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 that these types of injuries can have on an individual’s life, those who are 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 being involved in 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 in regards to 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 choose to 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 respond quickly enough to prevent an accident. In many cases, these accidents 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 held liable for the cost of those injuries.
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. Brakes 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 type of vehicle can be dangerous, and the risk of a serious accident occurring 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 that may result in dangerous situations that include broken hitches, cracked frames, faulty support chains for the trailer, unsecure doors, and unsecure locks for 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 have a responsibility to make sure their own 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 who is incapable of safely operating a vehicle behind the wheel of a powerful 18-wheeler truck. Additionally, 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 for an accident:
- Failure to Train / Inadequate Training – Proper training for truck drivers can mean the difference between safe driving and serious collisions. Trucking companies are obligated to train their employees and make sure that they can handle the conditions and situations that come with long distance hauling. Some of the most common inadequate training violations include failure to pass road test, 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 handle operating their commercial vehicles.
- Hours of Service Violations – Because truck drivers often travel long distances across state lines, there are hours of service regulations to make sure that they get enough rest in between driving stints. Unfortunately, many truck accidents are caused by fatigued drivers, some of whom may have been violating 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 making sure that 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 who has an expired license, is under qualified, 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 the failure 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 need to prepare both driver and vehicle for the often lengthy travel that’s 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 volume of traffic 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 in order 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 one’s 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 adequately slow or stop, minimizing maneuverability in emergency situations, and limiting control during turns on freeways.
- 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 liable for any damages or injuries they cause as a result of their reckless behavior.
Semi trucks and 18-wheelers are large vehicles, making it impossible for truck drivers to adequately see around the bulk of their trailers. 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 also have a responsibility to monitor 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 as well as 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 carefully check for other vehicles in these areas, 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 have the potential to cause extremely serious injuries if they are involved in an accident. The victims of garbage truck accidents may need extensive medical treatment in order 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, which can make it difficult for injured victims to recover compensation for their injuries.
Here in New York, municipal garbage operators service residential trash collection, but private garbage collection companies aggressively compete for commercial business. This means that the fastest performing collectors make the most money, but unfortunately, speed often jeopardizes safety. With garbage truck accidents on a steady rise in the five-borough area, it is time to hold all garbage operators accountable for the pain and suffering they cause to accident victims.
No one who suffers an injury in a truck accident for which they were not at fault should have to bear the burdens of another party’s negligence or recklessness. A successful civil lawsuit may help you secure the financial assistance you need to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Example Motor Vehicle Accident Results
- $8,000,000 jury verdict for passenger on motorcycle involved in collision with car
- $2,300,000 jury verdict for pedestrian struck by New York City Transit Authority Bus
- $995,000 arbitration award for husband and wife in automobile accident
- $1,350,000 settlement for man injured in collision with tractor trailor
- $2,225,000 settlement for client in car accident
- $1,700,000 settlement for motorcycle driver in collision with car door
- $2,500,000 settlement for motor vehicle occupant involved in workplace accident
- $2,178,000 jury verdict for union member involved in a car accident
- $1,300,000 settlement during trial for woman involved in intersection collision
- $500,000 settlement for young woman struck by automobile
Click here to view more results obtained by the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Hach & Rose, LLP, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals who have been harmed because of the recklessness or negligence of another party. 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 you 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 that we can personally assist you with your concerns.
How much will I be able to recover for my injuries after an accident involving a truck?
The answer to this question lies entirely in your own situation. There are two types of damages that people seek: punitive and compensatory. It’s likely that you’ll be seeking compensatory damages, which simply means the responsible party will be asked to pay for costs incurred because of your injury or during recovery from the injury. 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. In the case that you received an extreme injury or your loved one died due to a truck accident, punitive damages may be sought. These types of 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.
A New York truck driver was intoxicated when they hit my car. Who is responsible – the truck driver or the company he works for?
New York commercial truck drivers are not allowed to 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.
I was injured in an accident where the truck itself malfunctioned, and the driver lost control. Is the truck driver or the owner of the truck responsible for my injuries?
Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver, the owner of the truck, or the company that the truck driver works for could all be potentially liable for your injuries. If the company that the truck driver works for or the owner of the truck failed 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.
I was told that the trucking company’s insurance may be contacting me after a truck hit my vehicle. What should I say to their insurance company if they contact me?
It is best to not make any statement to the other insurance company except to let them know that 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 attorney will speak to the insurance company on your behalf, and he or she knows how to interact with insurance adjusters.
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 was an increase from the 106 fatalities in 2016, but less than the 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.
As far as the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks, the 2017 LTBCF reported that New York had 112 in 2017, again an increase from the 100 in 2016 but less than the 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 the 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 was 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 that there were 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.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, do not delay seeking legal counsel. Contact the NY personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, by calling (212) 779-0057 today to discuss your case with an experienced member of our legal team.