Any vehicle accident can be devastating. Trucking accidents, however, are often more serious due to the size of the vehicles. Commercial trucks carry one of the highest rates of accidents on the roadways and the industry is considered one of the most dangerous in the U.S. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 11,452 large trucking accidents in New York in 2013. Of those, almost 4,000 individuals suffered injury as a result of these accidents. The Nassau County truck accident lawyer at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP has consistently secured excellent recoveries for our clients through aggressive and exceptional litigation.
Even a small fender bender has the potential to cause lasting injuries. Neck and spinal cord injuries from whiplash can be just as serious as bigger accidents featured in the media. If you are involved in a trucking accident, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not suspect you are injured, a medical examination can help you determine if there are any injuries that may surface later.
Trucking Accident Facts and Statistics
At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP we’ve handled enough truck accident claims in Nassau County to know that they aren’t a rare occurrence. Despite safety training, company protocols, and federal laws, thousands of truck accidents happen every year. According to the most recent data available, 4,067 people died in large truck accidents around the country in 2015. This was a 4% increase from 2014. Seventy-four percent of people killed in truck accidents were occupants of the other vehicle. Another 116,000 people suffered injuries the same year. The total number of reported truck crashes in 2015 came to 433,000. Other staggering statistics include:
- Nationally, the number of truck accidents has increased by 62% from 2009 to 2015. The number of large trucks involved in fatal accidents increased by 8%.
- In 2015 in the U.S., around 45% of fatal two-vehicle large truck accidents were head-on collisions.
- The majority of fatal truck accidents around the nation (63%) occurred on rural roads in 2015. Twenty-seven percent occurred on interstates, and 5% occurred in work zones.
- In 2015, 2% of truck drivers involved in fatal collisions were legally intoxicated, with blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.08% or higher.
- Large-truck drivers involved in accidents had the highest percentage of prior accidents compared to other vehicle drivers (20.1% vs. 18.3% for passenger vehicle drivers).
- In 2014, there were 11,848 total truck accidents in the state of New York. Seventy-four of these crashes were fatal, taking a total of 79 lives (43 non-truck drivers, seven truck drivers, 12 passengers, and 17 pedestrians).
- There were 344 serious injury truck accidents in New York State in 2014, as well as 501 moderate injury crashes and 2,498 minor injury crashes.
- The most common cause of truck accidents in New York State in 2014 (82.7%) was “human factors,” which included following too closely, driver distraction, improper passing, unsafe lane changes, speeding, and failure to yield the right-of-way.
- Environmental factors such as slippery roads, animals, debris, or glare caused 18.2% of truck accidents in New York State in 2014. The other 9.6% of truck accidents stemmed from vehicular factors, including oversized vehicles, defective brakes, and tire failure.
Realizing just how often serious truck accidents happen in New York State and around the country can help you feel less alone. There have been thousands of people in your position in the past – many of whom successfully recovered the costs of their damages through insurance claims, personal injury lawsuits, or wrongful death claims. At Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP, we treat each client like our only client. You will receive personal attention from a seasoned Nassau County truck accident lawyer and a tailored legal strategy for your unique case, for the best chance at securing the compensation you deserve.
No-Fault Insurance Laws and Truck Accidents
New York is one of just 12 states in the U.S. that abide by “no-fault” insurance laws. This means that all drivers involved in a vehicle collision must seek primary damage recovery through their own insurance companies, regardless of who was at fault for the collision. States that use “fault” insurance laws, on the other hand, require claimants to prove the other driver’s fault to qualify for insurance coverage or compensation.
In New York, an injured person can, however, file a personal injury action outside of the state’s no-fault system. After an accident with a large commercial truck, first report to your own insurance company and explain what happened. Then, call a Nassau County truck accident lawyer to discuss the possibility of pursuing additional damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Note that the state’s no-fault laws exclude motorcyclists, scooter riders, and those driving while intoxicated. These parties must prove the truck driver’s fault to receive compensation for injuries.
3 Most Common Truck Accident Causes
Many factors may contribute to a trucking accident and the experienced Nassau County truck accident attorneys understand them. Truck drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles according to state and federal regulations. Those who fail to inspect their trucks before and after each trip put lives at risk every day. Other times, failure to use caution during bad weather can turn into a devastating experience. Here are some of the common causes of trucking accidents:
- Distraction. Distracted driving is dangerous in any vehicle, but particularly for truck drivers. Trucks naturally have more blind spots than the average vehicle. It only takes a few seconds of focus away from the road to miss a car, swerve, or otherwise cause an accident.
- Poor maintenance. Tire blowouts are common occurrences that other drivers should be aware of on the roadways. However, blowouts that could have been reasonably prevented or parts of the truck flying off during transit can cause serious injury and even death. Simple oversights, such as blown headlights, can also contribute to accident risk.
- Extenuating Factors. The trucking industry operates on expedient delivery times and often fails to take a driver’s ability into consideration. Truck drivers who push the limits of tiredness and speed to get deliveries to their locations quickly put everyone around them at risk. While many trucking companies are taking steps to alleviate these factors, many are not doing enough to encourage safe driving habits.
Liability in Nassau County Truck Accidents
Determining who might be liable in a truck accident is often more complex than identifying a defendant in a standard car accident claim. In a standard car accident personal injury case, a claim would most likely be brought against an individual driver for causing the crash. In a truck accident case, however, a truck driver is typically performing job-related duties at the time of the crash. According to federal laws, this makes the trucking company vicariously liable for an accident in most situations, as long as a driver was working “within the scope of employment” at the time of the accident.
Although most truck drivers are technically independent contractors and not employees, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted laws to hold trucking companies liable for the actions of their drivers. Bringing a lawsuit against a trucking company or corporation is different than against an individual driver. Settlement negotiations are handled with the trucking company’s insurer. A trucking company might also be liable for a crash if it caused or contributed to the accident. For example, failure to hire or train competent drivers, secure cargo loads, or maintain fleet vehicles.
Other potentially liable parties for a trucking accident include the company that leased the truck, the truck’s owner, a third-party driver, a vehicle part manufacturer, or the city government for a defect on the roadway. There are many cases in which there is more than one party liable for a single trucking accident. Two or more parties might be jointly and severally liable for a truck accident – meaning independently responsible for the full extent of damages. This results in greater compensation awards for injured victims. Retaining one of our Nassau County truck accident attorneys gives you the best odds of getting the most for your accident claim, by assigning fault to all applicable parties.
Compensation for Truck Accident Victims in Nassau County
One of the most frequent questions we receive from new or potential clients is, “How much is my case worth?” This is a question we can only answer with a more in-depth exploration of a specific case. We can, however, provide information about what types of damages one might expect to receive in a truck accident lawsuit in Nassau County. In the state of New York, courts allow injured accident victims to seek recovery for both economic and non-economic damages. You could receive payment for the following losses:
- Past and future medical bills. This can include hospital fees, medical devices or equipment, medications, doctor’s appointments, and other medical costs relating to your accident injuries.
- Property damage. Large trucks often completely total smaller passenger vehicles in accidents. You could recover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, as well as other damaged property.
- Lost wages. In the event that you had to miss shifts or promotion opportunities at work to heal from your injuries, you could seek reimbursement for these losses.
- Pain and suffering. Fight for monetary recovery from physical pain, chronic pain, emotional suffering, distress, or mental anguish suffered as a result of a truck accident in Nassau County.
In cases involving a defendant who is guilty of particularly egregious actions, courts might also award punitive damages, an additional award to punish the defendant. With an exceptional Nassau County truck accident lawyer by your side, you can fight for maximum compensation for myriad damages. Don’t settle for less than your case is worth or accept the first amount a trucking insurance company offers.
Finding a Truck Accident Lawyer
The Nassau County personal injury attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP specialize in trucking accidents. We know the roadways of Nassau County and the surrounding areas, and understand the dangers citizens face every day. Our approach to trucking cases involves investigating every aspect of the accident. From relying on expert technicians who can independently evaluate the truck to using technology to recreate the scene, we focus on determining all mitigating factors.
We look into truck drivers’ records, training histories, and logbooks to prove negligence. Many times, a trucking company has cut corners or otherwise violated the regulation. As a result, clients in Nassau County are able to receive the compensation they need to get back to their lives.
What to Do After a Trucking Accident
Facing injury can be overwhelming, even without considering the legal ramifications. After you receive medical treatment for your injuries, make sure that you or a loved one keeps accurate records of the treatment, costs, and diagnoses. This information will be instrumental in proving your case for compensation.
Avoid talking to any insurance, trucking company, or other representatives who approach you after an accident. Only speak with your attorney to ensure that the information you provide is not twisted later on. Cooperate with law enforcement, but only talk about the facts. Never talk about accident fault or make guesses about the circumstances. The seasoned Nassau County truck accident lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP can help you navigate further communications with representatives. Contact us today for a free consultation.