Trucking companies are often liable for the negligent actions of their drivers, meaning you can sue them for an accident caused by their employees. However, your injuries must qualify as serious according to law and meet specific criteria. Additionally, in some cases, the driver or a third party must be pursued directly rather than the trucking company.
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What Are Serious Injuries?
Due to New York’s no-fault insurance laws, you can only pursue a lawsuit against a negligent party if the victim sustained serious injuries. Otherwise, you must file with your own insurance to help pay your crash-related costs and losses.
Injuries that Could Entitle You to a Fair Financial Award
What constitutes a serious injury is outlined in ISC § 5102(d) to clarify who has grounds for a lawsuit. The list includes:
- An injury that interferes with daily life for over 90 days
- Limitation of a bodily organ or member
- Limitation of a bodily function or system
- Loss of bodily organ, member, function, or system
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant disfigurement
If you or a loved one suffered from any of these injuries or lost a loved one, you could sue the driver responsible for your crash. In this case, the trucking company that employed the driver who caused the collision is likely liable.
Damages for Serious Injuries
One of the benefits of pursuing an injury case is the kind of damages you can receive. While no-fault insurance allows you to recoup the basic cost of medical bills and lost income, it cannot compensate for the personal and emotional turmoil of the crash; only a lawsuit can provide non-economic damages.
Consequently, if your injuries qualify as serious, you could receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral costs
You could receive damages for changes to your hobbies, lifestyle, and relationships, as well as considerations for the income you may lose over your lifetime due to your injury. In other words, lawsuits do more than pay your bills – they acknowledge the pain, stress, and injustice of a crash.
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When Are Trucking Companies Liable?
You typically can sue the trucking company if its driver was an employee of the company. The truck driver is, in essence, a representative of that company, and the company is responsible for its employer’s actions.
If you do file a lawsuit against the trucking company, you must be able to prove that negligence on the part of the company’s driver led to your serious injuries. This means the driver acted recklessly, causing you harm.
Examples of negligent behavior include:
- Driving under the influence
- Texting while driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Following too closely
- Illegal turns
- Ignoring signs or signals
There may be nuances to each case. For instance, large commercial trucks need to drive under the speed limit or leave larger gaps between vehicles if the road is wet. Even without rain, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asserts that a truck needs at least the length of two football fields to come to a stop from 65 mph. Failure to leave appropriate distance or reduce speed to suit conditions is negligence.
With the help of one of our truck collision lawyers, we can identify the negligent action that leaves the trucking company liable for their driver’s decisions. We can also evaluate if you could pursue the trucking company or if another party can be held responsible.
If Someone Else is Liable
Although you can sue a trucking company for an accident caused by one of their drivers, sometimes this won’t apply. For instance, if any of the following contributed to the crash, you could file a claim or lawsuit against another party:
- Independent contractor
- Auto manufacturer
- Car or tire designer
- City, county, or state
If the driver was not an employee of the trucking company and was an independent contractor instead, you may need to pursue the driver directly for your damages. Likewise, if faulty equipment or design flaws caused the crash, you can seek compensation from the manufacturer or designer. We may even consider if a city, county, or state was liable for poor road maintenance.
Don’t be discouraged if the trucking company finds a way out of being held liable for your collision. We can investigate all of the factors that contributed to your crash and identify other negligent parties.
What Can You Do Next? Call Our Office
You can learn more about whether to sue a trucking company for an accident caused by their driver by calling for a free consultation with Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. We can evaluate who can be held liable for your serious injuries and help you pursue compensation. We can assist clients in Spanish. Call today: (631) 451-7900.