When a truck wreck causes serious injuries for you or a loved one, the New York Truck Accident Guide was created by personal injury attorney Stuart Glassmith to help injured residents obtain their maximum settlement against the insurance companies.
One of the most devastating types of vehicle accidents are truck accidents. When a passenger vehicle is involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler or large delivery truck, the results can be catastrophic. If your life was affected by a truck accident, please call and schedule a free consultation with our New York truck accident lawyers. You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation.
Why Truck Accidents Happen in New York
Semi-truck drivers and drivers of other specific types of large vehicles need a special driver’s license known as a CDL. To obtain that license, they must pass a test. Since these drivers are professionals, why do truck accidents happen in New York?
Truck accidents can involve many factors. The most common factors include:
- Fatigued driving. According to both federal and state law, truck drivers are limited on the amount of time that they may spend behind the wheel. Sadly, they’re often assigned unreasonable deadlines and are pressured to drive when they shouldn’t.
- Distracted driving. Many truck accidents in New York happen because truck drivers aren’t devoting all of their attention to the road.
- Driving while under the influence. When someone has a CDL, they have a different blood-alcohol content limit. For passenger vehicle operators who are at least 21 years old, they may have a BAC of up to .08%. Drivers with a CDL may not have a BAC that is higher than .04%. Driving under the influence can be caused by illegal drugs, legal prescriptions, and alcohol.
- Semi-trucks take longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Unexpected traffic jams or cars pulling out in front of a truck are big issues. Because of the weight of the truck, it takes it much longer to come to a stop.
- Improper truck maintenance. Not all truck drivers are required to perform maintenance or to ensure that proper maintenance is performed on the truck. This may be the job of the company that employs the driver. When truck maintenance is neglected in any way, it can create a big danger to both the truck driver and the public. Defective parts used during maintenance may also cause accidents to happen. In those cases, the manufacturer of the part may be held responsible.
- Improperly loaded and secured trailers. Truck drivers aren’t always responsible for the loading and securing of the goods they’re being paid to transport, but sometimes they are. When the goods aren’t properly loaded and secured, seemingly simple acts such as making a turn can cause the load to shift. If that happens, it can cause the entire truck to lose control.
Truck Accident Victims and Families May Be Eligible for Financial Compensation
A New York truck accident lawyer can help accident victims and their families get financially compensated because of how their lives changed. The compensation depends on the facts surrounding the case as well as the injuries and how they will continue to impact your life. The most common types of compensation include:
- Current medical expenses relating to the truck accident, including physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Medical expenses for future treatment, including physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Final expenses, including hospital expenses, burial expenses, and cremation expenses
- Loss of limb
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn a living
- The costs associated with modifying your home and/or vehicle because of your injuries
- Property damage
- Mental anguish
- Emotional duress
Truck Accidents Can Be Complicated – You Must Protect Your Legal Rights
Truck accidents may have more than one defendant. There could be at least one insurance company involved. These sorts of cases can be difficult to sort out. Yet, it’s up to you to make sure that your legal rights are protected. You cannot hope or trust that the driver, the trucking company, the insurance company, or another possible defendant will do the right thing and take responsibility for what happened to you.
Frequently Asked Questions | New York Truck Accident Guide
What Are My Rights?
If you are unfortunately the victim of a serious commercial motor vehicle accident, you have rights, especially in this setting. When dealing with commercial vehicles, there’s almost always insurance that covers these vehicles, and often the policies are quite big. Because of the nature of these type of vehicles, the owners want to protect and insulate themselves from receiving any potential serious injury claims. Especially in these types of cases, it’s important to seek out counsel that’s experienced with these cases, that represented victims many times in the past in these types of cases, so that your rights are properly being protected.
Why Should I Contact a Lawyer?
If you are involved in a truck accident or a commercial vehicle accident, it’s important to immediately seek out counsel. There are several reasons for this. It’s not just because there are eventual deadlines in trying to get money from the defendant or the insurance company that caused the accident, but also because it allows your attorneys an immediate opportunity to start that investigation to look into whose fault it was.
You know these insurance companies are aggressively investigating the claim right away. They’re trying to protect their rights; they’re trying to aggressively make sure they don’t have exposure. You want to have someone on your side doing these same things, so that you have a level playing field. You should have a situation where your truth will come out one day, and you will get fairness in that situation. That’s what we’re really looking for here; to be properly represented. You want to have the attorney who’s experienced and knows how to handle these cases, so that these insurance companies aren’t ahead of that starting line.
Should I Speak with the Insurance Companies?
When a client is seriously injured in a truck or commercial vehicle accident, often the insurance company will reach out to you and will try to talk to you. It’s important that you be careful with this and you speak to a qualified attorney because you want an even playing field with them. Hopefully at this point you have your own attorney; if not, you should find an attorney if you want to pursue a claim.
You want to have proper counsel. You want to know how to handle this or whether you should even speak to such a carrier. That’s something that your attorney can often do for you. These insurance companies don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. They have their own insured, they have their own client that they’re looking out for, so it’s important that you have someone looking out for you.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
When someone is seriously injured in a truck or commercial vehicle accident, sometimes they don’t seek an attorney because they feel that the accident was in some way their own fault. This is something that people are often confused about. In the state of New York, even if you have a part to play, so to speak, in this accident that’s not a bar to your recovery. You’re still entitled to recovery based on the percentage of fault that’s attributable to the truck that caused the accident, with respect to that part of the fault.
If you’re seriously injured in an accident, don’t think you don’t have a right to recovery because you feel you may have done something wrong, too, or feel you may be partly to blame. That could affect your recovery, but that is not a bar to recovery. In many cases, you may be wrong. You may think something was more your fault when, it was more the other person’s fault. It’s important to seek out an experienced attorney who knows how to handle these cases, knows the issues involved, and is going to represent your interests to the fullest.
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
Picking the right attorney is a very important decision. When you meet your attorney, make sure you feel comfortable, that this isn’t someone who’s phony; this isn’t someone who’s trying to make a quick dollar.
Make sure this is someone who cares about what they do, who represents accident victims as the heart of their practice. Find someone who is not going to sell your case short, or take the quick offer. They should be willing to push and push until they feel they’ve gotten every last penny. They should carefully consider not just the pain and suffering from the date of the accident till that point in time, but what can be expected in the future.
It’s very important that you pick someone who has a lot of experience in that specific area, like our firm does. It’s very important that you find someone who you feel is going to put in a fight, who you feel is going to care about what you’re going through, and who is going to be there on your side every step of the way.
Should I Take a First Settlement Offer?
If a client has a serious injury because of a truck accident, at some point along the way that person will be given an offer from the insurance company. It’s important that you have counsel who can guide you through this because that first offer is not going to be your best offer. They’re not trying to be fair, which often is the case because you don’t have a full gauge of what the future holds for you. It’s important that you have an attorney who not just parses through and has a good understanding of the medicals, and the bills, and the suffering you’ve gone through from the date of the accident to the day of that initial offer, but also to kind of look at and understand what’s going to be reasonably expected in the future health wise.
Even if you don’t need future care, therapy, or surgery, how is your life going to be affected. How are you going to be able to return to normal life? You’re entitled to compensation for your quality of life, and the suffering you endure. All of this must be fully understood by someone who’s an expert in this and understands what’s to be expected into the future. This is often done by understanding your medicals up to that point, but even more so what medicals and trauma, injuries or limitations, can be expected in the future. That first offer is not always going to be the best.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
When someone is seriously injured in a commercial vehicle accident, it’s important to understand that there is a statute of limitations. There is a specific, finite amount of time you must bring a case and an action. Even more so depending on whether that vehicle was owned by a municipality, the state, the city, or truck company, you have even stricter timelines. In general, it’s important to immediately seek out counsel to make sure your rights are being protected, and to make sure all these nuances are being followed.
There are also certain rules with respect to no-fault applications which would protect your rights to make sure your medical bills and lost wages are paid. Those have their own set of guidelines, and you must have an attorney like us who specifically knows these guidelines, who’s experienced in handling these cases, and who makes a large part of their practice just doing these types of cases. It’s important to not waste time, to seek out counsel, and to make sure all these guidelines are being followed properly.
How Long Will the Case Take?
While you can get some insight right from the beginning, based on the type of injury, type of case, and insurance company that insures the truck or the commercial vehicle that struck you, there is a sense of how long it will take. The specifics really depend on you, your recovery, and how you’re doing. It’s never a good idea to sell yourself short. It’s never a good idea for your attorney to sell your case short. It’s important for them to parse this all out, to feel very comfortable that they have a good grasp of what’s to be expected into the future.
This is your one opportunity to make sure you’re compensated. If you’re not, down the road, you have all these issues that you thought were going to resolve but haven’t, or you have new subsequent consequences from your initial injury. You can’t look back. You can’t have a second chance once you settle your case or you have a verdict on your case. It’s important that you understand it may take a little longer in certain situations, but in those situations there’s a reason for it.
Make sure your attorney is pushing your case aggressively, not wasting any time, which is the way we believe in practicing law here. That’s very important, that no time is wasted in terms of the actual attorney moving your case forward, but at the same time keeping an eye on the future and what’s expected and making sure they’re very well-versed on what they expect to happen in your case so there are no surprises.
How Much Will My Case be Worth?
You can get a gauge as an attorney, when you review the bills, and you review the records, and you understand all the suffering and everything that’s happened up to this point, but even with that gauge, it’s hard to say. There are a lot of factors that come into play.
One of the factors that you don’t necessarily have a great hold on at the beginning is how you will be in the future. Not everyone heals the same. Not everyone feels the same a year after the accident. It’s important to understand the individual, and it’s important to let it play out a little and see how the individual is doing. Your attorney will to speak to experts who examine you, how you’re doing thus far, and really get a good sense of how you’re going to be down the road. You are entitled to compensation for that, and quite often large amounts of money, depending on what your injuries are. You don’t want to sell yourself short. The answer is not necessarily an exact number, but in time, the picture becomes a lot clearer in terms of what that range is of what you should get.
As an attorney, we want to make sure you get to the top of that range. We want to make sure you get compensation we feel is very fair for your client. Your attorney is your guardian of the case. They’re there to make sure that you’re taking care of after your life has been up heaved. We can’t bring back your health as your attorney, but we can make sure that you’re compensated fairly for what you’re undergoing and what we expect you to undergo in the future.
New York Truck Accident Attorney Fighting for Your Rights
If you have any questions, please call and schedule a free consultation with one of our New York truck accident lawyers. We’ll evaluate your case and help you protect your legal rights. To learn more about how we can help you, call Krause & Glassmith right away.