The massive size, length, and weight of a truck create the recipe for catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. This is because the momentum these large trucks generate needs to be dispelled into whatever they strike, usually a significantly smaller motor vehicle such as a car, SUV, or motorcycle. There are no other motor vehicles on the road that pose a greater magnitude of danger than a truck such as a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck. In the last year of reported statistics, there were over 11,000 New York truck accidents causing almost 4,000 injuries.
A truck accident is generally premised on a theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal theory that imposes a duty of care on an individual’s conduct. If that individual’s conduct falls below the standard of care in which a reasonable prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances, that individual is said to breach the standard of care and can be liable for any reasonably foreseeable harm or damages.
In addition to state laws, federal trucking regulations make evaluating a truck accident case significantly more involved. This requires your personal injury attorney to evaluate both the standard of care a truck driver was required to meet, but also the labyrinth of regulations and guidelines that must be followed. A failure to follow such regulations and guidelines could be used as evidence of negligence through a theory of negligence per se.
Further, in truck accident cases the trucking company itself may also be liable for the conduct of the driver. And with any motor vehicle accident, the roadway may have been defectively designed or maintained by the State or a municipality but still sanctioned for truck use. Therefore, some of the negligent conduct and federal violations that may be used to help prove your case could be as follows:
- Failure to follow federal fatigue and rest guidelines;
- Distracted driving on cell phones, GPS, or hand-held radios;
- Failing to keep an accurate logbook (or forging logbooks);
- Failing to perform required maintenance and safety checks;
- Negligent hiring;
- Inadequate training;
- Excessive speed;
- Improper safety equipment;
- Defective truck equipment;
- Failing to exercise proper care in snow and rain;
- Unsafe or excessive load;
- Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign;
- Failure to yield;
- Driver fatigue;
- Inexperienced operator;
- Drunk driving; and
- Failing to properly paint route or using roadways not sanctioned for trucks.
Unfortunately, many of the causes of truck accidents can be avoided. But while trucking is an important industry, it is still a business. This means many operators are willing to turn a blind eye to unsafe practices to increase their profits. As such, our experienced law firm has the resources to thoroughly investigate your claim to ensure commercial trucking companies are complying with state and federal laws, regulations, and guidelines.
Unique to truck accidents are the types of accidents that they may cause. These accidents can create special hazards for you and other motorists attempting to navigate an accident scene. Thus, in addition to more common types of motor vehicle accidents such as rear-end collisions or T-bone crashes, the following is a unique list of types of truck accidents:
- Jack-knife accidents – where the trailer skids in such a way to form a 90 degree angle with the truck cabin;
- Overloaded cargo – where the truck is transporting an unsafe amount of cargo;
- Unsecured loads – where the cargo is improperly secured;
- Wheel blow outs – when a tire tread is ill-maintained, old, or defective and explodes causing a loss of control and scattering shrapnel to the road;
- Improper loading of cargo – where the truck is loading in a manner that may cause it to topple over; and
- Undercarriage accidents – where a motor vehicle is trapped under the trailer.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York State truck accident, contact us for a free case evaluation today. The statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the accident and could be even shorter—including only ninety (90) days if the State or a municipality is involved. We are dedicated to compassionately and zealously protecting your rights and seeking the compensation you desire.
The Hudson truck accident attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.