New York Truck Accident Lawyers
Accidents involving large trucks and tractor-trailers are one of the major causes of traffic-related deaths in the US. Although commercial trucks make up only a fraction of all traffic accidents, the enormous size and weight of a big rig make it more likely that any crash will cause catastrophic injury or death to the occupants of a passenger car that gets hit. Truck accidents are complex events; it takes special knowledge, skill and experience to investigate the crash, determine which party or parties are liable, and hold them accountable to the injured party. That’s what we do at Cohan Law Firm. Our dedicated team has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for motor vehicle accident victims in New York City, including crashes with 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a truck crash in Brooklyn, The Bronx, or throughout NYC, call our experienced New York truck accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your claims.
Dangers of Negligent Driving Truck Crashes in New York City
A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 70,000 pounds (35 tons). That’s more than 30 times heavier than the average passenger car. Because of their weight, even a low-speed truck crash imparts a tremendously devastating force to anything they hit. Because of their potential to cause so much destruction, truck drivers require special training and licensure, and the trucks themselves are subject to special laws and regulations designed to minimize the risk to the public of a large truck crash.
Truck drivers can get into crashes for many of the same reasons passenger car drivers do: speeding, distracted driving (texting while driving), drinking and driving, failing to signal, following too closely. The main difference is that a truck wreck is likely to be much more forceful than a car crash. Other characteristics of trucks versus cars also make accidents more likely. For instance, all vehicles have blind spots that drivers need to be aware of, but 18-wheelers have more blind spots on all sides of the truck, and they extend much farther than blind spots for smaller cars. This is just one example of why truck drivers must have specialized training and take extra care when operating their vehicles. Truck drivers have less room for error than other drivers on the road, and they can and should be held liable for accidents caused by preventable driving mistakes.
- Aggressive Driver/Road Rage
- Blind Spot Truck Accident
- Bus Accident
- Commercial Vehicle Accident
- Distracted Driving Accident
- Drowsy/Fatigued Truck Driver Accident
- Lane Departure Crash
- Municipal Vehicle Accident
- Negligent Truck Maintenance
- Overloaded Truck Accident
- Shoulder Accident
- Tractor Trailer Jackknife Accident
- “Squeeze Play” Truck Accident
- Truck Manufacturing Defect
- Unsafe Lane Change Accident
- Wide Turn/Swinging Turn Truck Accident
Common Causes of New York Truck Accidents: Negligent Loading, Maintenance, and Driver Fatigue
In addition to common negligent driving errors, truck drivers and trucking companies are at risk of causing crashes in other ways due to the nature of trucks and the trucking industry. These include negligent loading, negligent maintenance, and driver fatigue.
Flatbed trailers and containers must be carefully and skillfully loaded and secured to prevent truck accidents. If the truck is overloaded, the tires, brakes, or engine could fail due to the stress. If the cargo is not properly balanced, the driver could lose control of the vehicle, leading to a disastrous rollover or jackknife truck accident. If the load isn’t properly secured, the weight could shift during transit and cause the truck to become unbalanced, or the cargo could fly off of or out of the trailer, creating havoc on the road.
Loading the trailer might be the responsibility of the driver, the trucking company, the freight shipper, or some third party. Handling a truck accident case properly includes knowing how to investigate whether negligent loading caused the crash and determining who is responsible.
Big rigs are complex vehicles that require high-level, ongoing inspection and maintenance. Before every trip and even during the trip, truck drivers and trucking companies must examine and maintain countless vehicle components for safety, including brakes, brake lights, steering, reflectors, fluid levels, tires, the engine, and more. Expert investigation is often required to inspect records and the vehicle itself to determine whether a lack of adequate maintenance or negligent maintenance or repair played a role in the crash.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has authority over all interstate truck drivers and trucking companies, as well as commercial motor vehicles within the state transporting hazardous materials. FMCSA hours of service rules limit how much time a trucker can be on duty and behind the wheel without taking a break, including 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour duty period, no more than eight hours of driving without a 30-minute break, and a maximum of 60 hours of driving over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight straight days before taking 34 hours off.
Driver fatigue and exhaustion impair judgment, reflexes, attention, and all the skills required for safe driving, much less maintaining control of a 70,000-pound speeding behemoth. Even so, truck drivers and their employers push truckers to put in long hours, exerting high pressure on them to meet demanding deadlines. Drivers who stretch the FMCSA hours of service to the maximum put themselves at risk of dangerous fatigue, and a great many truckers are known to sidestep the rules and drive longer than allowed, despite the risks.
Get Help From Experienced New York Truck Accident Lawyers
Trucking companies as well as their insurers often conduct their own “analysis” of the accident that is designed to put victims at a disadvantage. It is imperative to retain an attorney who can perform their own thorough investigation that will demonstrate the liability of the trucker who caused the accident.
To protect your rights after a crash, avoid giving any statements to the insurance company or accepting any settlement offers until you have talked to a lawyer of your own, preferably one with a record of success handling serious car and truck accident injury cases. In NYC, call the Cohan Law Firm for a free consultation with an experienced and successful New York truck accident lawyer.