According to the local Department of Transportation, New York City generally suffers more than 10,000 truck accidents a year, resulting in thousands of personal injuries and dozens of wrongful deaths. Often known as big rigs, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks, these behemoths — due to their sheer size and weight — can wreak considerable damage on both property and humans.
If you or a loved one has been injured — or worse, suffered the loss of a loved one — in a truck accident, don’t rely solely on your insurance company to look out for your best interests. Insurance companies instinctively protect the bottom line. Seek professional legal representation.
At the Law Offices of Jessica A. Almeida, I proudly serve all of New York including Manhattan and New York City. I will stand up for your rights and help you take proper legal action to pursue fair compensation for your loss, pain, and suffering by assigning the liability where it belongs.
Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seeks to limit the number of hours a day — and days a week — truck drivers can operate their vehicles, the majority of truck accidents are due to driver fatigue and error. Even with FMCSA restrictions, drivers can be on the road nonstop for 11 hours a day for up to eight straight days!
According to FMCSA, driver-caused truck accidents result from four “critical reasons”:
Falling asleep, or impairment from physical issues such as heart attack
Distraction or inattention
Driving too fast or too close to other vehicles
Driver panic or overreaction
Drivers are not the only factors in truck accidents. In what FMCSA calls “associated factors,” brakes were the leading non-operator cause of truck accidents, resulting in 29% of all non-driver accidents. Brakes can be traced to various sources – including the manufacturer, the trucking company, and the maintenance crew. Tires weren’t far behind when accounting for factors leading to truck accidents. However, 15 of the 19 associated factors were all related to drivers.
Thus in any given accident, liability can clearly be shared among many individuals and entities.
In addition to the reasons and factors given above — including driver and mechanical issues — assessing overall liability requires much scrutiny and careful examination.
Many drivers of vehicles, in trying to outmaneuver a truck, can misjudge distances or traveling speeds and cause the truck driver to react in a way that jeopardizes both truck and vehicle. Truck drivers also are faced with significant blind spots both behind and next to their vehicles. Road conditions due to weather, maintenance and other factors can also play a significant role in a tractor-trailer’s navigating its route safely.
Interestingly, the factors that lead to truck accidents caused by trucks and truck drivers are the same factors that lead to truck accidents caused by other vehicles and their drivers.
FMCSA requires that trucks maintain log books outlining their maintenance and inspection results. These logs — which unfortunately can be doctored post facto — must be scrutinized carefully in determining liability.
If you’re involved in any type of traffic accident – and I represent people in New York in all types of accidents – there are four immediate steps you should take:
Seek medical evaluation: Even if you seem to feel fine after the accident, you should be examined by a medical professional.
Gather evidence and witness information: Documentation such as police reports or witness accounts can create a strong foundation for your injury claim.
Contact your insurance company: Immediately filing a claim with your insurance company will put things into motion without delay.
Hire a personal injury attorney: With the help of an attorney, experienced in truck accident cases, you can start the legal process to seek compensation.
If your loved one has been incapacitated or suffered loss of life, then obtaining the professional services of a personal injury attorney is essential. There can be multiple avenues of liability that need to be pursued that can overwhelm any individual seeking resolution and fair compensation.
As you can see from the above discussions, there are just so many factors involved in a truck accident — and so many who can be held liable — that the professional counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney is essential. You don’t ever want to find yourself negotiating with an insurance company without legal representation in situations as complex as truck accidents.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident, you don’t have to go through it alone. I will help you fight for fair compensation. I proudly serve clients in all of New York including Westchester, Long Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the surrounding areas of New York City. For a free consultation, contact me at the Law Offices of Jessica A. Almeida today.