Experienced Bronx Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck or semi-truck, you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced Bronx truck accident lawyer.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental injury and death in the United States.
These accidents can involve any type of motorized vehicle, from RVs to motorcycles, but those involving commercial trucks are among the deadliest.
In fact, eleven percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2018 involved a large truck. Due to their massive size and weight, extended blind spots, and long braking distance, 18-wheeler crashes frequently involve catastrophic injuries, and often result in death.
When a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle have a significantly higher risk of death. A whopping 96 percent of fatalities in commercial truck-passenger vehicle collisions are occupants of the smaller vehicle. This is for multiple reasons:
- It is not uncommon for trucks to weigh as much as 30 times more than cars.
- Due to the height of a commercial truck, ground clearance can be so great that smaller cars can actually slide under trucks in crashes. Known as underride accidents, these crashes are frequently deadly.
- Trucks with loaded trailers may require a stopping distance of up to 40 percent farther than passenger vehicles, and this discrepancy can be even greater in adverse weather conditions.
- Crashes involving large trucks are significantly more likely to involve multiple vehicles.
At the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn, our experienced Bronx truck accident lawyers have been protecting the rights of victims for more than three decades. Do not attempt to navigate the highly-complex process of truck accident injury claims without skilled legal counsel by your side.
Contact us today at 718-409-5500 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Why You Need a Bronx Truck Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a large truck accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Bronx truck accident lawyer immediately.
In addition to the likelihood for significant damages, many truck accident lawsuits involve multiple parties. Even if the accident was caused by the truck driver’s negligence, it is possible that the trucking company and third-party vendors or contractors are also liable.
Consider the following scenario: George crashed his company’s big rig into a passenger vehicle when he fell asleep behind the wheel. George is likely liable as a result of his negligence, but what if the trucking company authorized George to work beyond the legal limit of hours in order to make a timely delivery? The trucking company may also be liable; George’s fatigue was a direct result of excessive hours behind the wheel without a break.
Third-party vendors and manufacturers can also be liable in trucking accidents. Let’s say that Stephanie tried to brake her 18-wheeler to avoid a multi-vehicle collision ahead, but she couldn’t stop in time because the brakes failed. If the brakes were well-maintained but had a manufacturing defect, the manufacturer may be liable.
If the brakes were well designed, but the mechanic failed to replace worn brake pads during an inspection because he wanted to leave work early, the mechanic may be liable. And if the well-designed brake pads were old and worn and the trucking company had failed to send the truck for proper maintenance, the trucking company may be liable.
As you can see, there are many potential parties in a truck accident lawsuit. As such, it is imperative to consult with an injury attorney experienced in commercial truck accidents. Contact a Bronx 18-wheeler accident lawyer today.
Types of Truck Accident Cases We Handle
At the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn, our experienced truck accident attorneys represent victims in cases involving all types of large commercial vehicles, including:
- 18 wheelers
- Dump trucks
- Charter buses
- School buses
- Garbage trucks
- Tow trucks
- Box trucks
- Moving trucks
- Concrete trucks
- Fuel trucks
- Sweeper trucks
Depending on the type of vehicle and severity of injuries and property damage, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation by bringing a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties. Contact a NY truck accident lawyer today to see if you have a valid case.
Types of Commercial Truck Accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were a total of 5,096 fatal large truck and bus crashes in 2018, nationwide. This is a 48 percent increase from this country’s fatal crash-rate low in 2009.
In 2017, there were 1,000 total fatalities in motor vehicle accidents in New York state and 101 of those involved a large truck. Although fatal accidents can happen anywhere in the state, most occur in or around New York City.
The following is a list of 18-wheeler accidents that frequently result in serious injury or death:
Truck rollovers are one of the deadliest trucking accidents. More than 75 percent of all truck rollovers are caused by driver error, and 20 percent of those involve driver fatigue or distraction. Brake defects and other equipment malfunctions can also contribute to rollovers; according to the FMCSA, about 54 percent of rollovers involve a brake defect. Tire blowouts, and improperly or overloaded cargo can also lead to a rollover.
Jackknife accidents occur when a tractor-trailer essentially folds itself in half while the vehicle is in motion. When the back end swings around, forming a 90-degree angle, the results are often deadly. Oncoming traffic can crash into the trailer, causing serious injury or death. Jackknife crashes may occur when a driver takes a curve or turn too quickly. Speed, driver distraction, and improperly loaded cargo are also frequent factors.
Trailer detachments occur when a truck’s trailer suddenly and unexpectedly releases from the truck while in motion. The consequences are often catastrophic. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and the detached trailer may account for about 60,000 of that. When a 60,000 pound object traveling at 65 mph breaks loose, there is bound to be tremendous damage to anything in its path. This is even more concerning when the trailer is carrying hazardous materials. When a truck driver or trucking company fails to ensure that a trailer is properly attached before hitting the road, or defective equipment malfunctions, any resulting damages may be recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Underride accidents, which occur when a small car slides under a truck in a collision, are one of the most fatal types of crash involving large trucks. Underride accidents are often a result of truck driver negligence in the form of speeding, sudden stops, and making illegal turns. These accidents are most common when a passenger vehicle rear-ends or is in a T-bone collision with a commercial truck.
Wide turns are just another day’s work for tractor-trailer drivers, but they can create a severely hazardous situation. Large trucks often have to swing out wide to complete a sharp turn. When a passenger vehicle is traveling too near a truck and doesn’t anticipate the wide turn, it can easily get squeezed between the truck and the guardrail or road embankment.
What Causes Most 18-wheeler Accidents in New York
Although most truck drivers follow the law and do their best to protect the safety of everyone with whom they share the road, there are exceptions. And sadly, these exceptions are far too common. Unfortunately, negligence is often a factor in truck crashes involving serious injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents in New York include:
- Substance abuse
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Inadequate driver training
- Reckless driving
- Improperly loaded or secured cargo
- Improperly secured trailer
- Faulty or defective equipment
- Poor vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Tire blowouts
- Poorly designed or maintained roadways
The FMCSA and the NHTSA conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study to determine the primary causes of serious accidents involving trucks over 10,000 pounds. Of the crashes studied, 73 percent involved a collision with another vehicle or multiple vehicles. The top 10 causes, in descending order, were:
- Brake issues
- Interruption in traffic flow
- Truck driver’s use of prescription drugs
- Using excessive speed for road/weather conditions
- Lack of familiarity with the roadway
- Failing to come to a complete stop, such as at a crosswalk
- Effects of over-the-counter drugs
- Inadequate supervision
- Driver fatigue
Driver Fatigue and the FMCSA Hours-of-Service Rules
With fatigued or drowsy driving being a factor in many commercial trucking accidents, the FMCSA has imposed strict limits on how many hours truck drivers can be behind the wheel without taking a break.
Currently, they are permitted to drive for 11 hours straight, but only after a rest period of 10 consecutive off-duty hours. Furthermore, drivers must take a break of at least 30 minutes once they have reached eight hours of cumulative driving.
Despite these strict regulations, many truck drivers continue to drive without the required breaks, and many trucking companies encourage this. Time is money, and this is particularly true of cargo deliveries, which are often compensated based on delivery time. Truck drivers must maintain log books to show compliance with hours-of-service regulations.
If your Bronx truck accident attorney determines that the truck driver had exceeded these time limits when your accident occurred, you will likely be entitled to compensation for any injuries or property damages sustained.
Even when a truck driver is in compliance with FMCSA hours-of-service regulations, driver fatigue can contribute to an accident. Anyone who’s ever driven for more than 10 hours straight knows how easy it is to get sleepy behind the wheel. And studies show that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Fatigue is one of the reasons that substance abuse is a problem for some truck drivers. Long hours behind the wheel, the stress of bumper-to-bumper traffic and trying to make deliveries on time, and extended periods of solitude can lead to exhaustion, depression, and all manner of mental health issues.
To combat these problems, some truck drivers turn to illegal substances, such as methamphetamines (to stay awake) and others to deal with anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Common Injuries Arising from Large Truck Crashes
Sadly, collisions with large trucks often result in serious injuries or death. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to the back and neck
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Chronic pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a collision with a large truck, it is in your best interest to seek immediate legal counsel.
The highly-knowledgeable and experienced injury team at the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn can help you protect your rights, and determine how to proceed.
Contact a Bronx truck accident lawyer today at 718-409-5500 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
New York Truck Accident Laws
As a no-fault auto insurance state, New York obligates an injured person to file a claim under his/her own auto insurance policy after an auto accident. This is regardless of who is responsible for the crash. If, however, negligence was involved, you can step outside of this no-fault process and bring a claim against the at-fault driver and other at-fault parties.
New York is also a comparative negligence state, which means that the injury victim may still recover damages if he/she was partially at fault, but that recovery will be based on the percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say that Sally is injured in a car accident with Harold. When Sally’s medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage are added up, the total damages are calculated to be $100,000. If Harold had been solely responsible for the accident, the entire $100,000 would have been awarded to Sally. But while Harold is found to be 80 percent responsible for the crash, Sally is found to be 20 percent responsible. As such, Sally’s recovery will be reduced by 20 percent (her share of fault), and she will receive $80,000.
Filing a Claim After a Commercial Truck Accident in New York
The reality is that commercial trucks are a vital part of American life. Without commercial trucks and the men and women who drive them, our access to healthy food, essential products, and life-saving medicines and medical equipment would be severely limited.
Even so, there is no denying that tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and big rigs pose a real threat to our safety. Although most truck drivers utilize safe driving practices, there are exceptions. When the negligence of a truck driver, trucking company, or third-party vendor causes you harm, you may wish to file a personal injury claim.
Seek Legal Counsel
Step one in the claims process is to consult with an experienced NY truck accident lawyer. In a collision involving a large truck, there are multiple possible defendants. While legal representation is valuable in any type of motor vehicle accident case, it is imperative in commercial truck accident cases.
Your attorney can evaluate your unique case, conduct a thorough investigation, determine at-fault parties, gather evidence to substantiate your claim, calculate damages, handle all paperwork and involved parties, and negotiate with insurance companies for the maximum settlement.
At the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn, our goal is to reach a pre-trial settlement, but if this is not possible, we are prepared to litigate your case in court.
There are many moving pieces and potential at-fault parties in a truck accident case, and larger trucking companies have the money and legal representation to all but make your injury claim disappear if you don’t have skilled legal counsel by your side.
Our experienced truck accident team has extensive experience with commercial truck accidents. We know how trucking companies and their insurers think, and we will use this knowledge to find weaknesses in their case and position you for the best possible outcome.
We will provide you with an honest evaluation of your case and ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward with any legal strategy.
You’ve been through enough; let us handle the rest so that you can focus on healing and getting your life back in order. Contact a Bronx 18-wheeler accident lawyer today.
New York Statute of Limitations on 18-Wheeler Accidents
As with most other motor vehicle and personal injury accidents, the NY statute of limitations on truck accidents is three years from the date on which the accident occurred.
If the victim died as a result of the collision—whether immediately or after a period of time, eligible family members may bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties. However, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death.
Except under very limited circumstances, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case if you fail to file a claim within the allotted time frame (three years from the date of the accident for personal injury and two years from the date of death for wrongful death). If this happens, you will lose your right to recover any damages.
Types of Damages You Can Receive in New York for a Truck Accident Claim
If another’s negligent, reckless, or careless actions have caused you harm, you may be entitled to obtain compensation for any damages. In the legal world, the word damages refers to losses suffered in an injury case; these can be financial, emotional, and/or physical. Common damages in a truck accident case include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Alternative transportation costs
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
As with all personal injury cases, not all truck accident claims are the same. The amount of compensation you are eligible to receive will depend largely on the type and cause of the accident, the severity of your injuries, liability of all involved parties, quality of evidence, whether or not you were partially at fault for the accident and the competence of your legal representation.
Contact the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn Today
If you have been injured in a trucking accident due to another’s negligence, the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn can help.
Our highly-skilled and experienced truck accident team has successfully represented countless truck accident victims in New York, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining substantial compensation in a timely manner.
Serving the Bronx and surrounding areas for more than 30 years, Mr. Kohn has a deep and holistic understanding of the needs and values of this community.
Whether you speak English, Spanish, or Bengali, we have staff who can communicate with you in your native language. Our knowledgeable and compassionate injury team handles every client with compassion. And we don’t charge a dime unless you win.
Do not attempt to navigate the complex personal injury legal system without the assistance of skilled legal counsel.
Contact the Law Office of Evan W. Kohn today at 718-409-5500 for a free and confidential consultation about your case. We happily serve clients in downstate and upstate locations including Ulster & Delaware County. Zoom and Skype consultations are also available during the Covid-19 pandemic.