Long Island Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a semi-truck crash, you’re almost certainly dealing with devastating injuries and losses. Find out how to get compensated by working with a Long Island truck accident lawyer.
An accident with an 18-wheeler or a semi-truck can be a frightening experience. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh 80,000 pounds, which is more than sixteen times the weight of the average passenger car. When a large truck like that is involved in an accident, it can mean devastating consequences for the people in the smaller vehicle.
It can be difficult to know what to do after such a wreck. The experience can up-end everything—your finances, physical abilities, and emotional state alike. What’s worse is that trucking companies often have safeguards in place in the form of legal protections that can make it very challenging to get the settlement you’re owed from those at fault.
By working with a legal ally who understands the trucking company’s insurance protections, you can gain an invaluable representative who will fight for your rights. A Long Island truck accident attorney with Siler & Ingber, LLP will have experience standing up to the trucking companies—and winning. Call now for a free case evaluation.
Long Island Truck Accident Statistics
Truck accident case statistics in Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County and all of New York indicate a worrisome trend of potentially avoidable losses. A loaded 18-wheeler truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, creating a life-threatening impact even at low speeds. Here are a few key truck accident statistics for New York indicating the risk present for every driver sharing the road with trucks. These statistics come from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
- According to 2014 data, 83 percent of all truck-related accidents are due to human error.
- There were 11,848 car accidents involving large trucks in the state in 2014. Of those, there were 74 fatalities.
- A key factor in Long Island truck accidents is driver inattention or driver distraction, causing the death of 7 people in 2014 and 654 serious injuries across 1,978 accidents.
- Failure to yield caused the death of 12 people as well as injuries to 425 people, across 1, 176 incidents.
- Improper use of a lane was the cause of 8 deaths and 260 injuries in 1,094 accidents involving large trucks in Long Island and the surrounding area.
- Of all of the truck-related incidents, 344 were considered serious incidents with significant human loss or damage.
In many of these truck accidents, the driver is responsible for mistakes that created human loss or property loss of another driver. Some may be the result of company pressures to operate long hours without enough sleep (or breaks in between shifts) or improper management of truck driver time behind the wheel.
What Causes Long Island Truck Accidents?
The causes of truck accidents can be much more difficult to determine than you might think. That’s because the trucking industry involves a chain of various people who, when they act carelessly, can put other drivers at risk.
The following are some examples of parties who might be responsible for Long Island 18-wheeler accidents:
- Truck Drivers – More often than not, truck drivers are responsible for the accidents they’re involved in. Truckers can cause accidents by driving drowsy, distracted, or drunk. They may also fail to follow traffic laws.
- Trucking Companies – The company that owns or manages the truck involved in your accident can be held financially responsible for your injuries under certain circumstances. For instance, if the trucking company forced the truck driver to drive for an amount of time that exceeded federal or state regulations, you might be able to name the company in your claim for compensation.
- Cargo Loaders – Improperly loaded cargo can fall onto the road or cause 18-wheelers to tip over. When that happens, other drivers may wreck as a result. If the person who loaded the cargo acted negligently, you might be able to hold him or her responsible.
- Manufacturers – Manufacturers of all types of products have an obligation to produce products that are safe to use. This includes manufacturers of truck parts. If, for example, the brakes on the 18-wheeler failed and caused your Long Island accident, you might be able to hold the brakes manufacturer accountable.
- Government Agencies – This is a tricky one, but it’s more common than you might think. Essentially, government agencies are responsible for the safety of the public roads in their jurisdiction. If they failed to keep the road free of hazards and a road hazard caused the 18-wheeler accident that injured you, they can be held responsible.
Types of Truck Accidents
All truck accidents are serious and can result in death or severe injuries to those involved. Not all accidents are alike and there are several different types of truck accidents.
- Jackknife: This happens when a semi-truck is pulling a trailer. The trailer, whether empty or full of cargo, may begin to sway, causing the driver to lose control. When the vehicle comes to a stop, the cab and trailer are facing opposite directions and have the appearance of a jackknife. The position makes it impossible for the cab to move.
- Rollover: This is self-descriptive. A rollover truck accident is often caused by shifting cargo when the truck is going up or down an incline. They also happen when a tire strikes the edge of the roadway, when the driver turns too sharply, is traveling at too fast a speed for road conditions, or any number of other reasons.
- Underside: When a truck stops suddenly, the car or motorcycle traveling behind it may not be able to stop in time and instead, rolls right under the truck, hence the term underside. This type of accident generally results in catastrophic injuries or death to the car or motorcycle driver and complete destruction of the vehicle.
- Tire blowout: The massive weight of a truck makes a tire blowout accident more dangerous than a similar accident on an automobile. A rollover accident resulting from a tire blowout is common since the truck driver will often lose control of the large vehicle when a tire blows out.
Who’s at Fault for a Truck Accident Injuries
When you contact a Long Island truck accident lawyer from our firm, the first thing we need to do is review all aspects of your case to determine who is at fault. There are many people involved with the maintenance, operation, loading, and driving of an 18-wheeler and any of them could have contributed to the crash.
For example, one entity may own the truck, another party may be responsible for loading the truck, and a separate organization could have manufactured the truck’s parts. The truck driver is just one factor in a multi-person/company operation. It’s necessary to determine which of these parties were negligent so that you can name them all in your personal injury claim.
Driving Behaviors That Cause Truck Accidents
If the trucker was at fault in your accident, there are a number of dangerous driving behaviors in which he or she could have engaged in that led to the accident. These include the following:
- Distracted Driving – Any distracted driver is a danger to all other motorists on the road. This is especially true when one driver is behind the wheel of an industrial truck. Distracted driving behaviors include texting, eating, or doing anything else while driving.
- Drowsy Driving – Fatigue is a common problem experienced by truck drivers. Many trucking companies have compensation systems that reward drivers for traveling many miles on little sleep. A violation of the federal laws limiting hours driven without rest could implicate either the trucker or the trucking company.
- Drunk Driving – Drunk or drugged driving is a grossly negligent behavior. It becomes even more dangerous when a driver is operating a massive vehicle such as a tractor-trailer.
- Speeding – Excessive speed is involved in a substantial number of fatal truck accidents. As this is a choice made by the driver, you can hold him or her responsible.
- Improper Braking – If a truck driver fails to apply the brakes in a timely manner, a two-vehicle accident or multi-car pileup can result.
- Jackknifing – This is often the result of speeding. An 18-wheeler traveling over 55 mph is difficult to stop; if the driver must make a sudden stop, he or she may jackknife and obstruct multiple lanes of traffic.
Dealing with the Trucking Company’s Insurance
After a trucking accident, you may be dealing with an extremely difficult situation. Perhaps you are in severe physical pain, facing mountains of car repair bills, or maybe you’re dealing with a loved one’s severe injury, brain injury, or death. In such a state, you’re in no position to make decisions that represent your best interests.
Unfortunately, this is precisely the time when a trucking company’s lawyers or insurance representatives will try to take advantage of your situation. Trucking companies have teams of trained litigators who are very good at what they do: protect the trucking company.
Representatives of the trucking company’s insurance team often immediately come to the scene of the accident to take pictures and collect reports, all with one goal in mind: discredit the victim and protect the trucking company’s profits. Right away, you may be asked to sign a waiver designed to reflect the company’s best interests.
Your Long Island personal injury lawyer will understand the trucking company’s tactics and how an insurer may try to take advantage of you when you are in an extremely vulnerable position. Our firm will ensure that you’re represented fairly and work to get you every penny that you’re owed.
Value of a Truck Accident Claim
In the immediate aftermath of a truck wreck, the trucking company may offer you a settlement. While it can be tempting to accept a settlement right away, such an offer might only cover your most obvious damages. We at Siler & Ingber, LLP
evaluate the value of each case and do not look to settle at the first offer from the insurance company. Instead, we prepare every case as if it will go to trial, thereby maximizing the result.
A Long Island truck accident lawyer from our office will know that the physical, emotional, and financial costs can be incredibly steep after a collision—and that those costs can keep coming. We will work with your doctor to take into account all the ways you have been negatively impacted by your injuries and what you’ve been through:
- Car repairs or replacement
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages and income-earning opportunities
- Needed physical and emotional therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The negative effects of a commercial trucking accident can be both long-lasting and far-reaching. Your Long Island truck accident lawyer will understand that after a crash, your entire world can be turned upside-down. When the accident was caused by a trucker or trucking company and the responsible parties are more interested in protecting their bottom lines than in getting you the settlement you deserve, insult is added to the injury.
Truck Accident Settlements and Lawsuits
Truck accidents in Long Island occur for various reasons. When the truck driver or his or her company is responsible for the losses another driver faces, that victim has the ability to file a lawsuit or obtain a settlement for what he or she lost. Yet, this can be a complex situation because many factors contribute to the losses the driver incurs.
Compensation for All Losses
Whether a small box truck or an 18-wheeler, the amount of any truck accident settlement in Long Island will specifically relate to the actual financial losses the individual suffers. Examples of these losses include the following:
- Medical loss compensation for all medical expenses, hospital stays, and both short- and long-term medical care the individual needs
- Lost time at work or lost income related to the incident
- Any type of counseling or non-medical care a patient needs to recover from the incident, such as chiropractic care or acupuncturist care
- Losses related to pain and suffering, including loss of companionship
- Any type of loss related to the individual’s ability to work or ability to return to the same position, such as a loss of a limb or incapacity
- Wrongful Death, due to the incident, and losses family members suffer as a result of losing a loved one
- Property damage losses including damage to the vehicle
Because Long Island truck accident settlements can be significant, it is essential to work closely with an attorney to calculate all types of losses suffered immediately after the incident and in the long term.
Truck Accident FAQ
One thing you don’t have to worry about is getting the answers you need to your concerns. Below, you’ll find answers to a few common questions. Please contact our office to speak with a Long Island truck accident lawyer if you would like additional information.
Can the owner of the cargo be responsible in a commercial trucking accident?
It’s possible, but certain conditions would need to be present. In general, the cargo would need to be dangerous somehow, such as by being flammable or toxic, and the carrier would need to have been uninformed of this, thereby preventing them from taking the proper precautions.
Is the trucker responsible if I wrecked because of a lost load?
The trucker certainly has a responsibility to make certain that the cargo was ready for transport before getting on the road. The company who loaded the cargo could also be at fault, as could the company who made the restraints if they failed due to a defect of some sort.
Will I get compensated if the trucker who hit me was arrested for drunk driving?
While a drunk driving conviction can certainly help prove your case for compensation, it won’t automatically award you with the money you need. For that, you’ll still need to file a claim against the intoxicated commercial truck driver or his or her employer.
18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers
The injuries you suffer in a truck accident are more than enough to put your life on hold. Get your life back with the help of a Long Island 18-wheeler crash lawyer.
Long Island sees its fair share of commercial truck accidents. Given the massive size of these vehicles, the associated injuries are almost always severe, and the drivers of smaller vehicles are usually the ones who suffer most.
The difficult truth about truck accidents is that they’re often the fault of the trucker or someone else in the trucking industry. That’s unfair and unfortunate, but you can fight back.
A Long Island 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve after you’ve been hurt in a large truck accident. The law firm of Siler & Ingber, LLP won’t back down until your claim for compensation is resolved.
Contact a Long Island Truck Accident Lawyer
The road to recovery may seem impossibly long, but help is available for accident victims. Contact a Long Island truck accident lawyer with Siler & Ingber, LLP
today. To get started with a free consultation, call 1-516-294-2666
or use the online contact form found on this page.