Queens Truck Accident Lawyers
While truck accident litigation has many similarities to other vehicle accident law, the sheer size of a truck and the potential damage that they can cause make it unique. A collision between a commercial truck and a mid-sized SUV or sedan, even at low speeds, can result in devastating injuries and occasionally can be fatal to the driver and passengers in the mid-sized vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), about 1 in 10 highway deaths results from a crash involving a large truck. Large trucks often weigh 20-30 times more than most passenger vehicles, and they have a larger ground clearance. This added weight and height make it extremely dangerous for lower-riding cars, which could easily end up under the wheels of a much larger truck. As a result, the fallout from a truck accident can create enormous financial strain for the victim and their families. The severe injuries or wrongful death that may result from a truck accident can lead to astronomical medical bills that will only increase as time passes. The victim(s) may lose wages or in some instances lose their employment because the accident leaves them physically unfit to continue working. Our Queens Truck accident lawyers are professionals who strive to make a difference in the lives of our clients. We understand the emotional and financial hardships that arises due to catastrophic accidents that can leave the victim’s family in shambles. Our knowledgeable attorneys can discuss your legal options with you in detail after evaluating whether you may be entitled to recover compensation for your loss.
If you or a loved one suffered a severe or fatal injury in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call us at 212-406-1700 or contact us online. Consultation is free. Our Queens Truck accident attorneys will review your claim and determine whether you have a meritorious lawsuit.
Guidelines to a Meritorious Queens Truck Accident Lawsuit
The victims of a truck accident must be able to prove certain elements in order to have a valid lawsuit. The negligence of the truck driver, commercial truck company, or the truck’s manufacturer is not enough in and of itself to have a valid lawsuit. Similar to other vehicle accident cases the plaintiff must be able to prove that the driver negligence the direct cause of the victim’s injuries. Lastly, the victim must have suffered severe economic or physical damages in order to have a compensable case against the truck driver or company.
Some causes of truck accidents that may be grounds for a lawsuit lawsuit include but are not limited to the following:
- Speeding: If the truck driver is caught speeding, which constitutes a breach in his duty to abide by the traffic laws, they may be liable it resulted in an accident.
- Lack of Training: A truck driver must first acquire the necessary licenses and documentation in order to operate a truck. If the truck company hired a driver without the legal documentation that allows them to operate a truck, then they may be liable if that truck driver injured others in an accident.
- Overloading Trucks: Negligently loading a truck above its maximum allowable hauling weight may result in catastrophic accidents that may include multiple cars. A truck company must have the prudence it requires to correctly load their truck in order to safely travel without an increased risk of their cargo becoming loose and injuring other drivers. When the load that a truck is hauling isn’t properly fastened, it may create a very treacherous obstacle for other drivers if their load shifts or falls off. It isn’t that difficult for an unsecured load to slip off the back of a truck, especially if the driver abruptly stops or recklessly changes lanes.
- Neglecting to Weigh-In: On some roads, it is necessary by law for commercial trucks to exit the highway and weigh their vehicle. There are roads that have a maximum acceptable weight limit, and if truck drivers neglect to weigh-in, and gets in an accident, it’s a clear example of negligence.
- Driving Without Proper Rest: Unfortunately it has become a recurring issue that truck drivers are compelled to take certain substances to keep themselves awake behind the wheel. These substances are often illegal and after their effect wares off, the driver’s energy levels may crash and they may fall asleep at the wheel. In some cases, the driver isn’t fully at fault for this. It may be the case that the truck company has been pressuring the driver to deliver their load in a particular time constraint. This time constraint may be deemed unlawful. The blame from the resulting accident from the driver’s use of sleep deprivation substances could be shared by the driver and the truck company.
- Manufacturing Error: When a truck accident occurs due to an issue with the truck’s manufacturing, the manufacturer or the truck company may be liable. The truck’s manufacturer and company have an obligation to maintain their trucks and check for defects.
Pertinent Truck Driving Laws
Presently, there are very specific laws that give more rights to the truck driver. It was a known problem that truck drivers would be given unrealistic timetables from their employer. As a result, they were forced to take illegal substances in order to drive over 24 hours straight. This practice became a huge issue because it was the direct cause for many highway accidents. The truck driver would take these substances, drive straight through the day and night, and then after the substances lost their effect, the truck driver would fall asleep at the wheel and cause catastrophic accidents. As a result, federal hours-of-service regulations were enacted to enforce better conditions for truck drivers and stop these dangerous practices. However, surveys from IIHS have shown that truck drivers are still driving over the allotted 11 hours daily maximum. The current issue is that truck companies only require the truck driver to document their work hours on a handwritten logbook, which can be easily falsified. The IIHS has requested to require electronic onboard recorders in each truck, in order to catalog each time the truck is driven and for how long.
If a truck driver exceeds their maximum drive time in one sitting, they and their company may be liable for any accident that occurs.
The Dangers of 18-Wheelers in Queens
The 18-wheeler truck has become a popular means of transporting goods across long distances in the United States. Even though the 18-wheeler is very cost efficient for the trucking company, it does have multiple drawbacks on the road. Its main inadequacy is its large center of gravity that has a low threshold for reckless driving and oversized loads. These unsafe practices may result in:
- Jack-Knife Accidents- A large truck that is hauling trailer behind it can go into a jack-knife position when the driver abruptly brakes after travelling at high speeds. In a Jack-Knife accident, the trailer behind the truck loses control as the trucks momentum propels the trailer to the side at a 90 degree angle to the truck. This can become very hazardous for other drivers because the usual trailer of an 18-wheeler can span the entire length of the road, which can cause a devastating multi-car pileup if other drivers do not have enough time to stop.
- Rollovers: A truck may become airborne or rollover in the case of a wheel blowout or other tire defects. The truck company and manufacturer have a duty to maintain their trucks so that their safety and stability do not become compromised. If truck companies neglect to inspect their trucks for wear and tear, it may result in large-scale accidents. For instance, since most of these trucks are driven long distances, their tires are subject to wear and tear. The tread of the tires become old and defective. A wheel blowout may occur, which can force the truck in an abrupt halt, or depending on the speed that the truck was moving, can flip the truck to the side. A truck rollover is especially dangerous for other drivers on the road because when a truck has flipped to the side, it essentially has no control. Depending on the truck’s initial velocity, it can slide on the asphalt and hit anything in its path until finally the friction from the road brings it to a stop.
How Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Help You Following a Queens Truck Accident?
After a truck accident in Queens, our experienced attorneys will work closely with the victims in order to secure the maximum compensation that they are entitled to. Our lawyers will begin by reviewing your claim and decide whether you have a legitimate lawsuit. Then they will start the investigatory phase by interviewing all applicable witnesses. We will then acquire the police and accident reports from the authorities and the hospital that treated all the injured victims involved. We will attempt to locate any camera footage of the accident in order to assist in building your case. In some cases, we would even hire the services of an expert to reconstruct and recreate the accident scene in order to better understand the true cause of the accident.
In the event of a devastating truck accident, you need an attorney that is skilled and who would fight on your behalf to defend your rights. Please call us at 212-406-1700 or contact us online for a free consultation.