Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, L.L.P.

Staten Island Truck Accident

Due to the sheer size of semis and eighteen-wheelers, truck accidents often inflict catastrophic injuries upon their victims that may significantly alter their standard of living. Tuck accents may result in spinal cord fractures, amputations, brain injuries, burns and in some severe cases, death. Lost wages and costly medical bills resulting from an injury may also cause a family to endure significant financial strain. Consequently, truck accident victims and their families may be entitled to receive compensation for any damages that they have sustained. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our attorneys have been defending the rights of truc accident victims for over fifty years by ensuring that the receive their deserved compensation, in accordance with the principles of justice and accountability. Our attorneys can empathize with the emotional, physical and financial strain victims are feeling and will do our very best to expedite the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve.

Elements of a Valid Truck Accident Lawsuit

In order to have a valid lawsuit it must be demonstrated that the driver, company or manufacturer acted negligently. However, negligence does not constitute sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. In order for there to be a valid claim, the following criteria must be met:

  • A Duty of Care Existed: In order to demonstrate that the driver, company or manufacturer acted negligently, it must first be proven that a duty of care to victim must have existed. A duty of care is defined, as the legal obligation an individual has to proceed with caution and abide by certain established standards of care whilst performing an activity that can potentially harm others. For example, in this particular case, truck drivers owe a duy of care to others on the road to obey all traffic regulations.
  • The Duty of Care Was Breached: The driver, company or manufacturer becomes negligent when they breach their duty of care. For example, a truck driver’s failure to comply with traffic laws would result in a breach of duty.
  • The Responsible Party’s Negligence Caused the Injury: While it is pertinent to prove negligence in order to prove liability, negligence does not, in and of itself, constitute sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. The victim must be able to prove that the responsible party’s negligence was the direct cause of the injury. For example, in the case that a truck driver gets into an accident whilst spending, he or she can only be held liable in the case that the failure to adhere to the speed limit was what caused the accident.
  • The Victim Suffered Damages: In addition to proving the role of negligence in causing the accident, it must also be demonstrated that the victim suffered from either economic or non-economic damages as a result of the injury. Economic damages pertain the any financial strain the individual underwent and non-economic damages are any pain and suffering that individual had to endure due to the accident.

Victims of truck accidents may have grounds for a lwsuit if their injury occurred due to any of the following:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The truck driver lacked training
  • Reckless driving
  • Illegally changing lanes
  • The truck driver exceeded the maximum amount of consecutive hours on the road
  • The truck had a manufacturing error
  • Road defects
Proving Liability in Long Island Truck Accident Cases

Like other vehicular accidents, in order to demonstrate liability in truck accident cases, negligence must be proven. Negligence is defined, as the failure to use the same level of care a reasonably prudent person would have demonstrated in a similar situation. Examples of failure to use reasonable care that resulted in negligence, include, but are not limited to, over speeding, failure to remain attentive on the road as well as failure to follow the ordained traffic regulations.

Due to our experience in this particular field, we are familiar with the most common claims of negligence behavior. The aforementioned common claims are:

  • Inadequate License and Training: Truck drivers are required to have special licenses to drive these commercial vehicles and should have received adequate training regarding their position. Consequently, victims should always investigate the driver’s background and level of training.
  • The Truck Driver Worked Hours That Exceeded the Legal Limit: Because many truck drivers often work extremely long shifts, with little or no sleep, the occurrence of accidents due to the driver being sleepy or drowsy is very common. In lieu of this, there are legal limits that dictate the consecutive number of hours a driver can drive without rest. If a driver is in violation of these limits, he may have acted negligently.
  • The Truck Driver Was Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: Like other vehicular accidents, several truck accidents are caused due to the driver’s altered state of mind due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol.

It is imperative that you retain an attorney that is well versed with trucking and commercial vehicle law. There are several Federal statutes that regulate the operation of commercial vehicles on highways and all other roads. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our years of experience means that we are aware of all these minor statutes and nuances in the legislature. For example, if an accident occurs due to a park truck on a highway, compensation is still possible because there are Federal statutes that lay down the measures stalled commercial vehicles need to take on roads. Unless you are familiar with such legislation, it can be very tricky to obtain a favorable verdict.

Additionally, the internal procedures of the trucking company also need to analyzed in order to understand the situation surrounding the incident as well as the driver’s training and background. Our attorneys are familiar with the documents that need to be obtained and are available and thus, are worthy of representing you.

Recovering Compensation from Insurance Companies

Also, commercial vehicles such as trucks, tractor-trailers, commercial vans and other such vehicles often have much more insurance coverage than a typical vehicle operating on a New York State roadway. This is true for two reasons. First, the owner of the vehicle, under New York State laws, is vicariously liable for the negligence of the driver. In other words, any negligence of the driver is also attributable to the vehicles owner; provided the driver was driving the vehicle with the permission and consent of the owner. This permissive use is almost always the case since the driver is usually operating the owner's vehicle in the course of his employment. Since the owner will be liable for the driver's negligence, the owner must protect himself with adequate insurance.

Moreover, since the company employing the truck driver is usually a commercial business, which typically has significant assets, a large amount of insurance is often procured in order to protect those assets. This is especially true with tractor-trailers, which for example could be owned by an oil company or other large business. These vehicles often have $10 million of insurance coverage or more. Other commercial vehicles often have auto liability insurance of at least $1 million. The second reason such large insurance coverage also exists is that when such a large vehicle is involved in an accident, the accident is likely to involve extremely serious injuries or death. As such, the combination of the potential for catastrophic loss, along with the fact that the defendant may have significant assets to protect, results in such vehicles procuring large amounts of insurance.

As one might imagine, the combination of catastrophic injuries resulting in very large claims against a defendant's insurance company often presents a scenario of high stakes litigation. In fact, in the context of vehicular accidents, such cases often involve the highest stakes litigation for insurance companies and attorneys. As a result, it is important to carefully select an attorney who is accustomed to litigating such cases against the best of the best. The attorneys for the truck company are unlikely to leave any stone unturned in an effort to minimize the amount or even deny that an injured plaintiff has a right to recover any money for his/her losses. These losses may include debilitating or catastrophic injuries that require a lifetime of medical care or even 24-hour home care services. In some cases the losses may even cost the victim the ability to retain a job. As a result, our truck accident attorneys will retain all appropriate experts to account for such losses. These experts may include an economist, an accountant, a life care expert, and any number of medical experts to help determine the losses and or limitations caused by the accident.

Also, the losses invariably will involve a claim of significant pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In a wrongful death situation a family may be left without the husband or wife or father or mother that supported the family. Children may lose a parent and be left without the guidance, nurturing and support that a parent provides. Again, such losses may require the necessity to retain any number of expert witnesses, and victim and his/her family should carefully select a lawyer who has the experience and cutting edge knowledge to litigate the case in a manner that will lead to fair and adequate compensation to the victims for such losses.

At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool we use our experience and expertise to attempt to maximize a recovery. We recognize that a fair recovery must take into account that the needs of families that are victims of such life-changing events must be fully accounted for. The lawsuit brought against the responsible party is often the one and only chance the victim and his or her family has to be able to live with dignity after a serious or catastrophic accident involving a truck, tractor-trailer, van, bus, or other large commercial vehicle.

Staten Island Accidents Due to Poor Truck Driver Training

Because of the dangers associated with the operation of vehicles with the sheer size and power of trucks, commercial truck drivers are required to have additional training to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, not all truck drivers have adequately completed the required training prior to getting behind the wheel. Considering the potential for life threatening accidents increases exponentially as a result of this negligence, it is imperative that we hold truck drivers and their companies responsible in the case that they failed to provide or complete the necessary truck driver safety training.

Pursuing Compensation

Recovering financial compensation from a large insurance or trucking company is not easy, considering they have mechanisms in place designed specifically to deal with such issues. The legal personnel there companies hire are well-versed in this field and thus, you need to retain the services of a competent attorney. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool we have dedicated ourselves to helping injury victims for fifty years and will pursue the maximum compensation you deserve in Court. Our personal injury attorneys are responsible for investigating the accidents and its causes. In the case that poor driver training or other negligent behavior cased the accident, we fill fight to protect your interests.

Harm Posed by Inadequately Trained Truck Drivers

Truck drivers are required to undergo strict training requirements to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Trucking companies are not legally allowed to inadequate and untrained drivers on the road and thus, should be held accountable. Your decision to take the responsible party to Court could save another life in the future.

Contact Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Today

If you, or a loved one, have sustained an injury due to a truck related accident, do not hesitate to call our New York law office today at 212.406.1700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options. We have accept our cases on a contingency fees basis, that is, no monetary fees is expected of you until and unless we are able to secure a monetary settlement on your behalf. In which case, our legal fees are a mere fraction fo the amount you receive.

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