A Powerful Ally For Truck Accident Victims
The trucking industry employs nationally a total of 9 million people who operate over 15 million trucks in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 450,000 commercial truck accidents occur in the United States annually. Unfortunately, the reality of the trucking industry is that it is a big business that generates over $250 billion per year, and the annual rate of 140,000 plus motorists who will incur serious injuries and the estimated 5,000 motorists who will die due to their involvement in truck accidents seems to be overlooked as part of the pursuit of profits rather than safety.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident and suffered injuries, or someone close to you has died in a truck accident, contact the experienced and accomplished Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C., for a free consultation. Obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to harms and losses suffered by you and/or your loved ones. Call 212-689-5000 or reach out to us online to set up your appointment.
Causes Of Truck Accidents
Since 18-wheelers, semi trucks and other large trucks have the potential for great destructive force, extra vigilance is necessary on the part of truck drivers and their employers in order to keep our roads safe. Although extra safety precautions in the trucking industry are required by law, drivers unfortunately continue to log on too many consecutive hours, which creates inattentiveness or even delirium, and trucking companies are constantly cutting corners in maintaining their vehicles in order to save money and time. Some major causes of truck accidents include:
- Substance abuse: It is the responsibility of trucking companies to both carefully review the qualifications of drivers before they are hired and continue to monitor them throughout their employment in order to minimize the risk of accidents caused by substance abuse.
- Driver fatigue: Furthering what was stated above, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set limits on the number of hours that drivers are permitted to work per day and week. Although adhering to these limitations is important, it is still ultimately the driver’s responsibility to know when he or she has become too tired to drive with caution and vigilance.
- Jackknife accidents: These are accidents where a truck’s brakes lock and the trailer skids out of control and swings to the side of the cab, usually as a result of sudden braking or brake failure, sudden turning on slick or other hazardous surfaces, or rapid downshifting. The range of the trailer as it swings around is unfortunately quite large and therefore multiple vehicles are likely to be involved, resulting in many injuries to many victims.
- Overloading: It is not uncommon for the national weight standards set by the Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Management and Operations department to be violated by trucking companies that gain profits from such violations. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent trucks from causing devastating accidents that have origins related to the truck’s weight such as brake failure, tire blowouts, rollovers, bridge collapses and out-of-control downhill speeds.
- Runaway trailers: When a trailer disconnects from its tractor or cab because of the driver’s failure to properly hitch the trailer to the cab and use backup safety chains or because of the trucking company’s negligence in updating its vehicles’ equipment, anything in its path will most likely be destroyed. If a victim is lucky enough to survive an accident involving a runaway trailer, his or her injuries will most likely be severe.
- Speeding: Trucks traveling over the speed limit have gained enough momentum to destroy anything in their path, putting all drivers at potential risk for fatality in the event of an accident.
Some Other Causes Of Truck Accidents Include:
Truck drivers and trucking companies are heavily regulated by state and federal governments. These regulations are meant to combat many of the common causes of truck accidents. Yet across the area, everyday people are being injured in truck accidents caused by:
- Negligent inspection/maintenance
- Hazardous driving conditions
- Poorly maintained streets
- Cargo spills
- Unsafe passing
- Unlicensed driver
- Backing up/moving in reverse
- Improper tires resulting in blow-outs
- Illegal and improper parking or stopping of a truck on a public roadway
- Failure to properly tie down or secure truck cargo and/or containers
- Trucking company negligence
- Defective highway design
Truck Accident Injuries
Accidents caused by 18-wheelers, semi-trucks or any other large trucks cause injuries that are often more serious and catastrophic than other types of motor vehicle accidents due to their superior size and strength. Regrettably, many New Yorkers lose loved ones in truck accidents. Common injuries as a result of truck accidents include but are not limited to:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bone fractures
- Amputation injuries
- Internal organ bruising
Insurance Coverage Available To You After An Accident With A Truck
Fortunately for victims, bodily injury insurance coverage for commercial vehicles is extensive and mandated by both federal and New York law. If a number of parties through various causes are found to be liable in the event of an accident involving a commercial vehicle (i.e. driver, equipment, maintenance), then it may be the case that multiple insurance policies will provide compensation for that single accident.
As a victim involved in a truck accident, there have been laws enacted in the state of New York, commonly referred to as No-Fault Laws, that provide benefits for truck accident victims, which allow for coverage related to your medical, remedial and certain health care expenses, including lost earnings as defined by the state of New York Insurance Law. This coverage is known as “basic economic loss” and is available for up to $50,000 per person and possibly additional coverage under the policy if available.
The purpose of this coverage is to provide you with monies to cover medical costs, lost wages and other reasonable expenses shortly after the accident. However, these benefits have nothing to do with recovering compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of your injuries sustained in the truck accident. The compensation for pain and suffering is obtained as a result of a claim and/or lawsuit that is made against all the responsible parties.
The moments following a truck accident can be terrifying and confusing. We are here to help and can point you in the right direction. Explore your options during a free consultation. Call 212-689-5000 or reach out online to set up your appointment so you can maximize your financial recovery for all your harms and losses.