Every year, tens of thousands of heavy commercial trucks are involved in serious accidents that maim, injure, and kill. Since New York’s Long Island serves as a major trucking corridor for millions of road freight miles traveled each year, our area’s residents are at particularly high risk for these devastating accidents.
Truck accidents in our state are numerous, with 1,284 truck crash fatalities in New York State between 2007 and 2017. Statistics from the NY DMV show that in 2018, truck accidents in the state caused 4,202 injuries and 70 deaths. Most of these accidents occur on a weekday between 6 A.M. – 3 P.M. As you can see, truck crashes on Long Island and across the state are extremely dangerous yet still happen with alarming frequency.
If you are injured in a truck accident, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can pursue damages and negotiate tougher settlements in order to get the compensation you deserve to treat your injury and recover to your normal life. Carner & DeVita have cared for New Yorkers after their accidents with passionate legal representation for over 60 years. We fight for victims’ rights to the fullest extent of compensation available under state and federal laws. Don’t let a catastrophic truck accident change your life permanently for the worst. Speak up, and exercise your legal rights with the help of a truck accident lawyer who’s willing to fight by your side.
Start the process of making your claim today by calling 631-543-7070 or using our form to contact us online, and you can schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Making a Personal Injury Claim After Your Truck Accident
Injury victims can take solace in the fact that they may be eligible for compensation when their accident was caused by the negligence of a commercial truck driver. Depending on the circumstances of their case, they may be eligible for a personal injury claim against the driver, their employer, the company that contracted the freight shipment, or others.
You can determine if your truck accident injury case has the potential for a settlement or award with the help of a Long Island personal injury lawyer. They will be able to help you determine which parties involved were potentially negligent and how much in damages your claim could be eligible for.
Potential damages include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Incidental healthcare costs made necessary by the injury
- Lost income/wages
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for a lifelong disability caused by the injury
If your medical expenses exceed the No Fault coverage limits, you may claim the cost of current medical expenses as well as future costs. Out-of-pocket costs for copays, prescriptions, medical devices, and over-the-counter remedies may also be included.
The value of your lost wages equals the difference between what you were making before the crash versus after. If you have a non-standard compensation arrangement – such as if you are self-employed, work on commission, or have highly variable hours – then you may need an accounting professional to help you accurately determine your lost wages.
Some injury cases involve significant pain and suffering. Others have permanent effects, such as an inability to enjoy time with family or an inability to return to your former line of work. Your Long Island truck accident lawyer can help you identify all negative life impacts and include an estimated value of compensation for the suffering, anguish, and unfavorable changes you’ve had to endure.
What to Do After a Truck Accident on Long Island
Your first order of business after any truck accident is to seek emergency medical care for anyone who is hurt, including yourself. Check on the health status of everyone involved, and then call 911 to report the accident to the police and request an ambulance for any major injuries.
Exchange insurance information with the truck driver, and obtain a photo of their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Document the registration/plate number on the cab of the semi truck as well as the trailer. While waiting for police to arrive, you can take photos of the accident scene and get contact information from any witnesses.
Provide a full, accurate statement to responding police officers, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. You want a full diagnosis, so describe your symptoms accurately and in detail. Consent to all tests needed to confirm your diagnosis, and follow your doctor’s advice to the letter.
Save all of your medical bills and other expenses. It is best to let your lawyer contact the insurance company representing the truck driver, even if you’re not sure if you have a serious injury, or will have costs exceeding your PIP policy limit. If you are contacted by the carrier, inform them of your desire to start a claim, but do not consent to making a recorded statement, do not discuss your current health condition, and decline to answer any detailed questions at the time. It is best to have your Long Island truck accident lawyer exchange such information.
Call a personal injury lawyer on Long Island if you have significant medical costs or want assistance estimating your damages and proving liability. Some commercial carriers may try to avoid liability by saying they weren’t at fault or that the driver was a contractor. By working with your Long Island personal injury lawyer, you can work to establish how the company was negligent and seek the maximum amount of compensation available for all your injury costs.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents on Long Island
Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, many of which involve negligence on the part of a truck driver or their employer.
According to the FMCSA, common causes of truck accidents include:
Vehicle Brake Problems
Faulty brakes were cited in 29% of studied crashes. Brake issues can be attributed to poor maintenance, negligence from a servicing company, or a defective product.
Twenty-three percent of drivers were “traveling too fast for conditions” before their accident. This can involve exceeding the speed limit, but more often it involves a truck driver losing control while maneuvering because they failed to adjust their speed to safe levels.
Use of over-the-counter stimulants and other remedies is common in the trucking industry, where drivers may need to stay awake for many hours at a time. Seventeen percent of studied accidents involved legal drug use, while 2% involved illegal drugs.
Truck driver fatigue happens all too often. The industry pressures them to complete routes on an extremely tight schedule. Some drivers are actively encouraged to violate hours of service rules that are supposed to prevent drowsy driving. Thirteen percent of all studied accidents involved a fatigued truck driver.
Work Pressure from Carrier to Complete Routes
Unreasonable pressure from an employer or contractor can encourage a driver to work too many hours, speed, or otherwise make unsafe choices along their route. This pressure in and of itself can sometimes constitute negligence, or it can be determined to be an aggravating factor in the truck driver’s own negligence. One in ten drivers in the study said they felt pressure leading up to their accident.
Nine percent of accidents in the study involved an illegal maneuver prior to the initial adverse event.
Distractions to a truck driver can come inside the cab (2% of accidents) or outside the cab (8%). A split-second of diverted attention can lead to a dangerous or deadly collision.
Other Common Long Island Truck Accident Causes
- Tire problems, including defective tires (6%)
- Following too closely (5%)
- Jackknife (5%)
- Cargo shift (4%)
- Alcohol use (1%)
Why You Cannot Rely on Insurers to Always Offer Fair Compensation After a Tractor Trailer Crash
New York state mandates that every driver carry no-fault insurance to cover their own medical expenses (as well as their passengers’). In addition, every driver must also carry liability insurance in the event that their negligence causes a “serious injury” to an individual.
Unfortunately, the nature of a “serious injury” may be up for debate depending on whether an insurer wants to pay out compensation for their own policyholder’s possible liability. They will often attempt to fight claims or offer as little compensation as possible in order to boost their own profits.
Truck accident victims should know that an insurance representative will therefore not always hold their best interests in mind. They may encourage you to accept a settlement offer that does not adequately cover your damages. Or, they may imply that your personal injury claim has weak standing and thereby discourage you from pursuing the matter in court.
Situations like these are why having a Long Island personal injury lawyer working for you can dramatically help your chances at a successful claim. Insurance representatives make settling claims a full-time job, whereas the average accident victim has zero experience handling these matters. With an attorney helping them with their case, semi truck accident victims can make smart strategic moves and negotiate like a true professional in order to stick up for their own interests.
How a Long Island Truck Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim
In addition to negotiating with insurers as described above, your personal injury attorney can help you strategize your case and identify all potentially liable parties.
Trucking accident liability can be a complicated legal matter, especially when out-of-state drivers or contractors are involved. There may be several potentially liable parties at play, including:
- The truck driver
- Their employing or contracting freight company
- The company or business responsible for maintaining the semi trucks and trailers
- The company contracting and scheduling the shipment, in certain instances
In some cases, any or all of these types of parties may be involved. Your truck accident injury lawyer will examine the facts of your case and investigate the role each party played in potentially contributing to the accident. They will then assemble evidence needed to strengthen your claim, such as documenting your injury or tracing the involvement of third or fourth-party companies.
In addition to these services, your representative truck accident attorney will also ensure that your obligations to bring forth your case and pursue it are met. Legal motions require the filing of multiple types of paperwork accurately and on-time. Missing any of these deadlines can cause a judge to quickly dismiss a claim, or it can cause a victim to be at the mercy of an insurance carrier’s paltry settlement offer since they have no other recourse.
Don’t shut off avenues to obtaining your fair compensation after your accident. You can work with a knowledgeable, compassionate attorney who will help guide you every step of the way during your personal injury case.
Contact Carner & DeVita’s Long Island injury attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation. Just one call or click could mean the difference in your ability to recover medically, financially, and mentally after your truck collision.