Truck Accidents in New York
Under New York law, a driver involved in a traffic collision with a person or object must do the following:
- Stop to check if anyone sustained an injury or any property was damaged
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Call 911 and file a report if the accident involves injuries, a death, or property damage worth more than $1,000
Leaving an accident scene that involves injuries or property damage in New York is a crime punishable by fines, a mandatory surcharge, license revocation, possible jail time, and possibly criminal charges.
Statute of Limitations
The statutes of limitations for truck accidents in the state of New York read as follows:
- Personal Injury: Pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 214(5), an action to recover damages for a personal injury shall be commenced within three years from the date of the accident.
- Wrongful Death: According to New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Section 5-4.1(1), an action by a personal representative for wrongful death must be filed within two years after the decedent's death.
- Property Damage: Pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules Section 214(4), an action to recover damages for an injury to property shall be commenced within three years from the date of the accident.
Vicarious Liability of Trucking Companies
A trucking company may be held vicariously liable for personal injuries or property damage caused by the company's driver, provided that the driver was acting within the jurisdiction of the company’s employment at the time of the incident.
Comparative Negligence Law in New York
New York follows a "pure comparative negligence" rule. Under this system, a person injured in a truck accident can recover damages even if they were 99% at fault for the accident. Their total compensation will, however, be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For instance, if the jury awarded a verdict of $50,000 against the at-fault party but found that you were 15% responsible for the accident, you will only receive 85% of that $50,000 ($35,000).
Depending on the events leading to the crash, a number of different entities may possibly be held legally responsible for a truck accident. These parties include:
The Truck Driver
The truck driver may be held liable for an accident if the driver was found to be:
- Violating traffic law
- Driving distracted
- Negligent in performing vehicle maintenance
- Lacking adequate training
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while fatigued
The Truck Company
The trucking company that hired the driver may be held liable for a truck crash that occurred due to avoidable errors such as:
- Inadequate vehicle safety inspection
- Setting unrealistic expectations on the driver
- Hiring unqualified personnel
The Truck Manufacturer
The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer may be held legally responsible if the traffic collision occurred due to:
- A defective part
- A mechanical failure
A truck crash may happen due to unsecured or loose cargo. Equipment or boxes that are being shipped may shift or fall off of the truck and cause an accident. In such a situation, the individuals who loaded the cargo may be held accountable for:
- Failure to properly secure the cargo
- Failure to properly inspect the cargo
- Failure to properly balance the cargo
Maintenance personnel responsible for performing safety checks, routine maintenance, or inspection of the engine, brakes, fluids, and electronic systems, may also be held legally responsible for a truck crash that occurred due to the maintenance personnel's oversight in performing their expected duties.
What Steps Should I Take Next?
The moments after being involved in a truck accident can be confusing to sort through. The steps you take — or do not take — after the accident could make a major difference in the outcome of your injury claim. If you were hurt in a semi-truck accident, here's what to do next:
- Get to safety and help other victims to safety, if you can
- Call 911 and seek immediate medical treatment for any injuries
- Report the truck accident to law enforcement
- Obtain the truck driver's name, license number, phone number, insurance information, and the trucking company's name
- Obtain a copy of the police report, accident scene photos, witness statements, and testimonies
- Document all of your medical treatments, bills, doctor's appointments, your personal account of the incident, and the effects of the truck accident on your day-to-day life
- Notify your insurance company about the accident
- Retain an experienced attorney to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or file an injury lawsuit
It is crucial that you act sooner rather than later. As time goes by, people involved can easily misplace reports or forget key information and necessary details about the accident.
Trust Experienced Attorneys
Being injured in a truck accident or losing a family member can be devastating. Such an incident can have long-lasting ramifications on your physical, financial, and mental health. Thankfully, you don't have to face the challenges all alone. Retaining an experienced New York personal injury attorney is the first step to protecting your rights and pursuing deserved compensation.
At Raskin & Kremins LLP, our attorneys are devoted to handling personal injury legal matters and protecting the rights of truck accident victims. As your legal counsel, we can:
- Fight vigorously to protect your rights and represent your best interests
- Review and investigate every aspect of your case
- Gather all relevant information, pieces of evidence, and documentation
- Work to prove fault and establish liability
- Determine the full impact of your injuries and estimate case value
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company
- File a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, when necessary
Our attorneys will work diligently to ensure the right people are held accountable. Having our team on your side can improve your prospects of receiving a favorable outcome in your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.