New York City (NYC) Truck Accident Lawyer
Accidents between trucks and smaller vehicles often leave the drivers and passengers of the other car with serious injuries. Holding truck drivers and trucking companies responsible for these crashes is one of the many things that our lawyers do to help injury victims across New York City.
The first decision that you will have to make as a potential plaintiff is who was responsible for causing your injuries. Sometimes, you are limited to suing the truck driver, while in other situations, you may be able to target the trucking company or the truck manufacturer for their own role in causing the accident. This largely depends on whether the driver was an independent contractor or regular employee of a trucking company. If you file a lawsuit, you will likely be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages might also be available, depending on the case. The statute of limitations for your truck accident claim might differ, depending on who the defendant is. Because of that, it is important to file your claim immediately after an accident that causes you injury in New York City.
To schedule a free case review with the New York City truck accident lawyers of The Carrion Law Firm, call us now at (718) 841-0083.
What to Do After an NYC Truck Accident
If you want to recover compensation through a lawsuit for your truck accident injuries in New York, you will have to show that the party that you are suing was responsible for negligently or recklessly causing the accident and your injuries. The process of building your case starts immediately after the accident. Knowing the key steps ahead of time can help you act calmly and secure the information that you will need to get justice for the harms you have suffered.
Get to Safety
Your safety is your first priority. After you are in a truck accident, do your best to get yourself and all other passengers out of the vehicle and off to the side of the road so that you are out of danger of a secondary collision. If your vehicle is still drivable, attempt to move it out of the way of traffic to the shoulder of the road. If the car is disabled, put your hazard lights on or deploy flares to indicate the accident scene to other drivers.
Any accident, no matter how serious, deserves the attention of the authorities. Do not let the other driver try to convince you that you can work out the details without the police. They may attempt to leave the scene without providing you with contact or insurance information. If the truck driver tries to flee, let the dispatcher know as many details about the driver and the truck as possible. When the officer arrives, they will compile information for an official police report which you can use in an insurance claim or as the basis for preparing your complaint.
In New York City and throughout the state, car accidents involving death, injury, or $1,000 worth of property damage must be reported to the police and the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days. If you are unable to call the police immediately after a crash, our truck accident lawyers can help you properly report your injuries within the necessary timeframe.
Police reports can establish that an accident took place. And, in New York, conclusions or opinions included in police reports can be used as evidence in compensation claims.
Talk to Witnesses
Sometimes, the people that see the accident first-hand are the best resources for your recovery. They are also incredibly difficult to track down once they leave the scene of the accident. If you are able, try to speak with everyone who may have seen what happened and get their contact information so that our attorneys can reach them later. You may not end up needing them, but if you do, you will be happy that you took this step.
Truck accidents are often so severe that victims are unable to converse with eyewitnesses. When this happens, our truck accident lawyers can refer to the eyewitnesses listed in the police report for your collision. We can contact them and obtain their statements to use in your case.
Photographs of an accident scene can be invaluable to when building a case against a negligent driver. Try to take pictures of everything, from your injuries to property damage. Photograph the entire scene, leaving nothing out. If you are unable to take photos because of your injuries, ask first responders or eyewitnesses to do so for you.
Go to the Hospital
Getting medical attention shortly after an accident serves two purposes. First, the doctors can run tests and evaluate you to treat the injuries that you know about and discover the ones that you do not, preventing conditions from exacerbating. Second, getting documentation of your injuries immediately after the accident prevents the other side from saying that you suffered them from some other cause after the accident. Getting immediate and continuous medical care is crucial, so be sure to keep any upcoming visits with doctors and specialists after a truck accident in New York City.
Call Our Lawyers
It is never too early to get legal help for your case. It can, however, be too late. So, once you have received your medical treatment, look to enlist the help of one of our seasoned lawyers as soon as you can. Truck accident victims only have three years to file a lawsuit for compensation in New York City, so hiring an attorney to immediately start building a case is crucial. We can explain what filing a lawsuit will entail so that you know what to expect as you seek recovery.
Common Injuries in NYC Truck Accidents
Your recovery is dependent on establishing a medical record of your injuries. That is why it is important that you get a thorough medical evaluation as soon as you can after being involved in a truck accident in New York City. Even if you believe you escaped unscathed, many potential conditions, such as those mentioned below, may linger under the surface, causing you even more harm down the road.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
When a victim is involved in a car accident, they should be aware of the possibility that they may have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs are caused when the brain makes forceful contact with the inside of the skull, causing bruising, swelling, or bleeding. These may cause serious conditions such as concussions that can inhibit a person’s brain function.
Traumatic brain injuries range from minor concussions to severe damage. A TBI might require various testing and treatments, including CT scans and MRIs. Not all brain injuries are detectable through testing and are instead diagnosable through signs and symptoms, such as reduced motor function, loss of vision, slurred speech, seizures, and headaches. While victims can typically recover from mild TBIs, it may be many months before considerable improvements are made. Some TBIs are impossible to fully recover from following a truck accident in New York City.
Simply put, the human body is not built to withstand the force of a truck accident. Despite all of the recent advancements in car safety technology, a truck collision victim may sustain fractures in their face, hands, arms, legs, ribs, or collarbone. Some of these fractures may lead to internal bleeding, which can become life-threatening if not treated immediately. Broken bones can require various treatments, such as braces, splints, and casts. In some cases, victims might need metal rods or plates surgically inserted to ensure bones are properly held together as they heal. All such treatment can be incredibly expensive for victims and inhibit them from returning to work after a truck accident.
Whiplash is one of the most common conditions that truck accident victims sustain after a collision. It occurs when the neck muscles are strained or partially torn and may affect many bodily movements that make day-to-day functioning possible. Whiplash is typically not permanent but may require costly physical therapy and medication in order to rehabilitate. If left untreated, whiplash can worsen significantly. Because of this, getting treatment for whiplash or other soft tissues is of the utmost importance following an incident involving a truck.
Truck accident victims might sustain a wide range of injuries in a crash. What is important to remember is that no truck accident injury is insignificant. Even what might appear to be normal aches or bruising after a collision could indicate a deeper issue. Many seemingly minor injuries actually require expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. If you are unsure whether or not your injuries warrant litigation, ask our lawyers for clarification.
Getting a Police Report for Your Truck Accident in NYC
The police report for your truck accident will likely be important to the success of your case. You should obtain this report as soon as possible following an accident that causes you injury in New York City.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has an online portal through which victims can access copies of collision reports. To get your report, you must input certain information, such as the date of the collision, the borough where the accident occurred, your license plate number, your date of birth, and your email address. Victims can also obtain a copy of a collision report at the NYPD precinct where the truck accident occurred. To get a copy of a report in person, you must go within 30 days of an accident. Accident reports typically become available to victims within a week or so of a truck accident.
After 30 days, reports are sent to the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. This means that if it has been a month since your truck accident, you can obtain your report through the website of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles as well. Crash reports cost $15, plus a $7 fee for searching.
It is best to obtain the crash report for your collision as soon as possible. Once we have gotten this report, our lawyers can carefully review it for any information that might be pertinent to your case. Police reports can clarify certain matters and make for a more well-rounded compensation claim.
Holding Drivers and Trucking Companies Liable for Truck Accident Injuries in NYC
When a truck driver hits you, their trucking company will often come to their defense. This means there may be a strong legal team handling their case, whether from the trucking company itself or from the insurance company that covers them. It is important to have your own experienced lawyer to stand up to these lawyers and get you the coverage you need.
After a crash, your insurance might help cover some injuries and damages, but your needs might exceed what your insurance company can cover. The fact of the matter is that most insurance policies come with deductibles and limits that prevent you from getting full compensation. Furthermore, most policies will pay nothing for pain and suffering damages. In many cases, our lawyers will end up filing the case in court to claim full damages. From that point, we may either settle the case or go to trial to get our clients what they deserve.
Settling a claim might allow you to resolve the matter more quickly. That said, drivers and trucking companies are rarely willing to properly compensate victims for their losses, especially when it comes to non-economic damages.
When you take your case to court, it opens additional areas of compensation. Not every case needs to go to trial, but if the insurance companies and trucking company refuse to back down and admit fault, we may need to go to trial to get the judge and jury to rule in your favor.
The Serious Injury Threshold and Truck Accidents in NYC
New York follows a no-fault system for all auto accidents, including truck accidents. Because of this, victims will have to meet the serious injury threshold in order to file a lawsuit for compensatory damages.
All drivers in New York City are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This coverage will provide compensation for medical expenses related to a motor vehicle accident. PIP applies to most persons hurt in car accidents, excluding motorcyclists. This means that if you were struck by a truck as a pedestrian, driver, passenger, or bicyclist, your PIP coverage will likely apply.
Even if you do not have a PIP policy yourself, you will likely be covered by policy owned by a member of your household. So, if your child was injured in a car accident, your PIP insurance will cover them.
Only in certain instances can truck accident victims sue instead of only filing claims with their PIP insurance. As laid out in I.S.C. Law § 5102(d), injuries that cause death, serious disfigurement, dismemberment, and loss of a fetus meet the serious injury threshold. Injuries that result in permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system, permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member, or significant limitation of use of a body function or system also meet the serious injury threshold. As do injuries that inhibit a victim’s ability to function for at least 90 of the first 180 days following a truck accident.
To prove that your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, our truck accident lawyers will submit your medical records as evidence. If that alone is insufficient, we will use statements from medical experts explaining the extent of your physical injuries and why they entitle you to sue in New York City.
Whom to Sue After a Truck Accident in NYC
Truck accident injury cases are often complex because there may be more than two parties involved. In most auto accident cases, the victim sues the driver who hit them, and these are the only two parties to the case (aside from insurance companies and lawyers that might represent either side). In truck accident cases, more parties may be involved, and our attorneys can help manage the case and file claims against all the right parties to get you the compensation you need.
First of all, most truck drivers can be held responsible for their actions behind the wheel. If you were involved in a truck accident, the driver of that truck will be the first person you sue. If they broke traffic laws by speeding or driving drunk, the courts can hold them liable. If they committed other mistakes, like failing to adequately check their blind spots or failing to take required driver breaks, the courts can also hold them responsible.
Most truck accident cases do not stop at the driver. If the truck driver was an independent driver and owned their own truck, they may not have an employer that can be held liable for their actions. However, trucking companies can often be held liable for what happened in their driver’s accident because of vicarious liability, shared fault, or mechanical issues, among other reasons.
A trucking company can be held liable in their capacity as an employer the same way that any other company can he held liable for problems the people at the company cause. Since truck drivers are hired to drive for their employers, anyone who is injured by those activities can sue the trucking company for the driver’s errors or mistakes. This is the same as how you would sue a restaurant if a cook gave you food poisoning, or a grocery store if a worker left a dangerous spill that caused you to fall. In short, the company is “vicariously liable” for an employee’s negligence.
That said, it is important for victims to remember that many trucking companies hire drivers as independent contractors, not regular employees. When a truck driver is an independent contractor, a victim may be unable to sue the parent trucking company for compensatory damages following an accident.
Trucking companies – as a separate entity from the driver – can also make their own mistakes that could put them at fault. If the driver was so dangerous or had a history of bad truck accidents, then it may have been negligent for the trucking company to keep them on staff. This “negligent hiring” or “negligent retention” can put a trucking company at fault. Similarly, the trucking company might have made other errors and mistakes that made the accident more likely, such as forcing a driver to take illegal overtime or overloading their truck and causing safety issues.
If the trucking company owns the truck that hit you, they could be liable for any mechanical issues. Trucking companies are legally required to service vehicles and inspect them regularly to avoid equipment failure. Equipment failure is responsible for many accidents, from burst tires to lighting malfunctions to brake failure. If repair, service, or inspection mistakes led to your crash, the trucking company might be responsible for failing to catch those issues.
In addition to the trucking company being responsible for these kinds of issues, an outside mechanic or even the manufacturer of the vehicle part that failed could share liability. You can talk to our lawyers about other parties that could share fault in your case.
Statute of Limitations for NYC Truck Accident Lawsuits
If you hope to pursue recovery after you were injured by a negligent truck driver in New York City, you only have a limited time to take action. The statute of limitations (or time limit for filing a civil claim) for truck accident injury victims in New York is three years from the date of the accident. In other words, you must officially file your formal lawsuit in court within three years of the accident, or you will not be able to recover damages.
With truck accidents, there may be additional rules that move your timeline up even further. For instance, if the truck that caused your accident was owned or operated by a government agency, such as the New York Sanitation Department for accidents with garbage trucks, you will have to provide notice to that agency ahead of filing your lawsuit. The rules that govern this notice depend on which agency your claim is against and where the accident occurred.
When in doubt, always act early. Once you receive medical attention and a diagnosis for your injuries, contact our lawyers as soon as possible to avoid missing any costly deadlines.
While you will have three years to sue, it is always best to bring your claim immediately after an accident takes place. In doing so, you reduce the chances that certain evidence will be destroyed or otherwise become inaccessible to you and your legal team. Furthermore, the longer you wait to bring your case, the harder it may be to prove that your injuries were caused by another party’s negligence.
Proving Fault in an NYC Truck Accident Lawsuit
Holding a trucking company responsible for its negligence after an accident in New York City is crucial. In order for victims to get the compensatory damages they need after a crash, victims must prove a negligent party’s fault. Once this is done, you can focus on healing.
Truck accidents in New York City are often complicated. Because several parties might share fault, such as a truck driver and their employer, victims may have difficulty knowing who exactly is to blame.
Unfortunately, knowing who is at fault is not enough to recover compensation. Victims must prove that it is more likely than not that a defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. This can be challenging, so victims should turn to our lawyers, who can use medical records, photographs, security camera footage, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony to prove a negligent driver’s fault.
Truck accidents can be devastating, resulting in expensive medical care for victims. In an attempt to avoid financial liability for your injuries and losses, a trucking company might try to argue that you contributed to a recent accident. This can pose issues for victims, especially those unfamiliar with New York’s pure comparative fault laws. Sharing fault for a crash can cause your awarded damages to be reduced in proportion to your liability. To prevent this from happening, we will aim to prove that a defendant is solely responsible for your injuries and that you did not contribute to or cause a crash.
Compensation for NYC Truck Accident Victims
Collisions between large trucks and smaller vehicles, like passenger cars, motorcycles, or bicycles, can result in expensive damages for victims. Because of the financial and emotional toll these incidents often take on victims, they stand to recover substantial compensatory damages in truck accident lawsuits. Of course, compensation is never guaranteed, so it is important to seek gather sufficient evidence of your damages, both financial and emotional.
When you file a lawsuit against a negligent trucking company after an accident in New York City, you may be able to recover economic damages. In order to do so, your attorney must prove a defendant’s negligence and provide proof of damages. Proof of damages may include records of hospital bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of a crash.
Economic damages can compensate victims for past, present, and future expenses caused by a defendant’s negligence. In order to ensure you recover total compensation for financial losses, keep careful records and seek continuous medical care. Having detailed documentation of your losses to date, as well as expected expenses for future medical care and lost wages, is crucial to recover sufficient economic damages in a truck accident lawsuit.
Truck accident victims often sustain severe injuries that profoundly impact their lives. Because of this, victims may be able to recover non-economic damages when they sue a negligent party. Proving the need for non-economic damages can be challenging, as these emotional losses have no inherent financial value. In order to show the emotional impact a negligent party’s actions have had on your life, our lawyers may ask you to keep a journal or seek care from a therapist in the weeks and months following a crash. Statements from mental health professionals, medical experts, and a victim’s close friends and family can aid in the recovery of non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages can compensate truck accident victims for emotional difficulties and mental struggles caused by a defendant’s negligence. For example, suppose you have experienced depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other similar challenges after an accident. In that case, you may be able to recover non-economic damages in a lawsuit. There is no cap on non-economic damages in New York. That said, compensation for pain and suffering is never promised and the chances that you will recover such compensation in a settlement without going to trial is low.
If a trucking company acted with gross negligence, causing your recent accident, you might be able to recover punitive damages in New York City. These damages are reserved for cases where a defendant went past normal negligence and acted recklessly or maliciously when causing a victim’s injuries. For example, suppose a trucking company was aware of serious mechanical issues in a truck and cleared it for use. If those mechanical issues lead to your injuries, punitive damages may be in play. It is important to note that these damages are not meant to compensate victims but to punish defendants. They are only available in certain cases, so ask our lawyers if you are eligible to recover punitive damages.
Call Our NYC Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation for Truck Accident Victims
To get a free case assessment from The Carrion Law Firm, call our truck accident lawyers today at (718) 841-0083.