People who are hurt in truck accidents often face more than serious injuries. They must also face aggressive trucking companies and insurers that will go to great lengths to protect profits and avoid payouts. Truck accident claims typically involve multiple parties, federal and state regulations, and other factors that make obtaining justice more complex than in passenger car accidents.
For more than 20 years, the Brooklyn truck accident attorneys of Zlotolow & Associates have been fighting for the rights of New Yorkers who have been seriously injured in crashes that could have been prevented. Typically, our clients have already faced diversion, delay, or denial by the trucker and/or trucking company and their insurers. Some have already been offered an insulting settlement amount, or they have been told they’ll get nothing.
We put an end to this kind of mistreatment. Our respected personal injury law firm can dedicate the personnel and resources that your truck accident claim requires from start to finish, so you can focus on your medical care and recovery instead.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation. We pursue truck accident claims on a contingency-fee basis. So we won’t charge you anything unless and until we recover compensation for you.
Who May Be Held Responsible for Your Truck Accident?
There may be any number of factors and multiple parties involved in a commercial truck accident. Large trucks, or commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), are complex machines. The trucking industry is one of the country’s largest, and it is highly regulated. The work required to deliver cargo across the country or even across the state involves far more than a trucker willing to drive a big-rig.
Our aggressive Brooklyn truck accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation to identify all parties truly responsible for the crash you were injured in. We can then follow up with one or more claims for compensation for medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
Your truck accident claim may involve:
- Truck Driver: In many truck accidents, the “trucker” has engaged in some kind of negligence or recklessness. The most common causes of truck accidents are violations of traffic laws as well as rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry:
- Speeding, including driving too fast for conditions such as rain, snow, ice, fog, etc.
- Fatigued driving, often from driving in violation of federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which apply to commercial truck drivers
- Distracted driving, despite FMCSA rules specifically prohibiting texting or using handheld mobile phones while operating commercial motor vehicles
- Driving while impaired, primarily by illicit, prescribed, or over-the-counter drugs
- Unsafe or illegal maneuvers, such as an illegal turn, failing to look, tailgating, etc.
- Motor Carrier: A motor carrier, or trucking company, is responsible for ensuring that the trucks and truckers it puts on the road are safe and operate according to the law. Truck drivers must be properly licensed and trained. Trucks must be maintained. Even the cargo loaded into trailers or tanks, or onto truck beds, must meet requirements for content and safety, including how it is secured.
- Faulty Truck Parts: A tractor-trailer has multiple parts and systems that could have problems. Failure of a truck’s brakes, tires, wheels, power train, coupling system, lighting, etc., can cause or contribute to a crash. If a motor carrier cuts corners on maintenance to save money, or a manufacturer or distributor has made and/or sold a faulty product and someone is harmed, the negligent company(s) can be held liable.
- Cargo: Many truck accident reports cite cargo shifts and/or spills as contributing factors. The FMCSA closely regulates how various kinds of cargo are to be loaded and secured on commercial trucks. Cargo that suddenly shifts can change the truck’s center of gravity and cause loss of control and a crash. Cargo that spills from a truck can create a crash hazard for motorists, as well as personal injury hazard for anyone else nearby. The motor carrier and trucker have responsibility for cargo on a truck. Sometimes a third-party vendor has loaded or packaged cargo and bears responsibility for cargo failures as well.
- Roadway: Sometimes, due to lack of maintenance or faulty design or construction, the road itself contributes to a truck accident. For example, a hazard has been created by overgrown trees that obscure the view, or the roadbed causes rain water to pool, which contributes to an accident. In such cases, a local government responsible for roads and/or its contractors might be held liable for a crash.
- Work Zone. Highway work zones, areas blocked off from traffic for construction or maintenance, must be designed to provide adequate warning and time for truckers to slow down, as well as barriers and space to separate traffic from workers. The setup must take into account the distance a large truck needs to stop, as well as posted highway speeds, anticipated traffic congestion, and more. If an unsafe work zone contributes to a crash, negligent contractors and/or the local government that employs them may be liable.
In order to pursue compensation after a truck accident, you will need to demonstrate who is responsible for the wreck and therefore liable to you. The knowledgeable Brooklyn truck accident attorneys at Zlotolow & Associates will investigate and file claims with any and all parties whose negligence contributed to your truck accident.
Contact us now to schedule a consultation to discuss your claim.
It Is Important to Act Quickly to Preserve Evidence
When Zlotolow & Associates takes truck accident cases, we know our investigators must move quickly to secure evidence needed to demonstrate the accident’s cause and who is responsible.
There are multiple records and reports that FMCSA regulations require truckers and motor carriers to maintain about truck driver activity, truck maintenance and operations, cargo, etc., and we move quickly to have those preserved. This typically requires obtaining court orders to compel the motor carrier, truck owner, or other responsible party to turn over documents and allow us access to wreckage.
It is always better if we can demand this information right away after a truck accident. Some crash evidence naturally deteriorates over time, including the memories of witnesses we speak to. Other evidence can easily become “lost” or destroyed.
Of particular interest is the truck’s Event Data Recorder (EDR or “black box”) download. This data portrays the truck’s operations just prior to the crash, including:
- Throttle position
- Clutch position
- Steering angle
- Sudden deceleration/ acceleration
There may be additional data available from the motor carrier, trucker, and others, as well. For example, some commercial trucks have in-cab video systems. There are also opportunities to track a truck’s movement, and therefore the trucker’s time behind the wheel, through surveillance video at various locations on its route and by other evidence.
Our experienced Brooklyn truck accident lawyers can meet with you for free to discuss the details of your accident, and we will move promptly to secure evidence that will help establish your eligibility for compensation.
Contact Our Brooklyn Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact our Brooklyn personal injury law firm now to get started on your claim. We have the resolve and the resources required to pursue full compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and other damages.
Call or fill out our online form to set up a free, no-obligation meeting with our Brooklyn tractor-trailer accident attorneys.