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If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a truck accident in Manhattan, you need an attorney with the resources, the resolve, and the knowledge to develop and pursue a complex truck accident claim. At Zlotolow & Associates, our skilled Manhattan truck accident attorneys have more than 20 years of experience successfully securing compensation from deep-pocketed companies and insurers. We don’t back down from a fight, and we won’t settle for less than what you and your family deserve. Our team understands the complex federal regulations that truckers and motor carriers are supposed to follow to ensure their large trucks do not pose a safety hazard to others on the road. And we have made it our mission to hold negligent drivers and companies accountable when their actions cause serious harm. Schedule a free consultation with a Manhattan truck accident lawyer now to learn what types of compensation you may be entitled to receive. We will investigate and pursue your case on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only charge you if and when we obtain compensation in your claim.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Truck Accident? | Ask a Manhattan Lawyer
Because there may be multiple factors and parties involved in a commercial truck accident, our skilled legal team will launch an independent investigation into what happened. Our goal will be to identify every party that is liable to you.
Most truckers are employed by a trucking company, known as a “motor carrier.” The motor carrier has legal responsibility for the truck driver’s activities and for the operation of the truck, including what goes on a truck to be transported. Other parties may have shared responsibility for a truck and/or its cargo, as well. Parties that may be held liable after a truck accident include:
- Truck Driver: In most truck accidents, the trucker has engaged in some kind of negligence or recklessness, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving while intoxicated. Fatigued driving is also a well-known problem for long-distance drivers. The government has established detailed Hours of Service (HOS) rules prescribing how long a trucker may drive without a break, and when and for how long breaks must be taken. Still, it is well understood that commercial truck drivers routinely violate HOS regulations.
- Trucking Company: As an employer, motor carriers are responsible for the actions of their drivers. They must ensure drivers are properly licensed and trained, and follow the rules. However, it is not uncommon to find that the motor carrier has cut corners in violation of regulations, such as for truck maintenance or by pushing fatigued drivers to stay on the road in violation of HOS rules to meet delivery deadlines. Motor carriers are also responsible for the operations of the trucks they own and put on the road.
- Truck Mechanics: Failure to properly maintain a truck’s systems and components, like brakes, tires, couplings, steering, lighting, etc., may have contributed to the accident under investigation. In such a case, the truck’s owner or the business responsible for maintaining the vehicle may be held liable.
- Manufacturer of Defective Truck Parts: If the truck or its parts or components fail because they were faulty from the start, an accident claim may become a product liability claim. The manufacturers and, sometimes, distributors of faulty and dangerous motor vehicle parts, components, systems, etc., can be held liable for harm done by products they make, market, or sell.
- Cargo Handlers: The contents of commercial trucks must be loaded correctly and securely to avoid a cargo shift, which can tip a truck into a rollover crash or send it sliding into a jackknife accident. A cargo spill can also create a crash hazard for motorists. In addition to the motor carrier and trucker, who have responsibility for a truck’s cargo, a third-party vendor may have loaded or packaged cargo that spilled or contributed to a truck’s crash. This company may share liability for the accident.
- Those Responsible for Roadways: Sometimes, a stretch of road that has not been maintained or that was designed or constructed incorrectly can cause or contribute to a truck accident. For example, if the roadbed causes rainwater to pool or the roadway crumbles under the weight of a heavy truck due to defects, this could cause a trucker to lose control and crash. In instances like these, the local government responsible for the road and/or hired contractors might be held liable.
- Work Zone Contractors: Many crashes happen in highway work zones, where workers, as well as drivers, are vulnerable to injury. Construction or maintenance work zones should be set up with adequate warning and space for motorists to slow down, and they must have barriers and space to keep traffic safely separated from workers, machinery, equipment, etc. Proper work zone design accounts for the distance a large truck needs to stop or adequately slow down. When an unsafe work zone has contributed to an accident, negligent contractors and/or the local government that employs them may be held accountable.
After a truck accident, a proper investigation can determine what has happened and identify who or what party or parties are responsible for the crash. Once we have this information, our Manhattan truck accident lawyer can file all the claims necessary to demand full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case now.
Important Evidence in Truck Accident Claims
Motor carriers are known for moving fast to protect themselves from liability after a significant commercial truck accident. You, too, should act fast. Our Manhattan truck accident lawyer needs to begin to gather evidence right away.
Evidence we may seek includes:
- Personnel records and other documents that show the driver was employed by the truck company and was not an independent contractor
- “Black box” devices known as “event data recorders,” or EDRs, which contain a variety of data about how the truck was operating just before and during a crash, including vehicle speed, steering angle, and brake status
- Your damaged vehicle, which will indicate the force of impact and the kind of crash (e.g., an underride crash, an override, a rear-end collision)
- Accident scene evidence, such as skid marks, broken glass, debris, damage to roadway infrastructure, roadway hazards, etc.
- Hours of Service (HOS) logs, which every trucker is required to maintain as a record of drive and rest times
- Truck maintenance logs, which might suggest a potential mechanical problem to explore further, or show neglected work
- Statements from the truck driver, additional motor carrier employees, and/or third-party employees, like cargo handlers
- Video systems in trucks, which monitor driver activities and may show a fatigued driver nodding off or a distracted driver using a handheld cellphone
- Truck driver cellphone records, which may indicate activity (i.e., distraction) at the time of the crash
- Public or private surveillance camera video, which may establish that the truck was on the road when the driver’s HOS logs say it wasn’t
- Truck and/or truck component recall notices, which may suggest that a carrier knowingly put an unsafe truck on the road
In addition to records and other important evidence, our team will want access to the truck itself before it is hauled away and destroyed or “lost.”
Truck accident investigations can be complex. In some cases, we turn to accident reconstruction specialists who use advanced concepts of physics and forensics plus computer modeling to depict how a crash occurred. They provide detailed reports and, if needed, can serve as expert witnesses at trial.
We Demand Maximum Compensation in Truck Accident Claims
With solid evidence of which parties should be held liable, and a full accounting of your costs and losses, we can file claims for compensation for:
- Current medical bills related to the accident
- Future medical treatment and/or care needs
- Income you’ve lost while hospitalized or recovering and unable to work
- Reduced income or earning power your injuries will cause in the future
- Vehicle and/or other property damage
- Pain and suffering from injuries and personal loss
- Punitive damages, which may be awarded in cases of wanton or malicious conduct
If you have been hurt in a truck accident, contact our personal injury attorneys in Manhattan without further delay. The work required to properly prepare a claim is time-consuming, and the State of New York imposes statutes of limitations deadlines on personal injury cases, after which a claim may not be pursued.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys can meet with you promptly and at no charge to discuss the details of your accident. Remember, we do not charge for our legal services unless and until we obtain compensation for you.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If someone’s negligence or recklessness has led to a truck accident that left you or a loved one injured, New York law is on your side. Contact a Manhattan truck accident lawyer from our firm today to discuss all your legal options.