Trucks and Trucking Industry Accidents - New York Attorney, Truck Accidents Image

Trucks and Trucking Industry Accidents - New York Attorney

Trucks and the Trucking Industry

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has seen an increase in trucking industry accidents by 20% over the past few decades. Despite this unfortunate increase, trucking continues plays a vital role in American commerce by moving manufactured goods and agriculture produce throughout the country—tasks which could not be accomplished without big rigs and large trucks to do the job. The trucking industry is the “lifeblood of the U.S. economy,” as stated on the website of the American Trucking Associations, the largest national trade association for the industry. Trucks move nearly 70 percent of the freight tonnage in the country. Moving 9.2 million tons of freight annually requires nearly three million heavy-duty, Class 8 trucks and more than three million truck drivers. With numbers like that evidencing trucks on the road, it is easy to see why other drivers may be at risk when driving on roads that are frequented by these massive vehicles.  And, while many consider big rigs the culprit, other trucks that take to the road can also pose dangers to others due to their size, improper loads, ineffective loading of the weight distribution, poor maintenance, and more.

News and Causes of Truck Accidents

In 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued a 248-page report on all vehicular accidents. One page in the report is devoted to injury and fatal accidents specifically addressing large-truck drivers and their occupants, and covers a range from 1975 through 2012. In 2012, 697 occupants of large trucks died in accidents and 25,000 occupants sustained injuries. While truckers themselves have to drive defensively, truck drivers might not be more prone to accidents than other drivers, but can inflict more damage to others owing to their size of their rigs. And, we all know that accidents involving large trucks of any kind also tie up traffic (which could lead to other accidents), draw gawkers and propel news coverage. And, sadly, lack of screening of truck drivers means that many companies hire drivers who are unqualified, whether they serve as a subcontractor or an employee of the company.  

In 2014, a high-profile case involved a truck driver who killed a man and injured comedian Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike. News reports claim the driver was awake more than 24 consecutive hours before the accident. He faces prosecution for vehicular homicide and assault by auto.  Driver fatigue is just one of the many problems that face truckers, and others who drive trucks for their occupations.  In addition to fatigue, factors for accidents involving trucks and big rigs include improper loading of the truck, limited capabilities in the vehicle’s acceleration or braking, underestimating braking, loss of visibility, inclement weather conditions like ice and fog, extreme driver fatigue, simple driver carelessness and jackknifing. A jackknife is when the trailer of the truck swings around so it covers the entire road or more than two lanes of a multilane highway. Often a jackknife is caused by the inability to properly engage the brakes; other jackknifing can occur when the truck attempts to turn a corner to quickly or downshifts too late.   

Protecting Yourself from a Truck Accident

Because of the size of the vehicle, accidents involving trucks can destroy your car, cause serious injuries and death, and lead to lost income if you or family members require extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation. A skilled personal injury attorney could represent your interests by subpoenaing documents on the truck drivers, including whether they have faced suspensions and other citations. What follows are suggestions to make driving safer, while sharing highways with trucks and other large vehicles. These suggestions include:

  • While driving, keep a safe distance from trucks and other vehicles.
  • Report truckers if they cut you off or drive erratically. A number of trucks contain messages on the back of their rigs asking motorists to gauge how they are driving, and many list a phone number to call if you witness behavior that it out of the norm.
  • Do not drive in the zone where the trucker might have limited visibility such as the right rear quarter, the left rear quarter, or directly behind the truck.
  • Always use your directional signals, and give yourself enough time to turn or pass.
  • Only pass a truck when it is safe to do so.
  • Pay attention to the signals and lights of the trucks in front of—and behind—you.
  • Refrain from changing lanes too quickly, often causing a truck to have to readjust his path.
  • Merge safely on the highway so that trucks never have to move or break suddenly.
  • Never maneuver to the right to pass a truck who is attempting to make a right hand turn.
  • Always move your disabled vehicle out of the way and not in the way of any type of oncoming traffic, like a large truck that might have to suddenly give you room by moving into another lane.

Obtaining Legal Help for Truck Accidents

Federal laws and regulations determine the rules for the trucking industry and challenges can present from the beginning to the end of your case. Challenges may include determining who was at fault if the trucker was an independent contractor or an employee of the trucking company. Witnesses may be difficult to obtain before, during or after an accident occurs.  Jackknifing may be difficult to prove, unless circumstances could clearly have been prevented. As with any accident, the more you have on hand before you meet with your New York Attorney the better. Materials may not always be at the ready, however, but should not stall your intent to immediately and appropriately seek legal action.  Some facts and details you may want to gather ahead of time include the following:

  • Name of trucking company or of the driver
  • License plate of the truck
  • Details of the accident: how, when, where
  • Were the police available and was a report filed?
  • Did you or anyone else take photographs or videos of the scene?
  • What were the weather conditions?
  • Were there other vehicles involved?

While not a comprehensive list these questions by any means, these prompts should get you started and prepared to meet with legal counsel. When you enlist the Finz Firm to assist you with your case, you know that you will be in good hands.  Their firm has a record settlement for a truck-trailer case, and is the largest recorded individual personal injury truck accident settlement in New York State history.  As experienced personal injury lawyers, the Finz Firm attorneys can assess the damage resulting for you truck accident, and help you pursue full and fair compensation for the losses you have suffered. If you, a family member or a friend has suffered a serious injury in an truck accident, contact the Finz Firm now toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM or simply fill out the free truck accident case evaluation form.

 

Related News for Truck Accidents

Police Crack Down on Overloaded Trucks

August 09, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Local reports from Massachusetts, Ohio, and other parts of the country indicate that police have begun to crack down on overloaded pickup trucks, issuing citations and forcing drivers to reload their vehicles before continuing on their journey.  Though a significant inconvenience for those pulled over, these actions were necessary to combat the increased accident risk associated with these vehicles.

Continue Reading: Police Crack Down on Overloaded Trucks

Trucking Companies May Be Liable for Behavior of Drivers

June 29, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

When a truck accident occurs due to unsafe behavior by a trucker, filing a lawsuit against the truck driver for their actions is commonplace.  What not all accident victims realize is that, in certain situations, the company the driver works for might also be liable.  A recent decision by the Wyoming Supreme Court underscores this possibility.

Continue Reading: Trucking Companies May Be Liable for Behavior of Drivers

Truck Equipment Failure

May 11, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Truck accidents involving semis and other large vehicles are frighteningly common and can occur for a variety of reasons.  These types of incidents are associated with overly aggressive driving by the trucker or with truckers who had too little sleep or rest and are dangerously tired.  Truck equipment failure is also a common cause of accidents.

Continue Reading: Truck Equipment Failure

Operation Southern Shield and Texting Truck Drivers

April 13, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Every year, Highway Patrol officers in southern Arizona focus on dangerous driving by truckers.  This year the task force, called Operation Southern Shield, focused on drivers of tractor trailers texting while driving, speeding, and driving aggressively.  In just a few days, dozens of citations were issued, making it clear the wide scope of the problem.

Continue Reading: Operation Southern Shield and Texting Truck Drivers

The Dangers of Tire Blowouts

April 11, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Tire blowouts are dangerous in the best of situations, such as when piloting a small car at low speeds.  Due to the sheer size and weight of an automobile, there is a risk of injury whenever something unexpected happens, and losing the traction and steering that comes with four functioning wheels tests even the most experienced drivers.

Continue Reading: The Dangers of Tire Blowouts

Aggressive Truck Drivers Put Everyone At Risk

April 02, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Sharing the road with truckers can be a stressful experience for other drivers even in the best situations.  But when drivers of semis and other large vehicles follow posted speed limits and stay in the right lane except when passing, there is little risk to others on the road unless a tire blows or there is a mechanical misfunction.

Continue Reading: Aggressive Truck Drivers Put Everyone At Risk

Staying Safe by Limiting Hazardous Cargo

March 30, 2018 | Fin

Any tanker truck or semi on the highway has the potential to cause death and destruction if an accident occurs, simply due to the immensity of the vehicle.  These trucks often weigh in excess of ten thousand pounds, significantly heavier than passenger vehicles.  When an accident occurs between a car and a truck, the car bears the brunt of it.

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Tow Truck Accidents are Extremely Common

March 27, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Tow trucks are associated with accidents by many because, because they are often used to transport vehicles that have sustained significant damage.  People are used to seeing these vehicles at these scenes.  But tow trucks are actually often involved in accidents themselves, accounting for a large percentage of truck accidents.

Continue Reading: Tow Truck Accidents are Extremely Common

Five Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

March 23, 2018 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Accidents involving large trucks are particularly dangerous, due to the size and weight of the vehicles.  Truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, but the vast majority of accidents occur due to one of five factors.  These factors include driver error, poor vehicle maintenance, equipment failure, improperly loaded cargo, and flying or falling debris.

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Self-driving Trucks are Becoming a Reality

June 10, 2016 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

The auto industry has been buzzing about self-driving cars since Google started working on the concept in 2009. After seven years, the company is still testing vehicles with the new technology in hopes of making the autonomous cars available to the public by 2020. In the meantime, a start-up company led by former Google employees are looking to change the trucking industry with the addition of self-driving trucks.

Continue Reading: Self-driving Trucks are Becoming a Reality

Staying Safe on the Road with Trucks and Tractor-Trailers

February 25, 2016 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

Many motorists are uneasy driving near large trucks, tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers. Those fears became quite real for drivers on the George Washington Bridge this week when high winds during a storm caused a semi-trailer to overturn, pushing it into the path of oncoming traffic. The upper level of the bridge was closed for a number of hours while crews cleared away debris and cleaned up the diesel fuel which had spilled across the lanes. While luckily no one was injured, the incident serves as a reminder of how dangerous trucks can be.

Continue Reading: Staying Safe on the Road with Trucks and Tractor-Trailers

Tractor Trailer Accidents-Fatigue and Fatality

July 09, 2014 | Leonard L. Finz, Former NYS Supreme Court Justice

Several weeks ago, Tracy Morgan, a celebrity performer, having appeared on the stage of an Atlantic City casino hotel, was returning to New York City with a fellow performer when the limo he was in was violently struck by a tractor trailer. The impact was so severe, killing the passenger and sending Morgan to the hospital where he is still fighting for his life. The cause? The driver of the heavy rig allegedly fell asleep at the wheel.

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Truck Accidents: Asleep at the Wheel

July 03, 2014 | Finz & Finz, P.C.

It took far too long, but authorities are now paying attention to the crash that took the life of one comedian and left comedian and actor Tracy Morgan critically injured.  The truck driver who caused the crash had not slept for over 24 hours, according to a newly filed criminal complaint.

Continue Reading: Truck Accidents: Asleep at the Wheel

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