Determining the frequency of truck accidents requires understanding the small percentage of commercial trucks found on the road at any given moment. The majority of vehicles are passenger cars. According to the National Safety Council, large trucks account for only four percent of all registered vehicles nationwide. However, they represent nine percent of all vehicles involved in fatal traffic accidents.
Here you will learn about the most common causes of truck accidents, who you could hold liable for your injury, and how to pursue compensation.
Truck Accident Statistics in New York
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 182,161 large trucks involved in 169,562 fatal and non-fatal crash events nationwide in 2021. These accidents resulted in 5,375 fatalities and 79,558 injuries.
In the same year in New York, 7,461 fatal and non-fatal collisions involved 7,729 large trucks. They caused 110 deaths and 4,738 injuries.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Negligent truck drivers often cause truck accidents. The most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Truckers are subject to various distractions. They might talk or text on the phone, sing along with the radio, and engage in other activities to pass the time. Anything that directs their hands, eyes, or attention away from driving is a distraction and increases the risk of a crash.
- Driver fatigue – Truck drivers can work up to fourteen hours in one shift. It’s exhausting and often leads to fatigue. Fatigued drivers aren’t as alert as well-rested drivers and are more prone to errors that endanger others on the road.
- Driving under the influence – Federal law imposes strict standards for truck drivers. State law considers a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent to be under the influence. However, the FMCSA considers truckers operating commercial trucks with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher to be under the influence of alcohol.
- Inadequate maintenance – Maintaining a truck is critical to keep it in good condition. Depending on the circumstances, the truck driver, motor carrier, or separate maintenance company might be responsible for the vehicle’s upkeep. Driving with defective parts, worn-out tires, and other maintenance issues can cause the vehicle to malfunction.
- Speeding – The consequences of speeding in a large truck can be deadly. When a truck crashes into a small car, violent forces cause a sudden change in momentum. Occupants can sustain debilitating injuries from the impact or get ejected from the vehicle.
Truck drivers aren’t the only parties responsible for the safety of vehicle occupants and non-motorists. The motor carrier must follow various regulations to ensure its trucks and employees meet the required standards. A trucking company might be at fault for hiring an inexperienced or unqualified trucker. It might also be responsible for poor supervision and training, inadequate truck maintenance, or failure to conduct random drug and alcohol testing.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
The party you hold liable for a trucking accident depends on the circumstances. Multiple parties could be at fault, including:
- Truck driver – The trucker is likely liable if their negligent actions directly led to the crash.
- Motor carrier – The trucking company might be held liable if they hired someone without conducting a background check or encouraging drivers to exceed the maximum number of driving hours allowed under federal law.
- Cargo loading company – The company responsible for loading cargo onto the trailer can be liable for using faulty securement systems or loading items beyond the maximum weight or size limits.
- Manufacturer – A manufacturer can be at fault if it supplies the trucking company with a defective part that causes the truck to malfunction or if a system on the truck malfunctions.
- Maintenance workers – Maintenance companies and employees must inspect the vehicles, repair damage, and replace recalled parts. They might be liable for improper maintenance and repairs.
Compensation for a Truck Accident in New York
Every driver who resides in New York must purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to register a vehicle and obtain license plates. The minimum required coverage is $50,000.
PIP insurance benefits include:
- Reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses related to an accident
- 80 percent of lost earnings with a maximum limit of $2,000 per month for up to three years after the crash
- $25 daily reimbursement for other necessary and reasonable accident-related costs for up to one year
Federal law requires motor carriers to carry liability insurance for their commercial vehicles. You must exhaust your PIP limits and meet the serious injury threshold to file a claim with the motor carrier’s liability insurer. A serious injury is one that results in:
- Significant disfigurement;
- Loss of a fetus;
- Medically determined non-permanent injury or impairment preventing the injured person from substantially performing all material acts constituting their customary and usual daily activities for at least ninety days within 180 days of the impairment or injury;
- Permanent loss of use of a body member, system, organ, or function;
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body member or organ;
- A fracture;
- A significant limitation of the use of a body system or function; or
The money you receive in a liability claim or lawsuit might compensate you for:
- Emotional distress
- Emergency room visits, surgeries, prescriptions, and other medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or permanent loss of limb
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Punitive damages are also recoverable in a lawsuit. You must show clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s reckless, malicious, wanton, or willful acts or that their conduct showed a high degree of moral culpability to receive a financial award for punitive damages.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents
You must follow a strict deadline to sue someone for compensation after an accident. In New York, the statute of limitations allows a three-year timeframe to file a lawsuit. That means you have three years from the crash date to initiate your lawsuit against the truck driver, motor carrier, or another negligent party.
Injured in a Trucking Accident? Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Now
A truck accident can lead to massive destruction, life-threatening injuries, and death. Holding the at-fault party liable requires substantial evidence. You should not leave your future to chance. Let Finz & Finz, P.C. represent you.
With over 35 years of experience litigating personal injury cases, we are more than qualified to handle your case. We will fight to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. Call our New York accident lawyers at 855-954-4330 or contact us online for a free consultation if you sustained injuries in a trucking accident due to someone else’s negligence.