Navigating the claim process with a trucking company and its insurer can be complicated and overwhelming. Although filing an insurance claim to pursue the compensation you need is often complex, there is only one thing you need to know about negotiating with an insurance company after a New York truck accident. Don’t do it alone. The trucking company’s insurance provider is not your friend, and they do not have your best interests at heart.
The legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. knows what it takes to negotiate with trucking companies and their insurers to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are familiar with the common tactics and strategies insurers use to get you to settle for less than what your claim is worth. We want to help you understand what lies ahead when negotiating with insurance companies after a New York truck accident.
Understanding New York Truck Insurance Laws
New York is only one of a handful of states nationwide that has a no-fault car insurance system. Under a no-fault car insurance model, the insurance companies compensate individuals injured in a car or truck accident, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. Under this system, when an accident occurs, each person’s insurance company pays for their respective policyholder’s medical expenses, lost wages, and some other financial losses up to the policy limits.
In a no-fault system, drivers must carry personal injury protection or PIP coverage as part of their primary insurance policy. In New York, PIP coverage typically pays for reasonable and necessary accident-related medical bills, up to 80% of lost work income, and up to $25 per day for reasonable and necessary accident-related expenses.
New York adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations requirements for insurance on commercial trucks. Depending on the type of cargo and the weight of the truck, the policy limits are between $300,000 and $5,000,000.
PIP Coverage and the “Serious Injury” Threshold
Under New York’s no-fault insurance system, you turn to your insurance provider for compensation following a truck accident. However, you can step outside the no-fault system and pursue a lawsuit against the driver, the trucking company, or their insurer if your injuries meet specific requirements called the “serious injury” threshold.
You may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit if a careless truck driver or trucking company was responsible for causing any of the following injuries:
- Significant disfigurement
- Bone fracture
- Permanent limitation of the use of a limb or body organ
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent limitation of the use of a bodily system or body function
- Significant limitation of the use of a bodily system or body function
- Full disability for at least 90 days
Unfortunately, the medical costs associated with treating conditions that cause significant or permanent limitations or disabilities can quickly exceed the minimum PIP coverage limits. An experienced New York truck accident attorney can assess your situation and advise whether a third-party personal injury lawsuit could help you recover the compensation you need to cover your extensive financial losses.
Proving Liability in a Truck Accident Case
Establishing liability against the at-fault party in a truck accident case takes evidence. Unfortunately, the trucking company holds some of the most valuable evidence that can help substantiate your case. Nearly all commercial trucks have electronic logging devices. Many modern electronic devices resemble an airplane’s “black box.” These devices record vital data, including:
- Speed before a crash
- Sudden changes in acceleration or deceleration
- The number of hard stops
- RPMs between stops
- Whether the truck’s brakes were applied before an accident
- When a truck’s brakes were applied
- Whether a truck was on cruise control
- Whether the driver was wearing a seat belt
- Tire pressure
- GPS location data
Some devices can also record communications and emails between the driver and the trucking company and capture information on a driver’s off-duty hours, sleeping berth hours, and how many hours the truck had been in operation. This data can be vital to proving liability following a significant truck accident.
The trucking company also has information on the truck driver’s driving record and training, cargo loading reports, and routine safety inspections. This information can provide a more detailed picture of whether the trucking company or other third-party entities could be responsible for the collision.
Access to this crucial evidence is nearly impossible without the help of an experienced New York truck accident attorney. Often it takes legal intervention to compel a trucking company to hand over this data before it is lost or even destroyed.
Why Proving Liability Matters in a No-Fault State
Fault may play no role in a New York PIP claim. However, fault plays a significant role in personal injury lawsuits. New York follows a pure comparative fault rule in personal injury cases. Under the pure comparative fault doctrine, your compensation diminishes by the same percentage as the fault you bear for causing an accident. Therefore, recovering maximum compensation for your financial losses means demonstrating to the court the truck driver, trucking company, or other third-party are entirely responsible for causing the accident.
New York Truck Accident Liability
In New York, the rule of joint and several liability allows an injured person to hold multiple parties responsible for their total compensation. A New York court could order multiple defendants they found liable for an individual’s injuries to pay compensation to the injured party individually or collectively.
Truck accident cases are significantly more complex than other vehicle accident cases, in part because multiple parties may be responsible for the cause of the accident, including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Cargo loading company
- Parts manufacturer
Truck accident cases are also more complicated because of the large quantity of potential evidence and the injuries’ severity.
Speak to a New York Truck Accident Attorney Immediately
Never attempt to negotiate with a trucking company or its insurance company without the help of an experienced New York truck accident attorney from Finz & Finz, P.C. Truck accident claims are significantly more complicated than other types of motor vehicle claims. Accepting any offer from the trucking company’s insurer without having a lawyer review it can mean you’re accepting less money than what your claim is worth and signing away your legal rights.
Have you been injured in an accident with a careless New York truck driver? Discuss your situation with a seasoned truck accident attorney immediately. Contact the office of Finz & Finz, P.C. at 855-TOP-FIRM to arrange your free case review.