In 2021, nine percent of New York State (NYS) fatalities involved large trucks. If you were injured in a truck accident in NYS that wasn’t your fault while in a car, on foot, or riding a bicycle, you could be eligible for compensation. You need and deserve money to cover your medical treatments, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses.
Obtaining the money you need could take more work than you might expect. The truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, and other entities could have been negligent and, therefore, liable for your losses. In addition, NYS’s truck regulations and complex insurance structures make collecting the compensation you deserve complicated. Because of the complexity of pursuing compensation, you should hire an experienced New York truck accident lawyer.
New York State Regulations
The Federal Highway Administration classifies trucks into eight categories based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Trucks with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more are considered commercial motor vehicles and are subject to federal, state, and city trucking regulations.
New York State (NYS) uses a combination of federal, state, and local regulations to govern trucking operations. In general, NYS has adopted rules administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the United States Department of Transportation. However, there are some specific exceptions for trucks within New York State, and these can be found in the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law, administered by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles.
New York City (NYC) has a population density of almost 30,000 people per square mile of land area. That figure doesn’t include visitors. Because of the congested vehicle and pedestrian traffic, narrow streets, and low bridges, there are also particular regulations for commercial motor vehicles operating in NYC.
New York City Regulations
NYC has special truck traffic regulations, including limits on size and weight and designated routes, which may vary by borough. Within NYC’s boroughs, designated routes may differ depending on whether trucks travel within or through the borough. Special rules exist for Manhattan’s garment and financial districts and Midtown core.
Rules on the size of trucks driving in NYC restrict the height, weight, length, and number of axles/tire combinations. In addition, any vehicle that qualifies as a commercial vehicle registered in New York State operating within NYC must install cross-over mirrors on the front of the cab.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident in New York?
It is not uncommon in a truck accident for more than one party to be legally responsible for causing the accident. The truck driver would be at fault if they caused the accident, for example, by driving recklessly, disobeying a traffic law, driving while distracted (texting, eating/drinking) or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truck drivers of commercial motor vehicles are also required to follow strict hours of service rules mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A driver who violates the hours of service rules can be at fault for fatigued driving, which is a form of negligence.
The trucking company may also be liable for the accident if they were negligent in their hiring, training, or supervision practices. If the trucking company did not own the truck, the truck owner could be at fault for failing to inspect and maintain their vehicles.
The FMCSA also has general and commodity-specific rules for securing cargo. A cargo loading company might be liable if the truck accident was caused due to improper cargo placement or restraint or exceeding load limits.
The truck manufacturer or truck mechanic can also be liable for the accident. For example, the manufacturer may have used defective parts, or the mechanic may have failed to inspect their work after performing the repairs or maintenance. In either case, if a system failed and caused the accident, the manufacturer or mechanic could be held liable to pay for the injured parties’ injuries and losses.
What Compensation Could I Receive After a Truck Accident in New York?
Once your lawyer has determined who is liable for your accident, the amount of money you could receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, including the severity and permanency of your injuries, the duration of your recovery, and the amount of income lost.
You could get compensation for:
- Current and future medical expenses, including the cost of physicians, hospitals, physical therapy, prescriptions, and prosthetics
- Lost wages
- Lost future income if you are unable to return to work
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
If your accident involved a truck with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more federal regulations require that the trucking company carry a minimum amount of primary liability insurance equal to $750,000. However, that amount only applies if the truck is transporting non-hazardous commodities. The minimum amount of primary liability insurance increases to $1 million or $5 million if the truck is transporting certain hazardous materials.
You would only have access to this money if the trucking company was responsible to pay for your accident-related injuries and losses. The insurance claim adjusters representing those liable for the accident will try to convince you to settle by initially offering an amount far below what you deserve. You need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney to negotiate for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Our firm recently obtained a $24.5 million truck accident settlement for a client. We can’t promise you a multi-million dollar settlement or verdict. But if the wrongdoing of others caused your injuries, we will be unrelenting in our commitment to aggressively fight for you to receive the maximum compensation and justice you deserve.
How Finz & Finz, P.C. Can Help
For over three decades, our firm has obtained record-breaking results for clients. We’ve stood up to aggressive insurance companies at the negotiating table and in court. Let us put our experience and resources to work for you. For a free consultation, any day of the week or time of day, contact our experienced New York truck accident attorneys at Finz & Finz.