Trucks may be the workhorses of the American shipping industry, but they are also massive vehicles capable of causing catastrophic physical and financial harm. Accidents involving large trucks can cause life-altering injuries and complications that can be challenging for accident victims to overcome.
If a careless truck driver injures you in an accident, you may be entitled to seek valuable compensation for your financial losses. However, what if you were also partially at fault for causing the accident? You may still be entitled to compensation under New York’s pure comparative negligence system.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., our dedicated New York City Truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. Even if you are partially responsible for the events leading up to an accident with a large truck, options may still be available for recovering compensation for your injuries.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
You probably know what to do immediately following a New York truck accident, including calling the authorities, seeking medical attention, and exchanging information with the truck driver. However, you can also take practical steps in the days after the accident to help build your no-fault claim.
- Contact an attorney – Truck accident claims are much more complex than other accident claims. Discuss your situation with a knowledgeable New York truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
- Document your losses – Keep detailed records of your financial losses, such as medical bills, repair receipts, pay stubs, and other vital information that can help your attorney calculate the value of your truck accident claim.
- Follow medical advice – Always follow the advice of your medical providers. Your health and the strength of your accident claim are both at stake.
- Never apologize or admit fault – After an accident, do not offer apologies and do not admit fault to anyone, especially your insurance company. Allow your attorney to manage communication between you, your insurer, and the trucking company.
- Stay off social media – Avoid posting on social media platforms until your attorney resolves your claim. Your words can potentially be used against you to diminish the value of your claim or discredit it entirely.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance System
New York is one of a dozen U.S. states that follow a no-fault car insurance system. In addition to liability coverage, owners of vehicles registered in the state must purchase personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance. PIP coverage provides money for a claimant’s reasonable and necessary medical expenses, a portion of their lost wages, and reasonable household expenses up to the policy limit. A passenger vehicle occupant who is hurt in a truck accident will file their first claim against their own insurance policy. This is true regardless of who was to blame for the accident.
Furthermore, New York’s no-fault insurance system reflects the fact that many state residents, especially those living in New York City, do not rely on a passenger vehicle to get around. As such, a motor vehicle’s PIP insurance extends to any pedestrians or cyclists it hits. So, if you were struck by a truck while walking or riding a bike, you can file your claim against the PIP policy covering the truck, just as the truck’s driver would.
Third-Party Insurance Claims and Lawsuits
If you own a vehicle and have New York insurance on that vehicle, it is possible to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit outside of New York’s no-fault insurance system. However, that is only possible in cases where you’ve exhausted the limits of your PIP coverage, or your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold.
To be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company, an insurer, or a third party, your injuries must be at least one of the following conditions:
- Bone fracture
- Full disability for at least 90 days
- Permanent limitation of the use of a bodily system or body function
- Permanent limitation of the use of a limb or body organ
- Significant disfigurement
- A significant limitation of the use of a bodily system of body function
In many cases, the severity of the injuries caused by a truck crash meets the “serious injury” threshold and quickly outpaces the limits of an individual’s PIP coverage limits. In fact, the considerable damage a truck can do in a collision is why state and federal laws require large commercial vehicles to carry higher liability insurance policies. Some large truck carriers must also carry higher insurance policy limits based on the type of truck, the nature of the business, the type of cargo, and the weight and purpose of the vehicles.
These higher limits mean you could have access to a greater amount of compensation. However, mounting a compelling legal claim against aggressive entities like trucking companies and major insurance companies takes the skills and resources of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Unfortunately, many people who believe their actions contributed to the cause of a truck accident fail to seek legal help because they think they have no right to seek compensation for their injuries. In New York, that is untrue. New York subscribes to a pure comparative negligence system. Under this system, you can recover compensation even if you are partially responsible for causing the crash that injured you. However, your compensation decreases by the same percentage as the fault you bear for causing the crash. Even if you are predominantly to blame, you can still seek compensation for your financial losses in civil court.
The pure comparative fault rule binds New York juries and judges. However, it also guides how an insurance provider values an insurance claim.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Truck Accident Claim
Recovering maximum compensation following an accident with a large truck can be complicated. The severity of your injuries and the cause of the collision can impact your options for pursuing the money you need. A New York truck accident attorney can help you thoroughly evaluate your claim and outline how to recover the money you deserve.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., we are committed to offering you effective and aggressive legal counsel that helps you combat the aggressive tactics of trucking companies, insurers, and other entities who have a vested interest in short-changing you following an accident.
Has a truck driver hurt you? No matter who is at fault, you need the help only a seasoned personal injury attorney can provide. Contact our New York office today to arrange a free legal consultation to learn more about your rights.