There are some key distinctions between car accidents and accidents involving commercial trucks that may affect your damage claim. For starters, trucking companies will take any necessary measures to give its legal counsel an edge against any claimant. In other words, they will do anything they can to pay you the least or not pay at all.
These businesses can afford a staff of attorneys who have access to legal tools that the common person does not. The main distinctions between accidents involving commercial trucks and auto accidents are discussed in this blog below.
If you have specific questions or need help following any type of motor vehicle accident, please reach out to the New York truck accident lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick. Our expertise and experience can help you navigate the complexities that sometimes arise from such an incident.
Basic Things to Remember in Commercial Truck Accidents
An accident involving a truck is treated differently than one involving passenger vehicles. In a truck accident, there may be more than one defendant, and knowing who they are may help you navigate the claims process. You must ensure that you are receiving compensation for your injuries both now and in the future because truck accidents frequently result in more severe injuries.
Nearly 4,500 people died in accidents involving trucks across the country in 2017, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of those that died:
- 72% were in other vehicles
- 18% were inside the big trucks
- 10% were not traveling in a car (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.)
For truck accidents in New York, specifically: 1,366 vehicles were involved in fatal collisions in 2017. 115 of them (8.4%) were big trucks.
Trucks are quite big, which is one reason why they are more likely to cause fatalities than other motor vehicle accidents. Before a large load, an 18-wheeler can only weigh 80,000 pounds legally. The typical passenger car weighs roughly 5,000 pounds in comparison.
Who is Responsible in a Truck Accident?
Liability, or fault in an accident, is the cornerstone of personal injury law. In the event of a car accident, it is possible for one or both drivers to be found at-fault. In accidents with multiple vehicles, there could be several people at fault. Yet, vehicle accidents are not always so straightforward.
Because there are more potential parties liable in a truck accident, establishing liability is usually more challenging. There are three categories of truck drivers:
- Owner-operators, who either work as independent contractors (contracting with shippers for delivery services), who lease vehicles to a trucking business, or own the trucks they drive.
- Corporate drivers, who work for a trucking firm and operate its fleet of vehicles.
- Independent owner-operators who transport goods from their own business using their own trucks.
The type of truck driver at-fault for your accident is important since it will probably affect whether liability can be established, and against who. If you were involved in a truck accident, it is highly recommended that you retain or consult with a lawyer who can determine the at-fault party.
Vehicle maintenance may also be a significant liability factor. The person or business that owns or rents a truck is in charge of keeping it in working order. If there is a contract between the owner and shipper, it most likely has clauses that deal with upkeep.
Comparative Negligence Law in New York
What if the truck driver was at-fault for the collision, but you were also at fault?
This is a good question and it does happen. States determine responsibility and liability in one of four ways. Some laws forbid a plaintiff from receiving any damages if they were at fault for the accident in any way.
In New York, a plaintiff may receive compensation even if they contributed in part to the accident. The term "comparative negligence" refers to this system. If the court decided to give you damages for the truck accident, the court would lower the amount of damages you get in accordance with your level of fault.
The court grants you $100,000 in the case to cover your personal injuries and the damages to your car. It concludes that your contribution to the accident was 10%. As a result, your damage award is $10,000 ($10%) less. You'd be given $90,000.
Call The NY Truck Accident Lawyers At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law
The most significant distinction between the two types of accidents may be that lawsuits for vehicle accidents are typically brought against a single party, whereas lawsuits for commercial truck accidents are sometimes brought against multiple parties. In the event of a commercial truck accident, the maintenance team, parent company, management, and truck driver may all be held accountable.
If you've been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, your next step should be to call us. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we have years of experience assisting clients with their legal issues, across New York and New Jersey. Our attorneys are prepared to battle for a settlement and justice in your case.
Contact us today to go over the details of your case and find out where we can help you.