Manhattan offers a wide range of eateries, cultural activities, and easy access to public transportation, making the borough a great place to live. Unfortunately, Manhattan also experiences hundreds of truck accidents annually, many of which cause injuries. If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in a Manhattan truck accident, reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your eligibility to seek compensation for your damages.
Dangerous Roadways in Manhattan
While intersections and certain stretches of roadways throughout Manhattan can pose dangers to drivers, some of the most common locations of truck accidents in Manhattan include:
- 10th Avenue
- 2nd Avenue
- 3rd Avenue
- 5th Avenue
- 8th Avenue
- East 36th Street
- East 59th Street
- East 96th Street
- East River Drive
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Harlem River Drive
- Henry Hudson Parkway
- Madison Avenue
- Triborough Bridge
- West 42nd Street
What makes these locations uniquely dangerous? They serve as gateways to business-oriented areas, which means they likely experience a heavier presence of trucks delivering goods than more residential areas. Keep in mind that one of the reasons Manhattan drivers face a higher average risk of truck accidents is the borough’s population swells to nearly three times normal every day.
While few areas in New York don’t experience a heavy presence of trucks, Manhattan’s specific rules govern which roadways big rigs can use and when.
Causes of Manhattan Truck Accidents
It may surprise some drivers to know why many truck accidents occur in Manhattan.
A review of the available statistics shows the following three situations constitute the most prevalent causes of accidents:
- Distracted Driving – this poses an issue for all drivers, but truck drivers more frequently face distraction when driving because of some unique factors. Many truckers work under a delivery deadline, which often means that they eat meals while operating their trucks. Remember, outside distractions can also take a driver’s attention off the road; these distractions include buildings, billboards, and even people working or walking on Manhattan sidewalks, which can draw a driver’s attention away from the roadway. Anything that causes even a momentary shifting of attention can prove dangerous for the truck driver and for those with whom they share the road.
- Following too Closely – even at lower speeds, trucks need a lot of room to stop. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says a fully loaded truck traveling 65 miles per hour needs two football field lengths to come to a complete stop. When you consider the lower speeds at which trucks must travel on Manhattan roadways, this still means a truck traveling just slightly over 30 miles an hour will need the equivalent of one football field to stop. Keep in mind, this means 360 feet—which can equal many car lengths.
- Improper Lane Usage – New York has strict rules that apply to safe lane changes and lane usage. Truckers should not drive in the third lane when possible, and when climbing a graded roadway, truckers should stay in the first lane of traffic. Changing lanes unsafely can cause serious accidents that can injure other roadway users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Any victim of a trucking accident caused when a trucker fails to abide by rules that apply to truckers on Manhattan roadways needs to contact a Manhattan truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Keep in mind, it could take weeks for you to recover from the injuries you sustain in one of these accidents, regardless of the truck’s speed at the time of the accident.
Types of Accidents Involving Trucks in Manhattan
Any vehicle accident can result in serious injury or fatalities. The sheer weight of a truck in comparison to a car can prove staggering and generally means the driver of a car involved in a truck accident faces a high risk of sustaining serious injuries.
Some of the types of truck accidents include:
- Head-on truck accidents – when a trucker drives while distracted, drowsy, or suffering from a medical issue, this increases the potential for a head-on accident. The faster a truck goes, the more likely a driver or passenger in a standard car will suffer a serious or fatal injury. While we like to think of head-on accidents as rare, they can and do happen and often result in catastrophic injuries.
- Rear-end truck collisions – even a truck traveling at 25 miles per hour can cause devastating injuries to a passenger or driver in another vehicle. The force at which the truck strikes the car can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, and broken bones.
- Rollover truck accidents – when a truck rolls over, victims can suffer crushing injuries if they find themselves trapped in their vehicles. These types of accidents often result from driver error, although a fair number may also stem from a problem with the truck’s braking system. Improper loading, speed, distractions, and drowsy driving can also lead to a rollover accident.
- Side-impact collisions – with more than 2,500 intersections in Manhattan, side-impact collisions occur rather frequently. These accidents nearly always occur at an intersection when a trucker does not see traffic approaching from either side, generally due to a blind spot. Remember, trucks also need more room to safely turn a corner, which can result in additional dangers for others on the roadway.
- Underride accidents – nearly one-quarter of truck fatalities result from underride accidents. These accidents occur when a truck makes a turn, and a nearby vehicle becomes lodged underneath the trailer. Victims who survive underride accidents often require months of recovery time due to the severity of these injuries.
Injuries Sustained in Manhattan Truck Accidents
All roadway accidents have the potential to cause serious injury. Victims often face weeks in the hospital, suffer long-term pain, or have other issues that can permanently impact victims’ daily lives.
Some of the injuries that victims can suffer in a truck collision include:
- Broken bones – many people think of broken bones as minor injuries because they think they heal in a few weeks. However, broken ribs can result in collapsed lungs, which can compromise breathing. Keep in mind, while most people do not suffer immediate complications of broken bones, as we age, victims can suffer arthritis in the joints, caused by a past broken bone injury. A person’s age at the time of the truck accident also plays a role in how well, and quickly, he or she can recover from this type of injury.
- Internal injuries – blunt force trauma occurs when a vehicle strikes someone. This type of trauma can result in internal bleeding and ruptured organs, and can lead to death if left untreated. Everyone involved in a truck accident should seek immediate medical care following a truck accident, even if they believe they only sustained minor injuries.
- Spinal cord injury – those who suffer spinal injuries can encounter life-long problems, including mobility issues, pain, and coordination issues. Getting back to full health could take months, which means time out of work, challenges handling everyday tasks, and painful rehabilitation treatments.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries may go unnoticed at first, which can result in life-long challenges. TBI can result in problems with vision, mobility, and even mood changes. TBI can result from a low-speed rear-end collision, since the brain moving around the inside of the skull constitutes one of the root causes of TBI. Individuals often sustain brain injuries after experiencing a sudden and unexpected movement of the head or when the head bangs on a steering wheel, window, or another fixed object.
Anyone who has suffered an injury in a truck accident in Manhattan should seek advice from an experienced truck accident lawyer. The time to recover following these types of injuries often means that victims may have to miss work for several weeks, which can negatively impact the whole family’s finances.
Reporting an Accident in Manhattan
As if you do not have enough to worry about following a truck accident in Manhattan, you need to file an accident report and deal with your insurance company. Even if you did not cause the accident, you still have to file an accident report within 10 days or face a fine of up to $1,000.
New York has no-fault insurance laws. Accordingly, every driver reports the accident to their own insurance companies and receives compensation for certain items to the extent of their coverage. At a minimum, every driver must maintain at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage. If you suffered a serious injury in a Manhattan truck accident, it may only represent the tip of the iceberg in terms of medical expenses and lost wages.
Insurance Claims Against Driver or Employer
Due to New York’s no-fault insurance laws, you may have to file a second claim with the truck driver’s insurance company or the insurer who covers the trucker’s employer. This process may prove complicated because you can rest assured that the insurance company will do everything possible to deny any responsibility for the accident. Working with an experienced accident injury attorney will work in your favor. You need someone to advocate on your behalf, who will watch out for your best interests, and who will make sure that at-fault insurance companies face liability for your injuries.
You have rights, but insurance company adjusters hope that you don’t fully understand the law. Many victims believe that because of the state’s no-fault legal structure, they have no options but to accept whatever coverage they have under their own policy. This doesn’t fully explain the situation, however. First, keep in mind that commercial trucks must legally have additional coverage beyond what standard automobiles have. This coverage must meet higher additional minimums than policies for drivers who operate cars on Manhattan roadways. If you sustain injuries in an accident with a truck, you have the right to file for additional benefits under the responsible trucker’s policy.
Insurance Adjusters Fight Manhattan Truck Accident Claims
When you file a claim with a trucker’s insurance company, you can feel confident that the adjuster will fight you tooth and nail. Insurance companies don’t want to pay out full injury claims, as they prioritize maintaining their bottom lines over all else. Some of the tactics that insurance companies will likely use include:
- Claiming preexisting conditions – an insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a medical release form. Adjusters do this because they want to uncover certain conditions that may appear similar to the injuries you sustained in a truck accident. Adjusters believe that by showing you suffered from a preexisting condition, they can minimize your claim. Never sign any documents provided without having them reviewed by a qualified attorney.
- Pointing to the victim as the responsible party – insurance companies commonly employ this tactic whenever two vehicles collide. No one wants to accept responsibility for the accident. However, insurance companies can use witnesses, traffic cameras, surveillance tapes from nearby businesses, and police accident reports to disprove liability. Because of this, you should retain an attorney as early in the process as possible. Traffic and surveillance camera footage won’t last forever, meaning that after a certain number of days, you may not have access to this information.
- Claims of injury are not as serious as indicated – this involves another tricky situation. You may receive several calls from an insurance adjuster, and you may believe that the adjuster has a genuine concern for your recovery. These calls may seem innocent enough, because they may appear more social than business-related. Use caution: these calls may determine how you progress day-to-day with one goal in mind—to minimize the amount of your claim. Do not spend any more time than needed talking to adjusters; instead, refer them to your lawyer.
A truck accident can occur in the blink of an eye and can change your life and your lifestyle forever. Focus on regaining your physical health and recovering from your injuries. But this may prove difficult when you face the additional stress associated with filing insurance claims and battling with adjusters who seem determined to pay out as little as possible.
You should not have to suffer the financial consequences of an accident that you played no part in causing. For a better chance of getting the maximum insurance settlement for your financial losses, contact a Manhattan truck accident lawyer today and discuss your legal options for pursuing compensation.