Types of Truck Accidents in Manhattan

Trucks of all types crowd Manhattan streets. They deliver inventory to stores and packages to buildings. They haul materials to and from construction sites, and take away our trash.

With all those trucks crisscrossing city streets, accidents sometimes happen. From Bowling Green to Washington Heights, Hell’s Kitchen to Gramercy Park, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists face the risk of severe and fatal injuries whenever truck drivers and trucking companies make dangerous mistakes.

Regardless of the cause, truck drivers, trucking companies, and others can prevent nearly every Manhattan truck accident. If you sustained injuries in a preventable Manhattan truck accident, then New York law permits you to take legal action seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact an experienced truck accident lawyer who can guide you through the claims process and bring a lawsuit on your behalf, if necessary.

Until you have the chance to meet with an attorney, you can learn more about the causes of truck accidents and the different types of truck accidents that happen in Manhattan. Each has distinguishing characteristics that may help you understand your rights. Also, an understanding of types of truck accidents in Manhattan can help you avoid them in the future potentially saving your life.

Preventable Causes of Manhattan Truck Accidents

On a broad level, most truck accidents occur in Manhattan because someone made a preventable mistake. Even when sleet, ice, and snow create dangerous driving conditions on city streets, an accident involving a truck usually happens because of unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions on the part of a truck driver, trucking company, or someone else connected to the truck that crashed.

For example, truck accidents happen in Manhattan when:

  • Truckers drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Truckers fail to get enough rest before driving;
  • Truckers engage in distracting activities such as cell phone use, eating, or adjusting a radio or GPS;
  • Trucking companies hire inexperienced truck drivers;
  • Trucking companies fail to train their drivers;
  • Trucking companies encourage or pressure their truck drivers to violate safety regulations;
  • Shippers make mistakes loading or securing cargo; and
  • Mechanics fail to maintain trucks in a roadworthy condition.

All the examples above represent cases of potential negligence in which victims may have the legal right to recover compensation for their injuries and losses under New York law. Contact an experienced Manhattan truck accident lawyer today to learn more.

Head-on Truck Accidents in Manhattan

In most parts of the country, a head-on truck accident is a relatively rare, albeit deadly, event. On crowded New York City streets, however, the risk of a head-on collision between a truck and another vehicle rises dramatically.

Head-on truck accidents most often happen in two ways: a truck or other vehicle swerves into oncoming traffic on a two-lane road, or a truck or other vehicle drives the wrong way on a one-way street. Both can easily happen in Manhattan.

On crowded cross-town arteries like Houston St., 42nd Street, and 125th Street, for example, a moment’s inattention can lead to a truck drifting into the opposite lane and colliding with an oncoming vehicle. On Manhattan’s hundreds of one-way streets, truck drivers who lack experience or familiarity with City driving can easily make a mistake and turn headlong into opposite-way traffic.

And, that’s just truckers making mistakes. Drivers of other vehicles, and cyclists, can also commit these errors and end up crashing head-on into a truck.

No matter who makes the mistake, a head-on truck crash in Manhattan can leave victims seriously injured and in need of extensive financial support. An experienced Manhattan truck accident lawyer can help.

Rear-end Truck Collisions in Manhattan

In Manhattan’s heavy traffic, careless or reckless actions behind the wheel of a car or truck can easily cause a rear-end accident. Trucks, because of their size and mass, cause severe damage to smaller vehicles in a rear-end collision, regardless of which vehicle rear-ends the other.

Rear-end collisions have a reputation as minor fender-benders, but even at low speeds, they can cause serious injuries when they involve trucks. Common injuries suffered by occupants of smaller vehicles in a Manhattan rear-end truck accident include neck and back injuries, brain trauma, and spinal cord damage.

Trucks run into the rear end of other vehicles when traveling too fast on crowded Manhattan streets, when truckers get distracted behind the wheel and fail to notice a red light or a slowdown in traffic, or when a vehicle in front of them has to slam on the brakes to avoid a pedestrian, cyclist, or hazard in the street.

Underride Accidents in Manhattan

An underride accident involves a collision between a small passenger vehicle and a truck with a high ground clearance, in which the smaller vehicle gets trapped or pinned beneath the truck’s body. They typically occur when a smaller vehicle rear-ends a truck, or when a truck and smaller vehicle collide when changing lanes.

Underride accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities. They can easily crush a smaller vehicle and its passenger cabin when a truck drags it or runs it over.

The worst underride accidents tend to occur on highways or other roads where traffic moves at high-speed. In Manhattan, the FDR and West Side Highways, and bridges and tunnels—where traffic moves quickly and vehicles have little room to maneuver—create the risk of underrides. However, even on slower-moving City streets, truck drivers can make mistakes that result in dangerous underrides.

The best way to avoid an underride accident in Manhattan, or anywhere else, is to stay out of a truck’s blind spots. Unfortunately, that is not always possible on a crowded Manhattan street.

Side-Impact Collisions with Trucks in Manhattan

With most of its streets laid out in a grid, Manhattan is chock-full of intersections—more than 2,800 of them (!), according to the New York City Department of Transportation. The wealth of intersections in the Big Apples makes it a prime location for side-impact (a.k.a. T-bone, or broadside) collisions between cars and trucks.

Side-impact truck collisions happen most often in Manhattan when the driver of a vehicle tries to beat, or fails to see, a red light, and drives into an intersection with crossing traffic. The resulting crash can cause devastating damage, particularly to the smaller vehicle, because oftentimes at least one of the two vehicles is moving at relatively high-speed. Fatalities and severe injuries like brain and spinal cord trauma, commonly result from these accidents.

Manhattan Pedestrians Face Massive Danger for Truck Accident Injuries

Intersections are also dangerous for Manhattan’s hundreds of thousands of pedestrians. Truck drivers in a rush to make deliveries and pickups can get distracted or make careless mistakes behind the wheel, and as a result, can strike pedestrians. For example, a garbage truck in Hell‘s Kitchen recently struck and killed a man in a crosswalk. Always pay special attention to traffic when crossing Manhattan streets, even if you have the walk signal.

Jackknife Truck Accidents in Manhattan

Jackknife truck accidents in Manhattan are few and far between. These potentially dangerous events, where a semi-truck’s cab and trailer fold in on each other like the blade of a pocket knife, typically occur on interstate or highways when trucks are traveling much faster than they do on the streets of Manhattan.

Yet, they can happen in the City. Jackknife accidents often result from a truck driver hitting the brakes too hard or using his engine brake too aggressively. Icy and snowy roads make trucks especially vulnerable to jackknifing. For those reasons, the risk of encountering a jackknife accident in NYC is highest on major, multi-lane arteries where wind, rain, and snow can affect traffic flow, like the George Washington Bridge, Henry Hudson Parkway, and Harlem River Drive.

Jackknifes, like other truck accidents, pose a particular danger to passenger vehicles. A jackknifed semi often blocks traffic, causing other vehicles to crash into the tractor or trailer, sometimes triggering a multi-car pile up. Also, once a truck jackknifes, its driver loses all control, and the truck becomes a battering ram that will damage or destroy anything in its path until it comes to a stop.

Rollover Truck Accidents in Manhattan

Truck rollovers are among the most dangerous truck accidents for everyone involved. Truck drivers can suffer severe injuries when their truck rolls. A truck that rolls on a crowded Manhattan street or bridge risks causing catastrophic harm to other motorists and bystanders.

Dump trucks, garbage trucks, and cement trucks are more vulnerable to rollovers because their center of gravity is high relative to the length of their wheel-base. Even the most experienced truck driver can roll his truck if he goes too fast around a corner or curve, or if he runs over an obstacle that unbalances his truck. A truck that rolls or tips over may land on other vehicles in its vicinity, inflicting massive damage. Truck rollovers may also block traffic and create a hazard that leads to a multi-car pileup.

A driver must maintain complete control of his truck to avoid a rollover accident in Manhattan. Any situation that causes a trucker to lose control or makes it difficult for him to respond to a hazard, can lead to a dangerous truck rollover. Tire blowouts are the most common cause of truckers losing control and rolling their trucks. Impaired driving, improper loading, brake issues, and other mechanical problems can also lead to a rollover.

Like other truck accidents in Manhattan, the best way to avoid falling victim to a rollover is to keep a safe distance when sharing the road with any truck, particularly a top-heavy one like a garbage truck. Wet, icy, or snow-covered roads warrant extra caution to guard against a rollover.

Manhattan’s heavy traffic sometimes prevents you from keeping a safe distance from a truck, but, when possible, try your best to keep at least a four-second gap between the front of your vehicle and the rear of a truck. Also, if you must pass a truck, do it quickly so that you spend as little time as possible in its blind spot, which is also the extreme danger zone when a truck rolls.

Cargo Spills on Manhattan’s Streets

Truckers and trucking companies have a special obligation to secure cargo properly to prevent dangerous spills and accidents. This includes complying with weight limits and using specialized loading techniques when carrying certain types of cargo.

Unfortunately, not all truckers and trucking companies live up to those obligations. The result—an improperly loaded truck that risks spilling or dumping its cargo—is an accident waiting to happen.

Flatbed trucks with open trailers pose the highest risk to New Yorkers when cargo is improperly secured, because there is nothing to stop cargo from falling into the street or onto the sidewalk and causing catastrophic injuries and damage. However, trucks with closed trailers can also spill cargo onto Manhattan streets under certain situations, as can tanker trucks that carry hazardous materials that could catch fire, explode, or release toxic fumes.

Cargo spills of any type can wreak havoc on City streets. Other vehicles may collide with cargo that falls from a truck, sustaining severe damage. Vehicles could lose control on liquids released from a truck. Oversized or heavy cargo could simply crush a smaller vehicle if it spills. And, of course, a fire or explosion could inflict massive damage in the close quarters of Manhattan streets.

Personal injury attorney Andrew Finkelstein managing partner of Jacoby and Meyers LLP

Andrew G. Finkelstein, Truck Accident Attorney

Always stay on the alert for cargo falling or spilling from trucks whenever you navigate Manhattan streets. A trucker’s mistake as simple as forgetting to latch the rear door of a truck trailer could trigger a deadly chain of events if you do not keep your distance from trucks and watch out for unexpected obstacles.

Get Help for Manhattan Truck Accident Injuries

Truck accidents happen in Manhattan far more often than most people realize. Like truck crashes anywhere, they leave victims struggling with significant physical, emotional, and financial injuries.

If you suffered injuries in a Manhattan truck accident, contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible for a free consultation about your legal rights.