Manhattan Truck Accident Lawyer
Sharing the road with big trucks causes many drivers anxiety—and with good reason. Every year, more than 4,000 people die in truck accidents. Thousands more suffer injuries, including injuries that can impact the rest of their lives. Having the right personal injury attorney on your side cannot turn back the clock and remove the impact of your accident, but it can help increase the odds that you will receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today for a free case evaluation.
What Happens After a Truck Accident?
After a truck accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim to seek the compensation you deserve. The insurance company that covers the truck driver may provide a settlement offer immediately after the accident. Often, that compensation offer comes when you do not yet know how much your recovery will impact the rest of your life. Unfortunately, many people accept that settlement offer, assuming it represents the best compensation they can get following a serious truck accident.
Take a look at our previous results:
- $5 million following a multi-vehicle collision, including two big trucks
- $2.5 million awarded after a truck crash
Our past results cannot guarantee future results in your truck accident claim. You will, however, get the same experienced team of attorneys working passionately to obtain the best result for your claim.
Claiming Compensation: What You Can Expect
While financial compensation after a truck accident cannot restore your body to its former capacity, it can help you move forward with your life. Many people, however, have no idea how much compensation to expect after a truck accident. In a truck accident claim, you will typically file a claim for compensation with the insurance company that covers the truck driver who caused your accident. Truck drivers across the United States must carry higher liability insurance than drivers of personal vehicles. However, the compensation you may expect can depend on the extent of your injuries.
Most people claim several key types of compensation following a serious truck accident.
Medical expenses. After a truck accident with serious injuries, you will likely have many medical bills. Consulting with an attorney can help you better assess all your medical bills and what they include. For example, you should include:
- Hospital bills, including emergency room bills, bills for a stay in the ICU, and long-term hospitalization
- Bills for surgeries and medical procedures
- Bills for a stay in a long-term care facility, if you require extensive rehabilitation or observation after your accident
- Physical therapy costs
- Occupational therapy costs
- The cost of psychological therapy if needed after your accident
- The cost of modifications to your home or vehicle to make it easier for you to get around independently: for example, widened doorways or a ramp for wheelchair use
- The cost of durable medical equipment
Lost wages. Many injuries can prevent you from performing your job duties to the best of your ability—or, in some cases, performing them at all. With a traumatic brain injury, for example, you may struggle to focus on your work, while broken bones may prevent you from performing many physical tasks throughout the course of your day. Pain medications can also interfere with your focus, concentration, and cognitive processing ability or prevent you from driving or operating heavy machinery safely.
As a result, it can take some time before you can return to work following your accident. You may also have to miss work for appointments, including physical therapy. Many truck accident victims include those lost wages as part of their personal injury claim.
Lost earning potential. Truck accidents often cause severe injuries for their victims—and in some cases, those injuries can stop you from going back to your former profession, even with modifications. If you worked in a highly physical job, for example, you might struggle to perform your duties with a spinal cord injury. Compensation for lost earning potential can help you return to school or acquire new certifications that can offer you new opportunities.
Pain and suffering. Following a truck accident, your physical injuries may cause significant pain and suffering. Many victims, however, find that mental anguish causes almost as much trauma as physical pain. Your injuries can prevent you from participating in many activities that you normally enjoy, make it difficult for you to take care of yourself, and even interfere with many relationships. While financial compensation cannot ease those trials, it can provide vitally-needed funds that can help you rebuild your life in spite of your injuries.
Finding the Responsible Party
After a truck accident, the truck driver has the most obvious responsibility for the accident and, therefore, for your injuries. Others than the truck driver, however, may bear some responsibility for your accident.
Consider some of these scenarios:
Mechanical failure caused your truck accident. Most trucks receive inspections by their drivers and mechanics after every trip. Drivers must indicate any problems they had with the truck while driving, while mechanics must look over the truck to check for things like wear on the tires, working lights and turn signals, and regularly needed maintenance. Unfortunately, those inspections do not always prevent mechanical failures, which can quickly lead to truck accidents.
When a mechanical failure causes the truck accident, several parties may share liability:
- The mechanic who last serviced the vehicle, who missed an important piece of maintenance or a large potential problem
- The manufacturer of the vehicle
- The manufacturer of a part that failed, including tires that blew out before their time
Your truck accident resulted from a lost or shifting load. The company that provides the trucks does not always necessarily also load the trucks. In some cases, trucking companies allow the company that hires them to handle loading. They may also use outside services to take care of loading. If a poorly-loaded vehicle causes a truck accident, including jackknife accidents and truck rollovers. When a shifting, falling, or badly-loaded load causes an accident, the party that loaded the truck may bear responsibility for those injuries.
The truck driver consumed alcohol at a local bar before your accident. Bars and restaurants must pay careful attention to patrons who plan to drive after leaving the restaurant or bar to ensure that those patrons do not get over-served. Unfortunately, overindulgence in alcohol can result in drunk driving accidents, which, in many cases, inflict substantial injuries on occupants of other vehicles. The bar or restaurant that over-serves a driver may share liability for the accident.
The trucking company required the truck driver to drive under unsafe or illegal conditions. Each day, truck drivers can drive a maximum of eleven hours out of each fourteen-hour shift. After that, drivers must not drive again for at least ten hours. If the trucking company forces drivers to falsify their logbooks or to drive longer than the federal mandate, the trucking company may share liability for an accident that occurs due to over-tired truck drivers. The company may also share liability for missed maintenance on vehicles or for forcing a driver to drive while under the influence of cold medicine, ill, or in unsafe conditions in spite of the driver’s decision to notify the company.
A police report may not automatically reveal the full picture of who caused your accident. By talking with an attorney, you can get a better idea of who caused your truck accident and, therefore, who you need to file a personal injury claim against to receive compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries Following a Truck Accident
Many truck accident victims, due to the larger mass of big trucks, suffer severe, life-altering injuries. Those injuries may include:
Spinal cord injuries. Victims of complete spinal cord injuries, which occur when the spinal cord severs completely, often suffer paralysis below the site of the injury. Even with incomplete spinal cord injuries, victims may suffer decreased mobility below the site of the injury. Spinal cord injuries can leave victims unable to work in physical jobs. Often, spinal cord injury victims remain confined to a wheelchair after the accident. While some healing can occur after a spinal cord injury, including regaining some mobility over time, victims usually do most of their healing within the first six months after the accident.
Traumatic brain injury. For many victims who suffer from a traumatic brain injury, memory loss represents only the tip of the iceberg regarding long-term symptoms and complications. Traumatic brain injury victims often struggle with:
- Emotional regulation. Victims may struggle with mood swings following the accident, or they may react inappropriately to emotional stimulus.
- Focus and concentration.
- Short-term memory problems in addition to long-term memory issues. Victims of traumatic brain injury may have to struggle to connect names and faces or to remember where they placed an item just a few minutes before.
- Vertigo or dizziness.
- Depression and/or anxiety.
Amputations. Victims of amputation not only face significant mobility complications, they may also face ongoing costs for the rest of their lives. An amputee’s expensive prosthesis may need replacement every two to four years. Amputation can occur both during the truck accident itself and in the aftermath, when decreased blood flow to the limb causes tissue to die. In some cases, severe crushing damage may also cause the victim to require amputation in the aftermath of the accident.
Broken bones. Often, broken bones cause substantial trauma for the victim of the accident. Multiple broken bones can significantly decrease mobility in the victim as well as causing substantial pain. In some cases, broken bones can cause lifelong pain or mobility challenges. Many victims of broken bones struggle to return to work immediately after their injuries: pain medications can interfere with focus and concentration, while mobility difficulties can make it very difficult to take care of normal work responsibilities.
Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue damage often causes significant pain and suffering. Many people require surgical intervention to take care of soft tissue injuries following a serious truck accident. Soft tissue injuries can require more time to recover and cause more substantial limitations than broken bones in many accident scenarios.
Burns. In addition to the risk of fire following a serious accident, many trucks also carry hazardous chemicals that can lead to severe chemical burns in accident victims. Burns not only cause serious scarring, often requiring plastic surgery, but they can also decrease mobility around joints. Many burn victims struggle with self-esteem following their injuries. Burns may also cause severe pain during the recovery process.
Chest contusions. Often, following a serious truck accident, victims may not realize the full severity of their injuries. Chest contusions, for example, may not show symptoms immediately. In the hours following the accident, however, victims with chest contusions may notice increased swelling. Eventually, that swelling can lead to heart problems or difficulty breathing.
Severe cuts and lacerations. During an accident, both shards of metal and glass can cause severe cuts and lacerations. Those lacerations may cause severe scarring or blood loss.
Regardless of the injuries, you suffered in a truck accident, having an attorney on your side can help increase the compensation you receive for your injuries. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can start working to get the compensation you deserve.
Truck Accident Injury Statistics in Manhattan, NY
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Manhattan might be famous for its cabs and subways, but make no mistake: the island practically teems with trucks. Every day, hundreds of large trucks classified as commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) cross the Hudson, Harlem, and East Rivers, full of merchandise for stores and warehouses, and fuel for furnaces and gas stations. Delivery trucks of every imaginable size and shape crowd the streets. Construction trucks wind their ways to building sites. Moving trucks inch through traffic.
Inevitably, these trucks also cause accidents. Approximately 4,202 truck accidents caused injuries in just one recent year across New York state, and 70 more truck accidents caused a fatality. Manhattan is not immune to these tragedies. Pedestrians in the city face a particularly high risk. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about truck accidents in Manhattan.
I was hit by a truck. What are my rights?
You are probably entitled to receive compensation for damages, assuming someone else caused the truck accident. Your specific rights depend upon the facts and circumstances of the accident. Speak to an experienced Manhattan truck accident attorney to learn more.
In the meantime, you also have insurance coverage. Generally, New York follows a no-fault system of insurance. So, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and you carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, then you can first turn to that coverage to pay your medical bills and some other expenses. PIP insurance is a standard feature of New York auto insurance policies. If you carry it, it generally covers you in all motor vehicle-related accidents, even if you were not in a vehicle in the crash (i.e., you were a pedestrian or riding a bike).
But, of course, this is Manhattan. A lot of us don’t own cars, and so, we also don’t have PIP insurance. That’s ok. If you have health insurance, then that should pay for some of your care, too.
Is my own insurance the only recourse I have?
No. As we said, you may also have the ability to take legal action to seek compensation from the party who caused the truck accident.
Whether you have that ability depends, in part, on whether you carry PIP insurance, however, because PIP coverage is the primary insurance for covering your injury and limits your ability to seek compensation from others to instances in which you sustain a serious injury, such as:
- Fractured bone(s)
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system, or
- Substantially full disability for 90 days.
Sustaining any of these or similarly serious injuries in a Manhattan truck accident gives you the right, generally speaking, to step outside of the no-fault system and seek compensation from the person or entity at-fault for the accident.
If, however, you do not carry PIP insurance (usually because, as a Manhattan dweller, you don’t own a car), then these limitations do not apply to you and you will typically have the right to seek compensation from the person at fault for any degree of injury, not just a serious one.
Speak to an experienced Manhattan truck accident attorney to learn more.
Who is at fault in a truck accident?
It depends entirely on the facts, but often we have found that multiple parties share some of the blame for a truck accident in Manhattan. In our experience, those parties often (but not always) include:
Truck drivers frequently cause truck accidents by breaking traffic laws, driving recklessly, making bad decisions behind the wheel, driving while fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or through general inexperience with navigating a large vehicle through Manhattan’s busy, crowded streets. Truckers rarely intend to cause an accident, but they do make preventable mistakes that reflect a lack of judgment or appropriate care for the safety of others.
Truck owners/trucking companies – Individual truck owners and trucking companies have responsibilities to keep their trucks well-maintained and their drivers qualified. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that CMVs be inspected, maintained, and repaired regularly. It also mandates that drivers be tested periodically for alcohol and other substances. They must be removed from driving for a period of time if they fail the tests.
If an accident occurs because of failure to inspect, maintain, or repair a vehicle, or because a truck owner allowed a driver who failed a test to continue driving, then the truck owner can face legal responsibility for any accidents that result.
Owners and operators of trucks are also responsible for hiring only qualified drivers. Truck drivers in our state must hold a valid commercial driver’s license for the class of truck they operate. The Department of Motor Vehicles also requires endorsements for many specific types of trucks or of cargo. A large vehicle carrying more than 16 passengers (such as a bus), for example, requires a specific endorsement. A truck carrying flammable material also requires a specific endorsement, and there are many other types.
If a driver’s lack of qualifications or inexperience causes an accident—or if an accident investigation reveals the driver was not appropriately qualified per state law—the company responsible for hiring can face legal responsibility.
Trucking industry contractors – The trucking industry is somewhat unique in the number of companies that may carry liability for the truck’s operation and duties. Truck owners and trucking fleet companies routinely subcontract work, including:
- Standard inspection of trucks
- Maintenance of trucks
- Repair of trucks
- Loading cargo
- Securing cargo
The loading and securing of cargo can be responsible for accidents, because a too-heavy or unbalanced truck may have a propensity to roll over, be difficult to stop, or be difficult to operate. Unsecured cargo itself can cause an accident if it becomes loose and falls outside the truck.
Failure to perform their duties adequately can make these companies responsible if it causes an accident.
Manufacturers – Defects in truck or component manufacture can cause accidents. Defective brakes, for instance, may not stop a truck appropriately. If defects cause an accident, the manufacturer of the truck as a whole or of component parts can face responsibility.
I have tons of medical bills and can’t work. How can I get help?
Call us. If you were in a truck accident and 1) sustained one of the serious injuries itemized above in an accident caused by 2) one of the parties mentioned above, you have two methods of recourse available.
Third-party claims. First, you can approach the at-fault party’s insurance company with a third-party insurance claim. A third-party insurance claim can compensate you for medical bills, income lost from work due to medical treatment, and pain and suffering.
Accidents often need to be investigated, however, for the at-fault party to be known. You will need to know, for example, whether the driver or one of the companies was at fault. You will need to track down the insurance company for each.
In truck accidents, each party often has an insurance carrier with separate policy provisions. In other words, the NHTSA may determine that the driver is partly responsible and the owner is partly responsible. Your claim, then, will need to be against two insurance companies.
Because of the complication of a third-party claim, contacting an experienced truck accident attorney can be the best route. They can find out the insurance companies for each party and work with investigators to find out who or what was at fault.
Insurance companies are also very apt to try to give you the lowest possible offer—often far lower than serves justice. They may offer you a settlement quickly—but the settlement may be for much less money than you deserve. They may try to dispute the causes of the accident so they don’t have to pay at all. They may call your injuries or disabilities into question, again, so they don’t have to pay.
Insurance companies are run by the need to profit. Engaging an attorney can give you valuable assistance in negotiating with unfair or wrong arguments by the insurance companies and avoiding delays in getting the money you deserve.
A personal injury suit. If the insurance company won’t settle for a fair amount, an attorney can help you bring a personal injury suit.
Personal injury suit settlements can also compensate you for medical bills, income lost from work, and pain and suffering.
While insurance companies can try to control the amount of the payout in a third-party claim, judges and juries hear evidence and testimony in a lawsuit. They decide on the liability for the accident and the amount of compensation you recover. They may feel more inclined to settle for a higher amount than an insurance company—especially if you have our Manhattan truck accident lawyers on your side.
What is the statute of limitations in a lawsuit?
The statute of limitations is the time frame within which people need to bring a lawsuit. A court will not let a case be filed if the statute of limitations is exceeded.
New York’s statute of limitations is three years from the accident’s date. In other words, if the accident occurred on February 24, 2020, you have until February 24, 2023, to file a lawsuit.
What should I do after a truck accident?
You may be severely injured and traumatized after a truck accident. Nonetheless, certain steps need to be followed.
- Move to a safe location – If you are on or near a roadway or a place that puts you in danger from passing vehicles (or anything else), your first task is to move to safety. If cargo has spilled from the truck, make sure you are out of the way of tumbling or spilling cargo.
- Stay on the scene – It is against the law to leave the scene of any accident. The only exception is if you are severely injured and emergency medical personnel determine that you must go to an emergency department in an ambulance.
- Call 911 – Call 911 immediately after securing your safety. By law you must report any accidents causing injury, death, or more than $1,001 in property damage to law enforcement. A 911 call will fulfill this obligation.
- Talk to the emergency personnel – If an ambulance or emergency medical personnel arrive, give them a full account of your injuries. They are responsible for checking all potential victims of a truck accident.
- Talk to the police – When law enforcement officials arrive, they will begin a police report. Compiling one entails talking to all drivers involved, reviewing the scene, and potentially talking to eyewitnesses. Be sure to talk to the police before you leave the scene. Tell them fully what occurred from your perspective. Be sure to get a copy of the police report.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s) – All drivers involved should exchange insurance company information and contact information with each other. Contact information should be e-mail addresses or phone numbers.
See a doctor immediately after you leave the scene of the accident—Once law enforcement indicates it is okay to go, see a doctor or go to an emergency room immediately. A physician will examine you for any injuries. Go even if you don’t feel injured or your injuries seem minor. Some injuries don’t show symptoms right away.
All of these steps can help secure your safety and health and remain within the law. But they also help compile evidence to determine who or what was at fault for the accident and the nature of your injuries. Keep all records pertaining to the accident for your truck accident lawyer.
Finding the Right Truck Accident Attorney After Your Accident
Did you suffer injuries in a Manhattan truck accident? Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today at (212) 445-7000 or online for a free case evaluation.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
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