Aggressive Legal Representation After a Serious or Fatal Trucking Accident in NY
Driving near a large commercial truck can be a frightening experience. You find yourself hoping that their drivers are alert, well trained, and paying close attention. But what happens when they aren’t?
Large trucking accidents are frighteningly common in New York. Given the size of the vehicles, the injuries tend to be severe. Death is not uncommon.
Incredibly, many of these accidents are entirely preventable. They are the result of negligence by the truck driver or violations by the companies responsible for operating them.
Those companies — and the insurance providers that cover them — have a clear legal responsibility to pay for the damages they cause through their negligence. Generally speaking, they are also responsible for negligence on the part of the people they employ, including their drivers.
But trucking companies and insurers frequently fail to offer accident victims the compensation they deserve after a catastrophic collision.
At O’Connor & Partners, we help accident victims and their families take an assertive stand against negligent truckers, trucking companies, and insurance providers.
Our Kingston truck accident lawyers have successfully recovered millions of dollars for New Yorkers who’ve been injured in a commercial vehicle accident and, in wrongful death cases, for the family members left behind.
We have many years of experience in truck injury litigation, including numerous out-of-court settlements and trial victories, and we are prepared to do everything we can to maximize your compensation and get you the money you deserve.
Don’t accept a settlement offer from an insurance company or a truck operator until you talk with the experienced Hudson Valley truck injury attorneys at O’Connor & Partners first. Let us listen to your story, consider your options, and help you put your lives back on track.
Overloaded Truck Accidents
Every additional pound of cargo that a truck carries contributes not only to the likelihood of collision but also the potential severity of the injuries. For that reason, federal law imposes a strict maximum weight limit of 80,000 pounds for commercial trucks. But many safety advocates believe even that number is too high.
Unfortunately, the companies that own and operate these trucks sometimes push the limits. In efforts get as much cargo to their destinations as possible, the owners, operators, or drivers may overload the vehicles — sometimes without even realizing it.
If you’ve been in an accident with a truck that was transporting cargo, our Kingston truck accident lawyers can help to investigate the accident and determine whether the truck might have been overloaded at the time or otherwise in violation of the law.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Studies show that drowsy driving is one of the top causes of large commercial vehicle accidents in New York and across the country. Truck drivers are asked to spend long hours on the road, often at night and in unfamiliar areas. It doesn’t take long for fatigue to set in, and that’s a problem because drowsiness has an impairing effect similar to that of excessive alcohol.
Federal law provides strict Hours of Service regulations that limit how long a truck driver can spend on the road before taking a lengthy break for rest. New York state law provides regulations as well.
But drivers sometimes push themselves to make up for lost time. For that matter, their supervisors and employers might pressure them (whether directly or indirectly) to skip breaks or get back on the road when they haven’t properly slept.
At O’Connor & Partners, we work diligently to determine whether a truck driver was well rested at the time of a crash and whether the trucking company might have been violating Hours of Service rules.
Intoxicated Truck Drivers
Drunk driving is a problem on the highways in general, but impairment is especially common in large commercial vehicle accidents.
Perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t just alcohol that causes a problem in these crashes, or even illicit drugs. Rather, studies have found that many of the truck drivers who’ve been involved in serious or fatal accidents were under the influence of legal prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications at the time of the crash.
Truckers have a responsibility to avoid any intoxicating substances, including over-the-counter medicines, when behind the wheel. If a drunk or drugged driver caused your truck accident, you might have a claim against the driver, as well as his or her employer. Trucking companies should take reasonable measures to ensure their drivers are entirely sober at all times.
Runaway Trucks, Rollovers, Jackknifing, and Other Big Rig Accidents
Because of their size, large trucks can get into certain dangerous types of accidents that don’t typically happen with other vehicles.
One common example is the horrifying runaway truck scenario, in which a driver loses control of the vehicle and/or its brakes. Common causes include speeding, overloaded cargo, and poor vehicle maintenance.
Another example is the jackknife accident, in which a trailer (the rear part of a large truck) turns in on the tractor (the front part, where the driver sits) at a roughly 90-degree angle. Jackknifing can be disastrous for anyone in the immediate vicinity, and it can be very difficult for drivers to correct once it starts to happen. Safe truck driving techniques can reduce the likelihood of jackknifing.
Large trucks are also prone to vehicle rollovers, which tend to happen at high speeds, when truck beds are overloaded, or when drivers hit potholes or other obstructions in the road (known as “trips”). Rollovers happen suddenly and are especially common at night. Drivers are expected to monitor the roadways vigilantly so that they can detect trips in advance and avoid them.
Trucks carrying toxic chemicals or dangerous cargo can also pose certain special or unusual dangers. It is important that trucking companies be adequately prepared to carry such cargo and that they fully comply with relevant restrictions and regulations. We can investigate and hold them accountable if they were in violation of the law.
These are only a few of the most common big rig accidents, all of which have the potential to inflict catastrophic damage. The seasoned Kingston truck accident lawyers at O’Connor & Partners have a wide range of experience in these cases and are prepared to handle any kind of accident.
Who Is Liable in a New York Truck Accident?
Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim, liable parties might include:
- The company that owns and/or operates the truck
- Retailers or other companies that use the truck to transport goods
- The truck’s manufacturer
- The driver individually
- One or more insurance companies
- Governmental entities
- Third parties
How Does Your Law Firm Investigate Truck Accidents in the Hudson Valley?
At O’Connor & Partners, we work closely with accident investigation specialists who have expertise in studying and reconstructing large commercial vehicle accidents. They can help us glean invaluable insight from the accident after the fact, often including details that were not included in the police report and which may not have been apparent to you at the time.
We may also be able to subpoena relevant documents and records, including:
- Driver’s log books
- Employment records/personnel records
- Job applications
- Driving history records
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Drug test results
- Road test results
- Traffic and/or surveillance footage
- 911 calls
- And more
Additionally, we may interview eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, passengers, police officers, and others to help us prepare your claim.
Schedule Your Free Truck Accident Injury Claim
If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a commercial trucking accident in the Hudson Valley or elsewhere in New York, please contact O’Connor & Partners right away. State and federal law regulate virtually every facet of the trucking industry, and the personal injury laws in this state provide significant protections for victims, including entitlement to financial compensation. But strict legal time limits do apply, so please don’t delay.
Our experienced Kingston truck accident attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation. Let us fight for you and your family too.