Truck Accident Attorney Serving New York City and the Surrounding Areas
Anyone who drives in New York knows that there is no escaping commercial trucks and tractor-trailers on the road. While state and federal truck safety laws are designed to keep motorists safe, truck accidents are not uncommon. Give the fact that trucks outweigh typical automobiles, occupants of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, and pedestrians can sustain serious injuries in a collision. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, it helps to have a capable attorney by your side.
Since 1985, Scaffidi & Associates has been widely recognized as a leader in personal injury law. Our legal team is well-versed in applicable truck safety laws, and has a proven track record of helping our clients obtain meaningful compensation. We are dedicated to holding negligent trucking companies and truck drivers accountable, and keeping the roads and highways safe for everyone.
Common Causes of a Truck Accident
Although trucking companies and truckers are governed by state and federal laws, commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are involved in accidents for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Driver Fatigue – Federal regulations impose hourly driving limits on truck drivers, and also require them to take regular breaks. Nonetheless, driver fatigue is a systemic problem in the trucking industry because truckers must stick to strict delivery deadlines and are often paid based on mileage. Ultimately, drivers forced to cover vast distances often become fatigued. In the event of an accident, both the trucking company and the trucker can be held liable if the driving limits and rest rules were not followed.
- Distracted Driving – Truckers are also susceptible to becoming distracted, due in part to the rigors of driving and long work schedules. Moreover, many truckers rely on GPS navigation devices to plot a route or locate a destination, and can easily become distracted. Similarly, truckers can be distracted by cellphone use, whether talking or texting, even though all drivers are prohibited from using cellphones while operating a vehicle. Finally, truckers can be distracted by eating, drinking or tuning the radio. In any event, truckers can be held legally responsible for accidents caused by distracted driving.
- Improper Maintenance – Federal laws require trucking companies to ensure that vehicles and components, such as braking systems, engines, tires, braking lights, hitch assemblies, and straps, are properly maintained. Trucking companies that fail to abide by laws regarding vehicle maintenance and inspection schedules can be held liable for an accident.
- Inadequate Training – One common industry practice is for trucking companies to pay drivers to complete trucking courses. At the same time, drivers are often put on the road too quickly, because they are typically paid less per mile than experienced truckers. New drivers often lack the necessary experience to safely maneuver these vehicles, however, and are more likely to become involved in accidents. In short, trucking companies can be held liable for inadequately training drivers.
- Improper Loading – State and federal laws regulate the weight that cargo trucks can carry. Nonetheless, improper loading can make a vehicle harder to stop or maneuver, leading to jack-knife incidents. Determining who was responsible for loading requires a thorough investigation. In short, the trucker, the trucking company, or another party responsible for loading the cargo may be held liable.
Truck Safety Laws
There are a number of state and federal truck safety laws that are designed to protect the public, starting with the duty of trucking companies to properly maintain vehicles that they own or lease. This means that braking systems, lights, steering, engine, and any other mechanical parts must be functioning properly at all times. Additionally, trucking companies must conduct routine safety inspections, maintain records of inspections and repairs, and make these records available for review by authorities and insurance claims adjusters.
A trucking company that fails to adhere to these legal requirements can be held liable for an accident that was caused by a mechanical defect. Moreover, trucking companies have an obligation to properly train drivers, however, these outfits are notorious for sending inexperienced drivers onto the road. In the event of an accident caused by driver error, both the trucker and the trucking company can be held liable.
As for truck drivers, they also have a duty of care not to injure other drivers while operating a vehicle, and must abide by certain rules. Truckers are required to obtain special licenses, and comply with federal rules limiting the number of hours they can drive and mandating regular rest breaks. If a truck driver fails to abide by these rules, both the driver and the trucking company can be held liable.
Contact Our New York City Truck Accident Attorney
Being injured in a truck accident can have devastating consequences for the victims as well as their families. At Scaffidi & Associates, we believe that negligent trucking companies and truck drivers must be held accountable. Our capable attorneys have decades of experience handling truck accident cases, and a proven track record of helping our clients obtain meaningful compensation.
Because trucking companies and their insurers typically rely on their own investigators and attorneys to avoid liability, they have an unfair advantage over unrepresented injury victims. We have the skills and resources to level the playing field. Our team routinely works with a respected network of accident reconstruction experts to show how trucking companies and drivers were liable for accidents.
We leverage our legal knowledge and negotiating skills to ensure that our clients are fairly compensated. If a settlement cannot be reached, we are comfortable and experienced pursuing truck accident cases in the courts. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.