When a commercial driver operates a large tractor-trailer carelessly, the results are often tragic for others on the road. If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a New York crash, the diligent truck accident lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm are ready to help you explore whether you should file a claim. John Cassisi has over three decades of experience representing victims of highway collisions in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, and throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. He can devise a strategy tailored to your specific case that will enhance your chances of securing compensation.Hold Negligent Truck Drivers and Companies Accountable
In 2012, there were over 294,000 vehicle crashes in New York, resulting in 1,163 fatalities and over 169,000 injuries. Trucks can be up to 20 times the weight of a passenger vehicle, so a collision can be devastating to the smaller vehicle’s occupants. Accident data compiled by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles showed that the top five factors leading to large tractor-trailer crashes were related to human error:
- Driver inattention, fatigue, or distraction
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Unsafe lane changing
- Unsafe or improper passing
- Following too closely
Because of the special risks associated with large vehicles, and because this type of driving is a job, truck companies and drivers are governed by a host of federal and state regulations beyond ordinary traffic laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulatory authority over commercial 18-wheelers and other big rigs that use interstate highways. Within our state, regulatory authority belongs to the New York Department of Transportation.
These regulations are extremely detailed regarding safety precautions. They address not only safety features in the truck’s design but also maintenance requirements, load tie-down specifications, hazardous material requirements, and inspection schedules. In addition, there are very strict regulations for commercial drivers in terms of training, hours on the road, and rest periods. However, trucking companies and their drivers may cut corners, particularly when there is economic pressure to meet schedules and maximize profits. The consequence of lax adherence to these regulations may be an accident.
When a crash happens, an injured person should consider filing a negligence lawsuit. This can lead to compensation for the victim’s harm if four key elements can be shown: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Like anyone else on the road, truck drivers must operate their vehicles with reasonable care. Companies and drivers also must obey regulations designed to ensure the safety of those around them. Failing to comply with traffic rules or industry regulations might be considered a breach of the duty of care. If a victim can link careless conduct such as driver fatigue or unsafe lane changes to his or her injuries, many types of damages may be available. These can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage to a vehicle, and lost earning capacity.
An accident victim also may want to sue the company that employed the commercial driver. Some companies can be held indirectly liable for the careless behavior of truckers who were acting in the scope and course of their employment. Companies also might be held directly liable if they failed to properly train the driver, overloaded a truck, or committed another act of negligence that substantially contributed to the crash.Enlist a Queens Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Lawsuits against trucking companies can get complicated. Able to guide you through the process, the Queens accident attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm are dedicated to holding commercial drivers and their employers responsible when their carelessness harms innocent victims. If you have been hurt in a truck crash, contact us at (718) 441-5050, or use our online form to set up a free, confidential consultation.