Queens Truck Accident Lawyers Near You
During a typical year in New York, more than 2,500 large trucks, buses and commercial vans* are involved in crashes on New York roads and highways. Truck accidents result in some of the most catastrophic injuries. The massive weight of semi-trailers makes them dangerous to every vehicle around them, and when the driver loses control or can’t stop in time to avoid a wreck, they can horrifically alter your life in the blink of an eye.
If you’ve been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, call Cohen & Cohen today for a free case evaluation. Along with truck accidents, we also represent victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, wrongful death, slip and fall accidents, and any type of personal injury case.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Queens and NYC
Jump to specific causes of truck accidents:
Unsafe Loads and Unsecure Cargo | Truck Tire Blowouts | Truck Driver Fatigue | Truck Driver Error | Rear-End Truck Accidents | Collisions with Disabled or Parked Trucks |
Truck Accidents Caused by Unsecured Cargo and Unsafe Loads
Large commercial vehicles like flatbeds, semi tractor trailers, tankers, and other big rigs are meant to haul cargo across the United States. This cargo could simply be normal households goods, crates of food, or large cement pipes, wooden logs, or other construction materials. It goes without saying that this can be very dangerous. Since every state has different sets of laws, a federal agency known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been deputized to create regulations that apply throughout the United States. It does not matter where the truck driver is from, going to, or traveling in—these federal regulations set the minimum requirements. One of these requirements governs securing cargo, an important part of making a trucking delivery. This is an important safety regulation because unsecured cargo-causing NYC trucking accidents could result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent person.
FMCSA regulations govern the inspection of cargo and the use of cargo securement devices and systems. The specific section is 49 CFR 392.9 which applies to a truck driver and a trucking company. If a NYC or Queens trucking accident is caused by unsecured cargo, it is likely that this section was violated. Pertinently, truck drivers must inspect their cargo:
- Before starting a delivery
- Within the first 50 miles of beginning a trip or delivery
- At any reexamination event, which includes:
- When the truck driver changes status from on duty to off duty, or vice versa
- If the truck has been driven for 3 hours, or
- If the truck has been driven for 150 miles, whichever event comes first.
Even if the truck driver complied with this section, the fact that cargo fell off of a truck and caused injuries to an innocent person is still likely the responsibility of the truck driver or trucking company. This is because a truck driver or trucking company is in control of and responsible for this cargo.It would be manifestly unfair to allow a truck driver or trucking company who is making money on the delivery to avoid paying for personal injuries caused by it.
Accidents from Truck Tire Blowouts
One of the scariest types of trucking accidents is an 18 wheeler tire blowout accident. This is when a wheel explodes while a truck is driving, usually on a highway or interstate at a fast speed. When the wheel is under the trailer bed portion of the truck, it could result in a violent explosion sending shrapnel into other vehicles along or behind the truck. In some instances, it could even cause the trailer to swing rapidly or sway into other lanes. But when the wheel is a front-wheel under the cabin, it could cause the semi tractor-trailer to lose control and become an unguided missile on our roadways. Oftentimes when the front tire blows out a large truck will cross into oncoming traffic and cause a catastrophic head-on collision. A tire blowout accident is typically the type of accident that the truck driver, trucking company, or another third-party entity are responsible for—not the victim. Yet, insurance companies and trucking companies will do everything in their post to blame the victim for the trucking accident. This simply does not make sense.
The main causes of tire blowouts are a truck driver or trucking company failing to inspect their tires, product defects, and maintenance teams failing to properly check, maintain, or install tires. There may be liability for a municipality such as a town, county, or the State for failing to properly maintain a roadway. However, commercial vehicle tires are meant to be very strong to withstand adverse road conditions. Therefore, most times the liability for an 18 wheeler tire blowout accident in New York is due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company.
Some of the most common reasons for truck tire blowouts include the following:
- Improper maintenance
- Improper installation of the tire (not balanced)
- Overpacking a truck or excessive heavy loads
- Wrong tires such as tires not rated for that weight or for the speed (some tires are only for under 55 MPH)
- Product defects of the tire
- Aggressive driving such as hard turns
- Speeding and driving too fast, especially above what the tire may be able to sustain
- Distracted driving
- Failing to avoid potholes and other roadway debris or hazards
- Hitting a curb, barrier, or other fixture around the road
- Hard or excessive braking
- Fatigued and hours of service violations
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
- Delays in checking or replacing tires, and
- Many other dangerous or abnormal conditions.
Since the trucking industry is an interstate industry and many trucks in New York City and Long Island are not originally from New York, a federal agency is deputized to create rules and regulations which serve as the minimum requirements throughout the United States. A large portion of the FMCSA’s regulations governs equipment, particularly tires. Under 49 CFR section 293.75 (a), the FMCSA regulations on truck tires prohibit a truck driver or trucking company from operating a commercial vehicle with a defective wheel or tire which has any of the following traits:
- Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall
- Has any tread or sidewall separation
- Is flat or has an audible leak, or
- Has a cut to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed.
In addition, a commercial vehicle’s front tire must have a tread depth of at least 4/32 of an inch. This is to prevent bald tires that are prone to exploding in an 18 wheeler tire blowout accident.
Truck Driver Fatigue or Truck Driver Asleep at the Wheel
Even to a well-rested and experienced truck driver, large commercial vehicles like 18 wheelers, semi tractor-trailers, and other box trucks are inherently dangerous. But when truck drivers are not well-rested or are inexperienced, it makes safe driving almost impossible. In fact, AAA found that missing just two or three hours of sleep could increase a driver’s risk of crashing to that of a drunk driver. According to CDC research, each year drowsy driving is responsible for over 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 wrongful deaths. These are staggering numbers considering that drowsy driving is a preventable and unnecessary risk.
A truck driver who falls asleep at the wheel turns a large 18 wheeler or semi tractor-trailer into an unguided missile on our roadways. This means that victims in other vehicles or who are on or around the roadway as pedestrians are put at risk due to a truck driver’s unnecessary actions. Unfortunately, a truck driver who is trying to make more money at a faster rate by depriving himself or herself of sleep is just risking our lives for money.
The trucking industry is an interstate business, meaning that it extends through many states across the country. While states have similar laws, oftentimes each state has different legal and regulatory obligations on truck drivers and trucking companies. Sometimes a truck driver is only traveling through a state for a short amount of time and decides it is not worth the hassle to look up the legal obligations or comply with them. This is particularly true because the trucking business is an industry focused on the motto “time is money.” The faster that a truck driver can make a delivery, the faster that the truck driver and trucking company can get paid. The more deliveries, the more money.
This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted federal regulations that create limits on truck drivers and trucking companies no matter what state they are from, in, or going to. These regulations are the minimum requirements that all truck drivers and trucking companies must satisfy, in addition to whatever state laws the semi tractor-trailer is traveling through.
One comprehensive part of the FMCSA regulations is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These regulations prescribe exactly how long a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle in a given day, week, or even an 8-day period. When these hours of service regulations are violated and a truck driver asleep at the wheel causes a truck wreck, victims may be able to use the violation of these regulations as evidence of negligence to prove liability in a New York 18 wheeler crash.
The most applicable HOS regulations include the following:
- Maximum 14 consecutive hours “on shift” and a minimum of 10 consecutive hours “off shift”
- Maximum of 8 consecutive hours driving during a shift before taking at least a 30-minute break
- Maximum of 10 hours total spent driving during a 14-hour shift
- Maximum of 60 hours spent “on shift” in any seven consecutive days
- Maximum of 70 hours spent “on shift” in any eight consecutive days, and
- Other regulations your Queens trucking accident lawyers may use.
Truck Driver Error
New York Vehicle and Traffic laws apply to all motorists in New York operating on New York roadways. The FMCSA regulations apply to every truck driver no matter what state he or she is driving in, coming from, or going to. These regulations apply in New York, and if a truck driver violates these regulations they could be used as evidence of negligence against a truck driver.
There are many common examples of truck driver error leading to serious or fatal New York city trucking accidents. This includes some of the most common causes:
- Speeding – violation of New York VTL
- Driving too fast in inclement weather like snow or ice – NY VTL and common law, and FMCSA violations
- Improper left turns – violation of NY VTL
- Hours of Service violations and driving while fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel – NY common law and FMCSA violations
- Aggressive driving – violations of New York VTL and common law, and FMCSA violation
- Unsecured cargo – NY VTL and FMCSA violation (more requirements under FMCSA)
- Defective equipment like damaged tires, brake mishaps, and steering column issues – NY VTL and common law, and FMCSA violations (more requirements under FMCSA for trucks)
- Drug or alcohol use – NY VTL and common law, and FMCSA violations (NY VTL has .08 BAC limit, common law could give driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and FMCSA requires a 0.0 BAC and no alcohol for 4 hours prior to a shift)
- Distracted driving – NY VTL and common law, and FMCSA violation (FMCSA is only texting while driving), and
- Many other common truck driver errors.
Rear-End Truck Accidents
Rear end collisions are one of the most preventable types of motor vehicle accidents. This is because all motorists must give enough space to prevent a collision with the vehicle in front of them. If they fail to do that, a motorist may be following too closely. A motorist following too closely could seriously injure the individuals in the vehicle in the front.
While rear end collisions are the most preventable, they are still the most common. This is because far too many motorist act unreasonably including acting recklessly, carelessly, and negligently. Some of the most common causes of rear end trucking accidents in Queens, New York include the following:
- Fatigued driver, including violating hours of service regulations by the FMCSA
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving, including using illicit drugs like stimulants (cocaine) to stay awake longer to drive more to make faster deliveries and get paid more often
- Snow and ice
- Following too closely in general
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Rushing to meet a deadline
- Failing to yield
- Inexperienced driver
- Mechanical failures, and
- Many other common causes.
Crashing into a Parked Truck or Disabled Truck
A disabled vehicle on the roadway is always dangerous. When that vehicle is a large wall like a tractor-trailer, it can become incredibly dangerous and deadly. It may feel like driving into a parked truck is all your fault. But it is not. There are specific federal regulations that require trucks to guard against motorists from colliding with their vehicles.
This is why federal regulations require a commercial vehicle that is disabled on the roadway to use its flashers and place warning signs. This is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the federal agency deputized with creating regulations that apply to commercial vehicle drivers throughout the United States no matter what state the truck is in, going to, or coming from.
Disabled trucks and emergency signals for stopped commercial vehicles is governed by 49 CFR section 392.22 which has two important sections that all commercial vehicle drivers must comply with.
First, subsection (a) provides the following:
Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.
This section requires that a truck driver immediately turn on his or her hazard flashing lights. This is an easy thing to do and it requires only the flick of a button to comply. However, far too many truck drivers fail to use these lights which is an easy and quick way to protect innocent motorists.
Second, section (b) provides the following:
Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by §393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:
(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and;
(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.
This section requires truck drivers to place warning signs on the roadways to warn oncoming motorists of a hazard coming up—their truck. This is important because it helps motorists realize that there is something in the shoulder that could be potentially hazardous. Many times these warning signs can prevent a collision. There is liability when a truck driver fails to place warning signs for a stopped or disabled truck. These regulations are safety regulations to prevent someone from colliding with a disabled truck. When a truck driver fails to comply with the FMCSA regulations, it could result in serious personal injuries or the wrongful death of an innocent person. Under New York law, the violation of a regulation that is meant to protect someone from the harm they suffered is evidence of negligence. This is known as the doctrine of negligence per se, and allows a victim to use the violation of a regulation to support their liability claim.
It is possible that, by driving into a parked, disabled truck, a jury or court may find the victim to have some comparative fault. New York is a comparative fault state which means that the percentage of a victim’s fault in causing his injuries will reduce his award. For example, if a victim recovered $100,000 but was 25% at fault, a victim’s total award may be reduced to $75,000.
Delivery Van Accidents
Home delivery of products continues to grow, now even including groceries and fast food. Not surprisingly, that growth brings with it increased injuries. Delivery service drivers, pressured to meet unreasonable goals by their corporate employers, often cut corners at the expense of the community. That is why Cohen and Cohen has experienced delivery van accident lawyers ready to fight for your rights. If you’ve been injured by an Amazon delivery van accident or another type of delivery truck accident, give us a call now.
Queens NY Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage trucks are on the roads of Queens and NYC every day. Sometimes these drivers cause accidents that can cause major injury or even death. If you’ve been hit by a garbage truck and injured in the accident, it’s important to call a Queens garbage truck accident lawyer near you right away.
Why You Need A Queens Truck Accident Attorney — Even If The Evidence Backs Up Your Claim
In many cases, truck companies are underinsured or choose to self-insure, meaning they budget money to pay victims injured in crashes caused by their drivers or unsafe equipment. Tractor-trailer accident cases are often made more complex because multiple parties may be held liable for causing the crash or increasing the level of injuries. You may include the truck company owners, the truck driver, maintenance contractors and possibly the freight owner, as well, as defendants in your lawsuit.
Truck companies often have a local investigator in the area, who will be dispatched to the scene of the accident to recover the log book and other critical evidence that may prove liability. We will act quickly on your behalf to protect evidence and thoroughly investigate the cause of the wreck. When necessary, we work with independent specialists such as accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals and life-care specialists to make sure we have prepared the strongest, clearest case possible, for reaching a settlement or winning in court, if trial becomes necessary.
Why COHEN & COHEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS, P.C.?
Insurance settlements and jury verdict awards may be subject to liens. We devote a substantial amount of our practice to estate planning and asset preservation. Our knowledge of estate preservation laws and strategies means we can help you with options to preserve as much of your monetary settlement or jury verdict as is legally possible. Through lien reduction strategies, trusts and other instruments, we can help you retain control over a larger portion of your settlement than other litigation firms may be able to do.
Contact an Experienced Queens Semi Truck Accident Attorney Now
We provide a free, no-obligation case evaluation and handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not pay lawyers’ fees if we do not help you recover monetary compensation for your claim. Call 800-247-8164 to arrange an initial consultation. You may also use our convenient email contact form to request a return phone call about your case.