The truck accident lawyers of Powers & Santola, LLP, know how frightening it is to be involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or to lose a loved one in such a crash. Still, as difficult as it may be under the circumstances, victims must take immediate steps after a truck accident in order to protect their legal rights.
Truck accidents are different in many ways from accidents that involve only non-commercial, standard passenger vehicles. One crucial difference is the need to preserve evidence and launch an investigation quickly – before evidence is lost or destroyed.
The legal team of Powers & Santola, LLP, understands the unique challenges that can arise in truck accident cases. We can put our knowledge and experience to work for you and work hard to seek a fair recovery for you and your family.
We handle truck accident cases in Albany, Syracuse, and throughout New York. To schedule a timely, free consultation, simply call us today or reach us online.
How Can a Albany Truck Accident Attorney Help You?
An attorney from our law firm can provide many important legal services to you in the aftermath of a truck accident that has left you seriously injured or resulted in the loss of a family member. These services include:
Conduct an immediate investigation of your crash.
After we meet with you in an initial consultation, we can begin investigating your accident to determine how it occurred.
As a recent report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates, truck driver negligence is a common cause. The FMCSA reports that, during one recent year, driver-related factors caused 1,295 fatal truck crashes, including:
Driver-Related Factor Crashes Pct. Speeding 314 8.1% Distraction/inattention 229 5.9% Vision obscured 169 4.4% Failure to yield right of way 155 4.0% Failure to keep in proper lane 150 3.9% Impairment (alcohol, drugs, fatigue) 148 3.8% Careless driving 94 2.4%
However, other factors may cause a truck crash, including cargo that has not been properly loaded and secured or truck equipment that has not been inspected and maintained. Many of these truck accidents involve “tailgating.” This is a term that refers to one vehicle following dangerously close to the vehicle in front.
In many cases, the failure to follow state and federal regulations that govern the trucking industry may be the underlying reason for an accident. It is important to work with an attorney who has a firm grasp of these numerous regulations and how they may apply to your case.
An important step we will take is to investigate the scene of the crash and all vehicles involved as soon as possible. We also will send a notification letter to the trucking company. This letter will request the trucking company to preserve relevant documents, including:
- Bills of lading
- Cargo delivery orders
- The driver’s file (including the driver’s driving and criminal background, commercial driver’s license (CDL) information and fitness checks)
- Results of any drug and alcohol testing conducted after the crash
- Vehicle inspection, maintenance and repair records
- Logbooks showing the driver’s hours on the road
- Any leases or other contracts involving the driver, tractor and trailer
- Electronic data recorder (EDR), or “black box,” data.
As we investigate the crash, we will consult with highly qualified experts, including accident reconstruction specialists, trucking safety specialists, engineers and others.
Review all insurance policies involved in your case.
We will closely review your insurance policy, including any personal injury protection (PIP) benefits that you may be entitled to receive. You may also carry an uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) policy that may serve as a source of compensation in your case.
Additionally, we will review the liability insurance coverage of the truck driver, trucking company and other parties involved in your case. Under state and federal laws, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators must carry higher amounts of insurance than non-commercial drivers.
File a lawsuit on your behalf.
If a lawsuit is merited, our attorneys will make sure to file a complaint in the proper court that meets the relevant statute of limitations, or the time period in which a lawsuit must be filed.
In most cases, a lawsuit would be filed in a state court in the county where the crash occurred. However, if the truck accident case involves out-of-state parties – and they often do – a claim may be filed in a federal court or removed from a state court to a federal court.
Seek a full and fair settlement of your claim.
Powers & Santola, LLP, will prepare your truck accident case as if it is going to trial. We will carefully work to compile evidence establishing liability and to calculate the full extent of your damages. We will negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies involved in your case and seek what we determine to be the amount of compensation you are due.
Take your case into the courtroom if needed.
If a settlement is not reached before your case is set to go to trial, we will be ready to present a solid case in the courtroom. Our law firm features highly experienced trial lawyers who know how to present a persuasive case to a jury and challenge evidence presented by the other side.
Keep in mind: We may continue to pursue a settlement in your case even after your case goes to trial or after a jury verdict. Our goal will be to resolve your case in an efficient manner so that you will be able to move on with your life.
Help you to get the medical treatment you need throughout your case.
Truck accidents can result in severe physical and emotional injuries, including:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our goal will be to work with health care providers so that your treatment goes uninterrupted during your case. We can also resolve any health care-related claims on your recovery. While we handle the litigation in your case, we want you to focus on your health.
Keep you updated at all times.
Your truck accident case may be complex and take time to resolve. We will keep you updated throughout your case, explain all issues that arise and take the time to thoughtfully answer any questions you may have.
What Can You Recover in a New York Truck Accident Lawsuit?
New York is a pure comparative fault state. This means that you will not be barred from a recovery in your truck accident case no matter how much your own negligence may have contributed to your crash. However, your recovery would be reduced according to your percentage of fault.
Additionally, multiple parties may be forced to pay damages to you if they are found liable in court, or one or more parties may agree to settle your claim against them while you go to trial against the other parties. This situation can arise in a truck accident case that involves many different responsible parties, including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company (or carrier) who employed the driver
- Owner of the tractor, trailer or cargo
- Shipping company or broker
- Mechanic who failed to perform needed repairs
- Manufacturer of defective truck equipment.
In any truck accident settlement or verdict that we pursue on your behalf, Powers & Santola, LLP, will strive to recover damages that cover your:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress.
If the truck driver, trucking company or other party is deemed to have engaged in grossly negligent conduct – driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, for instance – our attorneys may also pursue punitive damages in your case.
Please see our section on “How Does a New York Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?” to learn more about the damages that could be sought if your truck accident case involves the loss of a loved one.
Proving Fault and Identifying the Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accident injury cases are often more complex than car accident cases. Establishing fault and recovering damages after a trucking accident often involves investigating violations of federal trucking regulations and conducting accident site reconstruction.
The trucking accident injury lawyers at Powers & Santola, LLP., work with skilled accident investigators and accident reconstructionists to prove fault. We review police reports, driver logs, vehicle maintenance records, and environmental factors such as roadway conditions when developing a case for your financial recovery after a truck accident.
Our experience and dedication to our clients has helped us secure millions in verdicts and settlements. When you need effective legal representation, contact our upstate New York law firm. We offer a free initial consultation at our Syracuse and Albany law office.
Establishing Fault in a Truck Accident
- Truck Driver Issues: Driving a semi or tractor-trailer is exhausting. That’s why federal law limits the number of hours a commercial truck driver can drive. However, fatigue is still a serious problem. Other driver-related factors in truck accidents are drug use, speeding, reckless driving, or driving dangerously for the existing road conditions. Distracted driving has also gotten a lot of attention as drivers engage in texting or cell phone use while driving.
- Trucking Company Issues: Truck companies are responsible for hiring and training of drivers, for ensuring delivery schedules are reasonable, and often for truck maintenance. Hiring poorly qualified drivers (including drivers without CDL licenses) can make the trucking company liable. Failing to maintain equipment or to use proper containment for hazardous materials (HAZMAT) can be a safety violation.
- Trucks and Equipment: Overloading a truck can contribute to equipment failures, braking problems and unstable loads. Failing to properly secure a load can result in things falling from trucks and hitting cars behind them, or a load shifting in the trailer and putting the truck off balance. This can contribute to trucks tipping or jack-knifing.
More than one party may be at fault in causing the truck accident. Your personal injury lawyer will work to identify who is at fault and who can be held responsible for paying for your serious injuries.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Serving Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester
The lawyers of Powers & Santola, LLP, have assisted truck accident victims and their families in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout New York State since 1987. We are passionate about pursuing results that will fundamentally improve our clients’ lives. When you are ready, please call or connect with us online and allow us to begin work right away on helping you.