Experienced Attorney Fighting for the Rights of Truck Accident Victims in NY
Commercial truck drivers hold a tremendous amount of responsibility in their hands.
Large trucks are so heavy, so fast, and so massive that they can cause catastrophic damage in almost any collision.
Whether as a driver or passenger, you know what it’s like to travel alongside a semi-truck on New York’s interstates or highways. Even if the trucker is being careful and following the law, the experience is intimidating — one wrong move could mean life-changing injury or death.
Unfortunately, commercial truck drivers aren’t always as careful as they should be. Indeed, the majority of New York truck accidents are the result of negligence by either the truck driver or the trucking company they work for.
Recognizing the risk that large trucks can pose, lawmakers at the state and federal level have enacted a number of statutes and regulations pertaining to truck accidents in New York. These laws, combined with centuries of court precedent, create a great deal of legal protection for the victims of negligent trucking in our state.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in New York, or if you have lost someone you love in a tragic truck accident, you may be legally entitled to financial compensation. An experienced Albany truck accident lawyer can help.
The law on truck accident compensation is complex. Victims often find themselves facing powerful corporations — insurance companies, carrier companies, vehicle manufacturers, and so on. Trying to face these large and sophisticated companies on your own can be extremely challenging.
At The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, we work hard to get our clients the largest possible amount of financial compensation. Our firm has the experience, knowledge, and resources it takes to go head to head against large corporate defendants. We believe in a practical, strategic, and results-oriented approach.
We would like to stand by you and your family throughout your recovery, handling the entire process for you. We invite you to put the burden of the claims process on our shoulders so that you can focus on the road ahead.
In the sections that follow, you will learn more about your rights under New York personal injury law, how truck accident claims work, and how an experienced Albany truck accident lawyer can help.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in New York
Large commercial vehicles present special concerns about careless driving. Truck accidents are sometimes caused by highly specific forms of negligence that only arise in the context of larger trucks.
Among the most common causes of truck accidents in New York are:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medication
- Failure to get enough rest or sleep in between shifts
- Driving without an adequate license (CDL) or sufficient training
- Failure to look when merging or turning (because trucks have larger blind spots)
- Improper braking technique (because trucks are more likely to wear out their brake pads or to have trouble maintaining control on steep inclines)
- Failure to adjust driving technique based on weather, road conditions, or the size / design of the vehicle
- Drivers rushing to meet grueling delivery deadlines or unrealistic driving schedules
- Negligent hiring of truck drivers or mechanics
- Lack of familiarity with the roadways or terrain, given that many truckers are driving out-of-state
- Overloaded / improperly loaded cargo
Other common causes of truck accidents in New York include more traditional forms of driver negligence, such as:
- Texting while driving
- Eating, using a CB radio, or otherwise engaging in distracted driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Poor truck maintenance
- Violating traffic laws
An experienced Albany truck accident lawyer can help you determine whether these or other types of negligence might have played a role in your accident.
Through careful investigation and inspection of driving records, onboard trucking company GPS, navigation/tracking systems, and with the help of expert accident reconstruction specialists when needed, we can determine why a truck on car crash occurred in New York.
Common Injuries After a Truck Accident
Truck accidents are associated with especially severe injuries, many of which may be life-altering or fatal.
Even the highest-safety-rated passenger car is no match for the size and force of a tractor-trailer. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians have even less protection. The impact of these truck accidents is often devastating.
It is important to understand, however, that less severe truck on car crashes can significantly damage car drivers and occupants. This can entitle them to recover for those damages under New York law.
Some of the most common injuries after a truck accident include:
- Fractured, shattered, or broken bones
- Knee injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries, including concussion / traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of vision, hearing or other senses
- Torn arteries, which can lead to heart attack or stroke
- Partial or total paralysis
It is critical that you seek immediate medical attention after any truck accident. Injuries are not always obvious or accompanied by symptoms. While we are obviously not doctors and can’t give you medical advice, often we have seen clients with internal bleeding or other serious injuries that they originally do not recognize. If you think that this is the case, visit an Emergency Room or request an urgent diagnostic exam from your family physician right away, and/or a referral to an appropriate specialist..
Differences Between Car and Truck Accidents
Handling a truck accident claim is not like handling conventional car accident claims. These cases tend to be much more complex. Generally speaking, victims are advised not to attempt to handle their claims on their own. Let’s look at just a few of the factors distinguishing truck accidents from other types of traffic accidents.
Severity of Damages
Because truck accidents often involve devastating injuries and costly financial damages, the carrier companies and their insurers are more likely to mount an aggressive defense.
It is important to understand that the defendants in your claim are likely to have a great deal of legal experience, as well as financial resources that you could not possibly match on your own.
These companies are able to adopt a defensive posture that can be exceedingly difficult to challenge all by yourself. But an experienced Albany truck accident lawyer can level the playing field.
Interplay of State and Federal Laws
The trucking industry in New York is subject to extensive regulation under both state and federal law. Hours of Service regulations, for example, provide strict rules about how long a driver can work before getting adequate sleep. Other regulations pertain to hiring, training, licensing, truck maintenance, inspection, and so on.
Often, our investigation reveals that the defendants violated one or more of these laws and regulations, and that these violations caused the accident.
It’s important to work with an Albany truck accident lawyer who is well versed in the ever-evolving landscape of trucking rules and regulations in New York.
Unique Types of Truck Accidents
Semi-trucks are complicated pieces of machinery. They are vulnerable to specific problems that do not occur with other kinds of vehicles.
One example is the classic jack-knife accident, which happens when a truck’s trailer (the back part of the semi-truck) turns in on its tractor (the part where the driver sits).
Large commercial vehicles are also prone to rollover accidents, runaway truck accidents, and excessive cargo accidents, among various other types of collision. Truck drivers and carrier companies have a duty to avoid these types of accidents, which are often the result of simple negligence.
Trucks also operate differently than cars in some respects. A large truck’s brakes work on a compressed air system, meaning that there is a small lag between the time that a truck driver steps on his or her brakes and time that those brakes apply. It also takes trucks far longer to stop than a car. Often truck crashes occur because the driver did not apply the proper braking given the time, speed and distance factors involved with the road and traffic conditions existing immediately before the crash.
It is essential that you work with an Albany truck accident lawyer who understands how these accidents happen and any legal duties that the defendants might have had at the time of the crash.
Number of Parties Involved
Truck accident claims often involve multiple parties. For example, your claim might involve:
- The truck driver
- His or her employer
- The truck’s manufacturer
- The owner and lessor and the trailer or trailers
- The owner and/or lessor of the tractor
- The employer’s insurance company, and/or
Moreover, in the event of a multi-car collision, you might also have a claim against other drivers and their insurance companies.
Some cases even involve a claim against the government (where negligent road maintenance contributed to the crash, for instance).
Each of these parties might mount a unique defense, and they may point the blame at one another. Sometimes, the parties even file counterclaims or crossclaims against each other.
There is a general rule when dealing with accident claims: the more parties involved, the more complex and drawn-out the process can become. When the parties include multiple corporations (which have dedicated legal resources for such claims), the situation becomes more complicated.
However, you don’t need to feel intimidated by these claims An Albany truck accident lawyer attorney can shoulder the burden of complexity so that your focus is on what matters: healing.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Truck Accident?
In our firm, a personal injury lawyer is someone understands what you have been through, what you are going through, and your fears and doubts about the future. We will spend the time talking with you about the case, so that you understand the system that you have been thrust into without your consent. At the same time, we will act as your spokesperson and advocate to ensure that the insurance company recognizes and then compensates you for the losses and damages that the at-fault driver caused you to suffer. We will be in constant contact you with throughout the process, explaining the options, answering your questions, and partnering with you to get full compensation so that you can get back on your feet and back to your life as much as possible.
Mistakes are easy to make. Indeed, the insurance companies may utilize tactics that are deliberately designed to trip you up.
When you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to deal with aggressive corporations on your own anymore. Instead, your attorney will handle every aspect of your claim, working to put you and your claim in the strongest possible position.
Just as importantly, studies have shown that people who hire a personal injury lawyer tend to achieve larger financial recoveries than those who do not.
Among other things, an Albany truck lawyer can help you and your family by:
- Giving honest, practical, and strategic advice
- Building a strong evidentiary case, which may involve video surveillance, “black box” data from inside the truck, police reports, employment and medical records, driving logs, and more
- Consulting with expert witnesses and medical specialists as needed
- Researching legal precedent that might strengthen your case
- Identifying each potentially liable party & interpreting relevant insurance policy provisions
- Dealing with insurance representatives, creditors, and other “red tape” headaches so that you don’t have to
- Engaging in strategic negotiations that may spare you from having to go to court
- Representing your interests at trial, if that is what justice requires
Hiring the right attorney could make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.
With an Albany truck accident lawyer on your side, you will have an experienced advocate working exclusively in your best interest at every turn.
How Long Does a Truck Accident Claim Take?
While every case is different, truck accident claims tend to take longer to resolve than other auto accident cases.
It is not uncommon for the claim to take a year to reach a resolution. Some claims may require more than a year.
At The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, we will do everything we can to handle your case efficiently without compromising the strength of your claim.
We understand that part of healing means putting the ordeal behind you as soon as possible. We are committed to working diligently toward that goal while also fighting for the full and fair compensation you deserve.
We encourage you to schedule a free case review with our office to get a better sense of how long your truck accident claim might take.
How Much Compensation Can I Get After a Truck Accident Claim?
The amount of compensation available in any given truck accident claim will depend on the severity of the accident, the nature of the injuries, and the limits on each insurance policy, among other factors.
In general, the State of New York recognizes a wide range of personal injury damages, including (but not necessarily limited to):
- Medical expenses
- Lost income after missing work
- Physical therapy / rehabilitation
- Property damage (e.g. vehicle damage, loss of personal property)
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or disability
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death damages
In cases involving extreme negligence or insurance bad faith, truck accident victims may also be able to recover punitive damages. Unlike the damages described above, punitive damages are awarded for the sole purpose of punishing the defendant for egregious conduct. Punitive damages are not available in most cases. However, if punitive damages are available, they are awarded to the victim in addition to any compensation for economic or emotional losses.
To get a better sense of how much compensation might be available in your situation, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an Albany truck accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC.
While we cannot promise a specific outcome, we can help you understand how the law might apply to the facts surrounding your claim.
We can also tell you how much money people in situations similar to yours have recovered in Albany County truck accident claims in the recent past.
Can I Still Be Compensated If I Was Partially at Fault?
The question of who is at fault for a truck crash in New York isn’t always clear. Sometimes, both the truck driver and the victim are partially to blame.
In these situations, the State of New York follows a rule called pure comparative negligence. Essentially, it means that you can still recover damages after a car crash even if you were negligent yourself.
In a comparative negligence case, your total financial recovery would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
As you can imagine, arriving at an appropriate percentage of fault can become a challenge, and the parties don’t always see eye to eye. That’s where your attorney comes in.
It is an Albany truck accident lawyer’s job to fight for a fair apportionment of fault in your case, always with a view toward getting you the robust compensation you deserve.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer After a Truck Accident?
After a truck accident, the insurance company’s most pressing goal is to make your claim go away for as little money as possible. To meet that goal, the insurance adjustor will often make a settlement offer soon after the accident.
The typical insurance settlement offer has been carefully calculated to seem just tempting enough for you to consider while still offering far less than you might be entitled to under the law.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are for-profit corporations, and they do not offer money out of the goodness of their hearts. You should assume that the settlement offer is designed to protect their interests (not yours) and proceed accordingly.
Generally speaking, once you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you will never be able to claim more money for the same accident.
In other words, the insurance adjustor is asking you to sign away your rights — and that is precisely why they want you to accept the settlement in the first place.
But at this early stage, it is impossible for you to know what the future may hold. Your medical expenses and other damages may add up to much more money than you expect, for example. Or your recovery could end up taking longer than anticipated.
For these reasons, you should never accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without talking to an experienced Albany truck accident lawyer first.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Patrick Higgins founded our law firm on this simple principle: a person’s financial standing should never stand in the way of getting justice.
Accordingly, at The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, we offer our services to truck accident victims on a contingency fee basis.
This means we will not charge you a fee unless we get you money first.
If we are able to recover compensation for you, our fee will only be a percentage of your total recovery. If we are unable to recover compensation, you won’t have to pay us a single cent. Our firm takes the risk of loss so that you don’t have to.
Additionally, we front all the costs of investigation and litigation. And your initial consultation is always free.
In other words, hiring Patrick J. Higgins as your Albany truck accident lawyer won’t cost you anything up front or out of pocket.
Benefits of Hiring Patrick Higgins to Handle My Truck Accident Claim
Patrick Higgins founded our law firm after spending 32 years working in a variety of other law firm settings. He wanted to open a law firm with a different type of business model, one that would focus on building relationships with people in their hour of need.
The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC focuses on taking fewer cases and spending more time on each of those cases, working tirelessly to position each case toward optimal success.
When you hire The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, you will work directly with Mr. Higgins himself. He is committed to giving you the time and attention you deserve. That means responding to your emails in a timely manner and answering the phone when you call. He’ll even come to your house if you’d like, meeting with you where you’re comfortable and getting to know your situation on a more personal level.
What we offer is deep legal experience, coupled with the type of individual attention and zealous passion that the larger law firm experience does not always allow for.
When you hire Patrick J. Higgins, you are putting decades of legal experience and a proven record of success on your side.
Free Consultation with Patrick J. Higgins, Experienced Albany Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a truck accident in Albany County or the surrounding areas, we encourage you to contact our office as soon as possible. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation under New York personal injury law.
Don’t face trucking companies or insurance corporations on your own. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Instead, we ask you to learn more about your options by talking directly with an Albany truck accident lawyer in our office. We are here to listen and to help.
To get started, call 518-489-1098 and ask for a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation with Patrick J. Higgins directly, or simply contact Mr. Higgins directly online. Time limits do apply to truck accident claims in New York, so please don’t delay.