Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers

Experienced personal injury attorneys serving clients throughout NY, VT and MA who have been injured in a commercial truck accident.

The experienced team of truck accident lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is committed to ensuring aggressive representation for all clients and is available to provide answers to your questions and to make sure your rights are protected.

Contact us to learn more, today!

Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys

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It is important to realize that if you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you should seek the help of an attorney. Our experienced truck accident attorneys remain on the cutting edge of the law so we can help you get what you deserve.

Some of the vehicles handled by our truck accident attorneys include:

Big Rigs

18-Wheelers

Bus Accidents

Cargo Trucks

Semi Trucks

Tractor Trailers

Delivery Vans

Fuel Trucks

What are the top reasons for Truck Accident Lawsuits?

The most common form of personal injury lawsuit our truck accident attorneys handle is driver negligence. What you may not have known, is that it’s very common for both the trucking company and the driver to be at fault for a case involving negligence.

Trucking accident cases are significantly different than most auto or vehicular accident cases. Truck drivers and the companies they are employed by must comply with a number of both federal and state laws and regulations that are not applicable to other types of motorists. These laws and regulations control a variety of daily trucking procedures, including but not limited to:

  • Maintenance and inspection procedures
  • Hours of service
  • Driver and licensing qualifications

Tour Bus Accident In the News

Following a tragic tour bus rollover crash that took place on August 14, 2021 along I-90 westbound, injuring at least 57 people, managing partner Paul Harding is here to answer commonly asked questions relating to bus accidents and the rights of passengers.

Who pays for your injuries? Can passengers maintain a claim for their pain and suffering? Listen above and learn more today.

Anyone living in Upstate New York and beyond is aware that this past Saturday, August 14th, was a horrific accident. Between Syracuse and Rochester, a tour bus rolled over, injuring up to 57 people. And the question that we’ve been getting at the law firm is how do those people who are on a bus or on any bus were injured. Whether it’s a municipal bus or a private tour bus, how do they get their medical bills and their lost wages paid? And it’s a bit of a complicated answer, but the summary is this.

If you’re injured on that bus or any bus in the state of New York, and you have an auto policy. Meaning you have a car in your household where you primarily live. That policy, called no-fault benefit, will pay for your medical bills, will also pay for lost wages. Now if you don’t have a car. You don’t own a car or no one in your household does, and you’re in an accident involving either a tour bus or it could be a municipal bus, then those benefits that pay for your medical and your lost wages will come from the bus company.

So, a bit tricky, but when you look at it that way, it sort of does make sense. If you own a vehicle it’s paid that way. If you don’t own a vehicle, it’s paid for by the bus that you were on regardless of the fault of either the bus company or anyone else. The other question that we have been asked is whether or not someone who was in a bus accident, including the one that happened this past weekend, can maintain a claim. Can they maintain a claim for their pain and suffering, can they recover money damages for their injuries, and the answer is there needs to show fault.

We need to show that someone is at fault for this accident. Presumably, there’s a problem, right, but we don’t know what that problem is. They’re investigating. Presumably, there are going to be claims. Claims that are pursued, but what we don’t know what caused the rollover, and we will know in a relatively short time. But, pretty safe to say, that if you were on the bus, and the bus rolls over, causing injuries that there will be claims.

I just don’t want to presuppose, you know, where the fault lies, but clearly, there is some fault on the part of either the bus company or something else that we don’t know about yet. So, we will be finding it out relatively shortly. So, I hope that’s helpful. And again, just a super tragedy. These folks were coming from Poughkeepsie, making their way to Niagara Falls. And about halfway through, we don’t know what happened, but we know that a lot of people were injured. They’re in our prayers. And again, any questions, you can always feel free to reach out to us, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Thank you.

Commonly Asked Questions & Resources

When we talk about “trucks”, we’re referring to 18-wheelers, big rigs, fuel trucks, buses, cargo trucks, tractor trailers, and other commercial vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in 2017, 69% of accidents resulting in death involved tractor-trailers [1]. Statistics also show that roughly 500,000 accidents on the road are either directly or indirectly caused by commercial trucks.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the most recent data was published in December of 2019 stating the following [2]:

  • 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018
  • 67% were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles
  • 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists
  • 74% of deaths in large truck crashes in 2018 were in crashes involving tractor-trailers, and 27% were in crashes involving single-unit trucks
  • 52% of deaths in large truck crashes in 2018 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 33% occurred on interstates and freeways, and 14% occurred on minor roads.

Accidents involving commercial trucks are frequently caused by a combination of factors including [3]:

  • the truck’s attributes, performance capabilities, and/or driver error
  • Acceleration, braking, and visibility
  • Big rigs, tend to have much larger blind spots than a normal pickup truck or passenger car, these blind spots impede the driver’s ability to identify obstacles on the road
    • Passenger vehicles should not linger in a commercial truck’s blind spot or “no-zone”
  • Driver inexperience, fatigue, failure to yield the right-of-way, and reckless driving can all be contributing factors.

The most common form of personal injury lawsuits our truck accident attorneys handle is driver negligence. We see a great deal of distracted drivers, not paying attention, texting; some of the same issues that non-truck drivers have when driving. Unfortunately for many people, truck drivers included, attempt to multi-task when driving. This problem has increased significantly over the past 15 years as use of cell phones and texting while driving have contributed significantly to distracted driving.

Police and emergency personnel should be called right away.  Also, if you are injured you should seek immediate medical attention. It’s also a good idea to start preparing evidence for later, so taking pictures of the scene will be helpful, recording any thoughts about what occurred while it’s fresh in your head is also a good idea.

We recommend speaking with an experienced truck accident attorney to review the details of your potential case. We also recommend to go to all of your doctor appointments, show up for therapy or exams, and follow medical advice. If you do not show up to your appointments, it may impact the results of your case.

Truck drivers are often well trained and are advised in their training not to talk to the injured party. If approached, they will most likely advise you to go through their lawyer. This is why it’s very important that the person impacted does the same.

This depends on the employment relationship established between the truck driver and the trucking company. If this relationship is displayed, the trucking company can be held legally liable for the driver’s negligence under a legal doctrine known as “respondeant superior”. However, if the truck driver is an independent contractor of a company, demonstrating the company’s liability may become more difficult. In this situation, the factor that becomes most crucial is the amount of supervision the company exercises over the driver [4].

Yes, there are many federal and state regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to. For drivers, this includes traffic and civil laws such as speed limit, weight and height maximums on roadways. Also included are Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Department of Transportation regulations, which define how many hours a driver can be on the road, as well as the training and licensing requirements for drivers [5].

The first step, before talking to the insurance company, is to make sure you are protected. Contact an attorney immediately. The priority of the insurance company is to protect the interests of their company or client, not yours. It’s important to not give a statement, speak with, or sign anything before speaking with an attorney because anything that you say can and may be used against you at a later date. Insurance companies are typically equipped with a large staff of investigators, doctors, lawyers, and experts at their disposal. It will be important to hire someone that can speak with them and is on the cutting edge of the law.

These cases tend to become complicated, and sometimes lengthy, because the damages tend to be extensive, often times resulting in serious injury or death. This is also why the trucking companies carry big limits, which is why they have many resources lined up at their disposal.  They will do their due-diligence to try to fight the claim or case, so they do not have to pay.

Settlement in the form of law, is an agreement or resolution between two disputing parties (in the case of a truck accident, the plaintiff (the person who is bringing the case against the truck driver/ truck company) in a legal matter. The term settlement can have various meanings in the context of law, however, the most commonly understood meaning is providing resolution in the form of payment to the plaintiff, either before or after court action begins. An experienced truck accident attorney can determine and advise on an appropriate settlement, should that be offered, based off of their knowledge and expertise of the individual case. Settlement can be a very good thing, if the client and attorney feel it’s sufficient; If they determine it’s not, then the settlement can be rejected and the case can be tried. Even if you are heading to trial, judges can do something called mediation. Mediators will look at both sides and sometimes through mediation it can get settled.

Unfortunately, extended timelines can and do happen and are relatively common, and also can be lengthy. The most important thing for the client to understand is that if they’ve been harmed or hurt because of someone else’s negligence, they have to stay in it so that they can get the appropriate compensation that they deserve.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/413361/fmcsa-pocket-guide-2018-final-508-compliant-1.pdf

[2] https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

[3] https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/tswstudy/Vol2-Chapter5.pdf

[4] https://thelawdictionary.org/article/three-conditions-required-respondeat-superior/

[5] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/part/383

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