Accidents involving semi-trucks or big rigs can result in extremely serious injuries, or even death. A fully-loaded large truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds, while a typical passenger vehicle weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. In a collision between vehicles of such different sizes, there is a strong likelihood of significant or even fatal injuries. For this reason, it is vital that you retain an attorney with expertise in trucking accidents to handle your case.
On Long Island, residents are all too familiar with the rumble of semi-trucks, particularly on the Long Island Expressway (I-495). The sheer number of these trucks on our roadways not only contributes to traffic jams, but increases the likelihood that you may be involved in a trucking accident. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,317 people killed in trucking accidents in 2016, a 5.4% increase since 2015, and 72% of those killed were occupants of vehicles other than large trucks.
Winkler Kurtz, LLP is committed to helping victims of trucking accidents recover compensation for their losses. We understand the complex laws governing truck crashes, including both state and federal regulations, and put that knowledge to work for you.
Causes of Semi Truck Accidents
As with other types of motor vehicle accidents, there are numerous potential causes of trucking crashes. This can include aggressive driving, speeding, driving under the influence, or distracted driving. However, there is one type of accident that is unique to the trucking industry: unrealistic schedules set by trucking companies.
In an era of razor thin profit margins and an increased pressure to produce, many trucking companies have established compensation systems that encourage their drivers to move goods faster. In other words, drivers are rewarded for getting from Point A to Point B in shorter amounts of time, which may lead to drivers being on the road for more hours than permitted by law or to drivers speeding to meet these deadlines. When trucking companies set unreasonable goals, drivers may risk their safety and the safety of others on the road, increasing the overall risk of road accidents.
Trucking companies may also cut corners on fundamentals such as training their drivers on driving techniques, defensive driving, and safe operation of semi-trucks. This may ultimately lead to even more accidents, with unskilled drivers operating 80,000 pound trucks in an unsafe manner.
If you have been injured in a collision with a truck, an experienced Long Island trucking accident lawyer can thoroughly investigate every aspect of your case. This includes the possibility that the policies and training practices of the trucking company may have contributed to the accident. In this way, you may be able to demonstrate that it was more than just negligence on the part of the driver that led to your injuries — it was a failure on the part of the entire company.
Filing a Lawsuit in a Long Island Trucking Accident Case
The trucking industry is tightly regulated by both state and federal authorities. Filing a claim in a trucking accident requires an understanding of the complex state and federal regulations that govern truck drivers and trucking companies. For example, a Long Island trucking accident lawyer may be able to demonstrate that a truck driver failed to comply with a mandatory New York rest period before getting behind the wheel again and proceeding to hit your vehicle. Having an attorney who understands these laws and regulations is critical to achieving an optimal result.
Trucking accidents may also involve multiple responsible parties, including the truck driver, the trucking company, the equipment or vehicle manufacturer, government entities, and other negligent drivers. In some cases, the manufacturer of a hazardous material that is being carried by a truck may also be named in a lawsuit. A skilled Long Island trucking accident lawyer will examine every angle of your case, from the equipment maintenance schedule to the trucking logs to witness accounts, to put together a strong case for compensation.
Work with a Long Island Trucking Accident Lawyer
After a collision involving a semi-truck, the truck driver will contact his employer and insurance company. The driver will likely have a team of insurance adjusters and attorneys on his side, pushing his version of events and downplaying his role in the accident. To level the playing field, you will need a seasoned Long Island trucking accident lawyer. Your attorney can advocate for your best interests and protect your right to compensation for your injuries so that you can focus on your health and well-being.
At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, our firm is devoted to helping victims of accidents. Since 1987, we have dedicated our practice to working for clients who have been hurt due to the negligence of other parties — including truck drivers. We understand the law, and use our knowledge to help our clients receive the compensation that they deserve. Contact us today at 631-928-8000 or by contact us online to schedule a consultation.