Handling Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are one of the most dangerous types of motor vehicle accidents largely due to the large size and heavy weight of a tractor trailer, or even a smaller truck. Accidents between trucks and cars can happen to even cautious drivers as trucks have larger blind spots than cars.
If you were involved in an accident with a truck, then you should seek the expert legal help that you need. Jayson Lutzky is a New York lawyer here to represent injured accident victims.
The Complex Nature of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are complex. There may be many defendants in this type of case, ranging from the truck driver to his or her employer to the company leasing the truck to the employer. Furthermore, there may be multiple insurance policies that can provide compensation, such as a primary policy, a company policy, an umbrella policy and an underinsurance policy, as well as your policy. Some of these policies may pay out while others will hesitate. These are often policies with high coverage amounts, so it is important to work with a lawyer skilled in dealing with insurance companies and these types of policies.
How can a truck accident lawyer help me after a crash?
Most insurance companies are reluctant to offer a fair settlement, especially if they try to deny liability for the accident. An experienced attorney can negotiate with the insurance companies, especially if you were not at fault for the accident. Additionally, a lawyer will make sure that you get an appropriate settlement and will conduct a trial in court, if no settlement can be reached.
A lawyer can help:
Talk to witnesses
Review police and accident reports
Reviewing if trucks were permitted on the road of the accident
Review camera footage, when applicable
Review all medical records
Communicate with doctors and medical Â professionals
Work with experts to reconstruct the accident visually
Review the driver’s maintenance logs
Review weight station records
Investigate the truck and its trailer’s past driving records
Analyze the results of government investigations, when applicable
Review the truck driver’s logs to determine if the driver had been taking sufficient breaks
Search for the driver’s previous traffic violations and/or criminal convictions
Investigate the truck model to check for defects and product recalls
A skilled lawyer will understand insurance policies. That is because, with truck accidents, it is necessary to review many complex policies from various parties, which include, but are not limited to
The truck driver
The company the driver works for
The company that owns the truck and/or trailer
The company that leases the truck and/or trailer
The manufacturer of the truck and/or trailer
Medical Costs, Insurance Companies and Lawyers
Car owners are required to have a certain amount of insurance for personal injury protection. That means that each car must be insured enough so that the insurance company can pay out the regulated amount of damages for medical costs. In New York State, the minimum coverage is $25,000. Some, but not all, drivers choose to have a policy greater than $25,000. Nevertheless, in a truck accident, it is likely that your medical bills will exceed $25,000. A lawyer can help get you the money you need for medical treatment and more in a settlement or in court at trial.
One way to receive compensation for an amount greater than your policy is to seek compensation from an underinsurance policy. Underinsurance is available when one of the parties to an accident, their spouse or even someone in their household has underinsurance coverage. Underinsurance laws require an analysis of all the potential policies to see if they are applicable. Also, uninsurance coverage is a possibility. Uninsurance and underinsurance policies are normally combined to be called S.U.M. policies. Both policies require that the applicable insurance companies are put on notice that they may be liable. A skilled lawyer will know how to put them on notice.
Before sum coverage will pay out, the insurance company must be put on notice that the underlying insurance company responsible for the accident has hindered or offered 100% of its coverage. The S.U.M. company must give approval to accept the payment from the tort feasor’s insurance company.
If you were injured while working and workers’ compensation is involved, then your attorney will need approval from the workers’ compensation insurance company before settling an accident case and receiving money from another company.
A skilled truck accident lawyer needs to be mindful of insurance, underinsurance and Worker’s Compensation insurance laws when handling your case.
Types of Lawsuits
Many lawsuits related to accidents attempt to recover compensation for past, current and future damages.
Many accident cases are resolved before they reach court but the following are types of lawsuits Nevertheless, the following are types of lawsuits that may be applicable to your case.
Negligence is defined as when one or both parties do not take reasonable care in their actions. This applies to a truck accident when the truck driver does not get sufficient rest, drives for too long, drives an overload truck or skips mandatory weigh stations. Also, negligence occurs when either party does not follow traffic signals, drives while intoxicated or drives recklessly. In a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff, meaning you, must prove that the defendant, meaning the truck driver and affiliated parties, were negligent in order to receive compensation for negligence.
When there is a defective part of a vehicle, one may be able to sue that manufacturer. The defect may be in your own car or associated with the truck. A few of the most common defects include:
Guidelines for this type of liability state that the truck was being used as it was supposed to be used that it worked the way it did on the day of the accident as when it was first bought.
If the road were designed improperly, then you may be able to recover compensation for damages caused by this design. For example, embankments are elevated roadways built on the outer portions of a curved road so that vehicles can safely drive around the curve. If the road does not have embankments, but it should, then you may be able to sue the agency who maintains the road for this fault if it contributed to your accident. Road design also includes guard rails, and road barriers, defective traffic devices and defective signs.
A final type of civil lawsuit after an accident is for wrongful death. If a driver or passenger of a car that was in an accident with a truck, unfortunately, dies, then his or her family may be able to receive compensation for the death.
Types of compensation you may be eligible to receive
Compensatory damages are rewarded for economic losses. Non-economic, less tangible losses are called punitive damages. Punitive damages levied as a punishment, so compensatory damages are more common. A few types of these damages for economic losses are listed below.
If you have been injured in a truck accident case, you will likely have a large injury. Prior to a settlement or trial, you will likely have accrued many medical bills. Currently, you may also be seeking medical treatment and in the future you will likely need follow up medical visits, sometimes rehabilitation therapy and maybe even reconstructive surgery. All of these medical bills, past, present and estimated future can be paid for in a compensation package.
If your accident caused you to miss work between the time of the trial and the settlement or the end of the lawsuit, then you may be able receive compensation for your lost wages. If your injury is permanent and you cannot work due to that injury, then you may also receive a larger settlement. The Worker’s Compensation Board decides if you will receive this type of compensation.
Pain and suffering
How can you be awarded compensation for pain and suffering? How is it measured? This type of damage is somewhat subjective. Therefore, it is important to work with a strong lawyer in a trial so that you can receive the maximum benefit possible.
Accidents can cause emotional pain, in addition to physical pain. An accident victim may feel a variety of negative emotions. Consequently, accident victims may be able to receive compensation for these types of mental anguish damages.
Loss of Consortium
Accidents can affect one’s ability to have or maintain a personal relationship. The spouse of a truck accident victim may feel the effects of this if the victim experiences changes in the ability to provide companionship as well as to have sexual relations. If this is the case, then the spouse of the victim may be able to recover money for loss of consortium damages, as well.
The Law Office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C.
Jayson Lutzky is lawyer with over 34 years of experience serving the Bronx, New York. If you were injured in a truck accident or any other type of accident, then it is important to understand your rights. Mr. Lutzky has successfully recovered millions of dollars for past clients. The attorney offers free in person consultations. To set up a consultation, call 718-514-6619 or 800-660-5299 (toll-free). Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for more information. If you have been seriously injured, then we can visit you in your home or hospital.