The big question is who’s going to pay those damages.
In 2019, there were 21,135 crashes involving large trucks in the state of New York. According to a New York DMV report, 80 of those crashes were fatal, while another 4,275 resulted in non-lethal injuries. For a run-of-the-mill fender bender you probably won’t need a lawyer, but if you or a loved one were involved in a truck collision then you must talk to a skilled New York truck accident attorney and you must do that right away.
What to do right after a truck accident?
As with all accidents, your first priority should be for your safety and that of the others at the crash scene. If you are in any condition to provide assistance, you should tend to the other people who might be injured and call 911. The accident should be reported to the police as their report will play an important part when it comes to determining liability and damages.
If you have been hurt, you should see a doctor even if at that moment you feel generally alright. Don’t assume the pain in your back or the bump to your head is not important. With certain injuries it might be days or weeks before the symptoms start manifesting. You need to have your injuries documented to back up any future claim.
Also, if you are not badly injured, try to get the names and contact info of all those present at the scene. Their testimony might come in handy later on.
When should you call a lawyer?
As soon as possible after the crash, you should get in touch with a good truck accident lawyer in New York City and have them review your case. Don’t talk to any insurance guys before you’ve seen a lawyer. Be especially wary if you get a call from the trucking company’s insurer. Your accident lawyer will certainly want to know about that as this might be an indication they think the trucking company might somehow be to blame for the crash and want to know what your intentions are. Don’t tell them anything and, most of all, don’t admit that you might be partially to blame for the crash.
What sort of damages can I get after a truck accident?
Even if you were partially to blame for the crash, you can still recover damages. New York uses the comparative fault rule which means that even if you did something wrong and were, say, 10% to blame, you can get 90% of the damages you are entitled to.
The big question is who’s going to pay those damages. This is where a seasoned truck accident lawyer can prove an asset. If the trucking company, the leasing company or those responsible for vehicle maintenance are somehow responsible, you can file a claim against their insurance and get way more money than you’d get from the truck driver alone. Your lawyer will investigate to see if the company can be accused of negligent hiring, if the driver did not have a valid commercial driver’s license or proper training. The company might also be to blame if the driver was overworked. At the same time, if the accident was caused by any sort of malfunction, you can file a claim against the owner of the truck, the maintenance company or even the manufacturer of the defective part.