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What Types of Accidents Occur with Tractor Trailers in Buffalo, New York?

— July 25, 2022

Rollover accidents often occur when there is a sudden shift in the center of gravity and/or a driver is unable to slow down when making a sharp turn,

Data retrieved from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR)  revealed New York State accident fatalities have increased from 938 in 2019 to 1,032 in 2020. Deaths caused by large trucks decreased by 1 person from 85 total to 84 in 2020 and most large truck injury crashes including fatal injury occurred between 12 and 3 p.m. when many travelers are driving on New York roadways. Truck accident victims may ask themselves “Where can I find an attorney near me?” when they need assistance after accidental injury and property loss negatively impact their life. 

New York State Roadway restrictions for trucks

In an attempt to keep roadways safer, New York State has specific driving laws for truck drivers including restrictions on what highways they are allowed to ride upon per Section 385 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law. Additionally federal and state regulations are in place for heavy trucks and commercial drivers that require vehicles to be inspected and maintained on a regular basis, in addition to periodic screening for drivers to be evaluated to make sure they are in good health. 

Common tractor trailer accidents

Tractor trailer trucks are involved in normal collision types that include rear-end, T-bone, head-on and side swiping accidents. The enormous size and cargo load also causes big rigs to be involved in industry-unique crashes that include:

  • Underride when a smaller vehicle  becomes lodged under the tractor trailer after approaching from behind and unable to stop,
  • Rollover accidents often occur when there is a sudden shift in the center of gravity and/or a driver is unable to slow down when making a sharp turn,
  • Wide turn when a truck driver squeezes passenger vehicles  between the body of their truck and the sidewalk when swinging to make a turn, and
  • Jackknife situations when a trailer skids outward in a 90-degree angle toward the front cab of the big rig when a driver must brake hard or fast, deal with inclement weather, or resulting from complications of cargo load shifting.

Truck regulations and maintenance

Mechanic working on car; image by DokaRyan, via
Mechanic working on car; image by DokaRyan, via

Buffalo accident lawyers will explain the importance of tractor trailer and commercial vehicle maintenance on case building for necessary insurance payments to cover harmful losses. Maintenance is of great concern in the trucking industry, as deviations in mechanical inspections and safety measures can cause catastrophic injury and death to drivers sharing New York roadways with commercial trucks and tractor trailers. Efforts to keep trucks safe and reduce roadway incidents include spot checking equipment before each trip and is required by drivers. The equipment that must be checked before trips includes:

  1. Service brakes, including trailer-brake connections.
  2. Parking brakes.
  3. Lighting devices and reflectors.
  4. Steering mechanisms.
  5. Horn.
  6. Tires – it is common for a truck to lose a tire, or for tread to break apart.
  7. Windshield wipers.
  8. Coupling devices.
  9. Wheels and rims.
  10. Rear mirror.
  11. Emergency notification markers and equipment. 

Wrongful death and personal injury damages

Damages related to harmful injury and wrongful death after tractor trailer accidents are usually paid out by insurance companies who gave liability coverage to the entity, or person who was negligent. Damages may include medical bills, future care, lost wages, pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses and future impacts to financial stability to surviving loved ones along with loss of companionship when fatal injury occurs. Punitive damages may be awarded in criminal actions that may have caused the death. 

Hire a lawyer

Even minor injuries resulting from a tractor trailer accident should be investigated to make sure costs associated over insurance coverage will be paid. If a death occurs due to the accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. Experienced Buffalo truck accident lawyers  can help.


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