Truck Accident Lawyers in Nassau County
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Few accidents on the roads are more devastating than those involving large vehicles such as commercial trucks, including semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers. Due to the devastating results of these types of accidents, the federal government has established specific rules designed to regulate the trucking industry and to ensure safety in commercial transportation practices. Our team at Foley Griffin is familiar with these rules. Our Nassau County truck accident attorneys are highly versed in the regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
If you or a loved one was injured in a major Nassau County truck accident, we can get to the bottom of what happened and find out if a trucking violation took place. We’re here to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Serious personal injuries are often caused by truck accidents—and in some cases, even death. Our team at Foley Griffin is highly experienced in these types of cases. We know the FMCSA regulations and we know how they affect your case. If a truck driver’s negligence led to your accident, we can get to the bottom of it.
Some types of injuries that may arise from these serious highway collisions include:
- Closed head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations / blood loss
Who Pays for Commercial Vehicle Accidents?
Who should pay for the damages of a commercial vehicle accident depends on who is ultimately held liable, or responsible, for the collision that occurred. The best way to determine this is by having a truck accident attorney review the details of your accident and the events leading up to the collision. From there, they can determine who is responsible and take legal action accordingly.
Generally speaking, one or more of the following can be held liable for a truck accident:
- The truck driver
- The truck company
- The truck parts manufacturer
Given the nature of your collision, this may look different in your case. Again, the best way to ensure you hold the correct party liable for your accident is by involving an attorney in the case as soon as possible after the collision occurs. This will allow for thorough investigation of the scene of the accident, as well as the opportunity to reach out to any witnesses who may have more insight on what occurred.
How are Truck Accidents Investigated?
Since truck accidents can cause such catastrophic damage and oftentimes life-threatening injuries, personal injury claims stemming from truck accidents require an in-depth investigation to identify the financially liable parties. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, it is imperative you retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney who can help determine all factors which may have caused your collision and build a strong case for compensation on your behalf.
What Is a Driver Qualification File?
While much of the evidence your personal injury claim will need can be found at the scene of the crash, one of the most important pieces of evidence is known as the Driver Qualification File (DQF). Under regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), every trucking company is required to maintain a DQF for every driver it employs, containing information regarding a driver’s employment history, certifications, and driving records – much of which can be invaluable when building your case.
A DQF must contain the following information:
- All accident records involving the truck or driver
- Copies of the driver’s license
- Results of road tests
- Annual performance reviews
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Personnel records
- Hours of service records
- Alcohol and drug test results
In addition, all drivers must be at least 21 years of age, be in good health, be able to both read and speak English, be able to properly load and secure cargo, be able to safely operate their vehicle, have a valid commercial driver’s license, and have passed a recognized driving test. If the driver of the truck that hit you is lacking in any of the above qualifications, or if their DQF is missing any important documents, your chances of success will increase by a large margin. Likewise, any violations involving unqualified drivers or poor record keeping could cause the trucking company to be held liable for negligence.
Actually obtaining a copy of the driver’s DQF can be difficult, however, as many trucking companies will keep these documents close to the chest if they know that the information contained within will show any degree of negligence on their part. Acquiring the DQF and other company records will often require the expertise of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer and the use of a subpoena.
Electronic On-Board Recorders
Another important source of evidence will be the information recovered from the truck’s electronic on-board recorder (EOBR), or “black box.” These device track the events before, during, and after a collision and store the information to be used by police, insurance companies, and employers in the event of a crash. Black box data can be critical in revealing whether a truck driver’s behavior contributed to your collision.
Your attorney can examine the data contained within the black box and determine the following:
- The truck’s speed at the time of impact and when the brakes were applied
- Whether the truck suddenly or violently came to a stop
- Gear shifts or changes around the time of impact
- Changes in the number of engine revolutions per minute
Causes of Truck Accidents
While truck accidents can be caused by virtually anything, the most common causes are:
- Alcohol or drug use among drivers: Despite stringent regulations against drug and alcohol use among truckers, the problem remains rampant. Ironically, many drivers use substances to stay alert on the road and/or to speed up their drive times and hit delivery dates ahead of schedule. Truck drivers are held to higher standards when it comes to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and any who test positive for drugs or blow more than 0.04 on a BAC test will be removed from operating their vehicles and performing any other safety-related functions of the job. Unfortunately, in some cases, these habits aren’t identified until a crash has occurred and others have been injured as a result.
- Driver fatigue: According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) titled “The Large Truck Crash Causation Study,” or LTCS, 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their collisions. Driver fatigue is described as physical and/or mental exertions that lead to impaired performance. Most often, these are due to extended work hours and/or lack of adequate sleep among drivers.
- Improperly loaded cargo: Given the dangerous nature of carrying large amounts of cargo on highways packed with other vehicles, the FMCSA enforces strict guidelines for cargo securement. Generally speaking, all cargo must be “firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags,…shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.” A truck in violation of these guidelines is much more at risk of tipping and causing an accident.
- Insufficient training of truck drivers: Drivers who hold a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license are required to demonstrate high levels of physical ability, knowledge, and skill. Furthermore, the companies that employee these drivers are expected to conduct extensive training programs to ensure their drivers are adequately prepared to handle any issue that may arise while on the job, from loose cargo shifting while driving to dangerous weather conditions and more. Drivers who are inadequately trained are much more likely to cause an accident than those who undergo the proper training requirements.
- Negligent maintenance: The FMCSA requires trucking companies and drivers to follow “systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance” standards. These routine inspections are expected to be performed thoroughly and regularly, as they are designed to ensure that no unsafe commercial vehicles are permitted to be operated on the road. Unfortunately, they are not always performed as systematically as they should be, and some violations are not marked as serious enough to warrant out-of-service (OOS) criteria when they should be. The result is often a serious accident.
- Speeding: Under any circumstances, speeding can lead to serious—even fatal—accidents. This is especially true when commercial vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds are involved. Traveling at high speeds while carrying tons of cargo on a single axel, or even on tandem axels, can be extremely dangerous. In fact, it’s for this very reason that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Safety Administration regulates the size and weight standards of commercial vehicles on the road. When not properly followed, or when excessive speeding is involved, catastrophic accidents can occur.
New York Truck Accident Statistics
According to a summary released by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV) on 2014 truck crash statistics, almost 83% of all truck collisions involved some form of human error. By degree of incidence, these human errors include: driver inattention or distraction, following too closely, failure to yield right of way, unsafe lane changing, and improper passing or use of lane.
In total, these errors were responsible for:
- 8,880 truck crashes
- 5,905 truck-related incidents of property damage
- 2,913 truck-related injuries
- 65 truck-related deaths
For additional resources on truck accidents statistics in New York, visit:
- New York City Police Department
- New York State Department of Health
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
Retain Trusted Legal Guidance Today – (888) 966-8480
Since truck accidents can potentially involve multiple parties and involve several different variables, it is important that injured individuals retain powerful legal assistance to maximize their chances of securing they deserve. If you have been injured in a truck accident you believe was not your fault, get in touch with the Nassau County truck accident attorneys at Foley Griffin today. With more than 75 years of combined legal experience and millions recovered in verdicts and settlements on our clients’ behalf, we have what it takes to help you pursue fair financial recovery.
We have a proven track record to back up our claims of success. Because we take every case extremely seriously, we prepare each one as if it's going to trial. We also employ whatever resources are necessary to produce the best possible outcomes for our clients. It's one thing to say you can achieve great results, but another thing to show that you have delivered them time and time again over many years.
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