Truck accidents are all too common, and all too often they result in serious and debilitating injuries. After an accident, don’t be intimidated by the large trucking companies’ insurance companies who will try to get you to settle for the least amount of money possible. If you have been involved in a serious commercial truck accident, then you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries.
How Negligence Causes Truck Accidents on Interstate 278
Interstate 278 runs for nearly 37 miles, connecting Linden, New Jersey at its west end with the Bronx, New York at its east end. Along the way, I-278 carries drivers through Brooklyn and Queens, carving a meandering route through Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria, Port Morris, and Hunts Point. It follows multiple major freeways, including Brooklyn’s Gowanus Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), and the Staten Island Expressway (SIE).
Most accidents that happen on this road, and indeed other roads throughout the state, are usually attributed to one or more drivers being at fault, or negligent. Negligence is a theory that states a driver failed to act reasonably when they were operating their vehicle. The law requires that all motorists on the road drive in a manner in which a reasonably prudent person would drive. This mean that a driver has a duty to observe the speed limit, avoid distractions, and be cognizant of road conditions. Any time a driver fails to drive as a reasonably prudent driver would, they can be found liable or negligent for any accident that results.
Injuries Caused by 18-Wheeler and Semi-Trailer Wrecks in New York
When there is a truck accident on the road, there is a much higher incidence of injuries, as opposed to other accident types. The size, weight, and speed of today’s semi-trailers make these injuries more severe than in other types of accidents on the road.
Any time a driver is involved in an accident because a truck driver was not driving his or her vehicle in a manner as a reasonably prudent driver would, they must bear the burden in court of proving their damages and injuries, which is one of the reasons it is so important that you are represented by an experienced truck accident lawyer in New York.
Some of the most common injuries sustained in a truck accident are those to the neck and spine. Particularly common are whiplash injuries, which are the result of a sudden traumatic force that stresses the muscles and tendons in the neck.
Another common injury type includes broken bones or fractures. These injuries are frequently sustained by other motorists due to the sheer force that is behind a truck accident. Recovery times for broken bones depend on the severity of the break, as well as how many bones were involved.
How Do Victims Get Compensated for a Commercial Trucking Accident?
After an accident involving a truck or other large commercial vehicle, expect to work with some aggressive insurance companies. This is in part due to the differences between the insurance minimums of cars and trucks. New York law requires that that non-commercial drivers have insurance coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 coverage for bodily injury to two or more people, and $10,000 coverage for property damage. Trucking companies and commercial drivers have much higher insurance requirements, because the damages in a truck accident are more likely to result in serious injuries.
New York law allows for an injured driver to recover both economic and non-economic damages, which the insurance company will often pay. Those injured in truck accidents are generally entitled to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Property damages
- Time lost from work
These damages are known as economic damages and are generally much easier to quantify than non-economic damages. Additionally, New York law allows punitive damages, which are a form of damages awarded by a court as a means of punishing a driver for their outrageous conduct. However, even though punitive damages are allowed, they are not commonly awarded.
Non-economic damages include those damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of function
- Loss of consortium
As drivers are required to carry insurance, you will often hear from an insurance company after an accident. However, it is more common for a commercial insurance company to be more aggressive in their interviews and research as compared to a standard insurance company. This is due to the vast difference between the insurance minimums. Therefore, it is always advisable to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after an accident.