How Truck Accidents and Car Accident Claims Differ

Lever & Ecker, PLLC July 5, 2019 General

If you’ve looked for New York truck accident law firms online, you’ve probably seen a number of messages from attorneys telling you that claims for truck accident injuries in our state are complex.

That’s true. Truck accident claims are different from ordinary car accident claims in a number of important ways. These differences can make the claims process much more difficult for you to navigate — and they mean that hiring the right lawyer becomes especially important when a large commercial vehicle is involved. But these differences aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the law extends considerable protection to people who are unfairly injured in a truck accident.

You might be wondering why truck accident claims are so complex. As New York truck accident lawyers, we think it’s important for victims to truly understand their rights and the challenges they might be up against. Certainly, before you talk to an insurance company, you should have some idea of how these claims work.

In today’s article, we explore just a few of the most important reasons why truck accident claims are so complex in New York (and how an experienced attorney can help).

The Stakes Are High

While any type of auto accident claim can involve high stakes, the damages in a truck accident claim tend to be especially significant. It is not uncommon for victims to require extensive medical care with prolonged recoveries, and the bills add up quickly.

Additionally, victims may be able to bring significant claims for pain and suffering, lost wages, and various other damages.

For these reasons, carrier companies and insurance corporations are extremely concerned about their potential liability in any truck accident claim.

What this means for you as the claimant is that the insurance adjustors and attorneys are likely to be aggressive in defending themselves against your claim.

With any auto accident claim, it’s important to understand that the insurance companies are not on your side. In a truck accident claim, you can expect the insurer to do everything it can to reduce your financial recovery as much as possible.

A New York truck accident lawyer, on the other hand, works toward exactly the opposite goal: maximizing your financial recovery as much as possible.

Insurance adjustors have a great deal of skill, training, and experience when it comes to protecting their interests. Though they may seem friendly, they are not your advocates. They may try to lead you into speaking or acting against your own self-interest, or pressure you into accepting settlement terms that leave you with inadequate compensation and forever bind you from taking further legal action.

Don’t be tricked, and don’t settle for less than you deserve. Recognize that the stakes in your claim could be higher than you realize. Before you make any decisions about your rights or options, talk with an experienced New York truck accident lawyer about the specifics of your claim.

Special Rules May Apply

Another reason why truck accident claims are so complex: different legal rules may apply. In addition to the many state-specific laws governing large commercial vehicles in New York, there are also special federal rules and regulations that might apply to your claim.

Legal issues involved in truck accident claims can include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Driver fatigue & the number of hours truck drivers spend on the road (governed by Hours of Service regulations)
  • The use of alcohol, illicit drugs, or lawfully prescribed and/or over-the-counter medicines
  • Truck driver licensing & training issues
  • Negligent hiring of truck drivers
  • Defective trucks, parts, or accessories
  • Large commercial vehicle maintenance issues

There is a great deal of law — including statutes, case law, and regulations — at the state level (and sometimes also at the federal law) governing the safe operation of large commercial vehicles. Some of these rules and regulations are specific to large trucks, meaning they would not apply to other types of auto accident claims.

Large Trucks Are Unique Machines

Even mechanically speaking, large trucks are not like other vehicles. They are constructed differently, involve more moving parts, and are susceptible to unique types of accidents.

Accordingly, trucks must be operated differently than other vehicles. They are driven differently, require special types of inspection and maintenance, and must be operated so as to avoid certain known hazards (e.g. jackknifing, loss of brake control, etc.).

Trying to handle a truck accident claim without an in-depth understanding of the unique physical and legal challenges associated with these vehicles would be a mistake. It is crucial that anyone you consider hiring as a New York truck accident lawyer has sufficient experience in handling these issues.

The More Companies Involved, The More Complex the Claim

Most car crash claims involve two parties: the accident victim and the negligent driver (whose insurance provider is typically responsible for covering them for the damages).

Truck accidents, however, frequently involve more than just those two parties.

Indeed, the victims in truck accident cases often have a claim against not only the truck driver but also the carrier company that operates the truck and employs the driver.

If other drivers were involved in the crash (e.g. multi-car collision), your claim might involve those drivers as well. The same goes for any third parties whose negligence might have played a role in causing your injury (for example, an automotive manufacturer).

Making matters more complicated, each of these parties likely carries insurance, meaning their insurance companies will be involved as well. In fact, almost every trucking company has purchased a large liability insurance policy to cover them in the case of an accident.

The greater the number of parties involved, the more complex your claim becomes — especially when one or more of those companies is a large and resourceful corporation, as is the case anytime you’re confronting an insurance company.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with our New York Truck Accident Lawyers

There are many reasons why truck accident claims are so complex. We’ve touched on just a few of those reasons here.

If you have been injured in a truck accident in New York, no matter what the circumstances may be, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss your situation in depth.

Please never make assumptions about the complexity or value of your claim until you’ve talked with an experienced New York truck accident attorney.

Lever & Ecker, PLLC is a New York truck accident law firm with years of experience in helping accident victims and their families claim the financial justice they deserve.

We will not charge a fee for our services unless and until we get you money. Your initial consultation is completely free with no obligations whatsoever.

To schedule your confidential consultation, call 914-288-9191 in White Plains, or simply contact us online.