Commercial trucking is a vital part of the American economy. Tractor trailers transport goods across the country, with truckers traveling approximately 140 billion miles in the U.S. annually. With that much truck traffic, semi-truck accidents are bound to happen.
Collisions that involve a tractor trailer usually produce severe injuries and extensive property damage, leaving injured victims to face mounting medical expenses and lost income. Insurance companies often don’t want to pay fair compensation. An experienced tractor trailer accident lawyer from Cellino Law can help.
Why Is a Tractor Trailer Crash Dangerous?
Tractor trailers can weigh 80,000 pounds when carrying a full load. These monsters average 72 feet long and are 13.5 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide. Loaded trucks require more time and distance to stop than passenger vehicles. They are also challenging to maneuver.
Passenger cars have significantly shorter dimensions and typically weigh around 4,000 pounds. These facts put cars at an extreme disadvantage if they collide with a semi-truck. The impact force behind an 80,000-pound truck is much higher than a car’s, and a truck’s sheer size can crush other vehicles.
The tremendous impacts, crushing potential and other dangers associated with tractor trailer accidents can cause extremely severe injuries to drivers and passengers in other vehicles. If you sustain injuries in a semi-truck accident, you deserve compensation.
What Causes Tractor Trailer Accidents?
As with any vehicle, big trucks can crash for multiple reasons:
- Distracted driving
- Drug or alcohol use
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Disregarding traffic laws
- Speeding or aggressive driving
Tire blowouts and brake system failures are also frequent causes of tractor trailer crashes.
Although federal laws mandate shift limits and breaks, truckers often work extended hours to meet deadlines. Long, monotonous roads and long shifts often cause fatigue. The effects of fatigued driving are similar to those of alcohol or drug consumption:
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Impaired judgment
- Delayed reaction times
Fatigued drivers may also fall asleep at the wheel, especially at night.
A distraction is anything that takes your attention away from driving or your hands away from the wheel, and it can happen to any driver. Common instances of distracted driving are:
- Hands-on use of cell phones or other electronic devices
- Interacting with passengers
- Eating, drinking and smoking
- Searching for personal items in your vehicle
Distracted driving causes many accidents daily.
Freight loaders must balance the cargo’s weight and secure the goods correctly. Shifting cargo or unbalanced loads can cause drivers to lose control of their trucks. Loose cargo can fall from a tractor trailer bed, hitting cars or creating an obstacle in the road.
Liquids can leak, causing slick roadways that may cause other vehicles to crash. Leaking toxic substances may explode or endanger those nearby due to fumes.
Who Is Liable in Tractor Trailer Accidents?
Semi-trucks are commercial vehicles. There are multiple potentially liable parties if a tractor trailer causes an accident:
- The driver
- The truck’s owner or trucking company
- Parts or truck manufacturers
- Maintenance companies
- Cargo owners, shippers or loaders
When Cellino Law investigates your truck accident, we’ll determine the causes and hold all liable parties accountable. We will search:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Photos and surveillance video footage
- Truck maintenance logs, driver work times and cell phone records
- Witness statements
We need to find evidence of how and why the accident happened to hold the responsible parties responsible. You can still obtain compensation even if you contributed to causing your accident.
What Is Pure Comparative Negligence?
New York laws govern damages in truck accident claims using pure comparative negligence. Under this statute, drivers can seek damages even if they’re almost totally responsible for causing an accident. Each guilty party receives an assigned percentage of fault, and that percentage affects how much compensation you can obtain.
Say that you’re 25% at fault for a tractor trailer accident. You’ll only receive 75% of the total available damages. Your tractor trailer accident lawyer will work to prove that you don’t bear much responsibility or none at all.
What About Your No-Fault Insurance?
Manhattan drivers should obtain personal injury protection insurance. Your PIP policy compensates you for eligible damages regardless of who causes an accident, up to your policy limits. This coverage often doesn’t pay for all of your expenses, and it doesn’t provide certain types of damages.
In these cases, you can seek further compensation from other at-fault parties. Your attorney from Cellino Law knows how no-fault insurance claims work and can assist with your truck accident case.
What Compensation Can You Receive?
Damages resulting from tractor trailer accidents are often high. Amounts you may receive vary. During your free consultation, the legal team at Cellino Law will assess your claim and tell you how much compensation you can obtain.
Injured tractor trailer accident victims can face mounting expenses, creating a significant financial strain. Economic damages reimburse you for these expenses:
- Medical treatments
- Lost wages
- Replacement services
- Property damage
Injuries sustained in semi-truck accidents may require multiple medical treatments and an extended leave from work. You may qualify to seek compensation for future medical expenses and lost wages.
Due to their sometimes-catastrophic nature, truck accidents are often traumatic and produce lingering adverse effects. Non-economic damages compensate victims for things like:
- Pain and suffering
- PTSD, anxiety and depression
- Losing the ability to enjoy life
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Insurance companies sometimes balk at paying non-economic damages, and you may need to submit evidence proving that you suffer from these conditions. Your Cellino Law attorney can arrange for medical examinations and expert testimony to support your claim.
Few cases qualify for punitive damages. For you to be eligible, the guilty party must have caused your accident intentionally, been aggressive, malicious, or acted in similar ways.
How Can a Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Help?
Handling tractor trailer accident claims alone is challenging. Your injuries are probably severe, and you need to focus on recovering rather than the complexities of your insurance claim. When you hire Cellino Law, we will:
- Offer information and render legal advice
- Handle administrative tasks
- Investigate your accident to gather evidence and determine the liable parties
- Handle all communications with insurance company representatives on your behalf
- Negotiate a reasonable settlement offer or take your case to trial
Our goal is to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. We’ll also provide the personal attention you deserve. You won’t pay us any fees until we win your case.
Although any attorney can technically handle semi-truck accident claims, you’ll probably get better results from a lawyer who focuses on personal injury law. These attorneys are familiar with applicable laws, the potential hurdles you’ll face and how insurance companies operate.
Why Should You Choose a Cellino Law Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer?
If you sustained injuries in a tractor trailer accident, you need a lawyer with a proven track record of handling similar claims successfully. Cellino Law has served New Yorkers for over 60 years, helping our clients obtain over $2 billion in compensation for their damages in personal injury cases.
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