In 2013, there were more nearly 11,000 accidents involving tractor trailers on New York roadways. Nearly 1,000 of these accidents involved more than two additional vehicles making these statistics even more frightening. Truck accidents accounted for more than 3,000 injuries and nearly 100 deaths on New York roads.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There is never a one-size-fits-all reason why an accident occurs. In many cases, a wet roadway can cause problems, a mechanical defect can result in a truck losing a tire and of course, human error can always plays a role in accidents.
- Human error – Nearly 9,000 truck accidents were caused by human error including:
- Distracted driving – More than 2,000
- Driving too closely – More than 1,500
- Unsafe lane usage – More than 1,000
- Failure to yield – Nearly 1,300
- Defective equipment – A vehicle defect was the identified cause of slightly more than 1,000 accidents including:
- Unknown defect – Nearly 400
- Oversized vehicle – More than 300
- Tire failure – More than 100
- Defective Brakes – More than 100
- Environmental factors – Responsible for more than 1,600 accidents involving tractor trailers including:
- Slippery pavement – 838 accidents
- Obstructed or limited view – 353 accidents
- Animals in roadways – Over 200 accidents
In total, illegal drugs and alcohol-related accidents were responsible for nearly 150 accidents. Additionally, in spite of the strict penalties imposed by the NY Department of Motor Vehicles, 50 truck accidents were caused when a driver was texting, on their cell phone or using another electronic device.
Victims Can Suffer Devastating Injuries
There is no doubt that a tractor trailer weighs considerably more than a standard passenger vehicle. This means that risks to automobile drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle operators are significant when they are involved in accidents. Some of the types of potential injuries include:
- Back and neck injuries – These parts of a victim’s body can suffer significantly during a truck accident since the car driver often will be tossed around in spite of being restrained by a seatbelt. The long-term impact can include ruptured discs or spinal fractures which can be extremely painful. Seatbelts can often cause whiplash injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – If a car accident victim suffers a head injury, it may lead to a life-long problem with memory, mobility and even cause mood swings. Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to more serious injury.
- Internal injuries – perhaps one of the most frightening types of injuries that can be sustained in a truck accident are internal injuries because they often require surgery to identify. Internal injuries can result in internal bleeding, ruptured organs or punctured lungs.
Determining Fault After a Truck Accident
New York personal injury statutes include a pure comparative negligence rule which means that both parties may be held personally responsible for causing an accident. For example, if you are speeding and a truck driver has been drinking and subsequently strikes you, then any eventual award could be reduced by the percentage of fault that is assigned to you. After a truck accident, it is important to understand that fault can be assigned to more than one party including:
- Truck driver – Drivers who are operating in a reckless manner including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or speeding can be held liable for an accident.
- Employer of driver – When drivers are hired by a trucking company, the company has a responsibility to train the driver on the rules regarding rest breaks and safe travel. If a driver was in an accident because they were sleepy and not able to stay awake on the road, the driver and the company may be liable for any injuries.
- Maintenance company – Whether the trucking company does their own maintenance or has an outside entity perform maintenance, there are numerous issues including failed brakes, defective tires that were previously recalled, etc. that can cause accidents. The company that owns the truck as well as the maintenance company can be liable for injuries.
If you have been involved in a truck accident or you have lost a loved one, you need to seek the assistance of an attorney who understands New York’s laws. The financial consequences of these types of accidents can be substantial and an attorney can help you recover financially. Contact our office today to speak with an experienced attorney for a free consultation.