Truck and Tractor Trailer Accidents
Large trucks and tractor trailers cause devastating injuries to car and motorcycle drivers and passengers. The reason is obvious: Eighteen wheelers are a lot bigger and heavier than cars or other light-weight vehicles, and they can't stop as quickly. If a car collides with a tractor trailer, the resulting injuries can be severe, including crush injuries, paralysis, sever scarring, brain damage, amputations, severe back and neck injuries, broken bones, and death.
In sum, a significant impact between a big rig and a car leaves the car pulverized, and the occupants severely injured or dead.
Because these impacts are so dangerous, tractor trailer operation is highly regulated by both New York State and the Federal Department of Transportation. A responsible tractor trailer accident lawyer needs to be familiar with the codes, rules and regulations regarding tractor trailer maintenance, loading, securing of load, lighting, and logging of travel/rest time, rest requirements, commercial driver drug and alcohol testing, and many other regulations.
Tractor trailer drivers can cause accidents in many ways: Driver fatigue, speeding, poor tire or brake maintenance, overloading, following too closely, failing to yield to other vehicles, failing to obey stop signs or other traffic control signals such as red lights, cell phone use, CB radio use, speeding and many other acts of carelessness. Commercial drivers are often in a hurry; time is money. They sometimes travel too fast for the weather or traffic conditions.
The tractor trailer or truck driver is not the only one liable for injuries caused by the negligence of the truck driver; the owner of the rig and cab and the employer, if they are different, are all liable as well. A New York truck accident lawyer must carefully research all legally responsible parties and investigate their insurance policies to ensure that all possible insurance coverage is triggered so that the injured victim of the truck crash gets maximum compensation.
Victims of tractor trailer or commercial vehicle accidents are entitled to the same kind of compensation as the victims of ordinary car crashes, with one important difference; usually commercial vehicles are very well insured, with a million dollars or more of coverage, whereas many cars are insured for only $25,000 to $100,000. If you are injured by tractor trailer negligence, you can recover for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other damages.
Because the injuries are often so devastating, and so much insurance coverage exists, insurance carriers usually very vigorously defend truck accident cases. They are likely to try to shift blame to the innocent injured victim, or to minimize his or her injuries. They can, and do, sometimes hire “investigators” to trail them and to try to film them doing activities that they claim are inconsistent with the injuries. They can and sometimes do show these videos to juries to try to persuade them that the injured plaintiff is faking or exaggerating the injuries. In sum, they will often try every trick in the book to try to get out of paying the injured motorist the compensation she is entitled to. For these reasons, only a very experienced and competent New York trucking accident lawyer should handle this type of case.
The Syracuse truck accident attorneys of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in tractor trailer collisions and for other injuries to cover their medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a truck accident, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.