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Plaintiff Awarded $16.5 Million After Being Hit By Texting Trucker

The dangers of texting while driving are well known, in fact, around 26% of all car accidents are caused by cell phone use. Despite this, drivers continue to read and write messages while behind the wheel, taking their eyes off the road and putting others in danger.

In 2015, a semi-truck driver forever changed the life of a member of the Army National Guard, all because he made the choice to text and drive.

Visit our last article on truck accidents to learn more:

22-Year-Old Awarded $16.5 Million After Crash

On the day of the accident, the then 22-year-old plaintiff was running errands. While on a major roadway, he obeyed traffic laws and came to a stop at a road light.

The driver of a semi-truck behind him did not.

semi-truck with event data recorderThe semi, which was going 65 mph, slammed into the back of the plaintiff's car, sending him into the intersection and completely demolished the car the plaintiff was riding in. Firefighters and police officers who responded to the scene had to cut the car apart in order to remove the plaintiff. He was then flown by helicopter to the hospital because of the seriousness of his injuries.

Since the accident, the plaintiff has had to undergo 15 surgeries and continues to require cognitive and physical therapy for neck pain and double vision. His planned career in the military is no longer an option and he has also been prevented from seeking a career in police work or as a railroad conductor.

He decided to pursue legal action against the driver of the semi and the company the driver was working for at the time of the crash.

The case went to trial and after deliberating for only two hours, the jury determined that the driver was 100% at fault and that the plaintiff should be awarded $16.5 for their past medical expenses, lost wages, and physical suffering.

Trucking Companies Can Be Held Liable For Their Driver’s Accidents

After being involved in an accident with a semi, victims often wonder who a lawsuit can be filed against. While the at-fault truck driver is usually named in the complaint, it may also be possible to file against several other parties, including:

  1. The owner of the truck.
  2. The company that employs the driver.
  3. The company that hired the trucking company.
  4. A company or individual who was responsible for the maintenance of the truck.
  5. The manufacturer of a defective part on the truck.

In order to determine how many parties are actually at fault, it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

What Evidence Will I Need For My Auto Accident Lawsuit?

When you work with Banville Law, we will help you collect the evidence that you need, however, there are steps you can take prior to contacting us. This may include:

  1. Obtaining a copy of the police report.semi truck prior to accident
  2. Keeping all copies of insurance paperwork.
  3. Requesting copies of your medical records.
  4. Collecting witness contact information.
  5. Taking photographs of the accident scene if possible.

It might feel like you can collect the everything that you will need on your own, however, there are certain types of evidence which may be vital to the claim which will be difficult to obtain without legal assistance, like the electronic data recorder.

What Is A Truck’s Electronic Data Recorder?

An Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) is like the “black box” that is found on airplanes. This data recorder will keep information on the truck from the moments leading up to the accident, such as the speed that the truck was traveling at the time of the crash, if the driver applied the brakes, and if the airbags deployed.

While not all trucks have this recorder, many do and the owners of the truck may “lose” the evidence is a lawyer doesn’t get involved immediately after an accident.

To learn more about how we can help you preserve evidence that may be crucial to your case, call our law office now.

See more: Man Sustains Serious Injuries After Being Crushed By Dumpster

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are over 140,000 truck accidents that occur in the United States resulting in significant physical harm to drivers and property damage. When a sedan or SUV is hit by a commercial truck, the smaller vehicle usually bears the brunt of the damage often causing extensive injuries to the driver and any occupants. Just over half of those big rig wrecks were primarily caused by the negligence of the commercial truck operator. Filing a truck accident lawsuit is the best chance of receiving compensation for damages sustained because of the accident.

Causes Of Car Versus Truck Accidents

Operating a commercial truck or 18-wheeler is a tremendous responsibility. One mistake and you can cause a major wreck that harms multiple people. Many commercial truck operators do a fantastic job and exercise the necessary precautions to prevent potential collisions while operating on major roads and highways like Interstate 95 and Interstate 64. Nevertheless, there are some truck operators who throw caution to the wind and operate their big rig recklessly, or are pushed by the trucking company to ignore federal regulations to “get the job done.” According to the FMCSA, these are some of the most reasons commercial trucks get involved in accidents with other vehicles:

Truck Accidents Have Deadly Consequences

Each year, commercial trucking accidents result in over five thousand deaths.   Many of these losses are preventable by practicing safe driving around tractor-trailers and by trucking companies exercising strict control over their drivers to ensure large commercial big rigs are operated safely.  Trucking companies need to require their drivers to keep thorough logbooks and properly record the time and distance traveled. Failing to do so creates the basis for pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the driver and the trucking company.

My firm has extensive experience in the area of commercial truck accident injury and death claims. For example, we represented the family of a man who was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 64 in Norfolk, Virginia. The impact of the collision was so severe that both the car and the truck caught on fire. Our client, only 25 years old at the time, died in the accident.

Our law firm was retained by the victim’s widow to represent the interests of our client’s family, including a young daughter. We filed suit against the truck operator and his company. The truck operator, during a deposition, admitted that he did not see the passenger vehicle until a few seconds before the collision. We also established that the story given by the truck driver to the state troopers at the scene of the crash was inaccurate.

The defense argued that the driver of the sedan carrying our client caused the crash by going 25 mph on the highway at night without hazards on. An independent witness indicated that the car was going extremely slowly and that he was barely able to avoid hitting the car himself. However, the evidence indicated that the tractor trailer operator violated several safety rules from the Virginia CDL Manual and that the operator was not taking the necessary medication to treat a known diabetic condition at the time of the collision. We mediated the case and were able to reach a settlement of $3.5 million for our client’s family.

As you can see, when a large commercial truck collides with a sedan, pickup truck, or SUV, the consequences can be devastating. If you or a loved one was seriously harmed in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact an experienced attorney in your area to discuss your legal options.

Author Bio:

Richard N. Shapiro, Esq. is a partner at the Virginia Beach personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Appleton & Duffan. Rick has practiced personal injury law for over two decades. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (ABA Accredited) and is licensed to practice law in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. He also holds the AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, one of the most respected lawyer rating companies in the country and is recognized as a Virginia “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters.

Are you interested in learning more about the Most Common Truck Accident Causes? You've come to the right place.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 5,316 Americans were fatally injured in large truck crashes in 1998. Each year in the two decades before that saw a similar number, with an average of 5,351 people killed annually between 1978 and 1997. This, Congress decided, was a status quo in need of change.

In 1999, Congress established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a new agency dedicated to reducing the number of motor vehicle collisions involving large trucks and buses. But to tackle the problem, the new agency needed to figure out what caused truck accidents in the first place. So they did.

The New York truck accident lawyers can help you file a lawsuit if you've been involved in a truck accident. Contact us today.

What Causes Large Truck Accidents?

Reviewing a nationally-representative sample of 963 large truck crashes between April 2001 and December 2003, researchers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the 963 accidents resulted in a total of 249 deaths and 1,654 injuries.

As a rule, individual truck accidents injure or kill more than one person at a time.

Critical Events & Reasons

The FMCSA distinguishes between two interrelated concepts: "critical events" and "critical reasons."

For example, a truck driver spills hot coffee in her lap, and then loses control of the vehicle, which veers into another lane. That spilled coffee is a "critical reason" and the veer is the "critical event."

3 Critical Events

The top three critical events are simple to explain:

  1. Running out of the travel lane caused 32% of crashes
  2. Losing control of the vehicle caused 29%.
  3. Rear ending a car in front caused 22%.

But for obvious reasons, finding the "critical reasons" that led to these events is a more difficult task. There are many events that can cause a truck to veer out of its lane, some of which are sudden (like spilled coffee) and others that develop over longer periods of time (like driver fatigue).

Hundreds Of Critical Reasons

To find the actual cause in any one crash, the FMCSA not only had to review vehicle damage and survivor injuries but also driver time logs, trucking company internal procedures and police interviews after the accident. Vehicle inspections were extensive, and many of the crashes involved some sort of equipment defect.

Truck Driver Error

But the vast majority, 87%, were attributed to driver error:

  1. Inappropriate decision-making contributed to 38% of crashes. This category includes speeding and following other vehicles too closely.
  2. Driver inattention contributed to 28% of large truck accidents.
  3. Driver non-performance, which includes falling asleep, resulted in 12% of the crashes. This category also covers heart attacks, seizures and other non-intentional forms of physical incapacity.
  4. Driver performance contributed to 9% of the accidents. This category includes panicking and overcompensating in the face of dangerous situations.

Other driver error factors included:

10% of the truck drivers involved in crashes reported feeling under considerable pressure from their bosses. As a result, they were more likely to rush deliveries or overwork to finish their jobs.

But surprisingly, and unlike crashes involving only passenger vehicles, alcohol and drug use were not found to be significant causes of large truck accidents.

Vehicle Malfunction & Improper Maintenance

Vehicle defects were another major cause:

  1. 29% of crashes involved brake failure
  2. 6% involved tire blowouts
  3. 4% involved cargo that was not properly tied down, shifted during transport and dangerously changed the vehicle's center of gravity

While truck companies are held to rigorous vehicle maintenance standards, it's clear that many skimp on the basic necessities, endangering thousands of American lives every day.

Has The FMCSA Reduced Truck Accidents?

The answer seems to be a resounding "yes."

After its landmark study was published in 2006, the FMCSA immediately increased its scrutiny of the trucking industry. Punishments for regulation violators were strengthened, trucking companies were forced to perform more rigorous vehicle inspections and the hours drivers could work lawfully was decreased.

As a result, fatalities in truck accidents decreased precipitously:

chart about fatalities

Remember that this graph only represents deaths in truck-related traffic accidents, not total injuries. So while it certainly indicates a decrease in the severity of large truck crashes, it may not necessarily reflect a total decrease in personal injury accidents.

But the trend is obviously promising. Since the FMCSA's study was published, truck accident fatalities have been cut by almost 40%.

Our next article is all about the Truck Driver Drug Abuse Pandemic. Get all the info here.

Q. How Does No-Fault Insurance Work?

New York is a "no-fault" auto insurance state. In the event of an accident, the cost of your injuries will be paid out of your own insurance policy. Your insurer will not take questions of responsibility or liability into account in paying your claims.

The minimum amount of "no-fault" coverage is $50,000.

If you reach the limit of your coverage, you are allowed to file a claim against the other driver's liability policy.

In the next section, we'll explain the Most Common Truck Accident Causes.

Q. How Much Insurance Do Truck Drivers Carry?

In New York State, owners of private vehicles are legally required to carry at least:car that has been crushed

This liability insurance is meant to cover the medical expenses of other people injured in the crash.

Commercial vehicles, on the other hand, are held to a higher standard. And the bar isn't set by New York's state government, but by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Commercial Driver Insurance Requirements

At a minimum, most trucks must carry $750,000 worth of "public liability insurance," which covers bodily injury suffered by the occupants of other vehicles and property damage.

But depending on the type of commodities a particular truck transports, this sum might be considerably higher. The most "dangerous" trucks, those that carry hazardous materials, carry policies with a maximum of $5 million.

There's a lower end to the spectrum, too. If a truck carries non-hazardous freight and weighs less than 10,001 pounds, it only needs to have a liability policy of $300,000.

To put that into perspective, the federal government caps the weight of 18 wheelers at a max of 80,000 pounds, fully loaded, and the average loaded semi-truck weighs well over 10,000 pounds.

Q. Will I Be Contacted By A Truck Insurance Company?

Most likely. Because federal regulations are stricter on trucking companies and drivers, they generally employ aggressive insurers.

Adjusters and investigators, hired by the trucking company's insurer, will arrive at the scene of an accident immediately. In many cases, their priority is to secure the truck's "black box," a machine that records vital information about the truck's behavior directly before the crash. Our attorneys have been involved in cases where a truck's insurer destroyed the data that its black box contained.

After investigating the crash, an insurance adjuster will contact any victims and offer them a settlement. The amount will vary based on specific facts, but most top out around $5,000. Obviously, this is an insufficient sum to cover the full range of damages sustained in a serious truck accident.

Q. Should I Speak To Them?

No. An insurance company's only goal is to minimize the amount of money to which you are entitled. If they ask you to discuss any questions of fact or any offers of money, tell them to contact your attorney.

Q. What Are My Options?

We urge you to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately, even before calling your own insurance company. Just like the truck's insurer, your no-fault insurance company's goal is to limit your compensation. That's the only way they make money.

While New York's "no-fault" laws prohibit many personal injury lawsuits, you might have a viable claim. If your injuries are deemed "serious" by the court, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, or a vehicle's manufacturer.

Q. What Is A "Serious" Injury?

According to Article 51 of New York's Insurance Law, a "serious" injury results in:

  1. Death
  2. Dismemberment (loss of limb)
  3. Significant disfigurement (permanent change to appearance)
  4. Fracture (broken bone)
  5. Loss of a fetus
  6. Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  7. Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  8. A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  9. Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person's usual and customary daily activities

While some of these categories are clear cut, many are vague and open to interpretation. Before attempting to judge the severity of your own injuries based on the law's definitions, reach out to a lawyer for knowledgeable guidance.

Q. How Much Does It Cost To Speak With A Lawyer?

At Banville Law, our truck accident team offers injury victims a free initial consultation. In other words, it won't cost you anything to speak with an experienced attorney.


a truck driver on the roadAnyone that has held a commercial driver's license (CDL) and operated an 18-wheeler probably has an innate understanding of how crucial it is to get proper rest before hitting the road. In fact, many agencies have dedicated large amounts of research toward how sleep deprivation can render serious danger toward truck drivers, as well as other motorists. The National Institute of Health (NIH) published an intensive study that examined the physiological effects of sleep deprivation on long-haul truck drivers. Using a focus group of 20 male truck drivers, researchers were able to conclude that longer truck routes often meant a deficient amount of rest and increased fatigue.

Find out how drug abuse affects truck drivers as it becomes a pandemic in NY:

Lack of sleep and driving is never a good combination. However, it is important to understand why it is so dangerous for truck drivers. Here is a list of specific ways that sleep deprivation while driving a truck can wreak havoc on the roads.

Loss of Reflex

Having dull reflexes and hampered mental clarity while driving is an accident waiting to happen. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), sleep deprivation decreases alertness and reduces an individual's reaction time. This can impair judgment and motor skills, both vital components for safe driving - particularly when someone is operating a large vehicle such as an 18-wheeler.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which partially monitors truck driving federal laws and requirements, roughly estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal road accidents are due to sleep-deprived drivers and commercial truck drivers are at the top of the list. However, the agency considers that percentage to be lower than the actual amount of damage caused by sleep deprivation and truck driving. Based on NHTSA findings, the true number of accidents caused by lack of sleep extends into the thousands.

Beyond Truck Driving

One medical study estimates that 20 percent of all adults are sleep deprived and that truck drivers have an even higher rate than that average. This puts truck drivers at an increased risk of causing road accidents. Due to the size of an 18-wheeler truck, this also increases the likelihood that many of the accidents will be fatal.

truck in an accidentIn fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that for every truck driver that is killed during a sleep-deprivation related road accident, another three to four fatalities are included. Sleep apnea is also a serious issue. Sleep apnea is a condition where an individual stops breathing for a period of time while sleeping. This affects the body's ability to get restful sleep that is conducive for operating a large vehicle at optimal capacity. According to federal and medical studies, 8 to 15 percent of commercial truck drivers have sleep apnea. So, if someone driving a truck is already sleep deprived, and happens to suffer from sleep apnea, the sleep-deprivation issue is only further compounded.

Legal and Financial Implications

When a truck driver is at fault for a motor vehicle injury or fatality, it opens up the possibility of a lawsuit. Whether the plaintiff is the injured party or survivor of someone killed during an accident, they can pursue claims against the truck driver's company, or the individual truck driver (particularly if the truck driver is an owner-operator). While many companies carry insurance to absorb financial damages related to these type of lawsuits, it still elicits a fiscal loss. Additionally, this could also cost the individual truck driver their job and commercial driver's license, taking away his or her ability to provide for their own family.

Texting and driving isn't just a problem with cars, read more:

When you think of truck accidents, collisions with garbage trucks might not immediately come to mind. However, for some unfortunate drivers, this type of accident is a reality. Sometimes a garbage truck hits a bicyclist or pedestrian, causing serious injuries or even death. The same can occur when a garbage truck collides with another vehicle.

emergency crews at an accident

If you have been a victim of a garbage truck collision, you need to know what your next step should be in order to protect yourself. First, you should learn about some frequent causes of garbage truck accidents, and then you can get an idea of how to proceed with your case with the help of one of our experienced truck accident attorneys at Banville Law.

Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents

Most of the causes of garbage truck accidents are the fault of the driver. For example, some drivers operate their truck while fatigued, impaired, or talking or texting on the phone. Even the drivers who pay attention to the road might not necessarily obey the traffic laws, which means they switch lanes without signaling, tailgate other cars, ignore traffic signs, and just drive recklessly in general.

Some garbage truck accidents are related to a lack of upkeep on the truck. For example, the alarms that are supposed to sound when they back up might be broken, allowing them to back into other vehicles. They might also have improperly secured loads, bald tires, or faulty brakes, any of which can cause an accident. Regardless of the issue with the garbage truck, any resulting accidents are typically considered the fault of the driver or his or her employer.

What You Can Do After a Collision with a Garbage Truck

What you do right after a garbage truck collides with your vehicle can have long-term effects, so make sure you follow these steps.

  1. Seek medical attention when necessary. This may seem obvious if you have any injuries you notice right away, but many people develop injuries within the days and weeks that follow the accident. Even slight neck or backa garbage truck pain is a reason to see a doctor, preferably the same day as the garbage truck accident.
  2. As you wait for the police or ambulance to arrive on the scene, obtain the contact information of the garbage truck driver, including his or her name, employer's name, and insurance information. You should also obtain the contact information of any witnesses. During this time, do not admit fault for the accident or even apologize. Many drivers do this automatically, simply because they're in shock and do not know what else to
    say, but it could affect your case.
  3. Take pictures of your car after the garbage truck accident so you can get a clear record of the damage. If you have time, take photos of even the interior if you see anything out of place, such as your stereo on the floor of the car, or your deployed airbag.
  4. Contact your insurance company and report the accident with the garbage truck.
  5. Contact a lawyer who handles cases involving garbage truck accidents. Be prepared to explain the details of the accident and whether you have pictures and witness information. Then you can schedule a consultation with the lawyer to determine how you should proceed.

Don't forget to obtain a copy of the police report regarding the accident as soon as it is available. You may need this as additional evidence for your case.

Continue reading related articles on truck accidents: Common Causes of Serious Commercial Truck Accidents

At some point, and that goes for most of us if not all; we get fed up with the truck driver in front of us who drives really slowly, keeps cutting us off, or simply drives senselessly. It is more than you can actually take given the traffic conditions of New York's roads. While we're all supposed to remain calm, not scream or honk as loudly as your vehicle can; it is easier said than done. Well, most folks keep asking themselves, should they see a person driving aggressively or recklessly, what should be the best course of action to take? Will calling the 1-800 "How's my Driving" number at the back of the truck yield any results or will you be wasting your time as well as theirs?

Find helpful information on truck accidents:

Voicing Your Complaints

If you believe the particular motorist presents a significant risk to the safety of other drivers or pedestrians or is on the verge of committing a very serious traffic offense, you should call the 1-800-number at the back of the truck on. As a concerned motorist, you should voice your complaints to the dispatcher by giving:how's my driving sign

The dispatcher will then take immediate action and have a law enforcement officer stop the hazardous driver from causing harm.

The 1-800 How's My Driving Program

The "1-800 How's My Driving" is a road safety program that allows establishments to regulate complaints and comments from concerned drivers so as to determine bad driving behavior and put in place effective change before the occurrence of costly accidents. This program works as a 24/7 warning system that allows for the elimination of dangerous driving behavior. This is a cost-effective way of promoting driver accountability while also raising all concerned parties safety awareness.

Typical examples of anti-social driving include:number to report bad driving

Contrary to popular belief, there is evidence that the 1-800 "How's my driving?" stickers at the back of commercial vehicles are actually very effective in reducing accidents and overall damage. The program also encourages safe driving among motorists. Truckers up their game and become more careful since they know that anyone is a potential complainer and caller of the number at the back of their vehicle. The Hanover Insurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, conducted a study in 1998 and found out that the rate of accidents for every 100 vehicles dropped by 22%, whereas financial losses lessened by 53%.

What Are The Most Common Complaints

The most common complaints are usually about improper lane changes, running red lights, tailgating and speeding. Some bored motorists have been found to call in incredibly minor complaints while others call just to compliment drivers. Complaints received about drivers may or may not have an influence on the employment standing of the one operating the vehicle. In the worst cases, grievances may result in a warning against the driver and probably termination.

Have you or someone you love been involved in a truck accident that was caused by a distracted or aggressive driver? Well, it's time you explored your legal options since a lawyer can help you recover compensation for any losses that you may have experienced from that particular accident. Consulting an attorney who has extensive knowledge of the aggressive driver laws in New York can help fight for the justice that you deserve.

Up next on articles to read:

a semi truck that is unloadedIn 2014, the auto industry recalled nearly 64 million vehicles due to safety defects. According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that number is an all-time record. The number of recalled vehicles in 2014 exceeded the total for the previous three years combined. NHTSA and automakers have faced ongoing scrutiny and intense criticism from Congress regarding safety defects and whether they were being investigated properly and vehicles recalled promptly.

Check out more information on the causes of truck accidents:

How Are Commercial Vehicles Affected?

Fontaine Fifth Wheel Co. recalled 6,800 fifth wheels last year that contained a part that allowed a semitrailer to
decouple and kill the drivers of two passenger vehicles. Following the recall, Fontaine partnered with NHTSA in an attempt to track down all of the recalled models that were sold and replace the defective part free of charge.

Takata has acknowledged that their massive airbag recall may possibly include airbag systems within commercial trucks as well. Although Takata originally claimed that the malfunction only existed in regions with high humidity levels, the recall has now extended across the US.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) recalled 21 Western Star 4700, 4800, and 4900 trucks in the 2015 model year due to speedometer malfunctions which resulted in a failure to display the speed of the truck. To remedy the issue, DTNA dealers agreed to install a new speedometer in each recalled truck.

These are only a few examples of commercial vehicle recalls that truckers experienced last year. When commercial vehicles are recalled, truckers as well as other drivers, are put at risk in the following ways:

a semi truck waiting for a driver

What Are The Regulations?

The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, enacted in 1966, led to many commercial vehicle safety standards. The laws established a process for recalling defective vehicle equipment that put the onus on the dealerships and manufacturers. But, what happens when the owners of vehicles are either unaware or unwilling to visit the dealership to replace the recalled part?

In 2014, it was estimated that only 75% of recalled vehicles were returned to the dealership for repairs. In the wake of GM's massive recall, they resorted to offering $25 gift cards to vehicle owners who brought their vehicle into the dealership for repairs. There are no regulatory requirements for commercial vehicle owners to repair their recalled vehicles.

There are no firm statistics for how many recalled commercial trucks remain on the roadways today; however, the estimate is 25%. That equates to the possibility of several thousand commercial trucks with airbag, seat belt, suspension system, and other safety concerns operating daily on our roadways, putting the truck driver and every other driver on the road at risk.

Would you like to know more about common Truck Accident Insurance Questions? Learn more here.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, driver negligence is 10 times more likely to cause highway accidents due to factors such as weather, darkness and road conditions. Pacific Standard Magazine estimates that 3,675 people died in fatal accidents involving large trucks on American highways in 2010. With the rate of death on American highways rising, it is not surprising to find out that drug use among truck drivers is becoming an increasingly alarming problem.

Truck Accidents in New York: Can You Sue For Injuries?

Types Of Drugs Used Varies From Stimulants To Depressants

Reuters estimates that nearly 20 percent of American truck drivers are high on marijuana when they are behind the wheel, 12.5 percent are under the influence of alcohol and three percent are taking cocaine. The range of drugs
being taken by truck drivers includes:marijuana use

The drug known as speed is also popular among American truck drivers and is used as a more powerful alternative to caffeine. The problem is growing, and the number of deaths on the roads are causing concern for trucking companies and public officials.

The Dangers Of Drugs

Marijuana and alcohol are depressants that impair a driver's ability to judge speed and distances, while drugs such as caffeine and speed are stimulants that hide the effects of fatigue. Once the stimulants wear off, fatigue can set in quickly and cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.

Another problem is that drivers often take hallucinogens such as LSD for their stimulant effect, but fall prey to the mind-altering nature of these drugs. The effects of hallucinogens can become more pronounced as fatigue sets in and the driver is no longer able to concentrate on the road.

Why Do Drivers Take These Drugs?

The primary reason drivers take drugs is to be able to stay awake during long, overnight runs. Many drivers get paid
based on how quickly they can deliver loads to their destinations, and that causes drivers to take drugs to be able to stay awake all night long.

One of the ironic reasons that truck drivers take drugs is to attempt to fend off boredom on the open road. A driver who is preparing to take a route through a desert or other open areas may take hallucinogens to attempt to maintain focus on the road. The ironic part is that the hallucinogens take away from a driver's focus and can have dangerous results.

What Is Being Done?

Road safety and drug abuse are two issues that government officials and trucking companies are trying to combat
together. There are laws outlining how many hours per day a driver can be on the road, but some drivers falsify their records and put themselves and others at risk. Trucking companies and government officials continue to work together to find real solutions to this growing problem.

What Should You Do If You Are In A Highway Accident?

One of the more frustrating parts of being in a highway accident with a truck is that it may not have been your fault at all. Along with drugs, other issues that can cause accidents on the highway include:

If you find yourself involved in an accident with a truck on the highway and you suspect that drugs may have been involved, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

Do Those 1-800 Numbers At The Back Of Trucks Really Work? Visit our article to find out.

We all know that drivers are supposed to keep their eyes on the road in order to avoid being involved in a car accident. But it’s equally important for drivers to be aware of pedestrians, perhaps even more so, because a pedestrian does not have the protection offered by the frame of a car and the seatbelts inside.

Recently, the driver of a nitrogen truck learned this lesson the hard way after being named as the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the truck accident lawyer who represents the pedestrian that he hit.

A Left Hand Turn Gone Wrong

The driver, who was employed as a delivery man for a company that delivers compressed nitrogen used in many industries, was on route to one of his clients when he made a left-hand turn at an intersection. Although he successfully avoided the oncoming traffic, he failed to stay in the appropriate lane and also failed to see the 41-year-old man crossing at the crosswalk.pedestrians in a crosswalk

The truck struck the man. The impact was strong enough that it caused multiple serious injuries in the victim. After being rushed to the hospital by emergency responders, doctors diagnosed him with a subdural hemorrhage in the frontal lobe, fractures in his facial and orbital bones, and a kidney laceration which resulted in internal bleeding.

The injuries required emergency surgery as well as additional surgical intervention over the following year. In the end, the victim had to undergo a total of ten surgeries. The medical expenses added up to more than $800,000. He has also been unable to return to his profession as an engineer.

The Pursuit Of Justice

The victim and his wife filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver of the truck and his employer. They alleged that the driver had failed to keep a proper lookout and that the accident should have been avoided entirely. They also claimed that the company he worked for was negligent since he was acting as their agent at the time of the collision.

The parties were able to come to an agreement prior to the trial and the plaintiffs received $10.5 million in damages, despite the defendant’s claims that the injuries sustained were not as bad as the plaintiff was making them out to be.

Pedestrian Accidents Some Of The Most Dangerous

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of one pedestrian is killed every two hours in the United States and injured every 8 minutes. This means that nearly 15% of all motor vehicle fatalities involve a pedestrian and while many may assume that most accidents happen at night, a large portion of accidents take place between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

A pedestrian doesn’t even need to be crossing the street for an accident to occur - thanks to an increase in distracted driving, it’s not uncommon for drivers to swerve out of their lane and go up onto the sidewalk, running down anyone who happens to be in their way.

What If The Pedestrian Didn’t Have The Right Of Way?

Depending on the type of intersection, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. However, it is still the responsibility of the driver to avoid a collision.

In these cases, New York applies comparative negligence. This means that a judge or jury will assign each party with a percentage that represents what part of the accident each one is responsible for. The plaintiff is still able to collect damages, however, any amount that they are awarded will be decreased by their percentage of responsibility.woman crossing the street

Do All Plaintiffs Obtain Millions?

No. The amount obtained is intended to compensate the plaintiff for the amount of money they have lost because of the accident. This can include both past losses and expected future losses.

How Are Future Losses Predicted?

Again, this depends on the particular case. For example, in this case, the plaintiff has been unable to return to work and will likely not be able to in the future. He previously made $80,000 and should have been able to work for at least another 14 years. That means, it is reasonable to assume he has lost at least $1,120,000 in future wages. That basic number doesn’t calculate in the benefits he would have received, bonuses, or raises.

See similar articles like: What To Do After An Accident With A Garbage Truck

Whenever someone is at work there is always a chance that, no matter what kind of work they are involved in, they may become injured. When you add large, heavy objects and motor vehicles into the equation, that risk increases. While workers’ compensation does exist and can take some of the financial burden off of an injured worker, the fact is that it rarely covers all losses, which is what one hospital employee found out the hard way.

Get more information on What To Do After An Accident With A Garbage Truck In New York here.

Disaster By The Dumpsters

As part of his daily housekeeping duties, the plaintiff had taken a load of trash out to the loading dock of the hospital where the dumpsters are located. He was in the process of throwing several bags of trash into the containers and was standing with one foot on the dock with the other on the dumpster when suddenly, it moved.dumpster that may contain medical waste

It turned out that the dumpster had only just been delivered and was in fact still attached to the truck. The driver, unaware of the man behind him, had no idea that when he pulled forward, that the plaintiff had fallen to the ground. The driver then backed up again, causing the dumpster to hit and crush the plaintiff’s left knee.

The accident caused a fracture of the left distal femur. Despite immediate surgical fixation and extensive physical therapy, there was a nonunion on the bone. He required an additional revision surgery and bone graft. Not long after, he developed secondary arthritis in the knee which was so severe that a total knee replacement was the best option. His medical expenses were substantial.

Due to his losses, the plaintiff decided to file a lawsuit against the driver of the truck, the company the driver worked for, and a third party who owned the truck. In his complaint, he alleged that the driver was negligent because he failed to look at the area in order to determine if anyone was in the vicinity before moving. The companies he alleged, were also responsible under respondeat superior, which means that they are responsible for the actions of their employees.

As many cases do, all parties agreed to settle before trial for the defendant's insurance policy limit of $1 million.

Do Most Cases Really Settle Before Trial?

Yes, the majority of cases don’t go to trial, however, clients shouldn’t be concerned if a trial is necessary. Our firm begins each case under the assumption that we will need to prove our case in court before a judge and jury, which means that we will fully investigate every possible part of the accident and the losses sustained by the victim. We also make sure that our client is fully communicated with during the entire process and that they too are prepared for their experience.

How Do I Know If An Offer To Settle Is Worthwhile?

When you work with an attorney, part of their job is analyzing the offer and counseling you as to whether or not it is a good option. In most cases, it takes careful negotiation and often the first offer is not the final offer.

Doesn’t Workers Compensation Cover Work-Related Accidents?

Yes, it does, and in this case, workers’ compensation did cover some of the costs of his medical expenses. However, this form of insurance almost never allows a victim to recover full compensation for all of their losses. Through a lawsuit against the negligent third-party, plaintiffs are able to recover:shaking hands in agreement

It is normal to have multiple claims at the same time. In fact, in addition to workers’ compensation and a truck accident lawsuit, there may be other forms of compensation available. Contact us today to learn more.

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: July 13, 2018
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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