Drunk driving is a serious crime. Drivers who get behind the wheel after having too much to drink pose a serious risk to both pedestrians and other drivers. When the person in question is a driver of a large truck, the risk they pose to others greatly increases.
Morelli Law Firm’s truck drunk driving accident victim lawyers in New York know the devastating injuries and costs that can result from truck accident injuries. Getting fair compensation after an accident is critical to getting your life back on track. We can help if you have been injured as a result of another driver’s negligence.
The Driver Might Not Be the Only Liable Party
In many truck accidents, identifying the liable party or parties can take some time. However, when the driver of the truck was drunk at the time of the accident, liability is often far easier to assess.
The drunk driver is the one primarily liable in these cases. However, they still might not be the only liable party. If a company was negligent in their hiring practices and hired a driver with a history of drunk driving or continued to employ a drunk driver after an arrest, they could be considered an additional liable party.
Determining liability is the first step that must be taken before filing a lawsuit or insurance claim. Your New York truck drunk driving accidents victim attorney can investigate responsible parties.
Truck Drivers Must Follow a Higher Safety Standard
Large trucks pose a greater risk to public safety than an average passenger vehicle. The level of destruction in an accident involving a large truck tends to be far greater than accidents that only involve standard passenger vehicles.
Because these vehicles are so much more dangerous, the safety standards for their drivers are much higher. Drivers of large semi-trucks can not operate these vehicles with a standard driver’s license. Instead, they must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Depending on the type of truck and the cargo, they may also need additional certifications.
Truck drivers must also follow hours of service rules, regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules determine how long a driver can be on the road within a given time period and how often they must stop to take a break.
Truck drivers also face harsher restrictions when it comes to drinking and driving. Most drivers face a legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, for truck drivers, that limit is cut in half.
There is far less room for error when it comes to operating a large truck as they take longer to stop and are more difficult to maneuver. That’s why if a truck driver’s BAC is above 0.04%, they are guilty of driving under the influence (DUI).
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What a Drunk Truck Driver Accident Victim Attorney in New York Does
When you hire an attorney after suffering injuries caused by a drunk truck driver accident, one of the first things they will do is begin an investigation into your accident. This investigation will look to establish who is at fault and then build your case for why you deserve compensation. Some of the steps your attorney and their investigative team are likely to take include:
- Visiting the accident scene to take photos
- Interviewing the witnesses
- Speaking with experts
- Investigating the hiring and operational procedures used by the trucking company
- Reviewing the official police report for the crash
With the information they obtain, along with your medical records related to the accident, your lawyer will make a list of your total damages and calculate the true value of your claim.
After your drunk truck driving accidents victim lawyer in New York has concluded their investigation, they will file your lawsuit with the court and prepare for a potential trial.
During every step of this process, your attorney will be in contact with the opposing legal counsel, attempting to negotiate a fair settlement agreement. Your lawyer will also be in constant contact with you. They will keep you informed about any updates in your case, present you with any settlement offers you receive, and offer you advice.
Damages You Can Collect From a Truck Drunk Driving Accident Case
There are many damages for which you may be able to seek compensation after a crash. The exact damages that apply depend upon the specifics of your case. Some of the most common compensation claims are for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential
- Repair and replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
These can all be divided into either economic or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the costs you incur that have a direct monetary value. Medical expenses, lost wages, and repair costs can all be easily valued by looking at bills and pay stubs or employment contracts.
Even things like future medical expenses and lost earning potential can be calculated without too much difficulty.
Non-economic damages are much harder to put a price on because the things they cover are priceless. Pain and suffering caused by the loss of a loved one cannot be measured in dollars and cents. There is no easy math to determine the amount of money a person should receive in relation to diminished quality of life caused by a permanent disability.
Non-economic damages typically make up the largest portion of a drunk truck driver accident lawsuit because they are supposed to replace the irreplaceable.
The Cost of Hiring a New York Drunk Truck Driver Accident Attorney
When it comes to hiring an attorney, most people face financial concerns. While in many capacities hiring an attorney can be quite costly, personal injury lawyers tend to operate a little bit differently. A reputable drunk truck driver accident victim attorney works on a contingency fee basis. That means that you don’t pay anything to your lawyer unless you get paid first.
This means that you will never have to deal with paying any out-of-pocket costs. When you do receive a payout, your lawyer’s fee will simply be deducted from that. The amount your lawyer receives will be a percentage of your settlement, which you and your lawyer will discuss during your initial case evaluation.
Having a New York drunk truck driving accidents victim lawyer who is working on a contingency fee basis helps to put the minds of clients at ease. After all, they know their lawyer wants to get paid for their work, so the client can feel confident that their lawyer will do whatever it takes to ensure they get a big payout.
Even after deducting attorney fees, people who hire a lawyer tend to take home a significantly higher payout than those who attempt to represent themselves.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in New York?
Throughout the state of New York, individuals who suffer a personal injury generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that, in certain situations, this period is far shorter.
In the majority of accident cases, the amount of time you have to file shouldn’t make much of a difference because it is best to file as soon as possible. However, this is not always best when it comes to cases involving drunk drivers.
Drunk truck drivers will also be facing a criminal trial. It may be better to wait for the conclusion of that trial so that you can use a guilty plea or verdict as evidence in support of your lawsuit. Your attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Is It Better to Go to Court or Take a Settlement Offer?
The vast majority of personal injury cases end up settling out of court. Settling out of court can greatly expedite the process of receiving compensation. It also offers the benefit of avoiding the uncertainty of the courtroom. Even a case that seems like a sure winner is subject to the unpredictability of a trial. In most cases, taking a fair settlement offer is the preferred outcome.
In some situations, though, going to court is unavoidable. If the other side is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement offer or they refuse to participate in negotiations altogether, you may have no other option. You should always be willing and prepared to take your lawsuit to court if necessary.
The one plus if you are forced into a trial is that if you win, you are looking at a bigger payout than anything you would have received in a settlement offer.
Hiring a Drunk Truck Accident Victims’ Lawyer in New York City
It is critical that you have an experienced legal team on your side when filing a lawsuit against a drunk truck driver. At the Morelli Law Firm, our New York truck drunk driving accidents victim attorneys know what it takes to win fair compensation for our clients in these cases.
Give us a call or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our lawyers. We can advise you on all your options and begin preparing your case to get you the compensation you deserve after an injury.