Experiencing any accident with a large truck can be a deadly situation. Commercial trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles with more significant ground clearance. This results in creating space for small vehicles to slide underneath during a crash.
Given these circumstances, it is no wonder why accidents involving these types of vehicles occur often on the road. It’s important to know what steps to take after being in a truck accident, including contacting a personal injury lawyer.
Steps To Follow Immediately Following a Truck Accident
Following a truck crash, there are specific steps that you should follow:
Call for Help
Being involved in a truck crash can mean ending up with devastating or even fatal injuries. Therefore, those who are not injured should call 911 to ensure emergency responders and law enforcement arrive immediately.
Document the Accident Scene
Uninjured parties should take photographs and videos of the entire crash scene leading to the collision. This documentation should include all damage to the vehicles and surrounding property.
Speak to Witnesses
If anyone stopped to help or witnessed what happened, collect their contact information. That way, a personal injury attorney can contact them later when gathering a testimony.
The scene of the accident is going to be chaotic, especially because there is a large truck involved. It is not uncommon for roadways or highway lanes to close to ensure investigators and responders can work without risks.
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Penalties for Leaving the Scene of a New York Truck Accident
According to New York state law, drivers and witnesses may not leave the scene of an accident. Under New York’s vehicle and traffic law Article 22 §600, if a driver leaves the scene without filing a report, they could face penalties.
Investigating a Fatal Truck Accident
If the truck accident was fatal, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Board is called to investigate. These individuals assist local authorities and sometimes conduct separate investigations of the crash that could last several months.
The Trucking Company’s Responsibility
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration states that the truck company has mandatory responsibilities to conduct investigations into its employees. That registration is available to investigators and must include information like the following examples:
- Accident date
- Location of the accident
- Name of the driver
- Number of injuries
- Number of fatalities
- Alcohol and drug testing
Employers play an important role in securing the safety of other motorists with a truck driver under their employment.
Damages You Can Recover from a Truck Accident
The victim’s personal representative can file a wrongful death claim and seek recoverable damages. Examples of these damages you can recover include:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of future benefits and income
- Pain and suffering before the victim’s death
- Medical expenses
- Loss of marital consortium, companionship, affection, love, and guidance
- Loss of household services provided by the victim
If a loved one became a fatal victim of a truck accident, we are available to seek compensation on the victim or their estate’s behalf through filing a wrongful death claim.
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What Evidence Needs to Be Gathered After the Crash?
New York state law requires drivers and witnesses to remain on the scene of an accident. All individuals must exchange information with each other, call for help, and render aid to injured passengers.
Documentation such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and vehicle information must be exchanged to all parties and the authorities to help your case should you file a personal injury claim.
New York State Laws for Truck Accidents
In the aftermath of a truck accident, certain state laws could affect your eligibility for total compensation. A New York truck accident attorney can advise you of any changes to these statutes based on your specific case.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases, such as truck accidents, is three years, according to New York Consolidated Law §214.
This time frame begins on the day of the accident and if you do not file your claim by the three year deadline, the New York court system will likely refuse to hear your case, and your right to compensation will be lost.
Pure Comparative Negligence
If you are liable for a portion of the accident, you can still collect compensation according to New York’s pure comparative negligence rule. The amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault for the accident.
For example, let’s say you shared 10% of the blame for the accident, while the other driver is 90% at fault. Your damages add up to $10,000. Your compensation will therefore be reduced by your 10% and you can now receive up to $9,000.
While courts in New York are obligated to follow this rule in a personal injury lawsuit, insurance adjusters outside the court system may not do the same.
Let Morelli Law Firm Help You Seek Compensation
At Morelli Law Firm, our team is available to help determine all liable parties in your accident. A truck accident lawyer can help you get started with a free case review and begin to discuss how you can get justice and collect financial compensation.
After a truck accident, every step you take can directly affect your claim. It’s worth getting a consultation with an attorney to learn more about your rights under the law.