Commercial trucks are enormous. In Western New York, a fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh as much as 40 tons (80,000 pounds). Should a crash occur, the consequences are often catastrophic. To protect the public from the inherent dangers, trucking companies must operate their vehicles with the highest level of care and safety.
Sadly, too many truck companies fail to do so. According to data cited by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 4,136 people were killed in large truck accidents in the United States in 2018. Following a fatal truck accident, close family members of the victim may need to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible defendants.
Wrongful Death Liability for a Truck Accident in New York
Only certain parties have rights under our state’s wrongful death law. Unfortunately, not every close loved one of the victims can bring a wrongful death claim. Instead, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a personal representative of the deceased. The personal representative will be responsible for seeking justice and compensation on behalf of beneficiaries. Under New York law, a wrongful death claim may be filed against any defendant whose negligence contributed to the fatal accident. In a commercial truck accident claim, the defendant(s) may include:
- The truck driver;
- A third party motorist;
- The trucking company;
- The company leasing the truck or trailer;
- A truck manufacturer; and
- A highway maintenance contractor.
New York Truck Accidents: Wrongful Death Compensation
When a wrongful death claim is brought, the victim’s beneficiaries may be granted compensation for certain losses. Any money damages recovered by the personal representative in a truck accident wrongful death claim will be distributed to the victim’s family members in accordance with New York law. After a deadly truck accident, wrongful death compensation may be available for the following losses:
- Medical bills and related expenses;
- The victim’s pain and suffering prior to their death;
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Loss of current and future wages;
- Loss of financial benefits, such as insurance coverage;
- Loss of parental guidance; and
- Loss of support and services.
Unfortunately, family members of the victims cannot recover compensation for their grief or emotional trauma. Unlike some other jurisdictions, New York’s wrongful death statute does not allow for this type of recovery. To hold a trucking company fully liable under the law, it is imperative that family members work with a New York wrongful death attorney who has the skills and experience to maximize their financial support.
Call Our Buffalo, NY Wrongful Death Attorney for Immediate Assistance
At Richmond Vona, LLC, our top-rated New York wrongful death lawyers are compassionate, experienced advocates for clients. If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, we are here to help. To schedule a free, comprehensive wrongful death consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our Buffalo law office today. We represent people and families throughout Western New York, including in Erie County, Chautauqua County, Livingston County, and Niagara County.