By taking one look at the size of many commercial vehicles, you can grasp the severe, life-threatening implications of being involved in a truck accident. New York roadways are heavily trafficked by box trucks, semis, tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and many other large commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, in part due to this congestion, truck collisions are on the rise. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2018 Fact Sheet, both fatalities and fatal crashes were up eight percent over the previous year.
If you were seriously injured in a collision with a truck or another type of commercial vehicle, you can count on our Buffalo truck accident lawyers at Richmond Vona, LLC to represent you with great skill and integrity. We have decades of combined experience representing victims in Western New York, and we’re fully prepared to fight for your justice. Contact our seasoned personal injury attorneys today.
Helping You Create a Winning Claim
Like other motor vehicle collisions, crashes involving semis and other commercial vehicles usually occur because of negligence. In legal terms, a party that acts with negligence can be assigned liability or fault, which means that they can owe the other party compensation for their consequent damages and losses. Proving liability is complicated, though, and it depends on strict legal definitions.
To recover monetary damages for your losses, you must prove four essential elements:
- The truck driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving.
- The truck driver breached that duty.
- The breach of the truck driver’s duty is what caused the accident in which you were injured.
- The injuries caused you to experience losses.
If all of this process seems like a bit much for you to handle, especially in the aftermath of a truck accident, then do not try to go through it alone. Please leave it up to the talented Buffalo commercial vehicle collision attorneys of Richmond Vona, LLC. We can make sure you know what to expect throughout your case while also building your claim to be the best that it can be.
Click on any of the topics below to jump to that section on the page:
- Truck Accidents Caused by Negligence
- Truck Accident Claims are Extremely Complex
- Trucking Company Liability and Responsibility
- Why You Need an Experienced Attorney on Your Side
- When Should I Meet With An Attorney?
- FAQ – Do I NEED a lawyer for a truck accident claim?
- FAQ – How common are truck accidents?
- FAQ – How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
- FAQ – How long do I have to file a truck accident claim?
For a free legal consultation with a truck accident lawyer serving Buffalo, call (716) 300-5885
How No-Fault Insurance Works in New York
New York is one of a handful of states that uses no-fault rules for motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents. Before you can file a claim against the truck driver who caused the crash, you must first explore your options under your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which involves using a first-party claim against your insurance provider.
However, if you are seriously or catastrophically injured in a truck accident, then you can also pursue a claim against the truck driver’s insurance policy after exhausting your PIP policy. An injury is “catastrophic” if it threatens your life, causes a permanent disability, or makes it impossible or unlikely for you to hold gainful employment. For example, brain injuries, spine injuries, and amputations are typically considered catastrophic injuries that justify a third-party claim after a wreck. A Buffalo truck accident attorney could help you understand the process better.
Buffalo Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me (716) 300-5885
Truck Accidents Caused by Negligence
Negligence is the leading cause of truck accidents. No matter how much training and experience a truck driver has on the job, they can still make a terrible mistake that results in a crash.
Examples of negligence that causes a truck accident include:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Distracted driving
Our Buffalo attorneys know how to investigate a claim to determine who did what and why that makes them liable for the truck accident. Specifically, we know where to look for useful evidence that shows the truck driver made a mistake or judgment error, such as police reports, truck “black box” devices, eyewitness testimonies, dashcam footage, and so on.
Truck Accident Claims are Extremely Complex
Though they share some common elements with other motor vehicle crashes, accidents involving 18-wheelers are far more complicated in several ways. For one, the victims’ injuries are much more likely to be severe, catastrophic, or life-threatening. You could suffer permanent disability and experience complications for the rest of your life.
Matters can get even more difficult when it comes time to file a claim because truck accident cases often involve multiple insurance companies. For example, the truck’s cab is often insured by a different company than the trailer that it hauls. Both of those companies will work together to try to defeat your argument because they both do not want to owe you compensation. When the pressure is on from two insurance companies or just one intense insurance defense team, make sure you are up for the challenge by leaving things up to Richmond Vona, LLC and our Buffalo truck collision attorneys.
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Trucking Regulations & Industry Rules
Another way that trucking accidents become complicated is through industry regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a long list of rules specific to the trucking industry, trucking companies, and truck drivers.
Important FMCSA regulations include:
- Hours-of-service: The average commercial truck driver can work a 14-hour shift each day with 3 hours devoted to time not spent behind the wheel. Workweeks can last up to 70 hours, too. Some drivers who do not travel far from their starting and ending point in a shift can work longer hours, though.
- Weight limits: Commercial trucks cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo or freight. Weighing stations placed along highways that are commonly used for shipping routes are used to ensure all trucks comply with this strict weight limit.
- Speed limits: Typically, a commercial truck or semi-truck must adhere to lower speed limits than motorists in other vehicles. For example, some highways have truck-specific lanes and routes with speed limits of 55 mph, rather than 65 or 70 mph.
Trucking Company Liability & Responsibility
Truck accident claims are known in legal circles for having complex liability situations because of all the parties that can contribute to a crash in different ways. Part of our job as your chosen attorneys will be to figure out who is liable and how much compensation they owe you.
Liable parties in a truck accident can include:
- Trucking company: A trucking company can be partially liable for a wreck if it failed to ensure that the drivers it employs are fit for the job. For example, a trucking company should not hire a driver with a history of accidents or vehicle-related crimes. If such a driver is hired and then causes a wreck, then the trucking company could be liable, too.
- Maintenance workers: Vehicle maintenance on commercial trucks is usually completed by a separate maintenance company, not the company that owns the truck or hires the truck driver. If a crash happens because of a part failure, then the maintenance company could be liable.
- Load crew: When a truck picks up or drops off a shipment, the company that receives or sends that shipment is usually the one that loads it onto the trailer. Retail workers, for example, are usually tasked with placing pallets of products on a truck. The company that hired that load crew could be liable for a crash that happens because the trailer was overloaded.
Trucking companies also have the responsibility to share any evidence they have with you and your attorney. Yet dishonest companies sometimes try to withhold important information like inspection records, hours-of-service logs, and driver histories. Some will even “accidentally” delete relevant data and files. It is crucial that you hire a truck accident attorney as soon as possible after being in a Buffalo wreck, so your attorney can demand a copy of all relevant evidence before it can be tampered with or “misplaced.”
How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help?
Truck drivers typically carry insurance policies that extend into millions of dollars of coverage, which means the stakes are high for the insurer. These companies assign your claim to the best, most experienced agents who have aggressive strategies for denying your claim. If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in a truck accident, it is absolutely critical that you meet with a Buffalo attorney who not only understands the personal injury process but also has the extensive experience needed to effectively advocate for your recovery. Truck accident claims are not like typical car and motorcycle accident cases; you should hire someone who knows how these cases work and who has a proven record of success.
We can help you with every step of your case, including getting paperwork filed before deadlines expired. In New York, you have three years to file a claim against the liable parties’ insurance policies, but this is not always the case. If you were hit by a government vehicle, for example, then you might have as brief as 90 days to take legal action.
When Should I Meet With An Attorney?
In complicated cases such as truck accidents, it is crucial that evidence is gathered as quickly as possible. If you are able, contacting an experienced attorney immediately after your accident is in your best interest. Gathering evidences at the scene of the accident, right when it happens, is ideal. Taking pictures, noting down the time, location, road and weather conditions, and any other details can all be valuable for your claim.
Why Choose Richmond Vona, LLC?
Over their years in practice, our Buffalo truck accident attorneys have successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of victims of negligence, including victims of commercial vehicle collisions. We have obtained many million- and multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts, and we are prepared to do everything we can to maximize your recovery.
Most importantly, here at Richmond Vona, LLC, we genuinely care about you and your future. Throughout the entire legal process, our team will remain consistently available to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way. We recognize that this is an extremely challenging time in your life; our goal is to ease the legal stresses you face so that you can focus on healing and moving forward. When you work with our firm, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing an entire team of legal professionals is fighting for you.
Commonly Asked Questions About Truck Accident Claims
Q: Do I Need a Lawyer For a Truck Accident Claim?
A: It is in your best interest to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer to help you get the full compensation you deserve. Truck accident cases can be complicated, dealing with the trucking company, their insurance, the truck driver’s insurance, and your own insurance. Especially if you are recovering from severe injuries, having an attorney handle your case will give you peace of mind.
Q: How Common Are Truck Accidents?
A: Roughly 500,000 truck accidents occur each year in the United States, with about 5,000 of those accidents resulting in a death.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
A: Our firm offers free initial consultations and contingency fees. This means you only pay us if you win – our fees are covered by a percentage of your settlement, so there is no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Truck Accident Claim?
A: In the state of New York, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a claim. If you miss this deadline, you lose your right to file a claim.
To learn more about your legal options as the victim of a commercial vehicle accident, please contact Richmond Vona, LLC to speak with a Buffalo truck accident lawyer. We offer free consultations and will help you understand your options for recovering full and fair compensation. There are no fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you. Our lawyers represent clients in Erie County and throughout Western New York.