Binghamton Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been in an accident involving your passenger car and a tractor-trailer or another heavy truck, you have likely suffered serious personal injury. Truck accident injuries are among the worst we have seen as accident victims’ lawyer serving Binghamton and New York’s Southern Tier.
After a truck accident involving an 18-wheeler or even a smaller box truck, you are likely to face steep medical bills, loss of work and property damage, along with the pain and suffering of a long and potentially difficult recovery.
Truck accidents result in some of the most complex – and high-stakes – personal injury claims and lawsuits. There are often many defendants and insurance companies involved, each with the goal of paying as little as possible on your claim. Truck accidents also frequently require extensive investigation and accident reconstruction with consideration of technical regulations governing the truck driver, trucking company, cargo and the truck itself.
Truck accidents frequently call into question a number of technical regulations and may require an intensive investigation and accident reconstruction.
To ensure your best opportunity to be compensated appropriately for injuries in a truck accident caused by a careless truck driver, negligent trucking company or another third party, you need a strong and experienced advocate to protect your rights. New York truck accident lawyer Scott C. Gottlieb is such an advocate for truck accident victims. He has earned a reputation for securing positive results for victims of serious accidents in Binghamton and surrounding areas.
Injury Cases, That’s All We Do.
Contact us now for a free evaluation of your accident and a potential truck accident claim. Call our 24-hour answering service, or fill out our online contact form.
Who Is Responsible for the Trucking Accident That Injured You?
It takes a lot to put a fully loaded, long-haul transfer truck on the road. Most commercial trucks on New York highways are owned and operated by trucking companies, known as “motor carriers.” The companies employ drivers, and may own their trucks’ cargo, or transport goods supplied and loaded by other companies.
In any commercial truck accident, there are potentially multiple parties that have contributed to the crash. As your truck accident lawyer, Scott C. Gottlieb will investigate to determine who or what entity should be held accountable in your accident and may pursue multiple claims or compensation for you.
Is the truck driver responsible?
It’s likely that the truck driver is primarily responsible for the crash you were involved in. Truck drivers get into accidents because of such negligence as:
- Speeding, the most common cause of truck driver accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because of the weight of a large truck, the vehicle requires more room to slow or come to a stop than a passenger car does. Trucks involved in pileups and other catastrophic accidents on major highways or in congested traffic were likely to have been speeding or running too fast for conditions.
- Distracted Driving, particularly illegal use of hand-held cell phones. The FMCSA says “distraction/inattention” is the second most common cause of commercial truck accidents. Despite the known dangers, truckers on long drives sometimes try to break the monotony by talking on the phone or CB radio, texting, playing with apps on a smartphone or even watching movies. “Inattention” can also refer to daydreaming, eating, adjusting the radio, or anything that draws a trucker’s focus away from operating their vehicle.
- Fatigued Driving, caused by long hours behind the wheel. Though the FMCSA’s Hours of Service (HOS) regulations mandate breaks between limited continuous driving hours, it’s well known that truckers often violate HOS rules and driver longer than they should. Fatigued or drowsy driving leads to delayed reaction time, impaired thinking, and potentially falling asleep while at the wheel.
- Driving While Impaired, particularly drugged driving. While some truckers do get behind the wheel after drinking too much, because of a legal limit of 0.04 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and strict testing, drunk driving is relatively rare in the trucking industry. The use of prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs – particularly those thought to increase alertness but which actually impair safe driving capability – is a larger problem.
- Recklessness, such as unsafe or illegal maneuvers. Common truck driver recklessness includes following too closely (tailgating), which leads to rear-end collisions; and inadequate surveillance, or failure to adequately gauge traffic flow before a maneuver, such as a turn or lane-change.
Is the trucking company responsible?
If a truck driver is employed by a trucking company, the motor carrier has legal responsibility for the driver’s activities. For example, while many truck accidents are attributed to fatigue or drowsy driving, many truckers stay on the road longer than they should under pressure from employers more concerned about meeting delivery deadlines than safety.
Motor carriers are also responsible for putting drivers on the road who are properly trained and licensed, and who have safe driving records. However, neglecting background checks or hiring drivers who other companies will not employ is one way to save money.
Trucking companies also share responsibility with drivers for safe operation of the truck and ensuring that the cargo being hauled is loaded securely.
Detailed FMCSA regulations address routine maintenance and inspection of commercial trucks to ensure that failure of components such as brakes, tires, couplings, steering systems, etc., does not lead to a crash. Similarly, the FMCSA regulates how cargo is loaded and secured to avoid a cargo shift or spill, which can tip a truck into a rollover crash or a jackknife accident, and requires drivers to inspect the loads they haul.
Ultimately a motor carrier may be held accountable for cutting corners, whether directly or through instruction or condoned practice, in maintenance, inspections, loading operations, personnel management, etc., if such negligence has contributed to an accident.
Another Trucking Industry Vendor?
It may be that one or more other party’s negligence contributes to the truck accident. Our truck accident investigations consider the role of:
- Cargo owners, shippers and loaders, third parties contracted to load contents into trailers or onto trucks. A cargo shift, when improperly loaded cargo moves or breaks free, can change the center of gravity in a truck, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash.
- Manufacturers or distributors of a faulty trucks, components, and parts. Failed brakes, blown tires, insufficient lighting and other problems with a truck can cause or contribute to an accident.
- Contractors and local governments responsible or poorly maintained or designed roads or highway work zones, which sometimes are found to have contributed to a truck accident.
After a truck accident, an inquiry by investigators independent of the trucking industry but with expertise in commercial truck accidents may be crucial for determining what has happened and who or what party or parties are responsible for the crash. Scott C. Gottlieb and his investigators have extensive experience with truck accidents in New York, and regularly work with consulting experts in accident reconstruction and other technical forensics.
Once our truck accident lawyer in Binghamton determine how and why an accident occurred, we can seek compensation for you from one or more parties whose negligence led to your injuries.
Start a Truck Accident Claim Investigation Today
Large trucking companies are known for acting fast after a truck accident to protect themselves from liability. In catastrophic accidents with multiple victims, they will “flood the zone,” contacting shocked accident victims to get statements and sometimes offering monetary settlements on the spot.
It is important to be wary of insurers and others who contact you after any motor vehicle accident. Never sign anything or agree to a recorded statement. A statement you make may be used to deny your claim or reduce a payout later. Any quick settlement you accept is certain to be for far less than you deserve.
Instead you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer, such as Scott C. Gottlieb. We can move promptly to gather evidence related to your accident and prepare a claim for all compensation you deserve.
When we begin a truck accident investigation, we seek a court order for the motor carrier to preserve and make available to us a variety of records required by the FMCSA. This includes:
- Hours of Service (HOS) logs of the truck driver’s drive and rest times, which all truckers are required to keep.
- Dispatch records to confirm the truck’s official route, departure and arrival times, communications, etc.
- Personnel records, to confirm the trucker’s and others’ employment, licensing, work and performance records, etc.
- Truck maintenance records, which may show neglected work or suggest a mechanical problem to look into.
We also seek immediate access to the wrecked truck. Commercial trucks in the United States are equipped with event data recorders (EDRs). These “black box” devices begin recording when they sense problems in the engine or a sudden change in wheel speed. An EDR from a truck that has been involved in a wreck contains a variety of data about vehicle operations before, during and immediately after the crash.
A download from the EDR in a truck can show data from the moments surrounding a wreck, including:
- Vehicle speed
- Engine speed
- Throttle (gas pedal) position
- Brake status
- Clutch status
- Cruise control status
- Steering angle
- Forward collision warnings
- Lane departure warnings
- Sudden deceleration/acceleration
- Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) warnings from sensors that report data outside normal values in multiple truck systems
- GPS-based positional data
Our investigation would also seek additional evidence, which may include, but not necessarily be limited to:
- Accident scene evidence, such as skid marks and other debris, infrastructure damage, etc.
- Your vehicle
- Statements from the trucker, other motor carrier employees, and third-party employees, such as cargo handlers
- Surveillance video from other sources, which may help establish when the truck was on the road or perhaps even show the accident
- The truck driver’s cell phone records, which may show activity at the time of the crash
- Truck and truck component recall notices, which we regularly stay abreast of and which could indicate that a company negligently put an unsafe truck on the road
Investigations into truck accidents are complicated in part because commercial trucks are large and complex machines, the trucking industry is regulated by lengthy FMCSA rules, and there are multiple parties involved.
We often hire accident reconstruction specialists who have advanced forensic investigation capabilities, and who prepare detailed reports for us that serve as evidence in a claim. If we must take a claim to court, these certified expert witnesses can make multi-media presentations that prove enlightening and persuasive to juries.
Our truck accident lawyer in Binghamton NY has the knowledge and experience to develop a solid case that shows which parties should be held accountable to you in a truck accident. With this evidence, and a full accounting of your costs and losses, we file insurance claims and follow up with aggressive negotiations and court fights to obtain compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- And more
In rare cases of wanton or malicious conduct, we may also seek punitive damages, additional compensation meant to punish and indicate that such behavior is unacceptable.
Properly investigating a truck accident claim can be time-consuming, and the State of New York imposes statutes of limitations deadlines on personal injury cases. If you have any thoughts of pursuing a claim, it is best to contact us for a free initial consultation without delay.
Hurt in a Truck Crash? Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyer in Binghamton for Help
If you think you are owed compensation for injuries you suffered in a commercial truck accident – or for the loss of a close relative in a crash – you should contact a knowledgeable attorney promptly to have your questions and concerns answered. Binghamton truck accident attorney Scott C. Gottlieb can review the specifics of the crash you were in and advise you about your legal rights at no charge.
Our truck accident lawyer can investigate your accident and protect you from trucking company attorneys and insurance claims adjusters who’ll work to minimize or deny the compensation you deserve to have. We know the maximum compensation you are allowed under New York law, and it is our goal to get that amount for you.
Call our 24-hour answering service or fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation review of your truck accident and options for pursuing a legal claim. Injury Cases, That’s All We Do.
*Our prior results don’t guarantee a similar outcome in every case.