Injuries from truck crashes can be catastrophic, and the victims’ lives are often changed forever. Many semi accidents are caused by truck driver negligence, so victims may have grounds to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve been hit by a truck driver, a Suffolk County truck accident lawyer from Carner & DeVita can help you build a case for the trucker’s negligence. Contact us today at (631) 543-7070.
What exactly is “negligence?”
If you wish to receive compensation for property damage and injuries following a truck accident in Long Island, you must be prepared to legally establish that the truck driver was negligent.
“Negligence” simply means that the truck driver operated their rig in an unreasonably dangerous or careless way in the moments leading up to the crash. Or, it might apply to actions taken by the truck driver’s employer. For example, if they routinely pressured drivers to ignore hours of service regulations, this could constitute negligence.
Four elements must be proven to establish negligence:
- The truck driver or their employer had a duty of care
- The truck driver or their employer breached their duty of care
- That breach directly led to the accident and your injury
- Your injuries resulted in monetary loss and other damages
As you can see, being involved in an accident is not enough to create a successful case. If all four components of negligence cannot be established, you will not be able to recover your damages through a settlement or court verdict.
Common examples of truck driver negligence
Trucker negligence can take multiple forms. Sometimes, it’s not just the driver who’s negligent. If the driver’s employer fails to do due diligence and background checks or encourages the driver to drive longer hours than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) permits.
Negligent truck driver behavior includes the following.
Insufficient licensing or training
All commercial truck drivers must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and undergo specific training to operate the vehicle. Those transporting hazardous materials or chemicals must have additional specialized training for that type of cargo.
If a driver isn’t properly trained or licensed, they may be unable to safely operate the rig and could cause a crash.
Eating and drinking, programming a GPS, changing the music, or queuing up a podcast – all these are examples of distracted driving. Someone driving 55 mph can cover the length of a football field in five seconds – five seconds with your eyes off the road could easily cause a crash.
Tailgating, speeding, and changing lanes without signaling are all examples of reckless driving that could lead to a collision. Will trucking companies hire drivers with reckless driving histories? They shouldn’t – if a company does, they could also be liable in a truck collision suit.
Driving while intoxicated
The legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is lower for commercial truckers than for private drivers. In New York, the legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 BAC, and it’s illegal for drivers to use drugs while operating the vehicle.
Driving while fatigued
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. It’s not unusual for truckers to drive drowsy, especially if they have a demanding schedule.
What kinds of evidence can prove truck driver negligence?
Proving negligence in a commercial truck accident case often depends on the cause of the crash. Some of the pieces of evidence that your Suffolk County truck accident lawyer may use in your case include:
- The truck driver’s toxicology report or citation for DUI/ DWI
- The trucker’s driving record
- The company’s employment record
- The “black box,” or Electronic Logging Device, contains information about how long the vehicle was operating and how fast it was going
- Witness accounts that noticed the trucker driving recklessly
Hurt in a crash with a semi-truck? We can help.
At Carner & DeVita, our entire team looks forward to making you a priority. We will represent you as you fight for a fair settlement and, when necessary, will take your case before a judge.
Call our office today at (631) 543-7070 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your rights following your Long Island truck accident. You are not in this fight alone – our team is here to stand up for you and ensure you are compensated appropriately.