Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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A Syracuse personal injury lawsuit may involve one defendant or multiple defendants. Likewise, a single theory of liability may be asserted, or multiple theories may be included in the plaintiff’s complaint for damages.

The more defendants and the more theories of liability, the more likely it is that some of the claims against the defendant(s) will be dismissed prior to trial. Typically, this is done through the summary judgment process. A party who is aggrieved by a trial court’s decision on a motion for summary judgment may opt to ask an appellate court to review the matter.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided appellate court decision, the plaintiff was a limousine company employee who was driving a bus made by the defendant bus manufacturer when, in 2012, she stopped at a gas station owned by the defendant gas station owner to refuel. According to the plaintiff, she put the nozzle of the pump into the bus’s fuel tank, engaged the hold-open clip on the nozzle, and waited while the bus refueled. When fuel began to spill out, she disengaged the clip, stopped the flow of fuel, and waited for the pressure to subside. When she removed the nozzle about 20 or 30 seconds later, fuel ejected from the tank and into her eyes, as well as onto her face and body.

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In a Syracuse personal injury lawsuit based on a theory of negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that he or she must be able to provide evidence sufficient to convince the jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, to the existence of each and every element of his or her case.

The elements of negligence include duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

If the plaintiff’s evidence fails as to any one of these elements, he or she cannot recover money damages against the defendant. Continue reading

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Garbage trucks accidents, whether publicly or privately operated, can lead to devastating harm. If you’ve sustained injuries or your loved one has died in an accident involving a garbage truck, you need to consult a seasoned Syracuse personal injury attorney who can help you make sense of what happened. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping our clients recover the damages award they need to move on with their life.

A private sanitation truck ploughed into a bicyclist in Midtown last month. The 43-year-old bicyclist was traveling southbound when the truck sideswiped the bicycle late into the evening. The bicyclist was rushed to a nearby hospital and was in critical, but stable condition. In other words, the injuries were not life threatening. The driver remained at the scene of the wreck and made no attempt to flee. Private garbage trucks in New York have been responsible for 20 fatalties since 2016. Given how often these trucks are involved in serious and even deadly accidents, the state has been cracking down on these vehicles.

Liability for a Garbage Truck Accident

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We tend to think that big rigs are the most dangerous trucks on the road, when the reality is that all types of trucks can cause devastating accidents if truck drivers are not careful behind the wheel. If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by a truck driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our seasoned Syracuse truck accident attorneys can assess the merits of your case and help you understand your rights.

A civilian employee of the New York City Police Department was recently killed in an accident on a local expressway when a spare tire fell off a truck and smashed into his car, according to law enforcement.

The victim was traveling east on the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn early in the morning when a garbage truck traveling in the opposite direction had a rear tire that suddenly became unhinged. The tire flew over the center median and struck the victim’s windshield, at which point the car crashed into the median. The victim, who was found unconscious and unresponsive, suffered severe head trauma and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a nearby hospital.

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When you are near a semitruck on the highway in New York, it may cross your mind to hope that the driver is not distracted or fatigued. You probably did not wonder whether there is even a person in the driver’s seat, though. We at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers understand that new technology could change the role of truck drivers, and in the future, it may reduce the number of commercial vehicle crashes.

While self-driving trucks are not on the road yet, CNBC reports that technology for tractor-trailers has taken a step in that direction. Your car’s aerodynamic shape gives you some relief from high fuel prices by increasing your miles per gallon. Large trucks take much more fuel, but by driving closer together, they reduce the wind resistance on each and improve their efficiency. Rather than traveling an average following distance of 200 feet, which is a two- to three-second space, platooning trucks would be a mere 50 to 80 feet apart.

To make it possible for them to follow each other without compromising safety, new technology links the trucks through a computer so that the first driver controls the convoy’s brakes and steering. While truck platooning is in the early stages of development in the U.S., you will not see more than two trucks connected at a time.

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If you’ve been following this blog, you’re probably aware of the ongoing case of the truck driver whose drowsiness caused him to collide with comedian Tracy Morgan’s limo back in 2014. The accident took the life of Morgan’s dear friend James “Jimmy Mack” McNair and left Morgan in critical condition with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones.

The driver admitted that he hadn’t slept in over 28 hours when the accident happened. After pleading not guilty for a period of time, in late November the driver finally pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated assault and one count of vehicular homicide in order to avoid going to prison. As a part of the deal, he will have to serve 300 hours of community service.

Here’s where it’s important to remember that, from a legal standpoint, criminal cases are separate from civil cases. Whether a defendant in a truck accident criminal case is found guilty or not guilty, the victims can still file a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries. In this case, Tracy Morgan agreed to an undisclosed settlement with Wal-Mart, the company the driver worked for, and McNair’s family settled for $10 million.

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Truck accidents can occur for all manner of reasons, including fatigued driving, misjudging other driver’s movements, speeding or violating other traffic rules, talking on a cell phone and engaging in other activities which distract attention from driving. Another common cause of truck accidents is tire flats and blowouts.

Earlier this week, a truck accident occurred in Bolton when a front tire on the vehicle blew out, causing the driver to veer off the road and roll down an embankment. Fortunately, the driver suffered survived with no life threatening injuries. Reports say that no tickets have been issued over the incident, and it seems that nobody else was injured. Sources provided no indication of why the tire blowout occurred. In some cases of tire blowouts or flats, determining what exactly caused the failure isn’t an easy matter. 

According to a 2003 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire blowouts or flat tires caused over 400 fatalities that year, as well as over 10,000 injuries and over 78,000 crashes. Those numbers were taken before tire pressure monitor systems were required for commercial motor vehicles, though, so hopefully things have improved. That same report found, though, that certain factors can increase the likelihood of tire problems occurring, such as inadequate tire depth, under-inflation and poor weather conditions.

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Last time, we began looking at the topic of commercial vehicle maintenance, pointing out some of the general requirements for vehicle maintenance at both the state and federal level. As we left of saying, the requirements from the state of New York are essentially the same as the federal requirements.

When inspectors check out a vehicle for purposes of compliance, there are a lot of areas they inspect to ensure a vehicle is in safe operate condition. This includes checking on matters related to the transportation of hazardous materials, checking a vehicle’s fuel and braking systems, lighting, steering, coupling devices, suspension, tires and wheels, windshield wipers, mirrors, horns, exhaust, emergency equipment, and other areas. 

Laxity in complying with safety rules, of course, is not a good idea for commercial vehicle operators. Doing so is not only bad for business, but can also lead to civil penalties and tort liability. An accident victim, or his or her survivors, may use failure to comply with vehicle safety regulations to establish liability at trial. Liability, as we’ve mentioned before, can be based on any failure to carry out some legal duty, including vehicle maintenance rules, traffic rules, or the general duty to exercise reasonable care in operating a motor vehicle.

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Under a bill currently being considered in New York City, private sanitation companies would have the exclusive right to collect trash in established zones. The idea behind the legislation is to make the city’s oversight of sanitation trucks easier. Oversight is a particular problem with respect to sanitation truck maintenance.

Evidence of the problem can be seen in a recent report which found that most of the safety violations involving private sanitation companies in New York amount to maintenance failures. According to the report, almost half of all private sanitation trucks from New York City’s top 20 sanitation companies, had to be put out of service for maintenance problems over a two year period. In one case, a company’s out-of-service rate was 86 percent. 

According to some in the industry, employers in sanitation work are failing to maintain their fleets and are thereby putting their workers and other motorists at risk. When it comes to maintenance, problems can pop up in a number of areas, from balding tires to nonfunctional brakes to broken or missing lights or windshield wipers.  Depending on the traffic and weather conditions, such maintenance errors can create deadly circumstances.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has an incredible amount of data on motor vehicle accidents that involve large trucks and buses. Their database is recent as of the year 2014. According to that year of data, safety has improved, in general, when it comes to large trucks and buses being involved in motor vehicle accidents.

The 2014 data shows that 3,978 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., marking a 5 percent decline in the figure compared to 2013. This is great news and it marks a tremendous stride in truck and bus safety. Of course, more needs to be done, but improving numbers are obviously the goal.


However, there are still far too many of these wrecks that leave people with injuries, especially with large trucks. According to the data, roughly 20 percent of the 411,000 police-reported crashes that large trucks were involved in resulted in nonfatal injuries. Trucks are incredibly powerful, and they carry a lot of momentum with them when they travel down a road or a highway. So when they collide with another vehicle, it is likely that the other vehicle will suffer heavy damage and that the people inside could suffer serious injuries.

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