Complex Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents can be devastating due to the weight and size of the truck involved. Some truck accidents are complex and involve multiple contributing factors. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a truck accident, you should not try to handle your claim alone. Often truck drivers, trucking companies, and their insurers use aggressive tactics to avoid liability. It can be challenging to obtain the evidence necessary to establish liability and recover damages. This area of law is intricate and complex. If you are injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler, the experienced Syracuse truck accident attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help you seek compensation.Complex Truck Accidents
Proving liability in a truck accident lawsuit can be challenging. There may not be enough evidence, or records may be falsified. In most cases, you will need to establish negligence. You'll need to show: (1) a duty of reasonable care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. Some of the factors that may contribute to commercial trucks include wide turns, jackknifing, deadly tire blowouts, brake failures, overloading, drunk driving, speeding, texting, and tip-overs. Sometimes these factors combine to create a larger problem. For example, if a truck is overloaded and making a tight turn on an incline, it may tip over. Or for another example, if a truck driver is drunk and speeding, but the brakes fail, the truck may collide with a long line of cars causing catastrophic injuries to multiple people.
Truck drivers and trucking companies that operate in interstate commerce must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Violations of these regulations can present strong evidence that there was a breach in the standard of care. The truck driver's employer may also be vicariously liable for the truck driver's negligence in the course and scope of employment.
Often the injuries in a truck accident are catastrophic. You may need more extensive treatment after a crash with a semi-truck than you would if you were in a car accident. Moreover, other people may also have catastrophic injuries as a result of the same accident. This means that there may be insufficient insurance coverage to adequately address all of the catastrophic injuries on a single truck driver's insurance policy. Your lawyer will have to examine the accident to determine whether there were other contributing and complicating factors that could allow you to bring in other parties such as the trucking company, a third party loader, or a truck manufacturer.
Determining the causes of a truck accident requires careful investigation and it may require accident reconstruction. We may use the accident report as well as toxicology reports, inspection and repair records, and log books. Potential contributing factors that may be brought to light through this sort of investigation could include negligent maintenance, overloaded trailers, equipment malfunction, overloading, driver error, failure to follow FMCSA regulations, failure to check a truck driver's log book, and failure to conduct background checks. Sometimes investigation reveals that a trucking company failed to conduct background checks that would have revealed a driver's past DUIs; if the driver's DUI caused injuries, it may be possible hold the trucking company liable for negligent hiring. A trucking company may also be held liable for negligent supervision or training.
Sometimes trucking insurers offer unreasonable low-ball settlements assuming that your injuries are so severe and your financial situation so dire that you will accept the offer and go away. However, it can take time to know the extent of your injuries. Sometimes the full extent of injuries is not known for a year or more. After a case is settled, it cannot be reopened even if the settlement you received was ridiculously low. Compensatory damages we may be able to recover if we establish liability include coverage for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and permanent disabilities.
When there are multiple parties at fault for a complex truck accident, the general rule is joint and several liability. Joint and several liability means you can recover the total amount of damages from any jointly and severally liable tortfeasor irrespective of the defendant's percentage of fault. However, defendants that are less than 50% liable for the accident face only several liability for your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and lost enjoyment.Truck Accident Attorneys Serving the Syracuse Area
If you are injured in a complex truck accident in Syracuse, it is wise to hire a firm that understands the aggressive tactics a trucking company and its insurer may employ to avoid liability. Our lawyers may be able to help you sue to recover damages from all the parties that may be responsible. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured patients in communities including Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Wampsville, Oneida, Utica, Oswego, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Ithaca, and Lyons. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.