New York and federal laws impose strict rules and requirements on the commercial trucking industry, and for good reason. Each year, thousands of innocent drivers, motorcycle riders, and passengers are killed in accidents involving heavy trucks, and hundreds of thousands more suffer serious (and, in many cases, life-changing) injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a truck accident in Upstate New York, you deserve to be compensated, and we will fight to hold the responsible parties accountable for your losses.
While the commercial trucking industry is essential to our nation’s economy, the large number of trucks on the road means that drivers in Upstate New York and other areas must remain constantly vigilant in order to avoid serious accidents. Sadly, despite many drivers’ best efforts, trucking accidents are often unavoidable – with fatigued and impaired drivers, defective trucks, and improperly-secured cargo constituting just a few of the countless risks that can lead to life-changing and fatal injuries.
These days, commercial truck drivers are spending even more time on the road. According to the latest data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), truckers traveled more miles in 2015 than in any previous year dating back to 1975. While truck-related deaths dropped to a record low in 2009, since then the numbers have been steadily on the rise.
Why does any of this matter? For one, it shows that you are not alone. Truck accident victims routinely pursue insurance claims and wrongful death litigation to recover just compensation for their losses; and, if you have been injured or lost a loved one, you too deserve to be fairly compensated. For another, it shows just how dangerous commercial trucks really are. These trucks account for a disproportionate number of roadway injuries and fatalities, and the companies that put them on the road deserve to be held legally responsible.Over 30 Years Combined Experience in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Representation
At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, we bring over 30 years experience to representing truck accident victims and their families in Upstate New York. We understand the unique and complex issues involved, and we have a proven track record of securing just compensation for our clients. If you have been injured or suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one due to someone else’s mistake, let us use our experience to secure the financial recovery you need to move on.
"In my case, the insurance company was unwilling to compensate me for my injuries so we had no choice but to go to trial. I was extremely happy with how I was represented during the trial. After Jeff DeFrancisco, Esq. completed his closing argument, the insurance company finally agreed to compensate me for my injuries. In my opinion, it was very important to know that my lawyer had the experience and ability to fight for me in court. I would highly recommend [DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP] for your personal injury case." – S.D., Oswego, New York
"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous. They will always hold a special place in our lives and hearts for a job well done. Being the type of people they are showed me that attorneys like Charlie and Jean Marie do care about their job and can be a big part of a passionate and positive outcome. From the very beginning Charlie and the entire staff were kind, thoughtful and professional." – D.L., Cortland, New YorkYour Attorneys for a Truck Accident in Upstate New York
We have experience representing clients who have been injured and lost loved ones in commercial truck accidents resulting from a wide range of different factors. When you choose our attorneys to represent you, we will investigate as soon as possible to determine both (i) what happened, and (ii) who is to blame. Some of the most common causes in commercial truck accidents include:
Distracted truck driving – Communicating with dispatch, texting behind the wheel, eating on the road, and watching videos in the driver’s seat are all far-too-common examples of driving distractions that lead to serious and deadly commercial truck accidents.
Impaired truck driving – While trucking companies are required to perform drug screening of their drivers, impaired driving (including driving under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications) remains a leading cause of commercial truck accidents.
Speeding – While speeding in any vehicle can be dangerous, with a commercial truck the risks are enormous. Speeding includes exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for road conditions (including rain or snow), and truckers who follow too closely while speeding leave no room for error.
Truck driver fatigue – Federal trucking regulations permit truckers to drive as many as 60 hours in a single week, and they are only required to take one 30-minute rest break during an eight-hour shift. As a result, truck driver fatigue is a major concern, and it is another one of the leading causes of dangerous trucking collisions.
Other forms of truck driver negligence – Safely driving an 18-wheeler or tractor trailer is not easy, but professional truck drivers must be up to the task. Merging without looking, carrying too much speed into corners, braking suddenly, failing to perform wide turns, and other negligent mistakes are all common factors in commercial truck accidents.
Cargo loading errors – It takes knowledge and skill to safely load a commercial truck. Unfortunately, disregard for weight limits and other safety considerations, failure to properly secure cargo, and other cargo loading errors are all frequently at play in jackknifes and other truck accidents.
Truck defects and maintenance issues – Defective tires, brakes, cargo straps, and other components can all cause truck drivers to suddenly lose control. The same goes for engines, transmissions, and other systems that are not properly maintained.
Q: Are trucking companies liable for truck drivers’ mistakes?
As a general rule, yes. Trucking companies are responsible for the acts of their employees within the scope of employment, and this includes truckers who are driving on the road. If a truck driver causes an accident because he or she is drunk, distracted, fatigued, or driving negligently, the trucking company could be fully liable for all victims’ injuries and losses.
Trucking companies can face liability for their own negligence as well. For example, if a trucking company hires an unlicensed driver, fails to perform a drug test, or forces a driver to spend too much time behind the wheel, these are all examples of mistakes that could lead to financial liability.
Q: What if I was partially at fault in the accident?
While we recommend a number of tips for staying safe around commercial trucks, the reality is that some truck accidents will simply be unavoidable. It is easy to second-guess yourself after an accident, but you need to avoid doing so. Determining liability after a truck accident is complicated; and, even if you think you may have been at fault in the accident, there is a good chance that there were other factors involved.
Q: How can I prove that a truck driver was distracted or that a truck was defective?
When seeking to establish liability for a commercial truck accident, the key is to conduct an exhaustive investigation. Our attorneys use a variety of types of evidence to prove our clients’ claims for compensation, including:
- Accident reconstruction
- Drivers’ cell phone records
- Engineering assessments of truck components
- Skid marks and other physical evidence from the scene
- Witness testimony
At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, we are committed to fighting for accident victims and their families. With more than three decades of combined legal experience in Upstate New York, our top-rated attorneys have collected well over $100 million in compensation for our clients. While most of our cases result in favorable insurance settlements, when necessary we do not hesitate to take on the truck manufacturers and trucking companies at trial.
When you choose DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP:
You can feel confident in our results-oriented approach to personal injury and wrongful death representation. No matter what is required, your needs are our top priority.
You can trust our compassionate legal team to be there for you when you need us. We want you to know that you can contact us 24/7, and if we are not available immediately we will respond as soon as possible.
You can focus on your physical and emotional recovery knowing that you have a dedicated legal team, not just a lawyer, fighting tirelessly with your best interests in mind.
To learn more about your rights after a commercial truck accident, please schedule a free initial consultation at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP. We have multiple office locations throughout Upstate New York including Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown, New Hartford, Oneida, Oswego and Cortland. You can tell us about the accident online or call 315-479-9000 to speak with a member of our firm in confidence today.