Tractor trailer accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, especially for the occupants of passenger vehicles. Some accident victims need months of rehabilitation and therapy before they can return to their jobs and other activities. Many never regain their previous abilities and suffer from permanent impairments. Some pass away, leaving their families struggling to make ends meet.
If you suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, or if you lost a family member in this type of crash, a truck accident lawyer in Patchogue, Long Island may be able to help you recover compensation to help you cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. offers free consultations, and you pay nothing unless we recover compensation. Call us today at 631-600-0000.
Do New York State’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Laws Affect My Truck Accident Claim?
In an accident where you suffer minor or moderate injuries, New York’s no-fault system limits your options for filing an insurance claim and getting the compensation you need. Unless you suffer serious injuries, the laws limit you to filing a claim based on your personal injury protection policy after a crash.
Unfortunately, the limits on these policies are usually relatively low, and medical bills and lost wages can add up quickly for moderate injuries. However, you must meet a strict, serious injury threshold before you can step outside of this system. To file a third-party liability claim against the at-fault trucker and their employer, you must suffer:
- A broken bone;
- Significant disfigurement or scarring;
- Loss of the use of a hand, foot, arm, or leg;
- Significant impairment of a body function or system; and
- Full disability for 90 days or longer
If you meet this threshold, we can pursue a third-party liability claim and collect compensation based on the damages you suffered. This may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We can often negotiate a fair settlement but are not afraid to take the case before a judge if necessary.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries if a Truck Driver Caused the Crash?
Many accident victims assume the truck driver is liable for their injuries after they cause a tractor-trailer crash. However, a concept known as vicarious liability means the driver’s employer is also financially responsible for your accident injuries and other damages. Under this concept, employers are responsible for their employee’s negligence while they are on the clock.
In most cases, truckers work for a corporation or trucking company, and that company becomes the primarily liable party when we file a claim. Often, these companies have entire legal teams at their disposal. This is one reason it is so important to have an attorney familiar with truck accident claims on your side.
Why Do I Need to Move Quickly to Discuss My Truck Accident Claim With an Attorney?
Because truckers and their employers must follow a plethora of state and federal regulations that include keeping accurate logs and collecting various data, they hold a wealth of evidence in a trucking accident claim. Unfortunately, it is in the hands of the trucking company.
To protect this evidence and gain access to it, we must notify the trucking company of our forthcoming claim and demand they gather and preserve the driver’s rest logs, all data from onboard computers, drugs test results, truck maintenance records, and other applicable information. We do this by sending a document known as a spoliation letter.
If we do not act quickly to send this letter, the trucking company could compromise the evidence. For this reason, it is important to contact us as soon after your accident as possible. We recommend giving us a call as soon as your injuries stabilize, or having a family member call us if you are still in the hospital.
How Quickly Do We Need to File a Lawsuit Based on My Truck Accident?
The New York State statute of limitations to file a lawsuit based on a truck accident injury or other personal injury accident is three years from the date your crash occurred. Of course, you will want to contact us well in advance of this deadline so we can complete all the necessary tasks.
After your claim evaluation, we will identify any potentially liable parties, collect evidence to understand why and how your accident occurred and file an insurance claim with the trucking company’s insurance provider. Usually, we can negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company at this point. Only if the insurance company or trucking company refuses to agree to a fair settlement will we file a lawsuit and take your case in front of a judge.
The three-year period technically only applies to the time we have to file a lawsuit against the trucking company, but it does play an important role in our negotiations with the insurer as well. When we pursue a third-party liability claim within this three year period, the insurance company is aware that we have the option to litigate the case if it refuses a fair settlement. Once the deadline passes, the insurer is much less likely to negotiate a fair settlement in your case.
How Can I Talk With a Truck Accident Lawyer In Patchogue, Long Island?
If you suffered serious injuries in a tractor trailer accident, the legal team from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your options for compensation. Call our Long Island office today at 631-600-0000 to schedule a time to meet with one of our truck accident lawyers.