Getting into even a typical car accident can be difficult, but being injured in an accident involving a truck in New York can be much more challenging. Victims often wonder if they should sue the driver or the trucking company after an accident.
The good news is that both the driver and the trucking company can be sued in most cases. While there are exceptions, most companies are responsible for their employee’s act while on the road. However, a trucking company could be held liable for their own negligence even if the driver did not act negligently.
For a free case consultation with our Yonkers, NY truck accident attorneys, call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950.
Should You File a Lawsuit Against the Driver or Trucking Company After Getting Injured in New York?
After being injured in a truck accident in New York, you might wonder if you can sue both the driver and the trucking company for your injuries. The answer depends on various factors, including whether the driver was acting within the scope of his employment when they negligently caused the accident. However, this is only the start of determining liability. Our Westchester personal injury attorneys can investigate your claim to see if other parties could be sued for damages.
A commercial truck is usually a complex vehicle capable of carrying thousands of pounds of cargo. As such, numerous state and federal regulations govern how truckers and trucking companies should operate to maintain safety. However, other parties could be liable for violating these rules or otherwise contributing to your injuries. For instance, the truck could be owned by a third party or leased from another company. Or a company responsible for loading the cargo could have loaded it negligently. If so, they can be held liable for their part in causing your injuries.
In other cases, another driver on the road might have acted negligently in some way, causing a truck driver to lose control and collide with your car. It is common for the truck driver and the other driver to have acted negligently in causing the accident. For instance, if the other car illegally changed lanes in front of the truck and the truck was speeding, they both can be held accountable for causing your injuries.
The bottom line is that you can typically sue the trucking company and the driver if they were acting within the scope of their employment when they caused the accident.
Reasons to Sue a Truck Driver After an Accident in New York
The truck driver will often be sued since they were in direct control of the truck at the time of the accident and usually did something negligent to cause it. Truck drivers cause accidents in a few common ways, which is a starting point for determining liability. If the driver acted negligently while performing their normal duties, their employer can usually be sued, as well.
Distracted driving is a common reason truck drivers get into accidents. Truckers can be distracted by the many systems grabbing their attention, like GPS and radios. Truckers can also become distracted while drinking or eating behind the wheel. The longer a driver is on the road, the easier it can be to get distracted and cause an accident.
Speeding is another common form of negligence responsible for truck accidents. Trucking companies typically make more money if their trucks can complete more deliveries. This means moving faster. Truck drivers might feel like the only way to complete their orders is by speeding, and trucking companies might encourage that kind of conduct. If you were injured by a speeding truck driver, you can usually recover compensation from both parties.
Reasons to Sue a Trucking Company After an Accident in New York
Trucking companies are responsible for many aspects of a truck’s safe operation and can be accountable for their negligence, in addition to the driver. Trucking companies have been known to violate trucking regulations by pushing drivers to work longer hours and even changing logs to hide the number of hours the drivers are operating.
Suing for an Employee’s Negligence
If the driver acted negligently and caused an accident while working within the responsibilities of their job, the trucking company can usually be held responsible under the theory of vicarious liability. For instance, if the driver made an illegal turn while making deliveries and caused an accident, the employer can usually be sued along with the driver.
However, the trucking company might not be held liable if the employee is considered an independent contractor. Independent contractors are not considered traditional employees and trucking companies working with them cannot usually be held liable for the contractor’s mistakes.
Suing for Trucking Company’s Own Negligence
These companies must also ensure that the drivers they put behind the wheel are qualified and trained for the trucks they are operating. Trucking companies are supposed to conduct background checks on drivers so that they are not putting dangerous drivers in their trucks. If you are injured by an inexperienced truck driver or one that the trucking company had reason to believe was dangerous, you can sue the trucking company that employed them.
Suing for Trucking Regulations Violations
Trucking regulation violations are becoming a common cause for suing trucking companies in New York. As competition for home deliveries has exploded, it has become common for trucking companies to attempt to get an edge by ignoring importing federal and state trucking regulations. These regulations include hours of service drivers are allowed to operate, which tie-downs to use, and how to securely store cargo. It is not uncommon for a trucking company to violate the service hours requirement by making drivers operate long hours to complete more deliveries.
Trucking companies can also be sued if they fail to maintain and keep their vehicles safe to be on the road. This includes conducting regular inspections to catch maintenance issues before they cause a devastating accident later.
Our New York Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help
Contact our Westchester truck accident attorneys at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 for your free case review.