Although drivers of commercial trucks must pass more stringent tests to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) than do drivers of ordinary passenger cars, that does not necessarily mean big rig operators are all proficient drivers. In many cases, just as with teenage drivers, accidents can be caused by drivers who are insufficiently trained or who lack the experience to deal with unexpected or unusual situations.
If you have been injured, or someone close to you has been killed, in a truck accident caused by a driver who lacked sufficient training, the knowledgeable Queens attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm can help you. Call 718-441-5050 today.
Drivers of commercial trucks are required to have a valid CDL. Although CDLs are issued by state motor vehicle departments, drivers must meet not only state commercial truck driving standards but also federal standards. Moreover, commercial drivers often need to pass different kinds of tests depending upon the type of truck they will be driving; for example, to operate trucks transporting hazardous materials, trucks with double or triple trailers, or busloads full of people, a driver may need different certifications.
Every regulation governing commercial drivers has one purpose: to improve highway safety. Standards are intended to prevent unsafe drivers from getting on the road, and new regulations are continually imposed. Drivers must pass both written and road tests. However, no test can possibly determine whether a driver has sufficient training to deal with all road conditions or traffic situations, particularly when you consider that commercial trucking involves so many other factors besides knowing traffic rules or the special operating characteristics of a big rig. Truck drivers must also contend with fatigue, distractions, bad weather, unfamiliar roads, highways in poor condition, unbalanced loads, and even mechanical difficulties, such as brake failure.
When you add up all these factors, it is easy to see how an inadequately trained or inexperienced commercial truck driver can dramatically increase the risk of an accident happening. While it is true that there is no way for truck drivers to gain the necessary experience other than to operate these rigs, this in no way excuses a truck driver who lacks experience from fault if he has caused an accident through negligence.
In law, negligence is a specific claim that, if proven, creates liability for the party that has caused an accident.
In order for negligence to lie, a plaintiff who has suffered a personal injury must show four factors:
- First, the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
- Second, the defendant breached that duty of care
- Third, the breach was the proximate cause of an injury; and
- Fourth, the plaintiff suffered damages.
When an inexperienced or insufficiently trained truck driver breaches his duty of care by failing to operate his rig in conformity with all traffic and commercial trucking laws—including making necessary inspections of his rig and its load, and meeting all rest-time requirements—or fails to make the appropriate decision in a traffic situation, he may be liable for any injuries resulting from an accident.
This is true even if another driver involved in the accident may be partially at fault. Under New York’s comparative fault rule, a plaintiff partially at fault for an accident may still recover damages, diminished only by the percentage of fault that he himself bears for the accident. Thus, if he bears 20% of the fault, his damage award will be reduced by 20%.
If you have been injured, or someone you love has been killed, we at The Cassisi Law Firm can assist you. We have represented numerous truck accident victims in Queens and elsewhere in New York in both personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits. In wrongful death cases, we represent the personal representatives of a deceased party’s estate when the death of an accident victim was caused by the wrongful act of a negligent defendant.
If you would like a free consultation to find out how we can help you, contact The Cassisi Law Firm at 718-441-5050, or use our online form to set up an appointment.