New York State has adopted many federal regulations governing interstate trucking. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to vehicles operating within the state, and they serve to help ensure safe transportation. Despite these regulations and standards, truck crashes continue to result in harm to passengers and other drivers.
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State and federal laws govern trucking companies and their drivers in order to help reduce the risk posed by their large vehicles. Commercial 18-wheelers and big rigs using interstate highways are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The New York Department of Transportation has authority over the trucks and big rigs within the state.
State regulations, much like federal regulations, focus on safety measures and rules concerning hours of driving, inspections, repairs, and maintenance schedules. While New York has adopted many of the federal regulations, the state has specified other penalties for certain violations, such as driving a vehicle that has been placed out of service. State law also imposes clear and detailed requirements for transporting hazardous materials throughout New York. Despite the plethora of state regulations, however, collisions continue to occur on a regular basis.
Victims of a truck accident may pursue legal action against the driver if they can demonstrate that the driver breached a duty of care, resulting in their injuries. In a negligence lawsuit, the victim would try to show that the truck driver failed to operate their vehicle as a reasonable driver would have operated it under similar circumstances.
A truck driver who disobeys a state trucking regulation probably has breached their duty of care owed to other drivers and passengers on the road. If the driver’s action or inaction directly caused the victim’s injuries, that person may be entitled to damages. For example, perhaps a driver failed to abide by state regulations concerning the inspection of his vehicle, and this failure led to a loose wheel, which caused a crash involving another car. The victim would likely be able to recover compensation for their costs and losses. In a negligence lawsuit, damages available to injured plaintiffs typically include medical and hospital expenses, lost wages from work, property damage, and pain and suffering, among other items.
In certain circumstances, a defendant truck driver may allege that the victim was also at fault for the accident. Since New York applies the comparative fault doctrine, a plaintiff who was also at fault may still recover damages following a crash. The amount would be reduced according to the victim’s percentage of fault. In other words, if an injured plaintiff were 30% at fault for the accident, their damages award would be reduced to 70% of the total costs and losses.
The Queens truck accident attorneys at The Cassisi Law Firm provide guidance and representation to injured individuals and their families. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers also assist individuals in Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
We provide a free consultation and can be reached through our online form or by calling 718-441-5050.