Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers in New York
Trusted law firm proudly serving the Bronx and beyond
Due to the large size and weight of commercial vehicles, truck drivers are held to a high standard. A seemingly small act of negligence from the driver - or their company - can result in a catastrophic accident. The injuries sustained in commercial vehicle accidents are often serious or even fatal. That’s why it’s important that injury victims hurt in a commercial vehicle accident in New York City to seek immediate medical treatment, including going straight to an emergency room at New York Presbyterian or another nearby NYC hospital if necessary.
Commercial vehicle accidents can be far more complex than passenger vehicle accidents. There are usually more parties involved such as the driver's company, other companies, the trucking company's insurance, and even other motorists. A highly skilled New York commercial vehicle accident attorney at Giampa Law in the Bronx will pursue your case. With decades of experience and knowledge of New York's legal system, we know how to handle the most complex cases.
What causes commercial vehicle accidents?
Commercial vehicle accidents often occur for a number of reasons, with different parties at fault. They're usually caused by:
- Distracted driving: Commercial drivers who drive while distracted put themselves and other drivers at risk.
- Speeding/reckless driving: Due to the size and weight of commercial vehicles, drivers are expected to drive responsibly and maintain a safe speed.
- Drowsy driving: Falling asleep at the wheel can result in a catastrophic collision, especially if the sleepy driver doesn't hit the brakes before impact.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Driving while intoxicated is not only dangerous, but illegal.
- Driver is inexperienced: Trucking companies are expected to hire well-trained and experienced drivers. Failure to do so puts others in danger.
- Vehicle is defective or not properly maintained: If a commercial vehicle is defective or not properly maintained, trucking companies can be held responsible for any accidents caused.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's commercial vehicle regulations prohibit the use of handheld devices and limit the number of hours a driver can operate in a 24-hour period. When a driver or company fails to abide by these regulations, they can be held accountable. With knowledge of commercial vehicle regulation, an experienced truck accident attorney at Giampa Law will gather the facts and build a strong case.
New York laws that apply to commercial vehicle accidents
Commercial vehicle accidents are different than other motor vehicle accidents because of the regulations that apply to such collisions. New York has many rules that apply to commercial truck drivers, many of which can be found in the New York State Commercial Driver’s Manual, which is also known as the NY State CDL Guide.
Such regulations in New York cover a wide range, including rules covering:
- General commercial vehicle driver safety, including vehicle inspection rules, basic control of vehicle and what to look for when driving a large, commercial vehicle. (Section 2 of the NY State CDL Guide)
- Cargo securement rules for safely transporting cargo in New York, including how to inspect cargo, how to make sure the truck is properly weighted and balanced, and how to properly secure cargo. (Section 3 of the NY State CDL Guide)
- Transporting passengers safely in a commercial vehicle, including a bus (Section 4)
- Air brakes on commercial vehicles, including the requirements for dual air brakes and how to properly inspect them and use them. (Section 5)
- Requirements for combination vehicles, including tractor-trailers. This section (Section 6) of the NY State CDL Guide explains how to safely drive combination vehicles, coupling and uncoupling them, and how the antilock brake systems and combination vehicle air brakes work.
- Requirements for doubles and triples, a truck industry term used to describe tractor-trailers with more than one trailer attached to the truck. (Section 7)
- Requirements for safely hauling liquid gas and other liquified substances in a tank vehicle in New York. (Section 8)
- Hazardous materials requirements, including what New York considers a hazardous material, how to safely load and unload hazardous materials and other HazMat requirements. (Section 9)
- New York’s regulations for safely operating a school bus, including loading and unloading requirements and how to safely operate a bus’s antilock braking system. (Section 10)
- Pre-trip inspection requirements for commercial vehicles, which vary depending on what type of commercial vehicle it is (Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the NY State CDL Guide)
What are truck weight limits in New York?
Depending on how many wheels and axels the truck has, the commercial vehicle weight limits in New York include:
- 22,400 pounds for one-axel trucks
- 36,000 pounds for two-axel trucks
- 80,000 pounds for trucks with three or more axels
New York City also prohibits large, heavy trucks from driving on certain bridges and portions of highways in the greater New York City area, including portions of I-95, I-695, I-295, and I-495 in New York, according to New York City’s Highway & Traffic Rules.
What tests do commercial truck drivers have to pass in New York?
To obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in New York, drivers must pass several tests that measure a driver’s knowledge of the state regulations included in the NY State CDL Guide. These tests include:
- General (Core) Knowledge test.
- Skills/Road test, which is required for all commercial drivers in New York seeking a Class A, B or C CDL license.
Other tests may be necessary depending on what type of commercial vehicle the driver operates in New York. Such additional New York CDL tests can include:
- Air brake test, if the commercial vehicle being driven has air brakes.
- Combination Vehicle test, for drivers operating a tractor-trailer or another combination commercial vehicle in New York. Drivers must have a Class A license and will receive a Double/Triple (T) endorsement.
- Hazardous Materials (HazMat) endorsement test for commercial drivers transporting hazardous materials in New York.
- School bus drivers, who need a School Bus (S) endorsement to operate a school bus in New York.
Federal laws that apply to commercial vehicle accidents
Along with laws unique to New York, truck drivers must follow federal trucking laws. Many of these federal trucking laws can be found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Such federal rules and regulations cover a wide range, including:
- Cell phone policy – Federal law prohibits all commercial truck drivers from using a cellphone or texting while driving nationwide. These rules can be found in Part 392.80 and Part 392.82 of Title 49.
- Hours of service rules – Often known by their abbreviation, HOS or Hours of Service rules limit how many hours a commercial truck driver can drive before they must take mandatory breaks. These rules can be found in Part 395 of Title 49.
- Pre-employment testing – Trucking companies must administer certain tests (including controlled substances tests) and make sure that drivers have the required CDL license to operate a commercial vehicle. These rules can be found in Part 382.301 of Title 49.
- Post-accident testing – These federal laws explain what tests trucking companies must administer and how much time they have to administer such tests in the event of an accident involving one of their drivers. These rules can be found in Part 382.303 of Title 49.
- Random testing – Trucking companies must administer random drug and alcohol tests to all drivers, according to Part 382.305 of Title 49.
- Reflective DOT tape requirement – All commercial trucks must have reflective tape on specific parts of the truck so the truck is visible to other motorists, according to Department of Transportation (DOT) rules.
These are just some of the federal laws that apply to commercial vehicles and the commercial truck drivers who operate them. Many other rules and regulations apply, which could play a big role in the outcome of your New York commercial truck accident claim or lawsuit.
How we handle commercial vehicle accidents
Unlike passenger vehicle accidents, there are usually many parties involved in a commercial vehicle accident. You're not just dealing with the driver and their insurance company. In most cases, the trucking company will use their own team of investigators and attorneys. Following an accident, they'll launch an investigation within hours - which always yields results in their favor. Their insurance companies are quick to offer a small settlement in hopes to make your claim disappear.
As part of our investigation, we look for important evidence unique to commercial vehicle accidents. Such evidence may include:
- Truck driver logbook – Commercial truck drivers must keep accurate records of when they inspected their truck, how many miles they drive each day and when they last took a mandatory break. We’ll carefully review these logs and look for anything out of the ordinary.
- Hours of Service (HOS) records – Hours of Service (HOS) records keep track of when commercial truck drivers take a break and other critical information. HOS records may be stored in a physical logbook or electronically.
- Drug & alcohol testing results – If the truck driver tested positive for drugs or alcohol while driving, our law firm will demand to see those records.
- Truck driver’s driving record – If the truck driver who caused your crash has a history of causing collisions, we’ll work tirelessly to get access to those critical records.
- Trucking company’s inspection records – Many times, trucking companies try to cut corners and don’t inspect their trucks on a regular basis. We’ll demand access to the truck’s inspection records.
If you have been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, you should never accept a settlement. As the medical expenses accumulate and you're unable to attend work, the financial burden can wreak havoc on your life. That's why you need our trusted law firm to handle your case. We'll hold trucking companies - and their commercial truck drivers - accountable. You shouldn't have to suffer because of someone else's negligence. Contact Giampa Law today and find out how we can help you.