At a time when there are more commercial vehicles on the road than ever before, New York courts watered down the legal responsibilities these operators have. So, these drivers are more reckless than ever before. Many of them care only about deadlines. They care little about the safety of other people.
Some of this higher duty remains. For example, bus drivers and Uber drivers must still pick up and drop off passengers at safe locations. These operators also have a duty to keep passengers safe during transit. More on that below.
Generally, the injuries are much worse in commercial vehicle accidents. As a result, the compensation is usually higher, and so is the fight. Therefore, a New York personal injury attorney should stand up for your legal and financial rights. Otherwise, you might end up settling for less.
How You Can Help Yourself
Attorneys help victims once the two parties form a professional partnership. Victims can help themselves in the immediate wake of a commercial vehicle crash. Here are some ways how.
- Stop: Even if you do not believe you were at fault or you can make other transportation arrangements to the hospital, always stop. If you leave, you could be charged with a crime. Furthermore, you will be unable to give your side of the story to emergency responders.
- Stay Off Social Media: You might want to post something about being in a crash and your current medical status. Do not say anything else. Statements made in haste or in anger could come back to haunt you later.
- Do Not Apologize: In most cases, apologies express sympathy. But in this context, an apology could be construed as an admission of liability. These mistakes are usually not fatal. However, you want your New York personal injury attorney to build a case, not waste time playing spin doctor.
- Do Not Give a Statement to the Insurance Company: You should definitely give a statement to emergency responders. You should definitely not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Adjusters sound friendly, but they are trying to extract damaging information from you. Instead, let your attorney handle this part of the claim.
- See a Doctor: Many commercial crash injuries, like whiplash, are difficult to diagnose. So, these victims should always see injury specialists. An attorney can connect you with such a doctor, even if you have no insurance or money.
Head injuries, which are among the most common commercial vehicle crash injuries, illustrate all these concerns. Many of these victims are not thinking clearly, so they could make poor decisions. Furthermore, the brain usually conceals its own injuries. Therefore, many of these victims do not realize how badly they are hurt.
Fatigue causes about a third of the commercial vehicle wrecks in New York. Truck drivers must stay on the road as long as possible in order to make money on each haul. Uber drivers and other ridesharing operators often have full-time jobs in addition to their ridesharing gigs. Finally, many taxi and tour bus operators are behind the wheel early in the morning and late at night. Most people are naturally fatigued at these times.
Distracted driving is a significant problem as well. Many operators over-rely on GPS navigation devices. Others regularly use devices for other purposes, such as talking, texting, or even streaming video.
Driver fatigue claims usually rely on the ordinary negligence doctrine. Driving after eighteen consecutive waking hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial operators in New York. So, drowsy driving clearly violates the duty of care.
Distraction claims often rely on the negligence per se rule. New York has one of the broadest cell phone bans in the country. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) who violate such safety rules and cause crashes could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Generally, employers are vicariously liable for car crash damages. The respondeat superior doctrine applies if the tortfeasor was an employee who was working within the scope of employment.
In New York, even people like independent contractors are employees for negligence purposes. As for the other prong, any act which benefits the employer in any way is generally within the scope of employment.
Commercial vehicle accidents usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Marie Napoli. You have a limited amount of time to act.