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New York Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers

New York Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyers

A commercial vehicle is any truck, car, bus, van, or other motor vehicle owned and operated by a business or company, for the purpose of employee use to carry out job duties. If an employee is driving a company vehicle and causes an accident, the driver and the company may both be potentially liable for any resulting injuries to the other driver, passengers, or pedestrians.

All commercial vehicles, in particular large trucks, are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). According to the FMCSA, commercial vehicles play a critical role in the nation’s economy; large trucks move billions of tons of goods each year, and millions of Americans work with commercial vehicles in various aspects of the transportation industry. Because company-owned vehicles tend to be much larger than a typical car, the employees who drive them must exercise extreme caution. If they do not, other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists are at risk of being seriously injured in a collision. If you have been injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle, you may be unsure how to proceed, or if you are even able to bring a claim; the commercial vehicle crash lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy can help.

Block O’Toole & Murphy is a premier New York personal injury law firm with a highly respected reputation for obtaining maximum compensation for injury victims throughout the state. Tenacious and aggressive, these accomplished trial lawyers relish the chance to take on a big company on behalf of one of their injured clients. Our New York personal injury attorneys have achieved countless successful results for clients, totaling more than 1.5 billion dollars in verdicts and settlements.

The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have extensive experience litigating commercial vehicle accident cases. We have obtained some of the top results for these kinds of cases in New York State, including $14 million and $13.5 million settlements. To speak to an attorney, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form today.

Types of Commercial Vehicles

A commercial vehicle is any vehicle that is owned by another business or company. In other words, it is not privately owned. Often, an employee of the company is the driver of the vehicle, which is typically used to carry out job duties, such as making deliveries or providing public transport.

Types of commercial vehicles include:

If you have been hit by a company vehicle and believe it occurred as a result of the other driver’s negligence, do not be intimidated by the fact that a company may be on the other side of the lawsuit. If you were injured due to their negligence, you have a right to make a claim.

Liability in Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Commercial vehicle accidents are unique in terms of liability. There can be multiple defendants in these kinds of cases. This is because, in addition to the driver, it is possible for a company to be found liable for an employee’s negligent behavior.

Driver Liability

The FMCSA and state organizations like the New York Department of Transportation provide regulations for all aspects of driving a commercial vehicle to keep both the drivers and all others on the road safe. For example, the FMCSA requires anyone who drives a commercial vehicle to have a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL.

They also implement “Hours of Service” rules, which specify the number of hours truck and commercial vehicle drivers can drive continuously without taking a break, with the goal of reducing fatigue. There are also regulations that dictate how much weight a truck can haul, and requirements for making repairs. If drivers do not adhere to guidelines like these (or are encouraged not to by their companies, perhaps to meet delivery deadlines), they may cause accidents. If that is the case, it is likely the driver will be found at least partially at fault, since there is potential proof that the driver did not adhere to one or more of the regulations.

Company Liability

In addition, the company can be found liable for several reasons. One is because of a legal theory known as “respondeat superior,” which essentially states that a company can be found vicariously responsible for the negligent behavior of its employees, as long as those negligent acts were not committed intentionally and were within the employee’s scope of employment.

For example, if a UPS truck driver is delivering packages on his usual route (part of his job duties) and rear-ends another vehicle because he was not paying attention to the road (although still negligent, he did not intend to hit the car in front of him), it is possible UPS could be found at fault for the accident as well.

Note that this doctrine can only be applied if the negligent employee is an employee of the company, not an independent contractor. Companies are generally not liable for the actions of independent contractors. An example of an independent contractor is a delivery truck driver who is paid on a per-route basis, does not get benefits from the company he drives for, has purchased his own insurance coverage, and is not told by the company how to carry out his job duties.

Companies can also be found directly liable for commercial vehicle accidents, if it is found that they were negligent in their hiring, training, supervising, or maintenance processes. For example, if a tractor trailer driver gets into an accident and it is shown afterwards that he was not properly trained in tractor trailer operation by his company, it is possible the company could be found liable for directly negligent actions that contributed to causing the accident.

A company could be found liable for the collision if they owned the vehicle that was being driven in the crash. This is because of negligent entrustment, a legal concept which states that the owner of the vehicle can be found at fault for a crash because they trusted a negligent or otherwise unqualified driver to operate the vehicle. Although the driver’s negligence contributed to the accident, negligent entrustment allows that the company, as the owner of the vehicle, was negligent because they either knew or should have known that the driver they entrusted the vehicle to was unfit to drive. For example, if the city hired a garbage truck driver with a history of unsafe driving, and they either did not check his records or chose to ignore them, they would likely be found at fault for any accident this driver caused.

Another important component of the FMCSA is the requirement that any company hiring a commercial vehicle operator is required to obtain that operator’s prior employment records. We at Block O’Toole & Murphy handled a very unfortunate case in which the operator of a commercial, private sanitation truck had a seizure while driving the truck on a Manhattan street, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, jump the curb and strike three people walking on the sidewalk.

Two of the pedestrians were killed and the other was injured. Our firm served a subpoena on the truck driver’s prior employer and obtained documentation showing that the driver had prior seizures behind the wheel while working during his employment with the company. This condition led to his termination by the prior employer.

The employer for whom he was working at the time of the accident never obtained those records, as required by law, and therefore did not know about the seizure condition since it was not disclosed by the truck driver. This evidence proved extremely valuable in our case against the employer and led to a very large settlement for the victims’ families. The truck driver was also criminally prosecuted for failing to take his seizure medication which would have prevented the accident.

There are various ways that liability could play out in a commercial vehicle accident case. If you were injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle, it is best to speak with a qualified commercial vehicle accident lawyer, who can evaluate the details of your case and determine liability. For a free legal consultation, please call 212-736-5300 to speak with one of our qualified attorneys.

Steps to Take After a Commercial Vehicle Accident

Because companies know they may be held liable if a vehicle they own is involved in an accident, they (and their commercial insurance companies) are equipped to take certain steps to ensure they will not be found at fault.

For example, it is possible that in the immediate aftermath of the accident, as soon as the company finds out one of their vehicles was involved, they will send some people to slightly manipulate the accident scene, or to collect records from the truck or vehicle. (The FMCSA requires all commercial trucks and vehicles to keep a record of their on-duty driving time, in order to ensure they do not exceed the Hours of Service rules or violate other guidelines; if the record shows a driver did so and a crash happened as a result, there is a high likelihood the company and driver would be found at fault.)

To prevent this, here are some steps you can take in the aftermath of an accident to ensure you have a fair chance of obtaining the full amount of compensation you deserve.

  • First, and most importantly, ensure you get medical attention. Even if you do not feel like you are injured, some injury symptoms manifest themselves slowly, or you may be in too much shock post-accident to notice any pain. It is important to receive medical attention as soon as possible after the accident not just for your physical health, but also because having a record of treatment immediately after the accident can be helpful for proving in court that your injuries are legitimate and serious.
  • Do not talk to anyone or admit fault. If the other driver or an insurance adjuster for the driver’s company tries to talk to you, you may do so, but be careful not to admit fault for any part of the accident. It is possible the company’s legal team will use that admission against you in court. A police officer responding to the scene of a car accident is obligated to take a statement from you and the others involved in the accident.  It is best to ensure you are composed and have all your faculties before speaking to the officer(s) or anyone else at the scene of the accident.
  • Document any Damages at the Accident Scene. Having pictures of the scene of an accident can make all the difference as you navigate a personal injury lawsuit. If possible, collect photographs of the scene before any vehicles have been moved. People’s memories can fade, and at times, people can try to recount the details of an accident in a way that best suits them. Therefore, taking photographs and/or videos is very important. You should also take photos of the damaged property, including any cars, bicycles, scooters, or personal items. If you were injured while riding something such as a skateboard or bicycle and it has been damaged, keep the item in your possession until your lawsuit has concluded. These pieces of evidence will undoubtedly be helpful when it comes to any lawsuit should one be filed.
  • Contact a commercial vehicle accident attorney. This is especially useful if you feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of the accident. A qualified attorney can arrive at the accident scene to ensure it is documented correctly, and that no one from the company’s team can manipulate the scene.

Your health and safety after an accident always come first. Do not allow anxieties about documenting the accident scene correctly to get in the way of getting proper medical treatment; call a commercial vehicle accident attorney, who will ensure all the facts of the accident are documented and are readily available so that you have a fair case in court.

Consult a Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorney Today

If you were injured in a delivery truck accident, city bus accident, taxi accident, large truck accident, sanitation truck accident, or any other collision involving a commercial vehicle, we can help. The company vehicle attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have extensive experience fighting for clients who have been injured in crashes involving commercial vehicles.

Select commercial vehicle results include*:

  • $14,000,000 settlement for a motorcyclist who had to have over 10 surgeries and had his leg amputated below the knee after he was hit by a left-turning truck
  • $13,500,000 settlement for a pedestrian hit by a company-owned car in Long Island while she was walking home
  • $9,950,000 settlement for a 28-year-old social worker whose left leg had to be amputated after a commercial van careened into the parking lot where she was loading groceries into her car and hit her
  • $9,263,326 jury verdict in Brooklyn case for a taxicab passenger who was harmed when the taxi was involved in a three-car collision
  • $8,800,000 settlement for a 53-year-old pedestrian who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was struck by a van that jumped up on the sidewalk as she was walking to pick up her grandchildren from school
  • $7,525,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the family of a mother and her son who were tragically killed in a crash involving a commercial van
  • $6,000,000 settlement for a city bus passenger who required multiple surgeries after the bus he was riding on collided with a flatbed truck at a Brooklyn intersection
  • $5,500,000 settlement for a driver who was sideswiped by a dump tractor trailer
  • $5,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for a mother of four who was struck while walking on the sidewalk by a commercial garbage truck
  • $3,500,000 settlement for a 47-year-old bus driver who suffered multiple injuries when the bus he was driving was rear-ended by a NYC sanitation truck
  • $3,450,000 settlement for a Queens man who was struck and dragged by an Access-A-Ride bus while crossing in a crosswalk
  • $3,400,000 settlement for a man struck by utility cart driven by NYC Parks Department employee in Central Park
  • $3,375,000 settlement for a delivery truck driver who suffered neck and lower back pain when he was rear-ended by the driver of a company-owned poultry truck
  • $3,258,000 jury verdict for a delivery man struck by a supermarket forklift while delivering beverages in upper Manhattan
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a truck driver who was rear-ended by a NYC snow plow
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a 48-year-old man who suffered multiple serious injuries when his vehicle was struck by an MTA bus
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a 78-year-old woman who was hit by a garbage truck that was illegally operating in a bicycle lane
  • $2,760,000 settlement for a passenger who was injured when a UPS truck rear-ended the vehicle he was in
  • $2,700,000 settlement for a 23-year-old construction worker who sustained serious leg injuries when his vehicle was struck by a commercial truck
  • $2,625,000 settlement for the adult children of a couple who was tragically killed in a violent collision with a tractor trailer
  • $2,500,000 settlement for a woman who required multiple surgeries after she was rear-ended by a tractor trailer
  • $2,500,000 settlement for a woman who suffered herniated discs, among other injuries, after a T-bone collision with a cement mixing truck
  • $2,500,000 settlement for a bike mechanic who injured his hip, knee, and back when he was doored by an Acces-A-Ride van while biking to work
  • $2,500,000 settlement for a woman who suffered serious injuries after a vehicle owned by the City of New York struck the car behind her, causing it to hit the back of her car
  • $2,400,000 recovery in Queens case for a client who was suddenly rear-ended by a commercial truck owned by a meat and cheese company
  • $2,250,000 settlement for a 55-year-old woman who was crossing the street with the signal in her favor when she was hit by a school bus
  • $2,250,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for the daughter of a 68-year-old woman who was struck by a bus that failed to yield the right of way
  • $2,200,000 settlement for a 60-year-old woman who had to undergo spinal fusion surgery after she was hit by a bus while crossing the street in Brooklyn
  • $2,100,000 settlement for a 23-year-old cyclist who suffered multiple fractures and a herniated disc when he was struck by a garbage truck
  • $2,056,656 jury verdict for a Brooklyn high school teacher who was struck by a New York City Transit Authority bus
  • $2,000,000 settlement for a 28-year-old woman who suffered back injuries after the car she was a passenger in was hit by a sanitation truck
  • $1,975,000 settlement for a passenger hurt when a moving truck, owned by a moving and storage company, struck the passenger side of the car in East New York, Brooklyn
  • $1,875,000 settlement for a Bronx truck operator who suffered severe spinal injuries after he was rear-ended by a Mack truck that weighed 10,000 pounds
  • $1,850,000 settlement for victim of a delivery truck collision in Bronx, New York
  • $1,800,000 settlement for a NYPD sergeant who sustained a head injury after she was struck by a Freightliner truck
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a man who had to undergo shoulder and back surgery after he was rear-ended by a commercial vehicle
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a couple who suffered neck injuries after they were rear-ended by a garbage truck at a red light in Manhattan
  • $1,675,000 settlement for a mother who had to undergo spinal surgery when she was involved in a collision with a delivery truck
  • $1,640,000 settlement for a woman who was riding in a taxi when it was struck by a tractor trailer
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a man hit by a delivery truck in Morningside Heights, Manhattan
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a 59-year-old pedestrian who had to undergo multiple surgeries after she was struck by a city-owned vehicle
  • $1,400,000 settlement for a bus passenger who suffered neck and back injuries after the bus she was riding in collided with a truck
  • $1,350,000 settlement for a pedestrian who sustained multiple fractures and a herniated disc after she was hit by a school bus while crossing the street
  • $1,300,000 settlement for a cyclist who was struck and knocked to the ground by a van
  • $1,250,000 settlement for rear-end accident victim hurt in a crash with a commercial box truck owned by an electronics company in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn

To learn more about our auto accident results, visit our Motor Vehicle Accident Verdicts & Settlements page.

Schedule a FREE case review with the experienced auto accident attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy today. Call our New York City office at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form. We serve New York and New Jersey.

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*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Vehicle Accidents

Contact a Commercial Vehicle Accidents Lawyer

For a free legal consultation with an attorney experienced in litigating commercial vehicle accident cases, please fill out the online form below or call us locally at 212-736-5300.