Fatal Truck Accidents
Due to the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, motorists involved in collisions between trucks and passenger vehicles face an increased risk of fatal injuries. In fact, a 2013 study from the University of California-Berkeley and the National Bureau of Economic Research found that occupants of passenger vehicles are nearly 50 percent more likely to die in a crash if the other vehicle outweighs theirs by 1,000 pounds or more.
If you recently lost a loved one in a fatal truck accident, a wrongful death lawsuit could help you ease your financial struggles, even if that is the last thing on your mind as you try and deal with your grief.
What Causes Trucking Fatalities?
Even as safety technology improves over time, the number of fatal truck crashes continues to increase. Fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses in the United States climbed 40 percent between 2009 and 2017, according to the most recent data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These fatalities often occur due to the size difference between a trailer and a passenger vehicle.
Large trucks such as 18-wheelers or box trucks can easily cause a crash if the driver is not following the rules of the road, or if any of the truck’s equipment is not operating correctly. Employers must be diligent about screening the medical and employment history of new truck drivers and maintaining their vehicles, or they could be held liable for any accidents that occur.
Common causes of fatal truck accidents include:
- Driver distraction
- Excessive speed
- Defective equipment
- Truck driver fatigue
- Failure to signal or yield right of way
- Failure to follow state or federal safety regulations
- Negligent hiring practices such as failing to vet new drivers
When a fatal truck accident occurs, a thorough investigation is required to determine the cause of the crash and who is legally responsible. Critical evidence, including the condition of the road, the state of the driver, police reports and maintenance logs can all provide valuable information for a claim – provided they are secured promptly. The sooner your attorney begins investigating the details of the accident, the faster your wrongful death lawsuit will be able to proceed.
Case Result: $5 Million for Truck Accident Wrongful Death
Negligence by a trucking company was at the heart of a case our firm handled in New York. We represented the four children of a 47-year-old woman who was struck and killed by a truck. She and her friend were walking down the sidewalk on West 35th Street in Manhattan when a privately-owned garbage truck skipped the curb and mounted the sidewalk. Sadly, our clients’ mother suffered fatal blunt force trauma and died shortly after the accident.
In our investigation, we discovered that the truck driver had experienced a seizure while driving and lost control of the vehicle. The driver later indicated that he had not taken his seizure medication for two weeks leading up to the accident. We brought claims for wrongful death and loss of parental guidance on behalf of the victim’s estate and surviving children. We also argued that the trucking company had violated federal regulations by failing to obtain the driver’s employment records, which would have shown a history of accidents related to his seizure condition.
The case eventually settled for $5 million. While no amount of money can fill the void that the loss of a loved one creates, we were able to secure some financial stability for our clients in the aftermath of a tragedy.
Learn more about our unmatched record of results in personal injury and wrongful death claims.
What if I Don’t Want to Sue?
Understandably, after losing a family member in a fatal crash, survivors may prefer to try and move on with their lives, rather than retain an attorney or bring a wrongful death lawsuit. A lawsuit cannot change the past. However, a wrongful death claim can help put survivors in a better position to move forward after a tragedy. Families may be able to recover much-needed compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. Find out more about financial damages in wrongful death cases.
In addition to the financial benefits of a successful lawsuit, many people who decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit find it helps them attain some emotional closure. Some of our clients feel a sense of solace knowing the responsible party has been held accountable for their actions and will not harm any other families.
Fighting for Families Affected by Fatal Truck Accidents
Only you can decide the right course of action for you and your family. The decision to file a wrongful death suit is yours to make – but our attorneys can provide important information to help you make the best choice.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we have a strong record of success bringing successful wrongful death claims on behalf of grieving families. To find out whether a lawsuit can help you following a fatal truck accident, fill out our free case evaluation form or call us at 212-736-5300 to speak with a wrongful death attorney in New York. Serving the boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, and all of New York state.