Fatal Truck Accidents 

Truck accidents are among the leading causes of death on New York roads.  

Nationwide, nearly 5,000 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2020, according to the National Safety Council. That was a four-percent decrease from 2019 and a 33-percent increase since 2011.  

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), large trucks accounted for:

  • nine percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes; 
  • four percent of all registered vehicles; and 
  • 10 percent of total vehicle-miles traveled. 

The National Safety Council also reported that more than half of fatal truck crashes occurred on rural roads and about a quarter on interstate highways. Sixty-three percent of the crashes occurred during the day, and 5 percent occurred in work zones. October was the peak month for fatal truck crashes and April had the fewest reported crashes.  

Who is Liable in a Truck Accident? 

Several factors can affect liability in a truck accident, including a driver’s employment status, truck maintenance, and cargo loading issues. 

Parties that can be held liable after a truck accident can potentially include 

  • The driver of the truck. If a truck driver does not follow the rules of the road, or drives unsafely, they may be considered at fault for an accident. Some truck drivers travel long distances without a break, making fatigue and drowsiness a potential risk factor. Driving under the influence, distracted driving, and not obeying traffic laws can also factor into whether the driver of the truck was liable for the crash. 
  • The trucking company or contractor. The company that operates the semi-truck or tractor-trailer involved in a motor vehicle accident may be liable. If the trucking company did not conduct thorough investigations, keep up with required maintenance, or otherwise failed to meet safety measures and regulations, it may be responsible for a resulting truck crash. When it comes to liability, the trucking company can also share liability with another party, such as a manufacturer or cargo loader. Notably, the truck driver’s employer can be held liable if the truck driver was working in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident. Moreover, New York’s permissive use statute, codified in Vehicle and Traffic Law 388, holds the owner of a motor vehicle liable for the negligence of its operator if the operator was driving with express or implied permission of the owner. 

Sometimes, when a truck has a mechanical failure that causes an accident, it is not a maintenance issue but, rather, is an issue with the way the part or product was manufactured or designed. If your truck collision was caused by a defective product, you may have a potential product-liability claim as well. If the truck crash that caused your injuries was the result of a defective part, the manufacturer of the truck or the vehicle’s component may be liable.  

William Mattar, P.C., Can Help After a Truck Accident   

After a fatal truck accident it’s important to consult with a law firm that is committed to helping those injured after car accidents. If you are looking for a truck accident lawyer the attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. can investigate the accident and evaluate any liability issues. When appropriate, our attorneys can deal directly with negligent drivers, their insurers, and their legal representatives. We can review the law to determine whether you are entitled to recover damages, including those under the state’s wrongful death statute. Call (844) 444-4444 or submit a form online. 

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