Trucking Accidents Caused by Road Hazards
Adverse road conditions affect us all. Potholes, road debris and even obscured traffic signs can cause accidents—and those accidents are even worse with trucks because of the momentum and size involved. Whether we’re talking about big-rigs, local delivery trucks or any other type of commercial truck, they’re capable of causing large-scale damage, injury and even death on New York roadways.
New York’s Most Common Road Hazards
Every case is different, but road hazards could be the ultimate cause of your accident. In New York, there are several common road hazards that you need to know about in order to make sense of your accident. The state even has a website that alerts motorists about known road hazards to help prevent accidents.
1. Debris in the road. Loose asphalt, auto parts left behind after a previous accident or even sand can cause a problem on New York roadways. Things often fall from the back of delivery trucks, people litter and tree branches fall—and all of those things can spell disaster when a large truck swerves to avoid debris in the road.
2. Uneven road surfaces and potholes. While the NYDOT tries to keep our roads in the best possible condition, potholes are inevitable. They expand quickly, too, which makes them even more difficult to repair.
Because we have some of the most active road construction in the country, uneven pavement is common. When a truck hits a pothole or runs into uneven pavement and the driver loses control, an accident might be unavoidable.
3. People. Our streets are busy, and packed crosswalks are at every intersection. Even worse, people who choose not to use the crosswalks (or those who cross when they aren’t supposed to cross) can dart out in front of a truck. The trucker might be forced to slam on his or her brakes, swerve, or do both, which puts everyone on the same road at risk.
4. Animals. You can never predict what an animal on the roadway might do. Even household pets that get loose on New York roads are dangerous; nobody wants to hit an animal, and in an effort to do the right thing, a trucker might hit the brakes and swerve without thinking about other vehicles he or she is putting at risk.
These aren’t the only potential road hazards that can cause accidents, though. Sometimes tree branches obscure stop signs, ice builds up near intersections or any number of other environmental factors can play a role in causing an accident.
Traffic lights burn out or malfunction, people “rubber-neck” at existing accidents, and fire hydrants burst open—you can’t predict what will go wrong, and in many cases, these road hazards are unavoidable.
What to Do if You’re Involved in a Trucking Accident Caused by a Road Hazard
The most important thing to do after an accident is to get medical help. You may not feel like you’re injured, but some injuries (such as traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal injuries, and a whole host of other internal injuries) don’t show up right away.
During and immediately after an accident, it’s common for the people involved to become a little confused; don’t worry, because it’s normal. If you can, though, it’s a good idea to survey the scene to see if you can figure out what actually caused the accident. There may also be witnesses who can help fill in the blanks.
Can You Sue Over Road Conditions Causing a Trucking Accident?
No two cases are the same, so there isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all answer. It never hurts to talk to a trucking accident lawyer in New York to find out.
If you do want to sue, your lawyer will have to prove your case. That involves showing that the defendant (the person you’re suing) owed you a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid injury under the circumstances. Naturally, every driver on the road has a legal duty to be careful and attempt to avoid injuring others.
Your lawyer will have to show that the defendant—the person or entity at-fault for the accident—didn’t exercise the care that he or she should have exercised. Your attorney also needs to prove that the driver’s failure to exercise care that caused your injury.
Who Could Be at Fault for Your Trucking Accident?
You don’t necessarily have to sue another driver. You could be able to sue the trucking company, a contractor, or even the manufacturer of the goods in the truck (such as when the truck is carrying hazardous materials or items that made the aftermath of the accident worse).
The bottom line? If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident caused by one or more road hazards, it’s in your best interests to talk to a lawyer who can tell you whether you have a case. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses caused by the accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving any type of truck, call and speak with a Greenstein & Milbauer partner today at 1-800-842-8462 (1-800-