How to Determine the Responsible Parties in Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accidents in Queens?

How to Determine the Responsible Parties in Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accidents in Queens?

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Navigating Liability Laws for Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accidents in Queens

Tractor-trailer trucks are a major part of the supply chain, and many of them go through New York as they head to and from ports on the East Coast. But these trucks also pose risks as they share the roadways with regular passenger vehicles. A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh 25 times more than the average car, and when you combine this weight with highway-level speeds, accidents often result in serious injury.

When multiple vehicles are involved, it can be even more disastrous. In 2022, 87 percent of trucking accidents that caused injury or death involved multiple vehicles. If you or a loved one have been injured, The Law Offices of Elke E. Mirabella can help.

What Counts as a Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accident?

The term “multi-vehicle accident” can be confusing because the majority of car accidents involve two vehicles, which is technically multiple vehicles. But when we’re talking about crash statistics and data, multi-vehicle is a classification used for wrecks that involve three or more vehicles. These accidents are also sometimes referred to as “pile ups” because the vehicles often end up stacked together as they crash into each other.

Multi-vehicle accidents can be especially common when a tractor trailer is involved because these crashes generally happen on an interstate, a highway, or another main road. Vehicles on these roads are usually driving at higher speeds, which means they don’t have as much time to react and avoid an accident in front of them. These roads also have more traffic, so there are generally more vehicles on the road that have the potential to be involved in the crash.

The Challenge of Determining Who Was Responsible

The more cars that are involved in a wreck, the more complicated it can be to determine who was at fault and what the original cause of the crash was. Multi-vehicle trucking accidents are one of the most complex types of accidents, and there can be many influencing factors. For example, if a car veered over the line but the truck driver was distracted and not looking at the road, they may both have contributed to the accident. It’s common for more than one driver in a multi-vehicle truck accident to have some contribution, and the weather and road conditions may also factor in. All of this makes it very difficult to determine who was at fault for a truck accident.

In general, any of the drivers of the vehicles involved could be responsible for the accident, and when a truck is involved, there is also the chance that a third party, such as a mechanic, or the trucking company itself could share responsibility.

How New York’s No-Fault System Applies

It’s clear that determining responsibility in a multi-vehicle accident isn’t easy, and this is one reason why New York has adopted a no-fault system for car accidents. Every driver in the state is required to carry their own personal no-fault coverage, which is known as Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). When an accident occurs, each person files the claim with their own insurance company, which pays out the benefits.

Basic no-fault coverage in New York pays up to $50,000 per person for economic losses, and it doesn’t matter who was at fault. This means that as long as your expenses were less than $50,000, you can’t sue the other party even if they were 100 percent at fault for the accident. The only time you can file a lawsuit is when you have economic losses that exceed that $50,000 payout — or whatever your coverage limit is if it’s higher.

What to Do If You Were Injured in a Multi-Vehicle Trucking Accident

The no-fault system in New York can make it harder for victims to understand their rights and how to get the compensation they deserve. However, there are certain steps you can take after an accident to get this information and ensure your injuries are addressed.

Get Evaluated by a Doctor

Many people don’t think that they’ve been seriously injured after a truck accident, and they may refuse medical treatment. However, many serious injuries, including whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and internal injuries, may not show immediate symptoms. After a car accident, your body is flooded with adrenaline, which can mask pain and other injury symptoms. Seeking a medical evaluation after an accident ensures that you know what injuries you may have and provides documentation for a legal case later on.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident so they can start processing your claim. The sooner you make them aware of the incident, the sooner they can reimburse you for your losses. If you are going to exceed the payout cap, knowing this early in the process can help you prepare to take legal action.

Meet With an Attorney

Even if you don’t think that you were seriously injured or that your losses will exceed your insurance coverage, it’s always a good idea to talk with an attorney about your situation after a multi-vehicle trucking accident. This ensures you know how long you have to make a decision over whether you’re going to file a lawsuit and gives you information on what that process involves.

Multi-vehicle trucking accidents are serious, and the potential for life-threatening injuries or even fatalities is high. If you were injured or a loved one was killed, contact The Law Offices of Elke E. Mirabella, PC, at 631-769-7999.

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