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New York Truck Accident Laws

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New York Truck Accident Laws

Learn how New York's laws may impact the ultimate value and success of your truck accident case

Each state enforces unique laws related to truck accidents and truck accident lawsuits. Accident victims interested in learning about their rights under New York law will be pleased to know that the state protects the rights of injury victims more broadly than many other states do. 

For more information on truck laws in New York or in your state, contact Truck Law today.

Statute of Limitations for Lawsuits

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you’ll want to act quickly to explore your legal options. New York law allows truck accident injury victims a period of up to three years to file a lawsuit before barring them from taking legal action. Meaning, if you don’t file a lawsuit within three years after your crash, you’ll no longer be entitled to pursue compensation from those who caused your harm.

Three years may seem like a long time, so you may be wondering why it’s important to explore your legal options quickly after a crash. The strength of a truck accident lawsuit often rests on the quality of evidence presented by both sides. If you don’t work with an attorney quickly after sustaining harm, potentially critical evidence could be compromised or lost. Additionally, a lawyer can help you to manage interactions with savvy insurance claims adjusters and preserve your legal options so that you can effectively seek compensation when you’re ready to do so.  

Partial Liability Considerations

Some states do a better job of safeguarding the rights of accident injury victims than others do. Thankfully, New York is among the baker’s dozen of states that honors a legal theory known as “pure comparative negligence.” This standard, also honored by populous states like Florida and California, doesn’t restrict the rights of accident injury victims to pursue damages in the event that they are partially responsible for their own harm. 

A small handful of states, including Maryland and Virginia, still honor an outdated legal theory known as contributory negligence. This approach bars victims from holding others accountable for their contributions to the cause(s) of a crash if the victims themselves are – even a little bit – partially at fault as well.

Most states have adopted a modified form of the contributory negligence. In these states, accident victims can pursue damages from others only if the percentage of fault assigned to them personally does not exceed 49 or 50 percent, depending on the unique law of the state in question. 

New York’s law is far more generous than those adopted by contributory negligence states and modified comparative negligence states. In New York, you can pursue damages against others involved in your crash regardless of the percentage of fault assigned to you. The primary consequence of being held liable for a portion of the blame is that your compensation award will be reduced accordingly. 

The Value of Truck Accident Cases in New York 

Just as New York generously protects the rights of accident injury victims to pursue compensation under a variety of circumstances, it also protects the rights of accident injury victims to receive the total amount of compensation to which they’re entitled. Many other state impose “caps” on damages awards in personal injury cases. New York does not impose these harsh restrictions. 

If you choose to file a lawsuit after being injured in a truck accident, you may be awarded economic, non-economic, and/or punitive damages as a result of the harm you’ve suffered. The value of an award will depend upon the costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries, the crash-related costs you’re likely to incur in the future, subjective losses related to your harm, and whether the judge or jury assigned to your case feels that it is important to punish or deter the defendant. 

It is rare that A court decides to grant punitive damages in a truck accident case, however it isn’t unheard of. Punitive damages don’t compensate the victim for any specific loss. Instead, these damages are awarded to either punish the defendant for engaging in in egregious conduct or to deter the defendant and others engaged from engaging in egregious conduct in the future. 

Economic damages attempt to compensate the victim for any objective costs related to their harm. For example, you may be awarded compensation for any past or future medical expenses related to your injuries and any lost earning potential that you may have suffered as a result of your harm. Are objective, so they are often relatively easy to calculate.

Non-economic damages are subjective, so they are harder to calculate. These damages are awarded for losses that aren’t tied to a specific economic burden. For example, pain and suffering damages are often included in a non-economic damages award. 

It’s important to note that you may not receive the total value of your case in compensation if you are assigned any percentage of the blame for your crash. Under California law, if a victim is assigned a percentage of fault for their harm, their compensation award will be reduced by that percentage. Say that an intoxicated truck driver hit your vehicle while you were texting behind the wheel. Your case is valued at $3 million. You are assigned 33 percent of the blame. You’ll be able to pursue $2 million from the truck operator, as that figure represents their 66 percent share of the fault. 

Legal Assistance Is Available 

It isn’t always easy to identify the causes of a crash, let alone who should be held legally and financially responsible for the harm that they cause. Working with an experienced attorney who handles truck accident cases in New York regularly can place you in a strong position to successfully pursue any compensation to which you may be entitled. Allowing a lawyer to aggressively advocate on behalf of your interests can allow you to focus more completely on healing from your wreck-related injuries and trauma.

To better understand the nuances of truck accident law in New York and how these nuances may apply to your case specifically, connect with Truck Law today. Once you are empowered by information concerning your rights and options under the law, you’ll be able to take your next steps with greater confidence.