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Under Which Circumstances Can You Sue Someone In A Trucking Accident?

Can You Sue The Driver Of A Vehicle Separately As Well And When Would You Ever Do That?

The driver is usually named as a defendant in all cases as is the company they worked for and under the New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, section 388, the owner of that vehicle, the registered owner except for a leased vehicle, is also liable for the driver’s actions, so typically you sue the driver individually, you sue the company they were working for at the time of the accident and you sue the registered owner of the vehicle. Now, typically, their insurance company would come in and pay the damage or defend the case but New York has a law that you can’t sue the insurance companies directly, so they are not actually named in the summons of complaint but they are really the party that is ultimately responsible for the most part.

What If A Driver Was An Independent Contractor Or Non-employee? How Does That Affect A Claim Or A Case?

Someone who hires an independent contractor is generally not responsible for the acts of the independent contractor; however, more often than not, these so-called independent contractors are really employees that are just mislabeled. So, if you can show what’s called the scope of the agency, they really are working for the person on a regular basis, they are not really independent contractors, you can still sue the employer. Additionally, even if the person or company claims or an independent contractor, if they are driving a vehicle owned by that company, it doesn’t matter because of New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law section 388 that makes all owners of vehicles responsible for the acts or negligence of whoever is driving their vehicle.

Can You Also Sue The Shipper If The Truck Involved In An Accident Was Carrying Hazardous Goods?

In general, you can only really sue the shipper if the shipper did something wrong. If they didn’t package the material correctly that caused it to leak or if they were responsible for the stalling of a vehicle or if the shipper just provided the trailer and the trucker was driving the trailer that had the hazardous material and it wasn’t packed properly, and because it wasn’t packed properly and the load shifted and that caused the truck to flip or swerve or jackknife, in that circumstance, yes, but generally in New York, you need to be able to show fault.

What About Accidents That Are Due To Either Road Conditions, At Construction Sites, Something Other Than Weather Conditions? Do You Have A Case?

Taking road conditions first, all drivers, including truck drivers, have a responsibility to adjust how they drive and take into consideration the weather factors. So, if someone skids in the rain, you can’t just say, “Hey, it was raining and no one’s at fault” because you have responsibility to go slower. On the other hand, if lightning strikes out of nowhere and causes the car to explode, then there is not really a case.

In terms of road hazards, drivers facing an emergency situation are allowed some leeway and in some cases where the roads are defective or dangerous, you can bring a claim against the municipality that maintains the roadway or highway. If the town or County or State knew about a particular hazard, for exmplae if the paving was bad, there was a slippery condition, like what happens with the road sometimes if they didn’t warn or haven’t been repaved in a long time, what they call aggregates or the rocks that are in the cement get smooth and that makes a road very slippery or if they have grooves that when a tire hits the groove, it causes the vehicle to veer off, in some of those cases, the municipality itself can be held liable for negligent road maintenance.

Is Someone Partially At Fault For An Accident? Do You Still Have A Case In That Situation?

You do. It’s always up to a jury to determine who has what percentage of fault. New York follows a comparative fault rule, which means that your recovery just gets reduced by the amount of fault that you bear. For example, if you’re 50% at fault and you’re entitled to $100,000, you would really only get $50,000 because the amount of money you’d be entitled to gets reduced by your proportionate share of fault. Now, obviously, everyone thinks the other person is at fault, they are not but the reality is, in most accidents, there is some mix of who is at fault.

For more details about When Can You Sue Someone In A Trucking Accident in New York, call the law office of Michael Joseph at (212) 858-0503 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph