If you find yourself involved in an accident with a FedEx truck, UPS truck, or Amazon delivery vehicle, you may experience shock, fear, and worry. And if you’re like most Americans, you may wonder what you should do to protect your well-being and your livelihood. Below is a look at the various types of commercial vehicle accidents and some simple steps you should take if you are injured by a delivery truck or other commercial vehicle.
What is considered a commercial vehicle in New York?
“A vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of property or for the provision of commercial services and bearing commercial plates is considered a commercial vehicle.” – New York City Department of Transportation
Before exploring the best way to handle a commercial vehicle accident, it’s helpful to understand exactly what constitutes a commercial vehicle in New York. The Empire State clearly distinguishes between passenger trucks and commercial vehicles, noting that the latter typically features the following:
- A gross vehicle weight over 10,000 pounds
- Capacity to transport 9 or more passengers
- Ability to transport freight or hazardous material
There are multiple types of vehicles operating in New York that share one or more of these features. They include box trucks, cargo vans, buses, vans, and recreational vehicles. Many trucks in New York are also registered as commercial vehicles, especially if their unladen weight is over 6,001 pounds and they are used primarily for business purposes.
Why are commercial vehicle accidents so dangerous in New York?
Commercial driving accidents occur in New York just as they do in other states. However, they can be particularly dangerous due to New York’s dense population and congested streets. Here are some reasons why you may be at greater risk of injury if you’re involved in a commercial vehicle accident:
- Blind spots in front of commercial vehicle cabs make it difficult to see pedestrians and cyclists immediately in front of them
- A lack of awareness of New York’s unique vehicle laws is common among commercial vehicle drivers from other states
- Sudden vehicle congestion on many roadways can make it challenging for drivers to stop quickly
- Extreme population density in New York City and other areas can result in injury to multiple people simultaneously
- Low bridges and narrow tunnel openings can lead to accidents among commercial drivers who don’t heed warning signage
- Streets are often narrow and unable to accommodate large commercial vehicles, increasing risk to other drivers and pedestrians
In addition to these risks, drivers carrying freight and parcels often drive faster in an effort to meet delivery deadlines. The combination of speeding, congested roads, blind spots, and poor awareness of vehicle laws has proven to be especially devastating to cyclists, passenger drivers, and pedestrians who share the roadways with commercial trucks.
As a result of some of these concerns, New York’s governor and elected officials continue to pass special laws designed to help prevent accidents and keep pedestrians and other drivers safe. However, it’s always best to use caution when walking, riding a bike, or driving another vehicle in New York.
What steps should you take if you’re involved in a commercial vehicle accident?
If you’re involved in a commercial vehicle accident, try to remain as calm as possible. If you have suffered a life-threatening injury, or if your mobility is severely compromised, it’s best not to try to move. Otherwise, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to protect yourself from further injury. Here are some critical steps to take following a commercial vehicle accident:
- Step One: Remove yourself from harm’s way. If your injuries are not life-threatening, move to the shoulder or off the road. Then call 911.
- Step Two: Call the police. Reporting your accident to the NYPD right away critical.
- Step Three: Contact an experienced car accident attorney. Look for a lawyer with expertise handling commercial vehicle accidents.
- Step Four: Request the driver’s contact details. Try to avoid blaming the driver, as this could cause them to become angry.
- Step Five: Obtain contact details of any witnesses. Request their contact details and ask them to make a note of what they saw.
- Step Six: Take some photos of the scene with your phone. You can also take notes about what happened before and after the accident.
- Step Seven: Create a file for all of your records. Keep all medical records, car repair bills, and other paperwork in a safe location.
As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, do your best to follow any instructions the authorities and your attorney give you. Also, try not to get into a dispute with the driver of the commercial vehicle. It’s best not to avoid arguing with the driver as you wait for police to arrive.
What is the single most important thing to do after a commercial vehicle accident?
Being involved in a motor vehicle can be a scary experience. After calling 911, the single best thing to do is to call a commercial vehicle accident attorney. An experienced lawyer will serve as your advocate and strongly increase the likelihood that you are properly compensated for your injuries and suffering. A skilled lawyer will also support you in the following ways:
- Provide supportive legal guidance after the accident and throughout the duration of your case
- Help you gather and organize important paperwork, such as police reports and doctor case notes
- Assist you as you prepare your insurance claim materials
- Use clear language to explain how commercial vehicle laws may impact your case
- Put an end to the intimidation tactics sometimes used by commercial trucking firms
- Work with you to help you win your case so you can take care of your financial responsibilities
We encourage you to reach out to the legal team at Chaikin LaPenna, PLLC. We have a proven track record of success helping victims who are injured by commercial vehicles. With our legal team in your corner, you can move forward after your accident with confidence knowing that we will help you receive the compensation you deserve. We look forward to hearing your story and scheduling your complimentary consultation today!
Contact Chaikin LaPenna
(888) BIG WIN LAW
No Fees Until We Win.
Please call us at (212) 977-2020 or fill out the form below to get started.