No one plans on getting hit by a truck. You’re driving along the FDR on your morning commute, minding your own business, when a semi-truck slams into the rear of your midsize sedan. Trucks represent a small but deadly portion of the 70,000 annual auto collisions in NYC. Semi-trucks can weigh up to 80 tons which all but guarantees that any sedan or midsize SUV will be decimated.
Do you sue the driver? How about his employer? Maybe the company that owns the trailer? Wait, the trailer and truck can be owned by different companies?
This is the great challenge involving semi-truck accidents. As a New York resident you are entitled to compensation under no-fault insurance but to recover you must identify the insurer of the at-fault party.
Call the police and get the accident report. You should also collect contact information for the driver, his dispatcher, the owner of the truck and the trailer and all insurers. Retaining an attorney is helpful because they can sort through all of these competing entities.
No-Fault insurance allows you to recover up to $50,000 in economic losses. The economic losses must be associated with the accident like hospital bills, medication and lost wages. So you should save all receipts for medical treatment and increased transportation expenses. You may not recover noneconomic losses like pain and suffering.
You should first pursue a no-fault insurance claim. You have 30 days from the date of the accident to file. The no-fault system was intended to be non adversarial. However, each step of the process opens you up to possible denial of recovery by the insurer. So it is critical that you do not miss any deadlines.
Also, since we are talking about a truck accident, it is likely you suffered a serious injury. Insurance Law § 5104 (a) and (b) defines a serious bodily injury as the permanent loss of the use of an organ or bodily limb among several other horrifying scenarios. If you suffer a serious bodily injury then you may recover economic losses beyond the $50,000 no-fault cap in addition to noneconomic losses like pain and suffering.
The no-fault system is unforgiving, do not lose your recovery because you woke up late and missed a deadline.