New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers
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FIGHTING FOR NEW JERSEY TRUCK ACCIDENT VICTIMS
For many people, the sight of a large semi-truck driving on the same road can elicit feelings of fear and anxiety, and justifiably so. Trucking accidents can be catastrophic due to the sheer size and weight of the truck, and large trucks cause a disproportionate amount of traffic accidents and traffic-related deaths in the United States every year. In fact, in 2018, over five thousand large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 1% increase from the previous year.
Drivers, as well as trucking companies, have a legal responsibility to follow safe driving practices, and either can be held liable for injuries that are caused by their negligence or misconduct. If you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident, know that you have rights. Our experienced team of legal experts can represent your interests and help you receive top compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact our truck accident lawyers today at 1-800-681-3550 or using the form below for a free consultation.
THE NUMBERS OF TRUCKING ACCIDENTS ARE ON THE RISE
There are nearly 500,000 trucking accidents that occur every year in the United States alone. Out of these crashes, almost 4,500 were fatal, and well over 100,000 involved injuries.
Between 2005 and 2009, the number of fatal crashes in the United States was steadily decreasing, and it seemed likely the trend would continue.
But tragically, between 2009 – 2018, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 45%, and in 2018, trucking-related accidents were responsible for 12% of all roadside fatalities. And 97% of those fatalities were in the smaller passenger vehicle involved in the accident.
What is driving this increase in trucking accidents? Experts point to numerous causes, including:
- High turnover rate: The American Trucking Associations reported that large carriers have a turnover rate of 96% annually. This means more inexperienced drivers on the road.
- More trucks: As more people turn to online shopping, there are more trucks than ever on the road.
NEW JERSEY SEES AN INCREASE IN COMMERCIAL TRUCKING
New Jersey freight shipments are among the highest in the United States, and are expected to increase at rates among the fastest in the United States. A new report by TRIP (National Transportation Research Nonprofit) states that the value of freight moved by trucks in the state of New Jersey will increase by 93% by 2045. This means a large increase in the number of trucks on New Jersey’s heavily congested highways.
In New Jersey, trucks are 20% more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than cars. In 2020, it is predicted that there may be up to 133 truck-related deaths in the state of New Jersey. In previous years, Middlesex, Bergen, and Burlington counties have had the highest rate of trucking-related deaths.
What Are the Main Causes of Trucking Accidents?
As with any vehicle, there can be numerous causes for a trucking accident. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents are:
- Driver fatigue: Driver fatigue is one of the major risk factors for commercial motor vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Drivers on a tight schedule: Although they are required by law to rest and take breaks, most truckers are expected to work 70 hours a week for eight days at a stretch.
- Drug use: In multiple studies conducted in the United States, as many as 91% of drivers interviewed admitted they drank on the job, and 82% admitted to using amphetamines while driving. In 2017, the percentage of truck drivers with blood alcohol content of .08 or higher that were involved in fatal crashes was 20% in New Jersey.
- Inappropriate driver training: Trucking companies are responsible for hiring drivers that meet all certifications and training requirements. If the driver involved in your accident was not properly certified or trained, the company may be liable for damages.
- Mechanical breakdowns: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Fatal Causation Study found that in 55% of truck accidents the truck had at least one mechanical failure.
- Tire defects: About 30% of all trucking accidents stem from tire defects, making them the most common cause of a trucking accident.
WHAT TYPES OF INJURIES CAN OCCUR FROM A TRUCKING-RELATED ACCIDENT?
Injuries sustained in a trucking accident can be numerous and devastating. The most common types of injuries include:
- Whiplash: This occurs when a car stops suddenly and the driver or passenger’s neck “whips” back and forth rapidly. While many cases of whiplash heal over time, some can have long lasting effects.
- Spinal cord injuries: When an accident causes the vertebrae of your spine to be damaged, you can surfer a devastating spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury can result in muscle weakness, loss of motion, and difficulty breathing.
- Organ damage: Internal bleeding, lacerations, and organ failure can all be caused by traffic accidents.
- Broken bones: Trucking accidents often involve multiple broken bones caused by the force of the crash.
- Head injury: This can include a concussion, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over half of all reported TBI’s are a result of an automobile accident.
How Are Trucking Accidents Different Than Other Types of Accidents?
When a vehicle accident involves two privately owned cars, the victims will pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. A claims adjuster is usually assigned who then investigates the circumstances that led to the accident, and they then determine the appropriate amount of damages.
Trucking accidents are a completely different matter altogether, and can require a much more thorough and in depth investigation. A trucking accident lawyer will need to investigate the truck driver to understand how their negligence may have caused the accident. However, the trucking company who hired the driver may also be liable, depending on the circumstances of the case.
A skilled trucking accident attorney will review things such as:
- Trucking logbooks: These can show if the driver was working when they legally should have been taking a break. If so, your trucking accident lawyer will investigate to determine if this was done at the behest of the company that hired them.
- Driving records: If the driver has a history of previous accidents that the company failed to address, the company may bear some liability.
- GPS monitoring: Most trucks now carry GPS devices on board that can contain valuable information on the speed a truck was traveling at when the accident occured.
- Truck maintenance: Proper maintenance is key to preventing tire blowouts, engine malfunctions and brake failures. Trucking companies have strict policies in place that mandate how and when inspections should occur, and if these policies are ignored by either the driver or their supervisor, then they may bear liability for any accidents that occur.
- Information on the trucks cargo: If loose cargo is involved in the accident, a lawyer will investigate who loaded the cargo and whether or not they followed the proper loading procedures to secure the materials on board. Improperly loaded cargo can cause a trailer to swing and lead to accidents.
How Much Will I Get for a Trucking Accident Lawsuit?
The damages you receive will be based off of several factors, including:
- Who is liable: If the trucking company is found to be at fault for your accident, you may be entitled to a larger claim than if you file suit against the driver alone.
- What injuries did you suffer: If your injuries were so severe that they caused you to take significant time off of work, you may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and payments towards any future medical issues that stem from the accident should also be considered when calculating your settlement amount.
- Damages for pain and suffering: Trucking accidents can cause serious mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and even PTSD. Payment for these types of damages can be difficult to calculate, but your trucking accident lawyer can help you determine what a just settlement amount for your pain and suffering is.
WHEN TO SEEK DAMAGES FOR A TRUCKING-RELATED ACCIDENT
We understand that dealing with a car or truck accident is never easy, and may even result in life-long disabilities, or the loss of a loved one. As an experienced car accident lawyer, Richard Hollawell has helped clients win six-figure and seven-figure settlements from negligent drivers that cause serious physical injuries and property damage.
If you have questions about your accident, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced legal team. We can help you navigate the complex issues surrounding trucking accidents, and help you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve. Contact our lawyers today at 1-800-681-3550 or by using the form below for a free consultation.