Truck Accident Lawyers in New Jersey
In Monmouth County, the increasing number of warehouses means more big rigs are on the local roads. The risks of becoming a truck accident statistic are higher than ever. Given the massive size and force of tractor-trailers and other heavy-load vehicles, collisions can cause serious physical trauma and all-too-commonly lead to fatalities. When motorists are seriously hurt in a crash with a truck, they find themselves facing exorbitant medical bills, long-term physical injuries, emotional trauma, missed work, and more. Where can they turn to for help?
A New Jersey personal injury lawyer at Harrell Injury Law protects your interests and holds those liable for your injuries accountable. This means that you can sue the person or persons who were in any way to blame for the crash. We will help you pursue compensation for all of your costs and losses stemming from the accident, including hospital bills, rehab costs, and any wages you have to forfeit due to being incapacitated by the injury then, now, and in the future. Reach out for a FREE consultation to discuss your case and the path forward.
Types of Truck Accidents
Common types of serious truck accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Blind spots
- Wide turns
Keep in mind that not all truck accidents involve the truck hitting another vehicle directly. If the doors are not secured properly and cargo shifts, spilling out onto the highway, motorists may collide with materials falling out of the truck.
New Jersey Truck Accident Statistics
The average weight of a car is just over 4,000 pounds. A semi-truck may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When the two are involved in a collision, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are lucky to survive the impact. In New Jersey, the nation’s most densely populated state with 39,000 miles of public roadways, motorists in smaller vehicles are especially vulnerable.
According to the non-profit Institute for Safer Trucking, 78 people died in large truck crashes in New Jersey in 2019. Of these, 71 percent of fatal crashes involved vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Just under two-thirds, 64 percent, involved two vehicles or more. Eleven percent of fatal work zone crashes involved large trucks.
Common Truck Accident Causes
Some of the most common truck accident causes include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Improperly loaded trucks
- Inadequate driver training
- Inclement weather
- Poor road conditions
Common Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accident injuries are usually serious. Unfortunately, many victims succumb to their injuries. Common truck accident injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Loss of limbs or digits
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Truck Accident Liability Issues
You were seriously injured because an 18-wheeler collided with your car. It may seem the truck driver or the trucking company is the liable party but only an investigation of the big rig accident reveals the entities contributing to the crash.
For instance, the truck may have jackknifed because the cargo was not properly secured by the freight loader. Perhaps the truck malfunctioned due to a mechanical defect. Maybe a glitch in traffic signals contributed to the crash. In these scenarios, liability may fall on the freight company, the manufacturer or repair service, or the jurisdiction in charge of maintaining traffic lights.
Unlike car accidents, it is not unusual for multiple parties to share responsibility for a truck crash. Entities that may hold liability in a truck accident besides the driver and trucking company include:
- Truck or parts manufacturer
- Parent company of the trucking firm
- Maintenance company
- Loading facility
- State, county, city, or town
What to Do After a Truck Accident in New Jersey
Due to injury severity, victims often can do little in the aftermath of a truck wreck other than call 911 or hope someone can notify the police. However, if you are physically able, try to do the following after a semi-truck accident:
- Exchange insurance information with the truck driver.
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene, along with pictures of your injuries.
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Contact a New Jersey truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Compensation Through No-Fault (PIP)
Since New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, victims in truck accident cases will first be paid out of the victim’s PIP coverage via their own car insurance company. However, since truck accidents often cause severe injuries exceeding the limits on their PIP policy, they will often need a lawyer to help go over and above the policy limit to recover for their injuries.
New Jersey Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
New Jersey follows a modified comparative negligence rule. That means if the accident victim is partly at fault for the crash, they can still receive compensation with the damages reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if found more than 50 percent at fault, no damages are recoverable.
For example, if after PIP, your medical expenses total $100,000 and you are deemed 20 percent at fault for the collision, your award is reduced to $80,000.
Statute of Limitations
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident is typically two years from the date of the incident. However, if the truck accident involved a government vehicle, such as a municipally-owned garbage truck, the deadline is just 90 days from the accident date to file, as per the state’s Tort Claims Act.
Truck Accident Damages
Damages, or compensation, in a truck accident may include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Damages will depend on various factors. Usually, the more severe the injuries, the higher the damages. Your lawyer’s job is to fight to get you the maximum compensation possible. Victims of severe truck accident injuries may need permanent or long-term caregiving, special equipment, and home modifications. Physical or cognitive disabilities stemming from the crash may result in reduced earning capacity in your field of employment. All of these and similar factors will be considered when determining the full dollar amount of damages sought.
What to Look for in a Truck Accident Lawyer
Look for a truck accident lawyer with a great deal of experience in this field. Most trucking companies have powerful insurance companies behind them. A truck accident lawyer with a track record of attaining fair settlements or jury awards for clients is necessary to level the playing field against trucking companies.
How Harrell Injury Law Can Help
A New Jersey truck accident lawyer at Harrell Injury Law investigates every aspect of the accident and determines which parties may prove liable. In addition to collecting police and medical records, your attorney will:
- Collect photos or videos of the accident
- Obtain truck operation data from the vehicle’s “black box”
- Collect data from the truck’s GPS and onboard communications systems
- Review maintenance and inspection records
- Review the truck driver’s logbook
- Review any surveillance or dashcam videos
- Obtain driver cell phone records
- Interview any eyewitnesses
Your lawyer looks for any violations of federal trucking regulations, blood tests revealing whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and whether the trucking company was negligent in its hiring or training processes.
An accident reconstruction team may be brought in to analyze the factors leading to the crash and determine the collision’s cause.
A seasoned truck accident lawyer at Harrell Injury Law negotiates with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement. Based on the nature of your injuries and prognosis, your attorney will know whether a settlement offer is truly fair and if it’s enough to take care of your current and future needs.
While most cases are settled, if the insurance company fails to agree to a fair settlement amount, we will take the case to trial.
Contact a New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a truck accident due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, you need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney at Harrell Injury Law. Contact us today and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We serve clients in Wall Township, Howell Township, and all of Monmouth County. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.